Sunday thoughts

Some things on my mind right now:

Happy Easter.

It is hot outside right now. Rainy season is dead and gone and now it is hotter than something which is hot.

To the man in the gym this morning: thanks for the conversation.

To the other man in the gym this morning: stop blowing your nose into your fingers. Get a tissue. Also, maybe wear a little more clothes?

Mall meanderers are the worst. Today I was stuck walking behind a lady who was arguably standing still. Dear lady, this is a mall, not a line for a ride at Disneyland.

I was finally able to watch 2 more Oscar-nominated movies: Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Both were super good and super intense. I think I found the movies extra interesting because I am currently living outside of America in a predominantly Muslim country. It helped me relate (in a small way) to the characters in the stories.

Here are two pictures I just took in the outdoor section of the mall right across the street from my apartment:

This puts the park in Central Park Mall

This puts the park in Central Park Mall

That big building is my apartment building. I live on the 33rd floor, which is one window down from the top.

That big building is my apartment building. I live on the 33rd floor, which is one window down from the top.

Oh also, it’s things like this that remind me I am in a different culture. Not because the family in the commercial is speaking a different language, but because they are thoroughly happy to be eating spicy sardines.




The Bule treatment

I believe I have mentioned before that many people over here find Bules attractive. Sure, this is flattering, but it’s when people start gawking and making comments about you and to you that it becomes annoying.

Storytime: There is a fast food chicken restaurant that I go to several times a week because it is delicious and convenient. Brady goes there too, and we usually get the same order. So the employees are familiar with us two Bules that get the 5 strip original with a side of rice.

There is one employee, though, who is just too much. When she sees me she freaks out, and lately she has started to do this gasp thing when she sees me. It sounds as if someone poured ice water on her while she was witnessing a bad car accident while she just found out she won the lottery. It’s loud.

And, I don’t even have to be in the restaurant for her to do it. Yesterday I was simply walking by and she spotted me and unleashed her gasp into the hallway.

Tonight, she was in the back yelling things about me to the cashier as I was ordering. Then as I was waiting for my food, she took a creeper picture of me. With an actual camera. Flash on.

I walked home, annoyed, asking myself if it is worth putting up with being so uncomfortable while getting food, only to get my food home and realize she gave me two extra, big, chicken strips. Hmmm, maybe it’s worth it?

Although now as I eat them I am imagining her kissing each strip before putting it in the box…

I’ll take you to the barber shop

I have had my fair share of haircut misfortunes since moving to Jakarta, and I have shared some of them on here.

In general, getting a haircut that one likes involves a lot of communication between you and the hair person. It’s something I always took for granted until I got here and could no longer communicate. I can do my best to tell him or her what I want, but if they start doing something different, there’s not much I can say to them to make them do something else.

(Although now that I think of it, maybe I could make various disgusted faces or growl.)

I just got my haircut and it turned out about as good as I could hope, which is much, much better than last time.

Many barbers here have this strange massage thing that they do after they finish cutting:

It starts with a quick shoulder rub, then it moves to the scalp, where he does something that is a combination of trying to crush my skull and scratch out my hair. Then he moves back to the shoulders quickly, before violently twisting and twerking my head and neck to make my neck pop. It’s something you would only think a chiropractor should do, but this guy does it while looking the other way and watching the local TV broadcast. He finishes by drizzling a few tablespoons of a mysterious green liquid in my hair and rubbing it in with that same skull crushing, hair scratching technique.

So yeah, now I’m in the taxi on the way home. Sweating, as usual.


Recently there has been a lot for me to think about, to be sad about, to be excited about, and to be nervous about.

Those of you who have been involved, interested, and invested in my Indonesian journey know that I originally signed a 2 year contract. The past month has been major decision time for those of us who came over here together: to stay longer, or not to stay longer.

That decision has been extremely hard to make. On the one hand, I have family, friends, and everything I consider home all the way on the other side of the world. I miss home and the thought of staying away for another year is all but heartbreaking.

On the other hand, I have a life in Jakarta that has stretched me, molded me, and matured me. It has helped me to know myself better and to realize passions I didn’t know I had. While difficult, it has been truly life-changing and it’s hard for me to picture my life beyond Jakarta.

When I am able to picture my future back home, I like it. When I picture my life different from my current Indonesian life, it makes me sad.

When I think about trying to find a job back home I am excited and terrified. Don’t make me go back to Subway. 

Despite all the potential good, either decision has major downsides, which is why I have been sad for the last week or two–because I am coming to terms with the decision I have made.

Alright well I’m gonna end there before I start tearing up in Starbucks.