It is currently half past midnight on the morning of December 15, 2015, which means that my 23rd birthday in Indonesia is officially over. And after at least two days of prepping, partying, and cleaning up, I am beyond satisfied to see this milestone pass.
First thing tomorrow morning I am going to Thailand for two weeks to visit my family in Yasothon, meet up with people in Bangkok, and do some touristy things in Chiang Mai with fellow Fulbrighters. It promises to be a good time, though I should really rest up beforehand. So I will keep this brief. Enjoy the pictures — more to come!
I had a blow-out party at my house on Sunday, December 13 in the afternoon. I printed 150 invitations and gave almost all of them out to pretty much everyone I know. Happily, I was able to see people from every circle I have become part of during my four months here. I’m still reeling from the love.
Party prep! We’re making goodie bags to give away to the hordes of children that are guaranteed to show up. Each bag had a box of sweet tea, a lollipop, a bag of chips, a chocolate, a pack of cookies, and a balloon. We had *just* enough.
The party officially started at 3:30 (which means that most people showed up at 4), but I invited all of the neighborhood kids over at 2 to get their goodie bags, play games, and dance for awhile. They like to play with our jump ropes (thanks Sarah Parker — great idea!) and hang out in/around our house. I tried to teach them the Macarena and the Cha Cha Slide, but they weren’t having it. It was probably because it was too hot. So they stayed for a bit, some of them brought me presents (don’t even get me started ont the presents… it was obscene how many there were), and had a nice time taking photos like this before the party. I love our little neighborhood kiddies and I especially love seeing them remember more and more as they keep coming to our weekly English class.
Me and Caitlin before the main festivities on Sunday got underway. I can’t thank you enough Caitlin!! Caitlin I don’t know if you know this but if you look up luar biasa in your kamus your picture is there. 😉
Ibu Asro, my counterpart/mother figure/final arbiter of all things, arrived before the party to direct the caterers (yes, the party was catered. Uncle Dave you would be so proud) and help get things going. She also brought these adorable cakes for me.
My neighbors were among the first to arrive. Inviting everyone was like a party in and of itself since I hand-delivered every invitation and did a lot of general visiting along the way.
Manggo, my sweet sister and amazing friend. Much love and eternal gratitude also to Erka, Lya, and Yuli for coming and staying until the end, working and all!
In Indonesia, it is tradition to break eggs and throw flour on the head of the birthday person. Apparently, it is also customary to tie the person down before attempting to turn them into cake batter. Caitlin warned me that this would happen, which I accepted as long as I didn’t know it was coming. So when the “Handsome Boys” (the name a group of my students gave themselves in their birthday card to me) said that they had another surprise for me, I followed them outside. For some reason I thought they had firecrackers, but when Caitlin took my phone out of my belt I knew what was coming….
…. Once the eggs and flour found their target, the “Handsome Boys” ran as fast as they could because the Birthday Girl was out to get a revenge hug!
Waldy still holding the evidence as I chased him down.
Brace for impact! 😀 Hilarious. Thanks for the excellent picture, Caitlin.
Who’s next? I hugged pretty much everyone but really had to work for it. I ended up putting on sneakers and chasing people through the neighborhood, and all of my neighbors who were not at the party wished me well along the way. Everyone seems to know what it means when a stiff-haired, white-powdered, yelling, laughing bule come running by: it must be a birthday!
After rubbing egg and flour into the clothing and faces of all my favorite people, I took a shower and did costume change number 3. Shortly thereafter, the next wave of guests showed up: my KOPAL (a local adventure club) friends showed up! They had come directly from a camping trip at a supposedly gorgeous island north of Bangka and still were toting all of their camping gear. Caitlin and I were invited to join, but our schools didn’t want to give permission at this time of year. Still, our friends gave me a video call around nine in the morning from Pulau Putri (the island where they were camping) to sing happy birthday and wish me well. I was so touched by their call and even more delighted to see them in person later in the day.
This last photo is from this afternoon at Kingkong Kopitiam, the coffeeshop where Caitlin and I have become regulars and bonded with a group of badminton players who enjoy a good joke and endless cups of coffee. We brought the cupcakes (remnants from the party) and shared with our friends and the staff of Kingkong.
Thank you thank you thank you everyone! Much love to all of my friends and family here in Indo who made my 23rd one of the best birthdays yet! Never in my life have I had so many people to celebrate with. Also thank you and much love to my family in the States — parents it was wonderful Skyping with you on Saturday! I was thinking of you all day mom and how you “carried me in your gut for nine months” until this day. Love you all!