Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Bule Arrives

Definition of 'bule' (boo-lay) : white (English-speaking) person, typically of Northern European descent; viewed as rich by the Indonesians and often referred to as "MISTER" regardless of gender

Although it is not my New Year's resolution, I have some serious blog catching up to do before I forget the details and funny stories. I just got done with probably one of the better holidays I have had in awhile. Ryan flew in to Jakarta to spend the holidays with me. I feel like one really lucky girl! I don't want to get all mushy on you guys but I have never been happier. He bends over backwards and drops everything to make sure I am well taken care of. He is loyal, loving, mature, fun, easy-going, responsible and non-selfish! He always puts others first. Just like my Dad! I love him so much. Since his visit and our travels were the most recent (and freshest in my memory), the next several posts will be focused on our adventures while he was here! 

In the cab to get some dinner
I had been anxiously awaiting his arrival since he purchased his flight ticket earlier this semester. The days just seemed to drag by. We stay pretty busy at school so the months (and various weekend getaways I took - which I will blog about after I finish this series) seemed to help time go by a bit faster. Before I knew it, he was on a plane to come and visit!

Waiting for him at the gate seemed like eternity. I had set up a travel agent to help him get through customs since Jakarta can be pretty overwhelming at first, especially for a brand-new flyer. And to think, he had never been on an airplane before this visit! On top of that, being a white Western male has its pitfalls here.. especially in government-based facilities like the airport aka "bandara". Ask anyone about Indonesia's government and they will tell you just how backwards and unjust things can be. Makes me feel pretty blessed to be from a not-so-corrupt country.

Anyway, Ega was of great assistance at the airport. I was in constant contact with him while I waited for Ryan's plane to land. The arrival was late - which is expected in Asia - it seems like zero flights ever arrive or depart on time. When I first moved here a year and half ago, it was really frustrating at first as an American but I have pretty much adjusted to it.. maybe too much.. I have been judged for my constant late arrivals to see family and friends.. sorry about that guys!

Ryan rides in a bajai ("bah" and then "ji" - rhymes with eye)

I had waited over an hour after Ryan's arrival and yet there was no sign of my handsome Irish boy exiting customs! I called Ega and asked to speak to Ryan who informed me that his luggage never showed up so he was filing a claim. I quickly texted him my current address so they could file the missing report and before I knew it, he was walking up to me with the biggest hug and kiss! To be wrapped up in his arms after 6 months felt so so good! I totally disregarded the Indonesian culture and covered him in smooches! Sorry ya'll, I couldn't resist (doing that or writing it!)

I thanked Ega for all his help and we were finally on our way to my apartment! I forgot what it's like to be a foreigner in Indonesia. Oh my goodness - thanks to Ryan's ever-glowing Irish paleness and freckly face, we were bombarded by "Taxi Mister?" over and over again. I got frustrated and told him not to even make eye-contact or address them. We laughed about it though because I explained to him how things were just fine and dandy til he showed up at the airport and now I couldn't snag a cab in peace!

Although Ryan was in town, I still had a week of school remaining. The kids had just finished up their semesteral testing and we had to return results, key in results, print report books, meet with parents and celebrate Christmas with a small class party!

 Here are some pictures taken with my new HD camera - awesome Christmas gift compliments of Ryan - of my homeroom (form class) just a few days before break. They are a fun bunch of 27 ten-year olds!

He is so articulate and fun!

One of my favorite photos. Loved the Christmas spirit!

Playing UNO. They TOTALLY make up their own rules. Such cheaters!

The kids brought in sweet and salty blood pressure inducing snacks and I enjoyed every bit of it! Holiday caloric intake was heavily welcomed. We watched a couple movies and the kids played card games. I played UNO with them actually for a couple rounds but then became a complete sore loser and told the kids they were totally making up rules -- which they WERE! I mean, honestly - since when have we EVER allowed more than one type of Wild Card in UNO? And just because you have one card left, that doesn't automatically declare you the winner! You still have to get rid of it! But no.. they reassured me they knew the rules and I played the old-school way. I threw in my cards and called them cheaters (all in fun of course).

While I sat in teacher conferences later in the week, Ryan played basketball with the guys. I admit, I have never ever seen him play before.. and it was nice to see his competitive side. Minus the sweat of course.

New basketball socks for my little athlete

I came home with so many chocolate sweets, cookies, jewelry, scarves, spa kits, candles and clothes! I know they are just showing their appreciation and I am grateful for it because I know that when I go back to teaching inner city, it's a whole different ball game.

Our first Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Although I had school during Ryan's first week here, I did manage to get him out to get small taste of Jakarta. How so? Well, we had a checklist of things he had to do while in Indonesia:

  1. Durian - the mother of all fruits. He absolutely despises it by the way and was totally burping it for a week straight after eating a durian-filled donut from Dunkin! I got so angry with him! I already hate when people burp but to burp and then breathe on me... I almost snapped. He apologized and said he couldn't help that the smell was so atrocious. Poor kid. It actually made him sick.. for a week..
  2. Ride in a bajai - I had Ryan only appear on the curb to get in after I did my bargaining in Bahasa because otherwise I knew the locals were going to try and rip me off!
  3. Celebrity Fitness - I just had to show him how much more awesome my gym was compared to his back home. We didn't get to take a class together but we did do some weight lifting together and cardio like in the old days. I think some of the men at the gym were surprised to see a male helping a female in the male-dominated weight lifting area who wasn't a trainer.. the butt slap probably didn't help.. -______-
  4. Roti boy - These bad boy deep-fried snacks are so good and addicting that they should be illegal. Especially because they're only 80 cents. He made sure to snatch one every time we came across one.. whether it be Jakarta, Malaysia or Yogyakarta. Unfortunately, our inner-fat kid came out every time we made contact with a Roti boy so there are no pictures but just Google that -ish and click on images. Goodness melting in your mouth... I think I'm salivating now.
  5. Grocery shopping - An exhausting experience that he didn't believe until he experienced it himself (we went to buy a Christmas tree). Price checks? Forget about it. Tell them never mind. And watch them hand it to an employee to place back on the shelf STILL lacking a proper barcode. Oh Jakarta.
  6. Marche - delicious made-in-front-of-you-food-type-restaurant with organic everything. Super healthy as long as you stay away from the dessert section. I love the freshly blended juice. This place is going to be a hit in Cali. They need to open one in West Knox. Mark my words.. click the following link to find out more. Marche Restaurant
  7. Cream bath at Hair Code - To Westerners, this is a very feminine concept but in Asia, the men here are actually very confident. You will see them carrying their significant other's purse (and for more than 10 seconds), pushing the stroller, getting a pedicure (minus the polish of course), a massage and even a deep conditioning treatment - alone! I just had to introduce Ryan to this 1 hour luxury. I didn't take much convincing though. He was knocked out in his chair after about 10 minutes. Lucky for him, the super embarrassing photos are on his iPhone. ;)
Those were just a tiny snipet of the page long list of things I told Ryan he needed to check out while abroad. I've included photos from the first week Ryan arrived throughout this post but here are a few more for you to enjoy from his first week here!

Wine nights

1 bottle down.. 3 to go!

Isn't your boyfriend SUPPOSED to let you win? Not this one.

On his way to the gym. We rode separate motorbikes!

Pancakes for dessert. NOM NOM.

Save the cows! Eat chicken!

While we were finishing up an exhausting week of conferences and other last-minute teacher tasks, we still had some entertainment. The music teachers actually came in and did some caroling! I tried to upload the video clip but it isn't working. Perhaps I'll try again later.

We also had a little teacher Christmas party. We exchanged gifts and played some games.

There's no I in TEAM!

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Mira tries to guess the word "camel" LOL

Although the week ended on a very fun note, I was definitely ready for some travelling with my love bug! I will post about our remaining adventures soon! :)

xoxo amber


Here is the caroling video as promised!

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