Visiting Indonesia

Halo! (yes that is spelt the right way, Hello in Indonesian),

I am sitting in Qatar’s airport, as I am writing this, wishing that I was still in the beautiful surroundings of Indonesia with my handsome Fiancé.

When I got to Indonesia, Bryn and I took a taxi  to Kota Baru where he lives.  I had my first experience of Indonesian culture.  In the states, people are such in a hurry to get where they need to go, but in Asia they are not.  We probably made it about half way to Kota Baru when the driver pulled off at a rest area, because why not?  He wanted to stop for a smoke break and was in no hurry.   So after about 5 hours we finally reached our destination.  Upon arriving, Bryn decided he really wanted me to see BAIS, so we jump on his Motorcycle and drive to school.  This was a little scary at first, but it is the thing to do in Indonesia.  Some people have furniture barely hanging on the back of their bikes and others have 4 to 5 people on their bike (don’t ask me how they do this…it is a mystery to me).   First impression of Indonesia, I think I might like this place.

On the second day, Bryn and I decided to go into Bandung.  We made it into Bandung around lunch time and ate at a restaurant and had this delicious sausage pizza.  You might ask, what is so Indonesian about that?  This is where I was first introduced to Sambal.  Sambal is a sweet yet spicy sauce that you find everywhere in Indonesia and like some people with ranch or ketchup in the states it goes on everything.  I also got a Strawberry juice and I totally recommend anyone that goes to Indonesia gets some of this (or Mango or Kiwi juice).   Then, we went to our first of many malls with a mission to find Batik.  Batik is traditional Indonesian clothing, so that we could wear it in our engagement pictures later that week.  There were so many stores in the malls that I don’t know how they all stay in business.  In addition to the stores, there are also many carts everywhere and places set up in the middle of the mall.  It was a lot of fun shopping with my Fiancé and trying to match the Batik, which was very, very difficult.  After shopping several hours, we ended up with several Batik shirts each.   In order to buy the Batik, we had to give the shirts to these people who gave us a receipt in which we had to take the receipt and pay for the shirts before we could go back and pick up the shirts from the workers in the Batik area.   Then, we walked around or jalan-jalan in Bandung before we decided to go back to the bus stop.  We went back to the house and got the bike to drive Bale Pare.  Bale Pare is a collection of restaurants that has a common grassy area to eat at.  When we got there, they had a big screen out in the middle of this grassy area with a bunch of tables in order to watch Indonesia play Malaysia in soccer.  We waited awhile for our food, because all of restaurant workers and owners were watching the game.  People were yelling and screaming and jumping up on tables.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this and experiencing the excitement of soccer in Indonesia.  If I were to compare it to anything in the states I would compare it to the excitement with football, but it was a lot of fun to see the differences between the states and Indonesia.

On the third day, we went back into Bandung and went to a couple more malls, because that is what you do in Indonesia.  Bryn was interviewed by a couple of girls in one mall, because we are bule for an English assignment.  The first question they asked was,  “How did you get here?”  That question is so broad.  Bryn and I were joking later that he should have told them that he swam or rode a humpback whale. 

Bule means white person.  The joys of being a bule are that people are constantly staring at you as they walk or ride down the street.  In the US many women desire to be tan, but in Indonesia the women desire is to be lighter.  I guess it is the thing that you are not that you want to be.

On the fourth day (New Years Eve), Bryn and I went to take our engagement pictures (thanks to our amazing photographer, Janet).  It was a lot of fun, but my favorite moment of the day was Bryn getting on his knee and pulling out the most beautiful engagement ring.  Later, He told me that my Mom and His Mom schemed and put the ring in a card and I had carried my own ring 14,000 miles around the world without knowing anything.  He certainly surprised me!! 

 Then, Bryn and I went over to the Newells, a family at BAIS to nome crone (not sure exactly how to spell this in Indonesian) or just hang out.  This is very common in Indonesia.  People are in no hurry to go anywhere, motorcycles pull over just to take a break.  What was intended to be a relatively short stay, ended up being hours as we were just talking and getting to know each other.  Then, we went to eat lunch at one of the many restaurants at Bale Pare again.  After that, we went to school and I sneaked into the 2nd grade and kindergarten classrooms to get an idea of what I need to back teaching wise, since hopefully I will be teaching there next year.  This made me super excited about the possibilities of next year.  After that I helped Bryn catalog and set up his room with the many new toys and instruments that I brought him. 

Later, we got on the bus to go into Bandung for the church that Bryn goes to New Years Eve service, but as we were leaving Kota Baru, the traffic came to a dead stop and we did not move for 15 minutes, so we got off the bus and took Ojecks back to the house.  Ojecks are like taxis, but cheaper and are motorcycles instead of cars.  Let me just say, you must hold on tight when riding an Ojeck.  To end the New Year we ended up watching a movie (well until I feel asleep due to jet-lag catching up to me), so I welcomed 2011 in Asia sleeping.   But, I did celebrate with my family in the US at 12:00 the next day via phone.

On the fifth day, Bryn and I went into Bandung early to go to his church’s New Years Day service.  I enjoyed worshiping with fellow believers.  I did not understand much, but I did recognize many of the hymns and I tried my best to worship with my best Indonesian I could.  Then, we went back to Bryn’s place and took it easy for the afternoon.   Pete, the Director of BAIS, came over for a little bit and we talked a little about life and the school.  After that, we went back to school for a few minutes and then we packed for our trip to the beach.  Late that night, we went over to meet the Berggrens’, because they had just gotten back from Bali and we were leaving Sunday morning to head to the beach.  I really enjoyed hanging out with them and staying up way past my bedtime.    

The next day, Bryn and I went loaded in the car with Amu, Hani, and their son Hananiah and drove to Ocean Queen resort.  Here I learned another Asian time thing.  When something says 20 kilometers, it may take an hour to get where you are going or it may take more.  So, in Indonesia it could take 5 hours to get somewhere or it could take 17 hours.  You will get there when you get there as many Indonesians will tell you.  So after around 6 hours, we got to Ocean Queen.  We unpacked and settled into our Bungalow with the Newells and Ramappas.  All week, we hung out and went to the beach, read, fellowshipped together, worked on wedding plans, and just enjoyed relaxing.   It was a great time with great people that I cannot wait to get to know more when I get back in 6 months. 

Then Friday morning, we woke up and took a Taxi and drove 6 hours to get to Jakarta to go to the airport.  I checked in, ate some KFC, and said our tearful goodbyes with the promise that we will have to never say goodbye again, because the next time we see each other it will be when I got pick my handsome Fiancée up at the airport and week later I get to marry him.  I cannot wait to see all God has in store for our lives together both in Indonesia and wherever He may lead.

I am so blessed to be moving to a community that I have already fallen in love with.  I love the people I have met from BAIS and the Indonesian people are so friendly and welcoming.  I look forward to all that God has in store for this next phase in life. 

There is just a little taste of my Indonesian trip.  I wish I was still there, but I am sure I am going to love living in Indonesia. 

Sampai Nanti (Until later),

Courtney