Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A white kid in Indonesia

In some ways, growing up overseas was not so different. I still went to school with a lot of Americans most of the time. We still celebrated Christmas (at the beach), we still went on summer vacation (to stone-age villages), we still watched Disney movies (because there was no TV) etc.. etc.

I've been in the US now for 8 years. Now I know the typical American life that most of my friends grew up in, and it seems normal to me. When I look back on photos from my childhood I'm taken aback to realize just how DIFFERENT so much of life was.

For instance -

My first day of school:

From childhood

That's Caleb and I in one of our Indonesian school uniforms, stopping to pick up snacks for lunch from a street vendor. We moved when I was 5 and Caleb was 3, so we both picked up the language within months. We just accepted the culture - it was what we would grow up in.

My kindergarten graduation:
From childhood

The "Bus" to school:
In my early elementary school, this is how I got to school:
From childhood

Dress Up Days at School:
From childhood

Slightly different than an American dress up day, eh?

Family Vacations:
Vacations included occasions like the one below, in which we took the train to a popular beach spot in Western Indonesia...
From childhood

Or, like this photo, visiting a family we knew that lived in this village:
From childhood

From childhood

Going to work with Dad:
Dad took me on a village visit with him once, it included a two hour plane right and a two hour canoe ride to arrive here -
From childhood

My Baptism:
From childhood

I was baptized in a widened point of a mountain stream where the pigs wallowed in. God had gripped my heart a year or so beforehand, and at this point I keenly felt His daily presence and hand on my life, and therefore asked to be baptized.

A High School sports game:
From Drop Box

Although I generally hated (and hate) most athletics, I was an avid fan of our boy's basketball team, and being their unofficial yearbook photographer gave me an excuse to go to all of their games. ;) It's a slightly different setting than an American gym, isn't it? It was SO MUCH FUN.

Our Church:
From childhood

There was a Western Church that many missionaries attended in the town I grew up in, but my parents insisted that we be involved in an Indonesian church. My siblings and I resisted since we much preferred the American-style service. When I got older I appreciated this precious church in which Papuans and Indonesians fellowshiped as equals and prayed for the peace of Papua. Their youth group accepted me as an equal, and the pastor and his wife were really amazing people who spoke directly into my life.

School Outings:

We went to places like - the largest copper mine in the world:
From Drop Box

Tiny villages where we danced with the villagers:
From childhood

Me and my classmates, goofing off when our car broke down- can-canning in the banana trees:
From childhood

High School Teasing:
Teasing looks different at my school than it did in the US. We had potato salad fights, we had water fights in rivers, and incidents like the one below, when my friend Jared (currently my brother's roomate) dumped me in a rain barrel:
From Drop Box

Study Hall:
My study halls in high school were spent here:
From childhood

Weekend Partying:
Our version of high school weekend partying was to go here:
From Papua Girl........... in Dallas

From Papua Girl........... in Dallas

It was different. Sometimes it was the same. Regardless, I wouldn't trade it for anything.


Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

So cool! I loved this look into your growing-up years. :) Thanks!

Niamh Griffin said...

They're really interesting photos - it's funny how at home you look there. I guess when we're kids we do just accept anything our parents say is alright! Thanks for sharing this.

thegypsymama said...

Oh those are the most wonderful pics! My favorite by far is the first day of school with the locals looking on at the two white kids all decked out. I love the sweet supportive smiles on their faces. What a remarkable childhood. I guess the most remarkable part is that it isn't remarkable at all when it's yours, right? Thanks for sharing!

This Heavenly Life said...

Just awesome! Do you think you'd like for your kids to have a childhood like yours?

Kacie said...

I would love for my kids to have a crazy unusual multi-cultural upbringing. I doubt my kids will grow up in Indonesia, though... but I also doubt they'll grow up in the US!

Bethany said...

Wow, thanks for posting this- it was so interesting to read. I"d love to raise my kids in another culture :)

S H said...

You did a good job, enjoyed that you added the pictures. It is great being a MK