Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dessert Gone Wrong

A few nights ago Chris and I were tooling around on his motorcycle in the evening, something we enjoy doing because it's nice and cool zipping around in the open air and people can't see us as well in the dark so they don't stare at us and yell out to us as much.

We were headed down one of the main streets, and Chris pulled off at a little restaurant called Cafe Elizabeth and announced we were going to have a sweet dessert treat.  I was excited because I LOVE dessert, as many of you are aware!  Here's the little cafe, it's lit with all sorts of Christmas lights and hanging lanterns, very cute!

We sat down and the waitress brought us menus.  As with many places in Tarakan the menu was like a book-although the funny thing about that is that restaurants often have lots of things on their menu, but what they don't tell you is that many of those things aren't available.  This becomes a bit of a bummer at times, especially when I have finally asked Chris enough questions to decipher the menu and have decided on something, (which takes forever because when I order in a restaurant it's like I am deciding on my last meal, ask Chris, he will tell you it is true), and then the waitress/waiter tells me that the item I have so carefully chosen isn't available and I have to start from scratch, this time with the pressure of the wait person standing there staring at me.

Anyway, so we were looking at our menus at the Cafe, and I saw a dessert with the appealing name of 'The Snowball'.  I decided to order it, although I knew very little about it except it involved ice cream.  Chris also ordered an ice cream treat, 'The Tarakan Special' I think.  Ten to fifteen minutes after we ordered, my ice cream came, looking quite yummy...

Excited for the taste of cool, delicious ice cream, which I have not had since leaving the States I took a bite...

I quickly found out that the lovely light yellow "Snowball" of ice cream on the top was durian flavored.  For those of you that don't know what durian is, which I didn't until I started learning about Indonesia, it is a spiky fruit with a gooey, fleshy inside that smells like a cross between sweaty socks that have been sitting at the bottom of the hamper for a week without drying out (you know the smell I'm talking about, especially if you have a boyfriend, husband or child that exercises or plays sports) and a rotten melon.  For more extensive information on the mighty durian, often called the "King of Fruit", you can click here.

There was strawberry ice cream underneath the durian ice cream, which I tried to eat, but sadly the flavor of the durian overtook the whole dish and I had to give up.  It was truly awful, and so sad because I didn't get the much-anticipated yummy dessert.  I have to say this has not been my first bad experience with dessert in Indonesia.  I am beginning to suspect I have entered dun-dun-dun...a dessert-less culture.  Usually the "desserts" here involve fruit, which I am not a huge fan of in desserts in the States, and often some sort of jello-like or jelly-like component, something I definitely DO NOT care for.  Sometimes they even just serve fruit and call it dessert.  To quote my Grandpa Dunkerley when my Grandma tried to serve him fruit as his sweet after meal treat, "Fruit is NOT dessert".  It is another one of my life mores.
Chris' dessert came, well after I was already finished with mine-their timing with bringing out food at restaurants is somewhat archaic.  It looked very impressive...

Chris actually enjoyed the first few bites, but then he got a nasty fruit flavor, he didn't think it was durian, but it was something yucky, and he stopped eating it soon after.  We left the restaurant disappointed, but with another funny story to tell.  When we got home I ate some of the chocolate bar I have stashed in the refrigerator, but the durian just kept on giving all evening and into the night with the dirty-sock-rotten-melon taste in my mouth...finally in the morning it was gone.

Moral of the story: If you see a yellow snowball, don't eat it!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This and That

Good Morning!  Well, morning for me, probably evening yesterday for many of you.  It's strange to be living in the future compared to my friends and family in the States.  It makes me start thinking about how time is so arbitrary, really it's just something we humans made up so we could satisfy our need for boundaries.  I'm starting out quite philosophical this morning, apparently!

It's a sunny, beautiful morning and I'm sitting in the living room listening to the birds twitter and the melodic sound of sawing and hammering.  The team of guys that have been working on finishing our house have dwindled to one guy, and he is working on putting up the porch roof and then the house will be completed as far as structural work goes.  It will be so great to be able to clean up the dust and dirt that is constantly on everything from the construction work and also not to have workers in and out of the house all the time.  I'm a little worried that we are making a bad impression on our Indonesian neighbors.  So, Chris leaves for work and soon after he leaves a young Indonesian guy comes over and stays until before Chris gets home (sometimes he leaves after Chris get home) can see how that does not look very good, especially in a culture that is so sensitive to the interactions between men and women.  I am hoping they see that he is working, if not, we may have some explaining to do!  The only thing we will need the workers to come back to do is install the cabinet and sink in the bathroom.  The cabinet/sink was delivered a couple days ago and I was excited for about 10 seconds, then I realized that there was something very strange about the sink...

It was tiny!!!  As you can see it is about the width of my hand, the whole thing is about the size of a small shoebox.  I call it the 'Barbie Sink'.  It is also set so far back in the cabinet that you would have to lean WAY over to do anything-I can't even imagine how Chris would be able to shave in it...actually I can imagine it and it would be messy!  Chris and I decided that, although we try to roll with most things and not complain too much, we were going to have to send the cabinet back with a request for a larger sink.  We actually went out yesterday and found a sink that will be more functional.  We were cracking up at this mini sink-who uses something like that, and for what?!  When the sink & cabinet are completed they will need to be installed by the workers, I am hoping that happens next week-that is being really optimistic!

Grocery shopping-I promised pictures, and here they are...

This is one of the four-five main stores that we stop at to get groceries-one of the other ones is right next door and it is called Golden.  You have to visit both stores because they have different things at each store.  There are many other stores too, but you have to limit yourself to getting most of your things at a few, otherwise it would take literally all day to grocery shop.  

The inside of Galaxy-not all that different from an American grocery store...except for the products, which are really different!  I like to try and buy something new, often I'm not even sure what it is exactly,  just to discover new Indonesian products and hopefully find some new favorite foods.  So far I haven't hit upon anything spectacular enough to share about.

Here's another grocery store, Setia Budi II (I'm not sure where Setia Budi I is...I should figure that out)  that is decidedly more Indonesian than Western-style.  It is smaller, not as clean, and more crowded.  It seems like more Indonesian people go here than either Galaxy or Golden, the parking lot is always crowded with car and motorcycles.  They were selling goldfish in bags outside of the store, so I had to get a picture of reminded me of a carnival in the States, except I'm not sure if the fish were for pets or for eating.  I hope for pets because they don't look like very good eating!

Here is one of the guys that regulates parking in the grocery store lot, you have to pay about 10 cents (1000 rupiah Indonesian) and he arranges your bike in the lot and sometimes attempts to stop traffic so you can get out of the parking lot.  He only stops traffic for cars though.  I find it really funny how they stop traffic here.  Basically they give kind of a limp-wristed wave and walk out in front of cars.  People like to do the limp-wristed wave when they are driving too-it basically means "Hey, I'm about to do something that is at the best rude and at the worst dangerous that defies any framework of driving rules that may be established in your mind, and you are going to let me do it with no questions, complaints or retaliatory hand gestures."  It's actually pretty funny, and I'm sure once I start driving I may employ it as needed!

You may be wondering where the pictures of the mounds of beautiful fruits and vegetables, chickens (dead and alive) and other meats are.  Those things are sold at the Pasar, which is best traversed by someone who speaks good Indonesian and knows how it works.  I have only walked through it, and let me add, saw the biggest cockroach I have ever laid eyes on trotting along in broad daylight over some unsuspecting was DISGUSTING!!!  I am definitely not ready to try to shop there myself. This week one of the sweet MAF ladies sent her house helper to go for me.  Next week our house helper starts work two days a week, and one day will be going to the Pasar and then cleaning the meat and vegetables that she buys there.  So, no pretty pictures of veggies or fruit...or cockroaches.  Maybe some other time when I gather my courage to go to the Pasar again.

I wrote about people carrying crazy things with them on their motorcycles, and I have been waiting to get a picture of one of these to share, and in the last few day I have caught two.  We were driving both times I saw them, so the pictures aren't great

These guys are amazing, they carry an entire store on the back of their motorcycle.  Both of these men have food and spices, but others have kids toys, trinkets and balloons.  It's really funny to see them driving down the street weighed down by all that stuff, I don't know how they do it without losing anything.

As I have been settling into the house I have taken a couple of pictures of animal friends, or soon-to-be animals friends.  The other day I looked out our side door and guess what I saw...

Yes, those are cows (steers?) grazing on our neighbors lawn.  They wander around from time to time.  They were quite shy to have their pictures taken though, and actually started lumbering away stampede-style-I'm sure the neighbors were less than pleased-oops!  I was telling the bovines to please find their friends that produce milk and bring them around...milk that doesn't sit on a shelf, cheese, fresh butter...all beautiful dreams that could come true with a milk cow in attendance!

The workers moved some plywood from one side or our garage area to the other and I found these behind it

After consulting one of the MAF kids, who is pretty much a jungle animal expert, I found out that they are gecko eggs and the more geckos you have, the less I left them there.  Geckos don't bother me, but roaches are another matter.  I haven't seen any action with the eggs yet, although I did see a tiny gecko running around yesterday, so maybe they are beginning to hatch. 

I have been feeling just a little sad the last few days.  I think as things are less busy and I have more free time I feel more lonely and out of sorts in this foreign place.  I will start with my language tutor 3-4 days a week either next week or the week after, and our house helper starts on Mondays and Thursdays next week, so I will be busy trying to communicate with her-she speaks little to no English, so that will be an interesting challenge!  As I get more of a schedule it will probably be easier to chase the blues away.  All and all I am still liking it here-it's so beautiful and warm and different.  I wish you could all experience it first hand-come and visit anytime, I promise we will clear the junk out of our guest room and even get a bed for you!

So long for now!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Curtain Debacles and Washing Machine Rodeos...All in a Days Work!!!

Well the curtains came on Friday.

I didn't post anything, so your conclusions are right, the draperies left something to be desired.  Actually they left many things to be desired.  Like straight seams, accurate measurements, precision of any kind...


Also I was trying to tame my washing machine on Friday, which in addition to washing and drying clothes can apparently be used as a mechanical bull.

You can see how the day got a little busy.

Let's begin with the curtains.  So one out of the four sets of curtains were right.  Only one.  Luckily the correct one was the curtain for our bedroom window, so we could at least have some privacy in there.  The living room curtain was about a foot and a half too short.  Also, the fabric had a stamp on the edge, which might I add is on the part of the fabric that is not supposed to be used.  The tailor decided to use that part of the fabric anyway, so in the middle of the curtain it said something like "Yanakio Company" followed by something in Chinese.  Just what I was hoping to add to my living room industrial Chinese look.  The dining room curtains were way too long, like laying on the floor long, and about one panel too narrow.  The tabs on the curtains for the guest room were situated on the horizontal portion of the curtain instead of the vertical portion.

You might think I'm joking about all this, but unfortunately I'm not.  The curtains really did turn out that bad.

Before the curtains arrived though, I was busy wrangling the washing machine.  We have this very snazzy looking new machine that both washes and dries clothes-I never knew such a thing existed until I moved to Indonesia.  It was hooked up on Thursday afternoon and I decided to try it on Friday.  After diligently reading the users guide I fired it up and went about completing other tasks around the house.  As I am working to unpack bags in the guest room I hear a loud, rhythmic banging coming from the area where the washer is.  Upon investigation I find the washer on the spin cycle, not just spinning internally, but vibrating and attempting to spin itself in a circle.  In fact, it had spun so far that it had pulled the water hook-up part way out of the wall and water was spraying everywhere.  So here I am at home by myself hanging on to the washer, trying to secure it as my entire body vibrates and jerks along with the movements of the washer and trying to reach to turn off the water valve at the same time.  At this point I am thinking "What am I doing here?  All I wanted was to do a couple loads of laundry.  My life has become fodder for a sitcom or Saturday Night Live skit."  Suddenly the spin cycle stopped, thank goodness.  I pushed it back into place, reattached the water hook-up and let it continue to run, thinking that the spinning was over.  15 minutes later, same situation again except this time the washer spun itself so it was blocking the door to get into the garage area where it is kept.  I am now trying to hold onto the washer with one hand with half of my body hanging out of the door that is blocked.  Choice words were coming out of my mouth at this point that I won't repeat here.  It wasn't quite a shining missionary moment.  I was finally able to move the washer enough to get outside the door and then I unplugged the beast.  I was now crying, shaking and soaked with sweat.

At this moment I hear a male voice saying "Permisi" from the front porch.  Permisi basically means "hello, I'm here, can I come in?"

I'm thinking "Are you KIDDING me?!  Someone is here now?!?"

I try to gather myself and walk to the front door.  Two Indonesian guys from the electric company have shown up, and I have no idea why they are there.  I can't find out either because of course I can't understand or speak to them.  I basically tell them in English that I can't speak Indonesian, they just stared at me, and no wonder since I am a complete MESS.  Then I called Chris, doing a classic Sarah move that he never appreciates, panicking and talking in lightening-speed run-on sentences only partially coherently, mostly just saying that he needs to leave work and get home right now because things are going to pot up here at the house.  I then proceed to hand my sweaty phone to one of the Indonesian guys, who refuses it and points to the other guy.  The other guy takes the phone, looking wary and like he doesn't want to touch it, and who would, it is all wet with tears and sweat and smeared with face powder.  Chris talks to him about what they are there for, which was to install prepaid electric, a new system they are making everyone switch over to.  Chris then leaves work and comes home.  After inspecting the washer he realizes that there were bolts holding the wash basket in place that were supposed to be removed before we used it.  He removed them and now the washer is working great.

It really would have been nice if the whole bolt removal had been figured out before I participated in the one-women washer rodeo, but what can you do?  I just wish that I had a video tape of it now, because it must have been a truly hilarious sight.

After all this happened, the curtains came, and you already heard about that saga.

So Friday wasn't the best day ever, although it was pretty funny.  In retrospect.

We went back to the tailor on Saturday and had him fix the errors.  The curtains came back today and two out of the three of them were corrected.  The one that is still wrong was actually my miscommunication, much to my chagrin.  So back to the tailor we go again tomorrow.  Unbelievable.

Here are some pictures of the curtains that turned out right:

Our Bedroom Curtain

Our bed (complete with animal friends)

The "lemari" or stand-alone closet in our bedroom

Our living room
I didn't include the guest room because the curtains aren't up yet and it is still full of our junk, half-empty suitcases and such.  Here is Chris's pride and joy, the TV room or as he affectionately calls it, his man cave

From the doorway
The TV is on a table in front of the couches.  We just watched a movie in there last night and it is a nice oasis.  I see many guys movie nights and video game extravaganzas in our future.  

Only one more tidbit to share before I head to bed.  We ate at good ol' Kentucky Fried Chicken on Friday before the madness of the washer and the curtains began, and I had to take a picture of this

Who needs Colonel Sanders when you can have Colonel Yakiniku's original recipe fried chicken?  And this whole time you thought The Colonel was an American southerner-how wrong you are my friends!  The best part about this is that there is a video that plays in KFC starring the Asian Colonel.  Same haircut, same stylin' facial hair, just Asian.  It's fantastic.

Lastly I have to give props to my MAF teammates.  What has truly gotten me through the highs and lows of my time so far in Tarakan, besides the grace and protection of the Lord, has been the support and care of the excellent people that Chris flies with and their families.  Particularly the women have been so helpful and encouraging and generous.  Their willingness to share their time, their experience and even their food has been such a blessing.  I am humbled by their kindness and can only hope to be even half the help to them that they have been to me.  God has surrounded me with such wonderful support, in my MAF teammates, my friends and family back home, and of course in my loving and ever-patient husband Chris.  I am so thankful!

Those were the highlights (lowlights?) of the last few days.  As usual I am ever grateful that you are accompanying me on this journey!  Your comments and support are awesome!  I go grocery shopping tomorrow and I will try to take some pictures of the market Tarakan-style.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Moving and Shaking

I'm writing to you direct from the couch in our house-yay!!!  We were able to move in last night because the house was mostly finished on the inside.  It is so nice to be in our own place.  For the first time in a LONG time we actually have a place that is ours.  We were up until about midnight unpacking and cleaning.  I think I spent about 20 minutes cleaning the toilet alone...but then I am rather obsessive about having a clean bathroom.  You can't get clean in a dirty bathroom; that's one of my life mores (probably not the right term, but I just love to use words that don't get used nearly enough like mores).

We are using dishes, silverware, pots, pans and towels that our MAF team members are graciously allowing us to borrow until our crate arrives, which could be weeks or months-it's hard to know really.  It's funny how many things you need to make a home, especially where the kitchen is concerned.  I was planning on making a tuna pasta salad for lunch.  I'm not usually a huge fan of canned tuna, but it is currently the only meat that I have in the house because we have to get most every other meat at the pasar, which is the outdoor market, and I am a bit intimidated by that just now because I can't quite speak Indonesian.  Also it smells really bad.  When Chris and I went there last week just to look around he nearly threw up.  Okay, so I was trying to make tuna pasta salad for lunch, but realized when I attempted to begin that I couldn't get too far because I didn't have a can opener.  I downshifted to an old elementary school favorite, good ol' PB & J with sour cream and onion Pringles (yes, they sell Pringles here, it's very exciting) and big red grapes.  The grapes are yummy, but getting them to the table was part of my morning dilemma.

Let me start by saying that I'm really paranoid about getting sick, as many of you know vomit is one thing in life that I cannot tolerate, just typing the word makes me feel ill.  Whenever we go to a restaurant here that seems a little less polished (when they are washing dishes in a bucket of dirty-looking water sitting on the ground next to the stinky gutter, I consider that less polished) I continually ask Chris "Is this going to make me sick?"  "Are you sure I will feel all right after eating here?" "Are you REALLY sure?"

It really drives him crazy.  He doesn't say so, but I can tell.  I don't blame him, but still I persist.

At our house we can't drink the water that comes out of the tap, so washing things like vegetables and fruits and dishes is quite the process.  Sometimes I ponder when I am washing fruits or veggies if I should just leave them as is and take my chances.  I mean, if the water is so bad is washing things actually making them more dirty and dangerous than they were in the first place?  I wonder this about my hands too-if I wash my hands in parasite-infested water before sticking my finger in my eye to take out my contacts am I actually making my hands more dirty by washing them?  I don't know.  I;m babbling again-sorry.  Anyway, so I had to wash the grapes and some other vegetables I bought.  First I filled a pot with tap water, then add this purple powder-I'm not sure what it is, but it says anticeptik on the side, and people say it cleans stuff well, that is enough for me!  You bathe the vegetables and fruits in the purple bath and then rinse them in drinkable water-ours comes from a water cooler like you would see in an office.  Today was my first experience with this process and I forgot the last step, which is fine if you let the eatables air dry.  I was trying to let them air dry, but after almost an hour they were still wet, which I thought was weird.  Upon further inspection I realized that since they had been in the refrigerator before I washed them they were still cold from the inside and therefore covered with condensation.  Now I didn't know what to do, did the bad water dry off of them and then the condensation formed, or was the nasty water hidden in the condensation?  Did I need to start the process over?  This is life here, wondering about the most minute details of the most mundane task that you would complete in 3 minutes in the the way, this whole process spanned about 2 hours.  A friend dropped by and I asked her what to do, she said if I rinsed them in clean water that they should be fine.  So I did.  We ate the grapes for lunch as aforementioned, and so far I'm feeling okay-hopefully Chris is too.  I don't think other people worry about this stuff as much as I do.  Maybe I will feel more comfortable after I have experiences with food preparation that do not result in sickness-like today.


So that's a little glimpse into our kitchen today.  Here is a picture of how it looks right now.

We are borrowing a little propane stove while we are waiting for our crates to arrive, you can see it on the far right of the counter.  All the dishes are drying on the counter-everything has to air dry because of the yucky water.  

In other news, this friend was sitting on the window grate in our living room a couple days ago-he's a pretty big guy!

Lastly, we were eating dinner with friends who have a gorgeous view of the water and I had to stop and capture this sunset.  The picture of course does not do it justice.  The sunsets are one of the perks of living in Tarakan.

So long for now-back to getting the house in order.  Sorry, you don't get pictures until it looks a little better!  Right now there is stuff all over.  If the curtains come tomorrow I will definitely send pictures though, after all the wonderful support and sympathy I received from you about my curtain meltdown you deserve to see the finished product.

Unless they turned out awful, in which case I won't be posting, I'll be having another meltdown.

Let's hope for the best!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Are you thirsty?  Does your throat feel dry and parched?  Have you been working all day and can't wait for a delicious, icy cold drink?  Well look no further, we have just what you have been looking for in Indonesia!  How about a refreshing gulp of Sweat?  Pocari Sweat that is!

This delicious, "ion supply drink" is actually somewhat salty, so it gives you the sensation of ingesting real, authentic perspiration-yummy!  Chris enjoys it on a regular basis, in fact, here he quenching his thirst while we waited for his motorcycle to be washed a few days ago.

Pocari Sweat is just one of the many funny product names here.  Manufacturers like to take positive sounding English words and use them as the name of their item.  For example, the shampoo I just bought is called "Rejoice" and a popular facial tissue brand is "Nice".  It makes me smile every time I blow my nose, which is often since I currently have a cold.  My favorite so far though is a line of children's clothes and items (cups, plates, etc) that goes by the charming name of "Lusty Bunny".

"What should I wear today mom?"
"How about your Lusty Bunny t-shirt honey, it always looks so cute on you"

The nuances of the phrase "Lusty Bunny" were not quite understood by the manufacturer.

I mentioned that Chris and I were waiting while his bike was washed.  Here is the Indonesian version of a car/motorcycle wash

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the men who work there take 20-30 minutes to hand wash and dry the motorcycle, and they do a great job.  On the banner is another great product name, Nosy oil - I'm not sure why the oil is "nosy", maybe they meant "noisy", but then that wouldn't really make sense either...I often try to reason out the why behind things here in Tarakan, but usually don't come up with a useful explanation.  The above picture is a good example of how a lot of the smaller stores and restaurants, which are called warungs, look.  The people who run them often have a living area in the back of the store behind a door or curtain. 

While we were waiting I watched people walking and driving by, and I was struck by how many crazy things people carry, particularly on a motorcycle.  I saw a man with large open buckets of cooked chicken and rice-yuck, someone driving while holding a large cage with a bird in it, and a man carrying some sort of flimsy metal rods that were about three times the length of his motorcycle.  I thought this was pretty funny at the time, but I look back on it and really laugh because yesterday Chris and I drove through the city on his motorcycle carrying a large area rug on our shoulders-little did I know I would so quickly start carrying things Indonesian-style!  Throughout the process of buying things for the house I have ridden on the back of Chris' motorcycle carrying 4 long curtain rods, mops, brooms, bags fulls of light bulbs, and many other things.  When a motorcycle is your main mode of transportation, you get creative and develop really good balance!

We are still waiting for our house to be completed.  The projects on the inside of the house are getting pretty close to being done, but there is still quite a bit to do on the outside.  Chris and I have been running around buying furniture, rugs, and all the things needed to set up a home from scratch.  We are hoping to move in tomorrow or the next day...we'll see how the work goes between now and then.  Everything was delayed last week because the street riots I mentioned in my last post actually became quite violent and the city basically shut down for several days.  The Indonesian military came in to get things under control, and since they have been here things have settled down.  We (the MAF people) weren't in any danger because the fighting was mostly between two ethnic groups on the island, but we all had bags packed ready to evacuate to the interior of Kalimantan if things began to get dangerous for us.  It was a little scary, and I definitely had my first thoughts of "why did we come here?!".  I'm so thankful that things seem back to normal now, and I am praying that they will remain peaceful even after the military leaves.  It really made me realize how big the world is when I was cloistered in my house (or rather, the house that we are staying in) because mobs of people with machetes were roaming the streets, but if I was home in Royal Oak, MI I would have been taking walks through the neighborhood and going to Target.  It's so easy to feel like the world you live in everyday is truly representative of the world at large, and that could not be further from the truth in many cases.

My experiences so far here in Tarakan have been pretty positive, besides the unrest of last week.  Since changes and adjustments do not usually tend to be my forte, I am surprised that so far I have been able to roll with things and keep pretty positive. 

Except for in the case of the curtains.

Yes, I nearly lost it over the curtains.  My poor husband thought that he was going to have to take me home, or at least to a place where I could buy ready-made window treatments.  So, in order to have any privacy in the house we need to have curtains.  There are no stores here that sell curtains ready-made, so that means they need to be made.  This involves taking measurements of the windows, choosing fabric, determining how much fabric is needed, and explaining to a tailor how you want them made.  Some of you may read those steps and think "what's the big deal?".  Let me just outline the difficulties in this scenario.

1.  The majority of the fabric here can I put this delicately...not my taste (read hideous).  Think shiny, formal, lacy and flowered.  Basic and understated is just not what they do here.  

2. I suck at anything with numbers.  Thinking about how to measure the windows and then adding in measurements for hems and allowing for enough material so that the curtain flows and then translating that into how much fabric to buy was so not up my alley.  Oh yeah, and everything is in metric here.

3. I don't know much about sewing-I am completely spoiled by having a mother that is a wonderful seamstress, so I didn't bother to learn much-boy am I regretting that now!  That being said, even when I looked up instructions on the internet about making curtains to try to get an idea of how to explain how to make what I envisioned they were full of terms I didn't comprehend.

4. I don't actually speak or understand Indonesian.

All these things combined led me to standing in our living room two days ago, sweat streaming down my face (and neck and back), a measuring tape in one hand and a tissue in the other, sneezing because of a cold and crying and saying "I just can't do this! That's it, we are just not going to have curtains!  I can't take it anymore!  Why is it so hot in here!?!".  Yeah, it was not a pretty sight.  Like I said, poor Chris, he didn't know what to do with me and I didn't know what to do with myself.  At that moment I would have given almost anything for a Target or even a Walmart that has rows of lovely pre-made curtains in neutral fabrics.  Next time you are at one of the aforementioned stores, take a glance down the drapery aisle and remember how fortunate you are to be in America!

Fortunately the next day a dear, dear MAF teammate of mine, Rebecca, offered to take me to the fabric store with her and then to her tailor.  She helped me alter my measurements, find some lovely white fabric that they had in the back of the store, which I think is actually used to make shirts, and explained to the tailor what I wanted done.  It was so wonderful to walk away from the tailor's shop knowing that by the end of this week or the beginning of next week we should have curtains.  A million thanks to Rebecca, I never could have done it without her!

So that was my first major melt down, and it was over curtains.  Apparently I can take ethnic violence in stride, but home decorating sends me right over the edge-good thing I have my priorities in order.  

I have not taken too many pictures in this last week or so, not because of lack of opportunities, but more because I don't want to offend people or make them feel uncomfortable.  They are just going about their normal lives, and may not appreciate being photographed by some weird western girl.  I will try to sneak some in here or there and post them next time.  Have a great day or night and thanks for stopping by!