Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snapshots of life in Indonesia/Papua

Did you know there's a fruit with skin like a snake?

From papua

Or that sweet potato is often purple, not orange?

From papua

Or that pineapple grows on... well... a bush-like thing that looks like this?

From papua

(the first time Isaac saw a pineapple growing when I took him home to visit Papua, he thought it was just yard decor and thought I was pulling his leg when I told him that's how they really grow)

And did you know that when you scare most lizards they can shed their tail (in an attempt to get away if you have it by its tail), which will sit there twitching disgustingly. The lizard will proceed to regrow a new tail:

From papua

Life in Papua. It's fun to have my brother, sister-in-law, and my friends go home to visit, because they take photos of the quirky things I took for granted as a kid. Some things are new even to me. For instance, this was in a meal packet on a flight my brother and sister-in-law took:

From papua

Papuan women, like many women around the world, are incredibly strong and carry huge loads. Papuans carry them in stretchy woven net bags that they hang around their foreheads:

From papua

Note that Papuan men, like many other men around the world, manage to get out of the real work. These women have probably spent the day working in the gardens and are headed home with dinner. The man goes with them, but there's no telling if he's done much of anything today. He carries, as usual, a nearly-empty string bag and a machete.... for hunting. Never mind that no one hunts in the city... it's tradition that they're sticking to it. *grumbles*

From papua

You'll notice if you look closely that the women are barefoot. This is also normal. It was also normal for me, unless I was in school. It's still a semi-regular practice, to the chagrin of my husband, who finds this a tragic breach of all health and safety standards.

From papua

I think it's smart. Feet were never meant to be pampered. They are functional. They are for walking. They develop callouses, and the callouses protect your feet (let me reemphasize that - callouses are good and necessary things meant to protect your feet). If you build up callouses and go barefoot often, you won't get all the freaky feet things that Westerners get. Bare, calloused, scratchy feet? Beautiful.

Also beautiful? My home.

From papua
That's overlooking the little town of Sentani that I grew up in. The hills are clear of the surrounding jungle because MacArthur had them sprayed with a saline solution to kill the vegetation so the Japanese troops couldn't sneak up on them when they were based in the area.

This is my brother, back visiting what was essentially the backyard he grew up playing in.

From papua

Our house was at the top of a hill above town and at the foot of a 5,000 ft. mountain. What a way for an adventurous boy to grow up, right? Yeah. Then there was me. I was mostly inside, reading. But I did super enjoy looking out the window while I was reading and thinking about how beautiful it all was! ;)

From papua

This is the road up one of the hills we lived on. I got a motor scooter in high school and going up and down that hill was my commute to class in the morning and afternoon.

From papua

And on the weekend? If we were lucky, we'd get a group together and go here:

From papua

***PS - not a one of these photos can be attributed to my photography skills. They're all from my brother, sister-in-law, and various friends that have visited home this past year.
I was lucky. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wonder... where will my son grow up? I moved to Indonesia when I was five years old, and to the province of Papua when I was in 4th grade. When my son is five, hopefully Isaac and I will both have our graduate degrees (fingers crossed) and we'll be headed overseas. To where? What will that life be like for him?


Jaimie said...

Yeah, I played outside barefoot all the time. I kind of lament the fact that my feet can't handle the hot cement like they used to.

Camels & Chocolate said...

Man, I so want to get to both countries! We really tried to couple our time in Borneo with a week or so in Indonesia, but ran out of time! Flights over there are just too sporadic.

cclarebear said...

I knew all of that. Heh.

Love the pics ;)

Oh also while you're thinking about moving overseas can you pick London please? We're definitely going in 18 months and I would be an excellent Aunty Clare. kthanxbai

Alysa said...

Wonderful post - love seeing the pictures of familiar life in Papua. Makes me miss it so much.

Oh, and wherever you land, be prepared to have Madison and Jackson for one of their high school years to come and visit with you! =) I'm only sort of kidding.=)

Rachel said...

YOUR SON YOUR SON YOUR SON. i am still freaking out. YOUR SON. I want to be there for Christmas. I want to be there for the birth. I WANT TO FREAKING BE THERE. I feel so far away. Bleh. But also yay. Your son. Wierd.

Oh and yeh, she's now you have to move here :)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (kisses for your son, get them in there now before it gets embarrasing for him)