"Me Time!"

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Terima kasih Indonesia!

on April 3, 2013

On the Wednesday before Easter, I hopped on a plane, positioned myself to sleep, and woke up in another country.

Touchdown Jakarta, Indonesia!  Although it only took 15 minutes through immigration and baggage claim, it felt like forever.  “Excited” was an understatement!  I was full of anticipation for the next four days of pure bonding and fun with my sister and her family.

Since my nieces, ages 9 and 5, were already asleep when I arrived at their home, Sissy and I did a little catching up while munching on M&Ms and strawberry jam sandwiches.  We got carried away and ended up turning in at almost 4am!  When I woke up the next day, it was already 12nn! Talk about a waste of time, but well, I was on vacation, and I did love to sleep.  I didn’t even wake up on my own.  My nieces were already knocking on my door.  After a quick lunch, Cassie (the 9-year-old) and Carissa (the 5-year-old) immediately took each of my hand and promptly pulled me to their room.  We built towers with pillows and placed their stuffed animals in the “windows”.  They had a particularly red round bird.  And yes, you guessed it… we played Angry Birds.  A few hours into this, they got bored, went to a corner of the room, and discussed in hushed tones their next itinerary for me.  “I know! Let’s go swimming!”  Cassie said.  “That’s what I’m talking about,” I thought.

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We got into our bathing suits and made our way to the Shangri-La Hotel pool (they lived in the Shangri-La Residences).  The pool area was dotted with towering palm trees, beach chairs, and giant umbrellas.  There were several guests sleeping in the chairs.  Some guests were just lazily swimming around the pool.  The overall atmosphere spoke “peace and quiet”.  In my mind, I was already floating on my back, zoned out or lounging on a chair staring into space half asleep.  Apparently, the girls had a different agenda.  “Ninang (godmother), let’s play mermaids!” Gulp.  That’s not what I had in mind but…okay.

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The next day, I got to try some local dishes like Nasi goreng (fried rice), beef and chicken sate, bakmi (noodles), gulai (curry), wonton (fried dumpling), lumpia (spring rolls), and fried catfish and tilapia.  The dishes were almost similar to Filipino dishes except that most of them were sweet and spicy.  After our very hearty lunch, I felt a bit woozy but it was a nice feeling.  I learned several words like pak (mister), bu (ma’am), terima kasih (thank you), and gratis (free).  I was quite impressed how my sister and my brother-in-law conversed in Bahasa  so well.  Of course, my vacation would not be complete without shopping!!! We went to the outskirts of town to a well-known factory outlet.  It was the sisters’ bonding time, much to the dismay of the little girls.

On my third day, we went around the different malls in the city for some “pasalubong” (presents) shopping for my friends.  Sissy and I decided to buy snacks like spicy cassava and jackfruit chips, tom yang oat chips, and spicy lumpia since my baggage limit was only 20 kilos.  I had a feeling the little girls were not happy with my two-day shopping stint so I took them night-swimming.  We were happily swimming when Carissa screamed, “Lizard!” and we ended up in the Jacuzzi in the women’s dressing room.  They found two “treasures” in the Jacuzzi (which were actually tiles!) and gave one to me as a souvenir.

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On my last day, Cassie and Carissa were excited about something… Yes, The Easter Egg Hunt.  They invited some friends over with their parents.  We put assorted candies inside plastic eggs and the grownups hid them in the outdoor playground.  The kids had a blast hunting for the eggs while the grownups enjoyed the pizza, french fries, mozzarella sticks, chips, soda, and ice cream.

When we got back to the apartment, it was almost time for me to go.  Sissy got the girls ready for bed while I packed my suitcases.  I went into their room to say goodbye.  Each little girl clung to my side.  I hugged them tight.  I fought back the tears and bid them good bye.

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I really wasn’t able to go around much but then again, this trip was all about bonding.  Nevertheless, terima kasih, Indonesia! ‘Til next time!

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