May 30, 2012

In Photos

Caught our girls sleeping on the job. Pretty cute!


I'm not surprised Helena has given napping a try on our 'new to us' rug, but I didn't think she'd use a rubbermaid lid for a pillow. Play till you drop! 

I thought this lizard was a new type of lizard compared to the one I photographed last week. If you can see him in the photo above, he looks darker and is puffing his face out a bit. But (below) a couple minutes later, he looked very much like a slightly bigger version of the same ol' Green Crested Lizard.

May 20, 2012

Front Yard Friends

The other day was walking over to the bushes in our small front yard to trim a bamboo chute, and I stopped as I noticed a weird looking branch with no leaves on it hanging down from the tree about 18 inches in front of me. Then I noticed it had scales, and that there was a little head present as well.
So, grabbed my camera a took a few pics! I think this little feller lives in our front yard as I have seen him on previous days jumping out of the bamboo brush to ambush sun bathing insects. I educated myself via the internet, and this is apparently a Green Crested Lizard. And as you can see, it is mostly tail. I would say it is a lizard equivalent of a squirrel as they are quick, and seem to do very well in trees. Of course, squirrels don't eat bugs that I know of. A carnivorous squirrel actually sounds a bit disconcerting. Especially a flying carnivorous squirrel. That would be like a ferret with wings. That said, there are small gliding lizards here, and I have actually seen one in our yard, but it didn't seem threatening.
 The tenacious monitor lizard & giant reticulating python stories will have to wait till Kalimantan, as there are apparently an abundance of larger reptiles in that corner of the world. But, I'll wait till my Mom visits next year before telling too many creepy stories online...Better to focus on the 'positive', as like many folks, reptile biology is not my Mom's passion!

May 18, 2012

Smoozin' With VIP's

A previous post of ours was about "Kartini Day" here in Indonesia, and I posted a bunch of pic's of Luke and some of his class mates at the ceremony in traditional Javanese dress.

Well, Luke & Co. were invited back for another event where they could again look cute and represent the International School in the local community. All the schools in Salatiga had representation at this particular event as it was all about celebrating schools/education and the sort. That actual name of the day I cannot remember, I wasn't too "educated" about what I was actually attending.
The pic above is about as good as view as I got of all the different school marching bands waiting their turn to perform for the Mayor and other government rep's that were in attendance. Luke & Co. didn't dance here, they just looked cute and shook hands. Below is them waiting in line for their turn.

After the hand shaking, they made their way over to a stage where different schools did dances, performances, etc.
Some of the other school kids patiently waiting to do their performance.

Above is a big local mosque and to the right in the shade is some of the crowd watching the kids file past the VIP's. This field area is called "Panca Sila" (maybe be mis-spelled) and has a ring road around it that is kind of like a giant traffic circle.
Performing their dance, Luke kept peeking over at the others to see what he was supposed to be doing...Pretty cute!

May 13, 2012

Rambu

I apologize if any of you feel this particular blog post lacks content of any particular significance. You are mostly right. But, maybe we can be so bold as to say - metaphorically - that it is but an 'taste' of the culture I have experienced here, hence rendering it an experience useful in helping me mould a well rounded societal experience and understanding of a country far from my homeland. Plus, come on, look at the picture below, how could I not post this.

In an earlier post I mentioned a gym I try to visit a couple times a week, located in downtown Salatiga. It was introduced to me by fellow MAF'er Daniel Perez, and it may be the smallest, dirtiest gym I have ever gone to, but it surely has personality. It is owned/operated by Atek Dharmo, formerly known as "Eddy Darmo" in his Indonesian action-flick-movie-star days. How did I know this? Well, the large movie posters on one wall in the gym were my first clue. Recently, I asked him about one such movie called "Pembalasan Rambu". This loosely translates as "Signs of Revenge". But, as this movie was released in 1985, right around when "Rambo" was going strong, I don't know if Rambu was supposed to mean anything more than the guys' name...Hence, maybe it means "The Revenge of Rambu". And, just look at him, he looks just like an Indonesian Rambo:
Pak (Mr.) Atek graciously lent me his only copy of the movie, and, well, I laughed, I cried, and I made it maybe 25 min.'s into it...that was all I could handle in one dose. It was all I expected and more. Luckily, Daniel was able to make a few copies of it for posterity sake, so maybe someday I will be able to show y'all my favourite scenes - if you come visit!

Pak Atek is very friendly to us "not-from-here" folks, as his gym is a little off the beaten tourist path. Although, it is kind of Javanese culture to smile and still be friendly even towards those you don't have a fond opinion of. That said, I've always felt welcome there. Quite often guys in the gym want to try out the bit of English they actually know, so I present a perfect opportunity. So what you end up with is an Indonesian speaking broken English to me, and me responding in broken Indonesian, it is kind of comical.

Besides meeting people and practicing language, Pak Atek would not want me to forget about 'pumping iron'. Besides, if you want to look like Rambu, you just have to take a quick glance up at the poster once in a while for inspiration, and, if you're extra lucky, maybe even get some tips from Rambu himself!  But don't forget, if you need a cigarette, there is a bench right outside the front door strategically placed for just such an occasion.

May 8, 2012

This & That

Jogjakarta
Last Saturday Amy went to Jogjakarta (or Yogyakarta) for fun with a few friends from the International School. Where is Jogjakarta?  It's south of here :)  It is a city about 3 hrs by car one way from Salatiga, and it is kind of a cultural epicentre of Javanese culture (so I've heard). It actually has it's own Sultan or King type figure, although it is considered a district of Java.  It is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Indonesia behind Bali, making it a good place to find foreigners walking around in tropical attire looking to purchase trinkets for the folks back home. Banyak orang asing! (lots of foreigners!)

That means...I'm sure I would fit right in!  (We hope to spend 2 or 3 days there as a family in a couple months)  I'll make sure my camera is always around my neck, and since I'm a 30-something-year-old Dad of four, it is high time I invested in a good fanny pack - The most shunned article of clothing yet possibly the most useful. If it lacked any sort of practicality, I'm sure you'd have already seen one on the front of a fashion magazine long ago. To top off the outfit, I will be wearing shorts to accent a pair of sparkling white tube socks neatly pulled up to my knees. I'll get Amy to snap a couple pictures, one for her wallet and one for the blog :)

Unlucky Gecko
Although the rat population is thinned out around our home, there is still the odd perpetrator  that seems to have a very good nose for unattended garbage. Last night, the rats stayed safe, but my rat trap managed to catch a poor little house gecko who had a hankering for chicken. It is amazing he could even trigger the trap, but he did, and it was the last thing he did. Nope, no pictures this time.

Satu Tahun (One Year)
Our little Charlotte celebrated her birthday on the 7th! That means, our little sweety has spent 1/2 her life in Indonesia, 1/4 in Canada, and 1/4 in the US. What an adventurist spirit! And the funny thing is - to her it is all normal - she doesn't know any different. We thank God for the blessing our littlest lady has been to each one of us. It is hard imagine all the ways her upbringing is and will be different than mine or Amy's. But, the unknown is not to be feared, and this is especially relevant to parents - not just in a foreign country & culture.

Just this morning on the way to school on the scooter Simon broke out in a scripture memory song from a cd we play now and then (quite rare for him). It was almost word for word this verse:

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous fall."
Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
So often we want to ensure the protection and provision of our children. And, we want it so much that walking into the unknown is the last thing we'd want to do. From a North American stand point that means a lot of things, a way of life, quality of education, guaranteed health care - just around the corner, soccer, hockey, violin lessons...What we want for our kids and will work so hard to guarantee.

But more than once Amy and I have felt God ask us: "Do you trust me with your kids?  Trust me."
Charlotte is now walking full time & keeping us all busy. Amy had Charlotte try out some new sandals...still a little big!


When Mom was gone the boys made some brilliant costumes with paper, tape, & some scissors. Simon's costume got ripped off before Dad could take a picture. That is supposed to be a handlebar moustache but I think the tape missed the mark.