Back to the Father Land! Part II

Two of my cousins picked me up, Johny and Ernie. We had dinner at Ernie’s mom’s (Wien) and that’s where I spent the night. The next morning came and my “babysitter” Desy came over to hang out with me for the day (she speaks fluent English and Wien does not). We all set out for the spa but ended up checking out all the Christmas decorations at the mall. I shouldn’t say the mall like there is only one. There are about 1,000,000 malls in Jakarta and they are always building more. It’s pretty insane. This mall was six levels and had an ice skating rink in the middle, which was pretty cool. And I had the best gado gado at the food court. Apparently they are known for it.

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We came back to the house and everyone came over for dinner—Wien’s four daughters and their husbands and two of the kids that live nearby (Desy and Deandra). We had a wonderful dinner with the most amazing perkedel jagung.

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My dad’s sister Widjiati came to pick me up so I said my goodbyes. Not before loading Johny up with a duffle bag to take back to the states. Lucky me, they are going to Cali for Christmas and it’s much cheaper to mail domestically than internationally. Woohoo!!! I emptied out at least 8 kilos. Thanks Johny!! 🙂

At “home,” I was greeted cheerfully by my cousin Yuni whom I call bude. This started from the last time I was in Indonesia and the kids were calling my bude, which I always thought meant auntie. It was kinda catchy so I started celling everyone bude, even the boys, just as a joke. This time around I found out bude actually means big sister, not auntie. But whatever, everyone is bude in my book! Yuni is whom I’m closest with and I was so happy to see her! We chilled out for a bit before hitting the sack. I set up my mosquito net that I bought after learning my lesson the last time. I was eaten alive but was covered from my neck down. So I woke up with my face a wreck. My eye was even swollen shut from all the bites. Anyway, lesson learned, I woke up bite free!

Woke up early in the morning. That is, 6:38! But my alarm was set for 7:00 anyway to go running with Yuni. I wasn’t sure if she was serious but she came out clad in a coral J’Lo jumpsuit and we hit the dirt!! I had on leggings and a tank top so of course everyone was staring at me as I ran by. Yuni told me everyone was saying bule (tourist). 🙂 Back home I got to have my favorite traditional Indonesian breakfast, bubur ayam (porridge with chicken) from a cart that rolls by the house.

Later that morning my uncle, aunt and two cousins came over (Will, Rina, Daffa and Ino). Will actually used to live with me when I was little. He came over when I was in elementary school and lived there for several years. His wife Rina was an English teacher and now runs her own business called Getting Smart. It’s a tutoring service for kids in kindergarten through ninth grade. Later on, I was lucky enough to get to see the school while the kids were learning. There were four different classes going on. One of the students there is going to Russia for the math Olympics!! Pretty crazy.

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We had lunch at Widjiati’s with my dad’s other brother Samyono (and his wife, 3/5 kids and granddaughter), Will, Rina and kids, and Widjiati’s kids (Yuni and daughter Tyas, Lano with wife and new baby Jalwa).

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Then we drove to a traditional market for a “durian party.” If you’ve ever tried durian then you know what a crazy fruit it is. It smells disgusting but people love it!! As soon as a new one is cracked open people are fighting for it. I had a piece but it was hard to get past the fact that it smells and looks like garlic and artichoke combined. Weird. Anyway, we rocked out to some music in the market then went to karaoke (such an Asian thing!) with Rina’s high school buddies.

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On a motorbike. Look how close my knee is to this bus!! Ahhhh!!

Rina took me to the zoo with Ino where the three of us entered the zoo, rented bikes, paid extra for another exhibit and got several drinks for about $10. One person couldn’t even enter any zoo in the US for that kind of money!

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But wait…it gets better! I got my hair washed and deep conditioned, head massaged, hair blow dried and straightened, and a pedicure with cute strawberries on them for, wait for it…. $5!!!! INSANE! I wish I went every day I was there!

Rina scored free tickets to the premiere of a movie called Dead Mine. This was the actual premiere where the director and all the actors were. The movie was pretty good but definitely scary. We got to meet many of the actors after the movie and snapped some pictures with a few.

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Cast of Dead Mine

Over the next few days I hung out with family running from one house to another for visits. They even took me to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. They died before my dad even met my mom so I don’t know anything about them. When I looked at their tombstones I realized I never even knew their names. (I did kind of think about that when I went through Immigration in Israel and they asked me my paternal grandfather’s name and I couldn’t answer. PS – they let me in the country anyway!) This is pretty sad considering I know so much about my mom’s side and am kind of obsessed with my Italian genealogy. Anyway, I got to see my grandmother’s sister and husband who I met last time and then met some other relatives for the first time.

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Jax came to Jakarta a few days before we were leaving Indonesia. I took her to get her hair done along with all my little cousins. After our day at the spa we went to celebrate Ino’s birthday. It was so nice to see everyone together.

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Jax FINALLY got her Burbur Ayam after being a local celebrity on the last day!!!

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I am so happy that I got to spend more time with my dad’s side of the family. They may not have everything in the world but they have all the heart in the world. Terima kasih! 🙂

**Some funny things I found at family members’ houses…

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Top Left: Our family photo at someone’s house. Top Middle: Found on top of the TV at my aunt’s house. All others: Pictures from the early 90s when my cousins came to visit! KNOTB 4–>!

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