Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pulau Bidadari | Indonesia

Counting down the days until summer, we decided the best way to pass the time was on a tropical island! Despite some minor communication issues with our travel agent and ominous weather, we safely landed on Pulau Bidadari a mere hour and a half after our original scheduled time. This particular island was once a Dutch fort, the majority of which is still standing. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite far enough away from Jakarta to make swimming a possibility, unless the object of your snorkelling was to observe the composition of Jakarta's refuse. We spent some quality time hanging out in a bungalow, which was almost as cool as the treehouse on Gili Trawangan. And, we decided that next time, we would come armed with hammocks, marshmallows and matches.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Salatiga | Indonesia

Time is a funny thing. We have too much, we don't have enough. The concept of time, as I have learned thus far in my travels, varies greatly depending on locale. Time changes perspective. It is on this point that I would like to focus as I recount my return to Salatiga. I had mixed emotions about returning to the place that I once called home, which is perhaps why I have avoided doing so for almost one year. People had gone, buildings had changed. What if returning changed the idyllic memory to which my mind clung? But, as I drove through the mountains and began to once again recognize the once familiar surroundings, as I looked back on the hundreds of times my Scoopy had carried me around the turns, I yearned to be back. It was strange to drive through town {with brand new stoplights}, no longer a resident but a visitor. I teared up as I neared the place which I once called home. Unlike other posts, this is meant not to introduce you to a new location but to show you sights and memories, details of my former home, that I do not want to forget.

One awesome thing about living in Indonesia is that massages are ridiculously cheap. Literally a tenth of the price of any massage I have had stateside, they rival in quality as well. Aside from massages that surpass all others, Kayu Arum is also one of the most photogenic and peaceful spots in town.

My favorite time during my brief visit though was getting to reconnect with everyone at Sola Fide bible study. My friend Kari was kind enough to host everyone for a campfire and smores at her house. In a time of transition for many people in the group, our missionary friend Kyle spoke on the subject of time which hit home. It was a sweet time of fellowship with dear friends.

The other thing that touched me during my visit was getting to reconnect with my helper {and surrogate mother}, Ibu Wasti. We have talked from time to time over the last year and I have missed her dearly. When we met up, she brought me her banana chocolate chip muffins {which no helper I have had this year has been able to replicate}. My Bahasa has improved since she worked for us last year and we were actually able to have a conversation, in which she invited me to her home in the next town over. I had never been to her house before, I just knew that she lived in the mountains. It was a humbling experience being welcomed into her home, meeting her daughter, and sharing a meal with her family. She even remembered that I was vegetarian after all this time. They took me on a tour of the kampung after our meal and it was beautiful.

Reflecting on my year in Salatiga with a fresh perspective, I realized that this place was so near and dear to my heart for the sole reason that such great personal transformation had taken place during my residence. I learned how to live without things which I thought were necessities. I learned how to teach, how to communicate, how to be content. I learned how to travel and how to adapt. Most of all, I learned how to heal.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pasar Triwindu | Solo | Indonesia

I read about Pasar Triwindu, a market specializing in Indonesian antiques, before my trip to Salatiga. Since I had absolutely no agenda on my trip, I decided to roadtrip to Solo and check it out. In case you are thinking of visiting the market but have yet to find the exact location, you are not alone! This place was as elusive as the fountain of youth; everyone had written about it online but there was not an tangible piece of proof to be found. It is located on Jalan Ronggowarsito. If you're unsure of where exactly that is, begin at Solo Square Mall and turn left at the 7th stoplight (directions courtesy of the kind parking attendant at the mall). I didn't find any hidden treasures but did enjoy looking at items of bygone eras. The upper level seemed to house more authentic antiquities. It is definitely worth a gander if you are in the area!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Borobudur | Central Java | Indonesia

For the last long weekend of the school year, I headed back to my old stomping ground in Central Java. I have been to Borobudur several times but this was the first time the weather cooperated. I woke up at 4 am to be there in time for sunrise but the clouds had other plans. Eventually, the sun came out  though and with it, thousands of tourists who were eager for a picture with the bule (last picture). The surrounding area is absolutely stunning and lush. After living in the hustle and bustle of Jakarta, it was so nice to be back in tropical paradise.