My son had the chance to help this potter make a clay turtle. He has been taking Bahasa Indonesia lessons at school, but still can’t speak the language very well. The potter spoke no English, or at least did not let on that she knew.
The language that they spoke to one another was one of gestures, smiles, and touching. She showed Ben how to mold the clay, how to turn the wheel, and she would take his hand and move it where it needed to be. She would smile and let him try. He would smile back and try.
The most poignant lesson I have learned while living internationally has been that communication does not have to be spoken. Some of the best relationships I have here in Indonesia are the ones where we both struggle to speak, and have to depend on the kindness of the other person to get us through the situation.
I pray that I do not forget this lesson.
A tip for all of you newly married (and maybe old-married) people out there: find out what your significant other’s favorite flower is and bring it home every once in a while. Just because.
We LOVE breakfast. Culturally speaking, “breakfast as dinner” is a strange concept. In Indonesia, a meal is not a meal until rice has been eaten. My students eat Nasi Goreng (fried rice) for every meal, it seems, and my idea of having certain foods only at certain times of the day is seen as strange.
This was my breakfast this morning – ham and egg muffins and a piece of grilled toast. The eggs are scrambled with a bit of milk and ham and dropped in muffin tins for about 17 minutes at 350 degrees. The toast is a piece of bread, buttered and grilled, as I still have not purchased a toaster here in Jakarta. Probably never will, either.
My love? Breakfast.
I saw these two on the beach and they were so cute together. He would clumsily go out into the water with his surf board and do amazingly awkward things, and she would stand on the beach taking pictures.
Later, when I was eating lunch, they were sitting and chatting, so I snapped this photo. I wish them a great future together.
I took this photo while shooting on the fly. I was walking to work and a couple of students got our of their car ahead of me. As we walked up to the school, the brother placed his hand on his sister’s backpack and guided her to where she needed to be on the path. It was a small, kind gesture…a brotherly gesture. I got this shot off just before he removed his hand.
Our move to Jakarta from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was in large part due to a desire to show my children the world. There are moments, however, when I think that I was crazy to take my daughter (above) from the relative ease and comfort of North America and transplant her in a city like Jakarta.
I attended a formal dinner hosted by the Australian Embassy last night and was asked by some of the people at my table if I had lived in any other Asian cities before. When I answered, “No”, their reply was one of shock. When I asked why they were so shocked, they told me that if moving to an Asian city is like learning to ride a bike, then Singapore is the easy bike with training wheels, and Jakarta is like trying to learn to ride a bike by starting with a unicycle.
I guess I like a challenge, and I want that for my daughter. I want her to grow up knowing what the world is like, that there are challenges. What’s important is that we meet those challenges; sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will triumph, but we will never avoid.
I hope I made the right move.
On the way home today, I snapped this shot while walking with my son this afternoon. Sometimes one has to wait a little to get the right shot. There was traffic coming towards me as I was shooting this, but I waited until they all passed by and I was able to get this shot of a father and his child, holding hands, looking at flowers.
I think it was worth the wait.
I love that there are a few things that transcend cultural boundaries. When I was a lot younger, my Dad would grab my arm or reach across to hold me in place if he felt that I might come to some harm. At the time, I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it for what it is. Now that I’m thousands of kilometers away from him and thirty years on from those experiences, I feel the love that was the motivation for his firm grip. I feel it because I do the same with my son and daughter.
Thanks Dad, for reaching out to hold me in place, to keep me from harm.
I was shooting some photos this afternoon on my way home and stopped at an ATM. Everything around here runs on cash. You can use a debit card, but cash is much easier. Much, much easier. The ATM vestibule was full of people and security guards – no worries, security is a huge industry here – so I took my camera outside. I aimed in this child’s direction, not at him, but past him. He seemed curious, so I nodded at his mother and she smiled. I took that to mean that I could take a photo.
He smiled a minute later, but I’d already taken the shot.
I love this place.
I went out for a walk tonight to see where Nikki’s Salon is, as I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow. I brought “the beast” (my Pentax K20D) with me and snapped off photos all around the area where I live. This was my first time out walking around after sunset (*the sun sets around 6:30 p.m. here every day – we’re pretty nearly on the equator) and the world doesn’t look too much different from day to night.
There are two very well stocked flower shops on my street – Kemang Selatan I – and both of them are right near my apartment. My wife jokes that I can’t buy her flowers because we don’t have a vase in the house yet. I think it best that I pick up one soon.
It won’t be long, now, until I leave Canada for two years. Ten days until the airplane takes off from the tarmac and my family and I go. We’re at that stage where every day has more “good-byes” and “farewells” and “until we see you agains”. It’s weird, and emotionally raw.
I think that the farewells would be easier if I didn’t care, but that’s the point – meaning comes from caring. What I need to remember right now is to have perspective. We’re saying farewell here, but we’ll be meeting and getting to know a whole lot of new people.
For every sunset, there is a sunrise.
I met you when I was the new kid in Grade 9. You sat across the row from me in Mr. Jaarsma’s homeroom class. We got to know each other over our four years of high school and, after we graduated, I decided I didn’t want to live without you. We dated, got married and had two amazing children.
It’s been twenty-three and half years since I met you, honey, and we’ve been married for seventeen and a half of them and I love you more now that I ever have.
I’m glad I’m yours.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
By the way, that’s a photo I took last night. It’s called “light-writing” and I just opened up the shutter with a remote shutter release in a dark basement and drew a couple of hearts with a flashlight.
I feel like it’s an affirmation of all that is good in the world when people find each other. I’ve recently been trying to focus on all that is positive and, when I can’t, at least look for positive solutions to things I want to complain about. I think I often focus on what is negative because it’s easier. Complaining is easy. Bitching about all that is bad in the world is easy.
Coming up with solutions is not easy.
Which is why seeing people holding hands makes me smile. When I hold my wife’s hand, I think of nothing else but what is good. I don’t criticize the world. I don’t complain about other people. I say silly things. I laugh. I smile. I feel affirmed and postive and…
I’ve got it! We should just all hold hands. World peace might be achievable, people! Hold hands with someone near you right now and tell me you don’t feel better about the world. I dare you!
With the house in disarray, Lego and clothes all over the place and the family all happily lazy, I figured I’d post something peaceful. This photo sums up the way I feel right now – placid.
Thanks, Christmas, for the peace that is existing in my house and heart right now.
I roasted a turkey today. My family was coming over and my parents are leaving in three days for Guatemala for six months. They started working there years ago and have formed their own missions organization, Love Guatemala, wherein they show love to people through meeting practical needs – housing, water filters, clinics. We (kind of) had Christmas today, as they’ll be away when Christmas actually occurs. I’ll miss them a lot, so it felt right to do a big family dinner. I made roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips, stuffing and gravy.
So, I roasted a turkey today. I like to cook and doing a turkey is fun. I know, that makes me weird. What you see above are the herbs that were combined with garlic and olive oil and then massaged into the bird, under the skin and then over. The oil adds a nice golden-ness to the turkey. The herbs are Italian parsley (I’m not sure what makes it Italian), thyme, rosemary, and sage. I love fresh herbs and the chopping is particularly satisfying. Something about wielding a big knife that appeals to the neanderthal in me.
Oh, and this week’s Photo Friday Challenge is “Noon“. Seeing as I was chopping these around noon in order to get the turkey ready for dinner, I thought this might meet the challenge.
We did not go to the Buddhist Temple this summer and I kind of miss these guys. The face above belongs to one of many statues depicting the “Lohans” of Buddhism. My kids love going to the temple and it’s a cool way to experience a culture outside our own. But there are lessons to be learned in a temple that go far beyond culture.
A couple of summers ago, when we took the kids to the temple in Steveston, BC for the first time, my son was doing his best to exercise self-control. He walked instead of running. He spoke quietly instead of excitedly shouting. He kept his hands behind his back. To this day, when I need him to exercise that same restraint, I say to him: “Ben. Buddhist Temple.” And that’s all he needs. Buddhist Temple.
Oh, and this week’s photo challenge is “Faces“.
This is a little reminder from me to…me. It’s been a while since I senselessly bought flowers. By senselessly, I mean the part of my brain that is not part of the brain – the irrational part of the brain, is what I’m trying to say.
Yes, there are reasons why I love my wife. Yes, there are occasions to buy flowers. Yes, there are aesthetic reasons to purchase these aromatic and visually stimulating florae. But it’s time to do it for no reason whatever.
Because isn’t that what love is? A momentary stupidity in the face of all things logical that creates a blankness in the brain and a smile on the face? Well, it’s time to get stupid for love again.
Of course, me, the person for whom I might be gettin’ all stupid might read this, so maybe not tomorrow, or the next day, but soon. Soon.
Where I’m going to be in a week? At school, back at work for the next ten months.
Where I wish I was going in a week? Back to the sandy beach of the Oregon Coast.
I guess there’s always the lottery to make that come true. Or, another 21 years and then retirement.
When we bought the trampoline last summer, my son was at times curious about it, at times petrified. The most he would do was bounce and only when no one was on with him. This summer he seems to think that he’s Dick Grayson (the original Robin in the Batman comics) of the Flying Graysons. He’s gone from terrified to a holy terror on the trampoline.
As a kid, I never had a trampoline, so watching my own kids is full of terrifying excitement for me. I’m always curious to see what they’ll do next, with my thumbs ever-ready to phone 9-1-1.
The kids and I had a wonderful weekend, with a lot of activity. This is but one. It’s not the most beautiful photo from a technical standpoint, but it’s one of the most beautiful photos I’ve taken because it’s my daughter executing a possible broken neck over a sprinkler shooting through a trampoline. Not a great backdrop, nor is it in the best focus, but it’s fun.
Oh, and she’s UP.
These are my new shoes. I am very excited about my new shoes. Converse made my new shoes. Batman is on my new shoes. The Dark Knight. The World’s Greatest Detective. The Caped Crusader. The protector of Gotham City. My hero.
New shoes + Batman = greatest shoes ever. EVER!
This little beauty was sitting outside the local library, just waiting for me and my camera. I like flowers. I know that I’m a guy and that I’m supposed to buy flowers for my wife and not for myself. I’m supposed to be watching my wife grow the flowers in the garden, not be worried about how pretty everything looks.
But I’m a lover of flowers. Secretly, I love buying flowers for my wife because then I get to enjoy them as well.
I guess that’s not much of a secret anymore.
This was the most fun aspect of camping in Oregon. My kids love the beach, the water, the sun so camping on the Oregon Coast is dead easy. We spent most of the days running in and out of the surf, lying on the sand, building sand castles and flinging floaty pieces of wood into the waves. There was no need for discipline. There was little need for parenting skills. The kids never fought as long as they were on the beach. It was awesome. I need to somehow move a beach into my house.
I will try to write as little as possible for this photo, as I feel it speaks volumes on its own.
It was shot on film, not digital, media.
It was shot on a camera that is thirty-five years old.
It was shot on the Oregon Coast, near Manzanita. It has not been touched by Photoshop; the only processing that occurred was at London Drugs Photo Center.
It has captured the mystical, magical, other-worldly aspect of the Oregon Coast and shows the main reason why my family will probably return to the coast for all of the foreseeable summer vacations.