Goodbye Jakarta, Hello Perfume Commercial

Currently I’m waiting at Soekarna-Hatta airport in Jakarta waiting for my flight to Hong Kong, then to Vancouver B.C., then finally to Portland. I am once again a mix of emotions, so I’ll see if I can write some of them out…

Before I start, I have to say that my Spanish vacation was amazing, and I was happy I could spend it with my brother and sister. Our Spanish cousins treated us like royals, and I think this was the first vacation in a long time where I didn’t lose weight. I haven’t checked, but I might have even gained an lb or two. How about I’ll post pics and more details later (about the vacation, not my weight). Sounds great.

I didn’t realize it until I sat next to 2 Spaniards in Starbucks just now (score!), but I really did leave part of my heart in Spain, and I actually feel a little homesick for Spain already. Que raro, no?

And now I am officially leaving my home for the past 2 years, Jakarta. I basically said my goodbyes to the people and the city before I left for Spain, but now having been back for a day to collect all my things and having to say goodbye for good, I feel sad again.

I’m also permanently scarred from my 49 hour journey from Nancy and Manolo’s house in Spain to Brady’s apartment here, which makes me a little hesitant for this journey home. It is only 28 hours though…

And then there’s all the excitement about being home. I’m actually just coming to grips with the fact that I will be home. (Whenever I write about coming home, I have to take a 2-3 minute break to consider what that means.)

Well I could go on for pages about everything I’m feeling right now, but that would be  boring to maybe everyone but my grandparents. I’ll end with something entertaining.

Here is the perfume commercial I was an extra in a month or two ago. I only spotted myself once, and it’s towards the beginning when my face passes right in front of the camera.



In what can only be described as the best idea of all time, Brady and I decided to keep all of our movie ticket stubs since coming to Indonesia. The reason I say this is the best idea ever is because it is.

Our movie-going experience started as Theater Thursday, but shifted a bit along the way and is now Movie Monday. It’s also jumped around from theater to theater. Jakarta has 2 cinema companies: XXI (the best), and Blitzmegaplex. XXI is more upscale and comfortable than Blitz, but even Blitz is better than almost all theaters back home. We used to live closest to XXI, but after moving last year, we now live across the street from a Blitz theater. It was a pretty big downgrade.

When we first arrived, movie tickets only cost about $2.50. But now they have doubled to around $5, which is  outrageous. The nerve.

Here’s where this post get more interesting. Brady and I went through our tickets the other night, counting and reminiscing on the best and worst movies of the past few years. We also counted them. I know for a fact that I lost track of 5-10 tickets along the way, but in my collection I counted 69 tickets. That means in the past 2 years we have seen approximately 75 movies in theater.

Uh! Take that world!

Now I will share my top 10 movies of the last year in no particular order. Please keep in mind that not all movies made it over to Jakarta, so if you see a notable movie missing, it  doesn’t necessarily mean I have bad taste.

Harry Potter 7.2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Sky Fall


Sky Fall

Silver Linings Playbook


Silver Linings Playbook

Notice the classy tickets. This is from XXI's Premiere, which is an auditorium filled with luxurious recliners for roughly $6.

Notice the classy tickets. This is from XXI’s Premiere, which is an auditorium filled with luxurious recliners for roughly $6.



The Hunger Games



The Avengers

Notice the crappy paper tickets--a trademark of Blitz that we were not happy to discover.

Notice the crappy paper tickets–a trademark of Blitz that we were not happy to discover.

Life of Pi

Madagascar 3


Madagascar 3




Dark Knight Rises


The Dark Knight Rises

We also saw really dumb movies, including severely flawed action films like The Cold Light of Day and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. But at an average of $3.50 a ticket, who cares? Not me.



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.


Irrational fears

This morning I was thinking about some of my childhood fears, and realized how ridiculous  they were.

Without further uh do, here are my top 5 irrational childhood fears (keep in mind that all of these caused little Tyler considerable stress):

  • 5th place: My babysitters’ math homework.
    • Sometimes my high school babysitters would do their homework in front of me, and I would look at it and be overwhelmingly stressed that someday I would have impossibly hard homework like that.
  • 4th place: That God would call me to be a missionary in Africa.
    • I really don’t know where this came from, but Africa seemed like a very scary place to have to live.
  • 3rd place: The military draft.
    • At some point when I was little, I learned that in the past the government had forced people to go to war. From then on, every time I heard about war, I was terrified that we were entering World War 3 and I would be forced to fight.
  • 2nd place: The Railroad Killer.
    • One time I watched an episode of America’s Most Wanted and this guy was listed as the most wanted. I was terrified. The day he was arrested was one of the best days of my life. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. #neverforget
  • 1st place: Tornadoes.
    • It didn’t matter that “tornadoes don’t happen in Oregon,” the movie Twister ruined my life. Thanks a lot Helen Hunt.


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.

Finally some Internet

Why is ‘Internet’ capitalized?

Let’s see, I’m currently in the middle of one of the biggest transitions of my life, which is ending the school year and leaving my home for the past 2 years, and moving back to my home for the previous 22 years before that, where I currently have no job.  I would like to share what is going through my mind as I brace myself for this huge transition that is seemingly blazing toward me at light speed, but I don’t even know where I would start.

Maybe I’ll just say that it is incredibly sad, extremely weird, a bit scary and a bit exciting. I think I will be happy to be back home, but it would be a lot more comforting if I had a job waiting for me. Meanwhile I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t force timing, so I need to keep my eyes and ears open and try to be okay with that.

There is this one thing that I am unquestionably thrilled about in the midst of all this, though. Smack dab in the middle of my transition is the dreamiest of the dream vacations: a 2-week funfest where my brother and sister and I take on Spain. Can you say ‘hola?’

I was finally able to look at my photos from my last day teaching, and I feel incredibly blessed. I love all my students and I’m sad that soon I will be a whole world away from them. I can only hope that many of them will go to the US for college and I will get to see them again.

*Cries in the middle of the cafe.

Here are my 2 classes:

Class 9.3Class 9.4

The Great Gaspy

This is an update on fast-food chicken girl. In the past few weeks since I last wrote about her, she has continued to shock me in her unashamed (and might I say uncomfortable) admiration of me.

A few days after she took that not-so-sneaky picture of me waiting for my food, I went back to the restaurant for some tasty chicken strips. I knew it was going to be a special experience when she squealed and fell to the floor behind the counter as I walked in. After I ordered and sat down, she continued her freak-out session with a couple of the girls behind the counter. After what seemed like 20 minutes, Gasping Girl’s right hand woman brought my food out to me. “Thank you mister. Excuse me, you take photo with my friend?”

Worst. Nightmare. A thousand thoughts rushed through my mind: “Run, Tyler, run! No, politely refuse and walk away. Come up with an excuse! No, take the picture. No this is so awkward! If you take the picture, maybe she will give you more chicken strips. Hmm, that sounds good. Plus this will make a great story.”

“Okay,” I reluctantly said. Delighted, she motioned for Gasping Girl to come out from behind that counter. I stood up and awkwardly stood by the counter, but Gasping Girl wasn’t coming! She was making a huge scene falling down and freaking out behind the counter. After about 60 seconds of this, she finally came and stood next to me, gave her phone to her friend, and leaned into me for the picture.  -__-

As all of this is happening, I just wanted someone to see what was happening and think, “Hmm, that’s not normal.” Both of the managers were standing there smiling and laughing, clearly excited for their employee and not upset in the least about how childish she was acting. In the hallway, I saw a student from my school walking by. “Look at me! Look what is happening to me!” my mind begged of him, but he walked by without a single glance in my direction. It seemed that this weird wonderland would remain invisible to all others.

What’s more, this incident has only strengthened her obsession, because she has increased the frequency and volume of her gasps when I walk by. It’s not all bad, though. I have received extra chicken strips on several occasions since then.

Finally, I have recently decided to officially refer to her as The Great Gaspy (though I might still unofficially call her Gasping Girl).