When we first started thinking about whether we would want to move to Indonesia, there were a couple of people that would say Bali whenever we talked about it. And yes, Bali! We finally got a chance to go visit, although now that we have been there, a cheap 1 hour and 45 minute flight seems like a doable weekend trip! It was great! We spent two nights in Ubud at this great villa that overlooked the jungle. On one of the days, I was sitting in the pool and a monkey came around the corner. (I freaked out, which scared it away, but we could see the rest of the monkeys climbing the trees.) We wandered around this more hippie area of Bali. It kind of felt like people were in a competition to see who could be the most bohemian and that made people watching extra fun! Here’s some pictures from our time in Ubud.

After Ubud, we took a taxi to our AirBnb place in Seminyak. It is a great beach town! Our place was nice and outside of the hustle and bustle. We rented a bike to get around and explored the area. We hung out at the beach for most of the day and took breaks from our beach bumming to get food. Did I mention the food was really great? One night we met up with a student’s family and had some of the best seafood I’ve ever had. We also got to meet up with a friend that teaches at the school whose brother was visiting. Here’s our Seminyak pictures.

So thankful for a great relaxing time. We are trying to get geared up and ready to go for this last quarter, but right now I kind of just want to go back!

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A different kind of batik

One of the reasons I was sad about leaving Senegal was leaving all of the beautiful fabric and my awesome tailor. Imagine my surprise when I found out that our school has batik days on Friday and that there is awesome fabric in Indonesia. When we were in Jogya (the one with the temples!), we got to see them making the hand painting fabric.

It is a fascinating process and I would love to be able to learn how to do it. I got a kick out of the lady hand painting Star Wars fabric. Not sure who would buy this.


They literally do hand paint it with wax, even “May the Force Be With You!” and spend a ton of time on one piece of fabric. The real hand printed stuff is a little out of my price range, but they sell lower quality material that is still really beautiful. My friend took me fabric shopping and I bought some really pretty fabric. I haven’t gotten anything made yet, but I have some plans! I’ll let you know when I actually find the time to take the fabric to that tailor!

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Exploring Indonesia

This Christmas break we got a chance to explore a little bit of Indonesia. The tourism campaign tagline for Indonesia is Wonderful Indonesia and it really is. I’m pretty sure you could live your whole life here and not be able to experience all that it has to offer: jungles, beaches, mountains, volcanoes, islands, and reefs. We got to experience a little piece of Indonesia in a trip we took to Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is referred to as the cultural heart of Java and is famous for its two ancient temples (Hindu and Buddhist) and it’s batik (wax print cloth). We got to see all that and eat some really good food. We traveled by train with a couple from school. It took 8 hours to get there, but playing multiple games of Rook helped pass the time. The scenery is also gorgeous, full of rice paddies and green. The first day Travis was sick, so he stayed inside our hotel room. We visited the sultan’s palace and did some shopping. The town of Yogyakarta is governed by the sultan because during the revolution he supported independence, so after Indonesia became free, he was given the land to govern. His palace is called the Kraton.

On the second day, we headed to Prambanan. Prambanan is a 9th century Hindu temple and is a UNESCO world heritage site. We went to the temple in the afternoon so we could catch the sunset. It is such an impressive thing to see. (Sidenote: There were so many people and lots of selfieing going on!) On our way to see the temple, we stopped at a place where they make wax print and got to see some of the process (I’ll post a blog about batik later!)

On the third day, we went to Borobudur, which is a 9th century Buddhist temple. It was quite hot, so we came and saw and left. It was also really impressive. It was interesting too to see the difference between the Hindu temple and Buddhist temple. The Buddhist temple was one big temple and had rounded tops. The Hindu temple had many smaller temples and pointed tops. We also got to see a famous Indonesian ballet called Ramayana. It is a love story about a young princess who is kidnapped by an evil demon and her lover prince, with the help of his brother and a monkey, set out to save her. They do and it ends happily ever after. It isn’t ballet ballet, but it was beautiful and really fun to experience.

The fourth day was full of waiting at the airport and more Rook games. We accidentally got there 4 hours before we needed to because we misread military time and then our flight was delayed for 3 hours. We finally made it home!

All in all it was a wonderful trip and really fun!




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My extended extended family

Growing up overseas gives you extra family: your extended extended family. These are the people who become your aunts, uncles, and cousins when your real family is far away. These are the people you vacation with, Thanksgiving with, and Christmas with. They don’t replace your real extended family, but increased it and I was blessed because of it. I got to see some of my extended extended family this week and it was GREAT! The Maurins were like family when I grew up in Quito, Ecuador. Their lives had brought them to Penang, Malaysia, which is just a short plane ride away. My life had brought me to Bandung and that meant a trip to see them. I hadn’t seen them in 6 years, but nothing had changed (except everyone was older and wiser!). My uncle Guy had caramel corn (he’s famous for it) to eat, they picked us up from the airport and treated us to good food! Us kids hung out, but this time it was Travis instead of my own sisters. I love my extended extended family and how I have family all over the world!

It was also really fun to explore Penang. Travis and I went down to Georgetown and checked out the street art (which is harder to find then we thought!). Penang has great food, so we ate a lot of that. We got a tour of Dalat and met a teacher (Tommy) who knew tons of Dakar Academy people (small world!). We also got treated to great tea making by Mathias! We were only there for a short time, but enjoyed every minute of it.




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A train trip to Jakarta that actually started in Zaire…


This is a small world after all story. Travis was born in a hospital outside of Kinshasa (which was in what was formerly know as Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo). One of the nurses, Barb, was the videographer of his birth and a more comical video of Travis’ dad trying to put a diaper on for the first time! Fast forward to about 6 months ago, we got a email from Barb, who works at Indian Wesleyan University, saying that she was coming to Jakarta for a conference and wondered if we would be able to come and see her. We said yes and last weekend we boarded a train to Jakarta.

We weren’t really sure what to expect from the train ride, but it was right on time. The view was beautiful, so green. I had gotten a book on tape to listen to, so I listened to the book as I took in the scenery.

Our time with Barb was great. I had met her briefly at our wedding, but it was great to get to know her. Not to mention, we got to stay in a hotel with a great fluffy bed and had some great food. We also got to see some of Jakarta. We are thankful for our extended international family!

An added bonus was Travis’ favorite apologist was there at the conference. We got to hear him speak and Travis got a picture with him. It was a fun blessing!IMG-20151206-WA0000


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We miss home…

Right around Thanksgiving I start feeling homesick. It happened in Senegal and it is happening here in Indonesia, but this time I miss both of my homes. I miss the life we had in Senegal and I miss family in the States.

In Senegal, I miss Turkey Bowl and our making pumpkin pie in our hot kitchen. I miss being with friends and this year I could have hung out with cute, little babies and I miss that. I miss laying around at our friend’s house until our stomachs could even handle the word dessert.

I miss Thanksgiving in the States, too. I miss the cold weather and the leaves changing. I miss seeing my family. I miss the festivities and watching football at the right time instead of the next day. I miss discussing Black Friday and only going once.

The even more interesting thing is that Travis feels the same way. Never once when we lived in Senegal did he say, “I feel homesick…”, but he feels it here. I realized the reason was because he was home in Senegal. Senegal was one of his homes, so while we were there, he didn’t feel homesick. In the course of those four years, it had become our home and now that we aren’t there living, we’re reminded how much it had become home.

Eventually our traditions will take hold here and our Thanksgivings in Indonesia will be something that we will miss when we leave here, but right now I wish I could go back to the familiar and not feel such a tug at my heart to be somewhere else.


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Language Learning

BAIS has a cool program that allows the teachers to take Indonesian classes along with the students. Travis and I have been able to take these classes. We take classes with two middle school students and another teacher from the school. The classes follow a very different form then other language classes that we have been a part of. We had a short introduction to the idea behind the method that we are learning. Learning a language is like an iceberg. We continually add words into our icebergs until it breaks the surface and we can use it. In our classes, we are just adding words to our iceberg. The class consists of hearing words and pointing to the pictures that match the words. It sounds something like this:

Ibu Yohana: Tunjuk telinga (We point to the ear.)

Ibu Yohana: Tunjuk singa (We point to the lion.)

Ibu Yohana: Berkata (she points to a letter for us to name.)

We have started talking a little bit, but mostly we are continuing to point and listen to new words. It is daunting how much we still don’t know how to say, but are enjoying the little bit that we are learning. I try to listen in the store to words that I recognize (which isn’t very often), but I can hear little bits of words I know! Here are some pictures of what class is like.

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