Thursday, September 23, 2010

Here we are in Indonesia!

Hi Friends!

Well we made it to the other side of the world, praise the Lord!  People often say they can "feel" the prayers of others, and I definitely had that experience as I sat on the long (12 1/2 hour) and somewhat bumpy flight from Los Angeles to Taipai, Taiwan this Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Those of you who know me well know that I do not enjoy flying...a charming combination of motion sickness and claustrophobia make it a less than pleasant experience...but the flights really went well, although the persistent low-grade turbulence during the long flight was NOT appreciated!  I was able to stay calm for the most part and even get some sleep, wonder of wonders!

I have been pretty nervous about this big move to tell the truth, and being the worrier that I am, I have spent hours thinking of all the scary things that I will be facing, (snakes, cockroaches, intestinal difficulties, loneliness, language barriers, the list goes on-I really am a champion worry wart-by the way what is with the phrase worry wart anyway!? I mean I just called myself a wart, gross!), but not too much time thinking about the great possibilities of living in Indonesia.  As we deplaned in Jakarta and I was bathed in the heat and humidity, and breathed in the unique smell that is Indonesia; cooking spices, smoke, sweat, growing things like flowers...and mold, and over everything the scent of incense; I looked at Chris, grinned and said " I am so happy to be here", and I really meant it!  I know there will be hard days and scary times, but I am excited to learn to live in this country.

We have been staying at a guest house in Jakarta since we arrived on Monday afternoon, and it is comfortable and homey.  We started off our time in Indonesia right with a very authentic Indonesian dinner...

Is, you ask?  Yup, Pizza Hut Jakarta to be exact!  It's funny because I love to try new foods, and usually when I go to a new place whether it's Italy or Wisconsin I want to try the local specialties. However, I know we are soon going to be in Tarakan, where western-style food is scarce, so I want to fill up on good old American comfort food as much as possible!  You can tell by Chris' enthusiastic expression (ha-ha) that we were quite exhausted after all of our flights and then traversing the joys of sending our huge bags as freight to Tarakan ahead of us, and getting a cab to the guest house, which is about a 1/2 hour from the airport.  I will spare you all the details, except for the amusing mental image of me routing through our bags in the middle of the airport terminal in Jakarta trying to find clothes for the few days we will be in Jakarta so we could send our bags ahead of us.  Indonesian men were continually coming up to us offering us taxi rides, help with bags, etc...all while I was trying to find a way to discreetly transfer my underwear and bras from one bag to another-yeah, not my finest 10 minutes, but we made it!  Oh, and the pizza was great by the way, and I also had a strawberry-watermelon juice (shown above) that was off the charts.

So, yesterday morning (Tuesday), 5:00 am and Chris and I were wide awake...hello jet lag!  After a delicious breakfast at the guest house-fresh mango and papaya that put the tropical fruit in Michigan to shame plus thin pancakes somewhere between American-style pancakes and crepes, and actual bacon-yay for bacon-we ventured out to the Grand Indonesian Mall and was it ever grand!  I think it was possibly the most beautiful, fancy mall I have ever been to.  I took at couple of pictures, but they definitely don't do it justice

Outside the mall

On the way to the mall entrance
We ate in this train car restaurant
7 stories of shopping and eating!
The Chinese-themed area

Standing by a fountain in the Moulin Rouge area (Sorry for the dark picture)
The mall is 7 stories high with additional floors for a movie theater and a hotel.  It spans both sides of a street and the two sides are connected by a walkway.  It has every designer store you could want-Henri Bendal, Gucci, Armani...the list goes on, plus many more functional stores.  The top two floors are decorated around various themes including the streets of New York City, a Chinese zen garden, and a Arabian-type bazaar. It has mini-amusement park type rides for kids, and more restaurants than I have ever seen in a mall-American, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, you name it!  I think the only ethnic food untouched was Mexican-it is amazing!  It's nice to know that just a 2 1/2 hour flight away from our home in Tarakan is this mall.  If I really get desperate for a shot in the arm of Western culture, the Grand Indonesian would surely provide that!  

Even with the myriad of food choices we decided to get an Indonesian favorite-Soto Ayam or chicken soup with was yummy!

We also got these little custard filled doughnuts, shaped like little ears of corn (random!).  I love the side of the package, everyone needs instructions on how to enjoy their food!

Here are a few pictures of the city of Jakarta from the mall window-it is really big!

After our mall extravaganza we headed out to meet a friend of Chris's for dinner.  The place we were headed was only 5-6 km away, but it took us nearly and hour to get there and over an hour to get back to the guest house where we are staying because of traffic.  Although Jakarta has many of the western comforts that I will miss in more remote Tarakan, I am glad we are going to be living where there is less bustle and congestion.  

I will end this information-filled post...this more of a "show and tell" entry as opposed to my usual diatribe, but hopefully it gives you a flavor of the city of Jakarta.  Thanks for reading and experiencing it with me!  Tomorrow morning we head to Tarakan on a 6:00 am flight (ugh to the early wake-up time), and my next post should be full of pictures of our home-yay!

I saved the best picture for last-this is a store in the huge Indonesian mall, and although the name does include some odd-color language (hopefully no one is too offended) I had to include it because I think it is sooo hilarious

My thoughts exactly!!!

Until next time!

***I was about 5 minutes from being done writing this post 2 days ago when, in classic Indonesian style (or so Chris tells me), the internet at the guest house was fried by lightening!  I haven't been able to get internet until now, so I am finally posting this.  We made it to Tarakan, and my head is about to explode with all the decisions to make for our house, motorcycles, et cetera.  I will tell you more details soon!***


  1. I'm so glad I saw you have a blog only after 3 posts instead of more! I was just thinking about you and Chris today, too. Glad things are going fairly well.

    -Rachael C.

  2. How apropos: the mall has everything written in english!


  3. So glad to hear of your safe arrival. I'll be praying that your grow in faith, and leave the worry (wart) behind through this next year.