Taman Mini

We explored another Indonesian amusement park today. we made the decision last minute and left around 9am. The drive was easy, only 30 minutes from Bogor and without traffic (amazing!).

I would give Taman Mini 3 out of 4 stars; better than Jungle Land, but not as cool as Taman Safari. The Indonesian museum was cool, so were a few parts of the Science Labs, the train, cheap entrance fees, and of course then there was this giant castle…

I’m hoping this park just let me delay a trip to Disneyland by a few years.

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Weekend escape to PR

We escaped to Pelabuhan Ratu Saturday evening via a three hour car ride with sleeping children. We arrived around 10:00pm and checked into the Sunset Plaza hotel, which was more like a hostel with tiny $20 rooms and shared bathrooms. But the free breakfast, pool, beach front access, and outdoor restaurant terrace were perfect for our lazy Sunday of swimming and card playing.

We did some exploring and found the point where the green lady (Queen of the southern Java Seas) supposedly jumped to her death. It was incredible to see Indonesians leave her offerings from the cliffs overlooking the ocean. We had to leave quickly though because it started to rain. So we hiked back down the cliff and ducked into a warung for a coconut.

Once we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon, we got some help from a few locals to wave down an angkot for a ride back to the hotel. It was in the angkot that we let the experience sink in. Indonesia can be so incredibly beautiful sometimes.

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You know You’ve Lived in Indonesia for 18 months When…

-You forget America has four seasons, that is until you open Pinterest…

-Your weekend uniform consists of cut-off shorts and flip flops on Saturday, bathing suit on Sunday… And it’s November.

-You’ve finally mastered a complete dinner in a rice cooker. Last week consisted of red rice with steamed fish and asparagus (a delicacy found in Jakarta last weekend).

-Amusement parks are no longer thought of as expensive and with long lines. They are cheap, quick, but hellishly hot.

-You’re finally starting to get a hang of Bahasa, yet only have a month left living in the country.

-Your English is starting to sound like your Bahasa. Short. To the point. And with a bit more surprise. Whaa?! Weeeh!

-Walking around a mall with a grocery cart is totally normal.

-Sweating from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm is totally normal.

-Bug Bites. Every day. Normal.

-You reach some sort of milestone when you can call the grocery down the road and in Bahasa, ask them to deliver Bintang to your house as you host a party.

-You realize you hate Bintang at this point and decide to nurse the bottle of rum you bought at Duty-Free 6 months ago.

-A quick 20 km drive to a restaurant or park takes over 2 hours because of traffic and you come prepared with bottles of water and snacks… Because duh… It’s Indonesia.

-You no longer stress over wearing suntan lotion.

-You realize you haven’t had 100% hearing in your left ear for over 3 weeks and you still refuse to see a local doctor about it.

-You begin to realize what makes you truly homesick: certain rights, comforts, and expectations that mean nothing here.

-You begin to mark an X on each completed day on the calendar. One month left.

-You look at Air Asia prices daily. $100 for a weekend trip to Bali. Worth it?

-You try to remember what you packed away before you moved to Indonesia and can’t remember a single item.

-You go to bed at 8:00 pm because staying up any later than that on a week day is too painfully lonely.

Jakarta

Jakarta… You so crazy. I’m thankful I don’t have to visit on a regular basis and deal with your disgusting air, choking traffic, and your unseeingly organized chaos.

I visit only when I’m in the mood for a shit show. Show me your crazies; your women dressed in cocktail dresses and 5 inch heals to go out to lunch, your bedazzled cartoon iPhone cases, tiaras, and offensive signage. You’re so beyond help at this point that I visit you only to use you and leave. Give me your international food and chains. I’ll shop. But then I’ll leave. And be so thankful I can.

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Happy Halloween

Last year we tried pulling a Halloween party together but lacked in enough interested expats. But this year, everything came together and we pulled off Halloween crafts, costumes (Eliana was Rapunzel), a pizza party, trick-or-treating to 9 houses, candy trading and pumpkin carving (I attempted Tinker Bell).

We walked in 90 degree heat at 7:00pm, a first for me. But the lightning and thunder was a nice touch.

Happy Halloween from Indonesia!

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Taman Safari

I had pretty low expectations for Taman Safari, a conservation/amusement park about an hour away from Bogor. I knew there was a zoo where you could drive your car through. Students told funny stories of zebras sticking their heads inside the car and they all screamed, etc. No one really raved of the place, but I had always wanted to at least check it out before we go.

What I didn’t know was how big the park was, how well organized it was, how the animal areas were so beautiful and well constructed (better than any zoo I’ve ever seen) and how the rest of the park had so many different forms of entertainment!

We arrived around 9:30 am and stayed until almost 6:00 at night. The day was packed with so much, from the actual zebra head in the car moments, to an acrobatic show, cowboy show (with Hollywood size set, people and animal choreography and effects), two haunted houses, a dolphin show, Globe of Death (with 4 motorcycles circling each other inside), kid rides, and NO LINES!

We walked from one thing to the next buying snacks and feeding orangutans, and seemed to always magically arrive only a few minutes before the next show started. It was great! And to be honest felt like it really blew Disneyland out of the water with cost and efficiency of time spent. Only tip is to go early as to avoid traffic to Puncak. If you ever find yourself on Java, I highly recommend checking out Taman Safari, a beautiful park in the middle of a jungle.

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Repatriation

A friend shared this article with my husband recently and I have just had the time to read it. It really spoke to me and helped me visualize what I’ve been feeling recently. One part in particular stood out to me:

If you’re from a circle culture and live temporarily in a square society, “You are no longer 100% Circle, but you’ll never again be 100% Square. You are left — almost hanging — somewhere in the middle.” This is such a great visual for me to express how I’ve felt these past 18 months. I have felt like a guest for so long, living and working the best I can in a culture so very different from what I know. To return home will be familiar, but a huge change as I’ve had to adapt so much in this time.

And Eliana?

Interestingly enough, there is a fourth shape that enters this discussion. If a child (in their developmental years such as our two youngest were), follows his or her parents from Circle Country to Square Society, he or she will become — not a Triangle Tenant, like the adult parent, but a Star. They will be a Star with multiple points of reference when considering where they are from, what they believe in, what foods they like, and how they see the world.

They will always be Stars.” To be honest? I love this.

You see I’m in a very precarious situation right now. I’m preparing myself and my daughter to repatriate soon while watching my husband repatriate already. He has done well, but has voiced a few struggles in the past couple of weeks.

I don’t think there is much that we can do to prepare for reverse culture shock. We will return as different people, which I’m pleased with. However these changes will most likely be long-term challenges we will endure for years.

I always wanted to know what it would be like to be one of my students, who are so often refugees or immigrants from other countries. But the thing is I will never know. I’m not moving to another country and staying there. I’ve adapted to a new culture and will be moving home, changed, and I have no idea how much.

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*Special thanks to Jessie for sharing the article and Christie for the picture!