Elizabeth absolutely LOVES to climb the stairs in the back of our house. Of course, these are no ordinary American stairs: they are quite steep and a bit tricky to navigate. Needless to say, we bought a baby gate to keep her out of the back when we’re not watching! In any case, she loves climbing all the way up to the top. She certainly gets her exercise that way (and so do we!).
Elizabeth Climbs the Stairs 25oct09 from Matt Menger on Vimeo.
These stairs are very shallow compared to some of the rickety things that I see kids climbing here in Indonesia. Also, kids play freely in the street – the primary purpose of a road is not for use by vehicles! There are constantly motorbikes whizzing by and big trucks bulging with trash lumbering down the road. For the first few weeks here we wondered how on earth anyone could walk on the streets. But people here walk everywhere and children grow up with this situation and are very careful and aware of their surroundings. Everything: people, motorbikes, bicycles, cars, trucks, just flows like water. We see kids all the time playing in a situation that would make us cringe back home, but then we remember that they are used to it and so are the drivers. This whole situation has made us rethink how much we insulate Elizabeth from her surroundings, versus letting her experience and learn. Of course there a lots of things to be scared of here in a third world country, but we do not have to live in fear! Even so, my hand will be right next to Elizabeth every time she goes up and down those stairs, just the same way that God’s hand is right next to us all the time.
Yes, I know, we thought the same thing too – REAL Tex-Mex in Indonesia would be impossible!!! But… for Krisanne’s birthday she wanted to try this restaurant called Amigo’s that we had passed by a couple of times. We didn’t really know anything about it so it was kind of a shot in the dark. But it was really good!! It actually tasted really really close to the real thing…. sigh… a little taste of Texas! Because of the crazy Bandung traffic it took us almost 2 hours to get there (and should only have taken about 20 mins), but it was totally worth the wait! Here we all are at the restaurant celebrating Krisanne’s birthday (sorry the picture is a little fuzzy):
Matt and I both ordered chimichanga/enchilada/taco plates and we really were shocked when our plates came. Usually in Indonesia we don’t get quite full off of one entree, but the food at Amigo’s was real-life sized and came with rice and beans. We were stuffed! All of the waiters wore jeans and cowboy hats, there was also a live band that sang songs in English and Spanish, wagon-weel bannisters, a saloon-style bar, and a dance floor! Here is a picture of me and Matt dancing together!
We even ordered chips and guacamole and it tasted wonderful! Usually here in Indonesia they think of avocados as a fruit and make a sugary-chocolatey drink out of it (yuck I think!). One time in class I tried to describe guacamole to one of our teachers and when I said that you mix avocados and salt, she said, “You mean sugar, right?” She couldn’t even begin to imagine what guacamole would taste like with salt, tomatoes, spicy peppers, and onions. Maybe I’ll have to make if for her sometime!
I ran in to this interesting article on the BBC News website today, and thought it was worth sharing. It discusses some of the important issues that face us when it comes to working in a small, minority language. As we work in the arts, we face some very similar challenges to these. Here’s a quote by one of the linguists, Claude Hagege, interviewed for the article:
"What we lose is essentially an enormous cultural heritage, the way of expressing the relationship with nature, with the world, between themselves in the framework of their families, their kin people," says Mr Hagege.
"Its also the way they express their humour, their love, their life. It is a testimony of human communities which is extremely precious, because it expresses what other communities than ours in the modern industrialized world are able to express."
We feel the same way about the arts as he feels about languages. What better way to communicate an important, life-changing message than through a medium and language that speak to someone’s heart?
You know you live in the tropics and the rainy season is upon you when the forecast looks like this:
Overall, we enjoy the rain. It really seems to clean and freshen things up. We knew about the rainy season before we got here, but it is a whole different thing to actually experience it! I’m still not sure why they only forecast rain at 40% or so – the past week or so it has rained every day! There’s nothing like a good old tropical storm to turn the sky black and just dump water. We’ve gotten in the habit of brewing some hot tea and sitting on our front porch just to take it all in.
Today I read a very interesting article on CNN that gives new and updated statistics about world religions. Some of the information is quite surprising! I’d encourage you to read it, as it gives a good picture of who believes what and where they live.
This past weekend we were able to take a trip to Jakarta to meet up with some friends who just arrived in the country and to relax a little. We have been renting a vehicle for the past month, so we decided to go ahead and try making the drive on our own. Thanks to providence and a borrowed GPS, we made it without any “interesting” experiences!
It was wonderful to see our friends from Dallas again before they head elsewhere in Indonesia, and we also enjoyed getting a little taste of Jakarta. The city is absolutely huge, and we saw just a tiny, tiny bit of it while we were there. Though our city, Bandung, is a pretty big city at about 4 million people, it is absolutely dwarfed by Jakarta. We visited the premier shopping mall in Indonesia, and it completely blew away any other shopping experience we’ve ever had, anywhere, including the Mall of America and the Galleria in Houston.
The mall had different sections themed after different countries from all around the world, and it even had a Hard Rock Cafe, a Dairy Queen, a Cold Stone Creamery and a Burger King, not to mention multiple Starbucks! Of course, we had to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe – is there even an option?
While at the mall, Elizabeth got her first ride on a carousel!
We also enjoyed relaxing in our room at the hotel. Elizabeth enjoyed having a new place to explore, and we enjoyed the Western-ness of it all.
Here are Krisanne, Kara, and Susan enjoying pedicures! (for only $3 too!) They decided Elizabeth was still too young to have her toes done.
We’re in the process of raising our own little fashionista!