Not just a tourist: Traveling to Indonesia

As noted in earlier posts, from 2009-2010, I lived in Depok, Indonesia as a United States Fubright Fellow.  This past February, after eight years of being away, I decided to make the long return back to visit with my husband.  I wanted him to see the land that shaped my life and I longed to see old friends and adopted family members.  We designed the majority of the trip as a social visit but we also decided to spend some downtime in Bali.  Although exhausted from the two-day journey over, the first week of our trip flew by with drinks out at my favorite Jakarta haunts, rambutan-filled car rides, late nights with Jakarta-based friends, and visiting my Indo family.  In Bali, one of my best Depok friends met up with us, and we had a whirlwind 2.5 days spying temples and monkeys, attending a Fire Dance, and drinking coconuts at…

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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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