Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Big Day

Our gardener, Zaney, invited us to the wedding reception for his son, Adi.  Here in Indonesia wedding receptions are large, all day events.  This one started at 9:00 and was to end at 6:30. We had been told by others that we would be invited to many weddings while here as it is apparently good luck to have a "Bula" attend the festivities.  Why that is I am not sure.  We have had several other invites but this is the first on we were able to attend.  

The event was quite an experience.  We walk into the area that the party is taking place which is in the middle of a residential area only about a km. outside of the camp.  It is a very poor area of Rumbai with most houses not even having windows just cut outs where you would expect glass. When we arrive at the we are greeted by several men in Batik shirts.  We are then taken to the area directly in front of a stage which was set up with an electric keyboard and a D.J. calling people up to make speeches.  There are not enough chairs for everyone there but they kick two people out of their chairs and sit us down right in front of the stage.  Talk about awkward!  

They then tell us we need to eat.  So we head over and have some rangaung, which is a spicy beef dish with sticky rice and puffed rice just like you would get at the Chinese restaurant.  We eat and listen to the speeches which we could only pick out a few words as they were speaking way to fast for us.  While this was going on people who we have never met kept coming up to us and shaking our hands.  Then there were a bunch of little children who kept peeking their heads around Moms and Dads then giggling when we look at them.  

This whole time Kathi and I have yet to see the Bride and Groom.  We were not really sure where they were or if we were going to get to see them.  As we were finishing up the meal Zaney comes and tells us we need to get our picture taken.  We follow him into a very tiny little house and into a side room that has beautiful orange tapestries hanging throughout.  In this tiny room sit the Bride and Groom in traditional Sumatran wedding costumes.  As you can see in the picture it is quite ornate.  The Groom has a real Sumatran dagger in his belt and the bride has a 20 lb. head dress on.  

Now it was an overcast day which was good. It was only about 88 degrees with 90% humidity. The people in this neighborhood have no air conditioning so this poor newly wed couple have to sit in the heat all day with all of these hot garments on.  We felt so sorry for them.  They have to spend the entire day sitting in this little room while the party goes on outside.  Sounds like a hoot.
Once we go in, we get our pictures with the couple as well as with our gardener and his wife.  We are told to sit and have desert with them.  Zaney's wife had made brownies just for us as well as a kiwi (i think) juice concoction.  That was very sweet of her as the Indonesian desert that was being dished up for everyone else looked a little, uh, exotic.  

After desert we said our goodbyes and headed out.  It was quite the experience.  It was one of those things that there is no way we would have any idea about if we hadn't decided to come here.  It was absolutely an educational experience.  

Christmas Party

This Saturday Santa finished up his tropical vacation before heading back to the North Pole for the final countdown to Christmas.  He had a little time before his sled left so he stopped in for the annual ISR (formerly CAS as you can see by the banner behind Syd) Christmas party.  Kade and Brooklyn were all to happy to hop on his lap and relay their wish list.  Kade wanted a Nintendo DS and Brooklyn wanted a pony.  Santa has his work cut out for him to say the least. It was a good time for the kids.  They all had a great time decorating cookies and playing Nutcracker tag.  No really, that is what it was called.  I remember a game like that when I was younger but I don't remember any connection to Christmas:0

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Nativity Sumatra Style

"Today in town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:11-12

Christmas: Indonesian Style

On the docket this Sunday for the Getzinger clan was a trip to Mall Ciputra.  We were getting some gifts for various Christmas festivities around camp.  I am sure that the malls and stores back home are in full-on Christmas mode complete with decorations, lights music, etc.  Here in Sumatra it is surprising to see the amount of Christmas cheer in the air, at least at the malls.

Being that this is the most populous Muslim country in the world we were pretty sure that Christmas was not high on the list of celebrations.  How surprised were we when we walk into the Indonesian version of Macy's and hear "Silent Night" blaring?  The best part was that some of the songs are in English and some are in Bahasa.  You can recognize the tune but something is not quite right.  The look Kathi and I gave each other was definitely one of surprise.  Indonesian stores lay music non-stop much like back in the States however they believe the louder the better here.  It was a little surreal to see all of these women in birka head coverings walking around while and having "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem" booming in the background.  

Not only were the songs playing, there were employees walking around in Santa hats and Christmas sales galore.  Merry Christmas signs and lights.  After going through Ramadan which was a pretty solemn scene this was quite interesting. 

My favorite part was listening to "Let it Snow" knowing full well that there was no hope of that happening.  I was talking to one of our drivers and he said for the equivalent of $3 they have a snow room you can go into.  They set it up at the mall about a week before Christmas.  It gives these folks a chance to experience making a snowball and snowman for themselves.  Pretty neat considering it is 90 degrees outside!

On another note, we are about 12 days away from heading home for Christmas break.  We are all very excited to get back home and see our friends and family.  Seeing our dog, Ember and cat, Boonie are high on our list as well.  We hope you are all having a great holiday season!  Selamat Natal! (Merry Christmas)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You want me to do what?

Christmas Cookies

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Paper, Anyone?


This little guy was photographed by Sydney.  She and I found it on a weekend trip into the school to grab a few things.  It is a type of tree snake that can puff out its body and glide from tree to tree.  Our science teacher, Mr. Anderson, looked him up and found that he is mildly poisonous.  He is rear fanged which means his venom is pretty weak.  Sydney and I tried to wrangle him with two meter sticks used like giant chop sticks.  When we got him off of the paper roll he missed our waiting container and he slithered between the gaps in the wall.  Syd was pretty bummed out. Anytime you catch a critter here at school you get your picture with it up on the wall with said critter.  I am sure we will have more chances to catch some critters though.