Model Behaviour

This is the story about a girl named Lucky my weird weekend where I randomly became an extra for an Indonesian perfume commercial.

On Friday, a friend contacted me asking if any of us bules wanted to be a model in a commercial the following day. It would be a super long day (it was supposed to be from 3:30 pm to 1:30 am, but ended up being 11 am to midnight) and we would each make about 100 bucks. We all decided it would make for a good story, but sadly found out that the producers were only looking for males. Sorry Anika and Ruth.

After 2 hours of traffic on the way there, we made it to a driving range that had an open-air building. This would be the setting for the commercial. After hanging around for a couple hours, we came to find out several things, including:

  • The premise of the commercial was that we were in a nightclub, and the main girl somehow seduces the main guy with her perfume while everyone was dancing around them.
  • There were actual (amateur) models in this shoot who came from far away places like Brazil and the Ukraine. All of them were 2 feet taller than me and wearing very small dresses. I may or may not have fallen in love and stared excessively at the main girl, who’s name was Kyra. The main guy was also a flawless human being. 

Because it was open-air, there was no air conditioning and therefore a sweaty mess. That said, it was a pretty impressive setup. The director and cameraman were Australian, and they knew what they were doing (unlike Kyra, who needs to stick to photos and never try to act again).

Most of what us extras did was dance for 15 seconds at a time. We did approximately one thousand 15-second dance scenes (because Kyra kept messing up). I got a cool walking scene, but I was behind the 10 foot tall girls in their 2 foot heels, so I probably won’t get much camera time in the actual commercial, which is just too bad for the perfume company.

I asked Jason to take a picture of me, but it doesn’t quite do justice to what the set actually looked like. There were smoke machines, disco balls, and colored lights, etc. that made it look relatively good.

Commercial set

Notice how much shorter I am than the girls in front of me.

Oh yeah, and this whole big production was done for a perfume that looks like this. A little cheap, pink plastic bottle that belongs in a teenage girl’s room, not a nightclub.

Casablaca Perfume

Hopefully this commercial ends up on Youtube, because I really want to see it and be famous.



2 days of great

The past 2 days have been so good.

Friday was my students’ Junior High graduation service, which I have been planning for the past month and a half. It turned out great, and I was really proud of the students’ behavior. Up until they entered the chapel, I was running around with tons of things on my mind, and when we opened the doors and they walked by me in their 2 single-file lines, I almost started crying.

Hey emotions, nobody likes you, go home.

Throughout the evening, I would see and talk to students, all the while trying to shove my sadness back into the pit where it belongs. And then came the part where we had to say goodbye to each other. Like, forever goodbyes. Thankfully (for my dignity), many of the students had already left, so I didn’t have to blubber through lots of goodbyes. After only a few though, Ruth and Anika and I retreated to the teacher room and cried in safety.

On the way home, Brady said, “the sadder it is, the better is was.” It’s so true, which is why the end of this journey is so hard.

*Once again tries not to cry in cafe*


Yesterday was my birkday, and it was so good. We went out to lunch, where a few students surprised me by coming around the corner of the restaurant singing happy birthday and carrying a delicious birthday cake. Don’t worry Mom, I got to blow out some candles on my birthday.

It looks like a pancake cake, but it's actually a layer cake made up of tons of crepes with whipped cream in between each one. Delicious.

It looks like a pancake cake, but it’s actually a layer cake made up of tons of crepes with whipped cream in between each one. Delicious.

Birthday surprisers

After lunch, we watched Eurovision. If you’re European, you know what that is. For those of you who don’t know, it is an annual song contest where each participating European country selects 1 person/band to represent the country. It’s a bit like American Idol on steroids. And it’s much more European, so there’s that. This year I made these scoring sheets to use while we watched (the show is like 3 hours long).

Eurovision Sheet


(Fun fact: Eurovision’s most notable past winners are ABBA and Celine Dion.)

To finish off a great day, a group of us went to the highest rated restaurant in Jakarta, which was a buffet at a 5 star hotel. Dear Obama, come experience the buffets over here, and then fix all American buffets. #Change.

People, I’m telling you, the place was magical. Amazing sushi, the tenderest roast beefs and lambs, quality Indian food, a dessert section like woah, and too many other things to mention. I was too distracted by the food to even consider taking pictures.

And then I died of food.

Back up off this

I’m currently sitting in a pretty good sized cafe, seats are available everywhere, and this guy comes and plunks down right next to me and starts smoking. I could move, but I am in a prime spot and all of my stuff is sprawled out over the table.

On a very related note, his first few puffs of cigarette smoke didn’t smell that bad (sometimes I think cigarette smoke has waffle cone undertones to it), but then it started smelling like fish cigarettes.

Now I’m considering all of the ways I could make him move. For example:

  • Stare at him like this.


  • Aggressively dance in my seat until he feels uncomfortable.


  • Sing loudly to myself, acting like I am really good when that is (clearly) not the case.



Mostly, though, I just want to make him feel uncomfortable.

uncomfortableUpdate: It seems by merely blogging about him leaving, he got the message. He moved 2 tables down from me.

Who’s the king of making people feel uncomfortable? That would be me.


I got another haircut this weekend, and unlike previous times, it was a success! I did pay double what I paid for last time, which meant I paid 8 bucks for a haircut. Despite the gaping hole in my wallet, I do declare that it was worth it.

For one, there was more than one person cutting hair, so I got to hop right into a seat.

Also, compared to previous haircut experiences, this was one went without a hitch. However, there were several strange things that happened.

First, the guy cut my hair for about 35 minutes. In men’s-haircut-years, that’s 57 years. He literally cut each of my hairs to his desired length. While I did die of old age, I much prefer this thoroughness to a quick, inconsistent cut.

Next, this was the first haircut in 4 tries where the barber actually used scissors. For some reason, barbershops here are obsessed with using thinning shears instead of actual scissors. Sure, thinning shears have their time and place, but they do not make a substitute for regular scissors. The last few times I have gotten my haircut, the guy has completely overused the shears, which makes me look like my hair is falling out. It also has created random, super long hairs that have managed to escape the shears for months. Gollum! Gollum!

Normal scissors on the left, thinning shears on the right.

Normal scissors on the left, thinning shears on the right.

After the haircut, I got the customary massage/neck popping/torture techniques that accompany men’s haircuts here. This time, the guy grabbed a clear liquid to use on my face, scalp, neck and back, which I soon realized was some kind of massage oil. It had a twist though–I soon noticed it had a menthol effect, similar to Icy Hot. This was fine until he started massaging my face and got the stuff on my eyelids (in an apparent attempt to gouge my eyes out). After about 30 seconds, my eyes started stinging. Because of the sensation, I couldn’t tell if I was crying. When I opened my eyes minutes later, though, they were red and looked like I had just buried a perfectly good tub of Ben and Jerry’s in the backyard. I secretly wiped the tears off my face.

The last thing, which was maybe the strangest, was what was happening behind me. A baby suddenly began screaming (perhaps because his parents just buried a perfectly good tub of Ben and Jerry’s in the backyard), and after about 5 minutes of nonstop, impressively loud screaming and crying, I finally looked back to see what was going on.

They were giving a 6 month old baby a buzz cut! What?!

It looked so wrong, and I was trying to fathom why the parents felt it necessary for their baby to have a military-style buzz cut. I came up with nothing. Ideas?

All in all, it was a success and I’ll go back.

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.