Orchids and Eyang: How Living Abroad in Indonesia Touched My Life

I don’t believe that there are random coincidences; instead, I think every moment is a serendipitous sign that either strikes dead center to the heart or we blink too quickly, missing the message. One year ago, I was at the Epcot Flower and Garden show when I came across these nearly hidden orchids.  Orchids remind me of my Indonesian grandma, “eyang,” as she would vigilantly care for hers with a tender caress and kind word.  Every weekend when I approached Jalan Penjernihan in Pejompongan, Jakarta I’d find eyang on the front porch cultivating her flowery children, a lusty wink in her eye.   Last year when I first stumbled upon the Epcot orchids, I messaged Ibu Nina, her daughter, to let them know that I was thinking of them.  I had not been in touch for awhile but those orchids spoke to me.  Two days later, I found out that…

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Positano: Where You, Too, Can Run Into John Stamos

When you intoxicatingly admire how well your manicure matches the color of your Italian wine, you might miss John Stamos sneaking by. In Positano, I was doing just that. Tucked deep into the cliffside with a glass of red wine and mussels (to which a German tourist chided me were not in season) with my back to the world, my husband leaned across the table and whispered: “John Stamos just walked by.” I laughed, shrugged ‘you crazy,’ and continued intently comparing my wine with my nail polish. Then it happened again: John Stamos really was sneaking through the back alleys of Positano with his latest girlfriend. Jessie, I mean John, confirmed our musings with that quick (gorgeous) Full House-style smirk as I screamed, “Oh my god, that IS John Stamos.” Like a skittish deer not wanting to be captured or admired, he slipped seamlessly around the corner, lost on the tiny…

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Dancing on the beach in Ipanema, Brazil

“When she walks, she’s like a samba/That swings so cool and sways so gentle/That when she passes, each one she passes/Goes “a-a-a-h” ~ The Girl From Ipanema by Jobim, de Moraes and Gimbel (Eng. lyrics) I too said “Ahhhhhh” in Ipanema, but for very different reasons. This year, I have vowed to walk with a dance in my step—one that in my head is an exotic bellydance but in reality is more like a bad rendition of the Cupid Shuffle. As I look ahead to all that I hope to accomplish, I cannot help but to look back: Brazil was the second trip abroad that my husband and I took together as a couple. He proposed in Paraty right before we headed to Iguaçu and right after I had a near death experience with a hairdryer that had gotten in an altercation with a cheap Indonesian adapter. Blue flames up…

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