The magic of small things

by Tabitha Kidwell

I’ve been waiting for something big and exciting to happen to warrant a blog post. But no such event has occurred. It turns out, life here is not so different from like in Ohio: I plan classes, teach classes, spend way too much time looking at pictures of my friends’ babies and puppies on facebook, etc. If I keep waiting for something crazy and exotic to happen, I might not blog for a long time. That’s not to say that life isn’t exciting here – it definitely is! But the excitement is more pervasive – instead of one stand-out event, it’s a million little things to wonder about and discover. This is what I love about living abroad – life is still life, with its daily banalities, but it’s just different enough to keep you on your toes. Some of the highlights of life the past few weeks:

After two weeks of practicing on the Scoopy and only driving short distances, I finally got the license plates! After lots of practice, I’m no longer afraid of mowing down small children or running into brick walls. I can now legally drive all over town! Well, not legally, given that I don’t have a motorcycle license (or any form of Indonesian license, actually), but I’m not going to worry about that right now.

I scoopied to the supermarket today, where I bought lettuce! I have really been missing salad, but it’s not often eaten here, so I couldn’t find dressing. I tried to find vinegar to make vinaigrette myself, but couldn’t find that either, so I bought limes to make a citrus vinaigrette. Or, I thought I bought limes: it turns out they were oranges! And it also turns out that orange juice can make a pretty tasty salad dressing. Who knew?

My sprained ankle is still hurting after a month, so my counterpart suggested a Chinese chiropractor/foot reflexologist. Actually, I have no idea what the place was, but it said those things on the door. In America, they really discourage massage for sprained ankles, but I’m not in America anymore, so I thought I’d give it a try. I told the guy about my sprained right ankle and about the tendonitis that has lingered for 18 months in the left ankle. He poked and prodded and stretched and cracked my feet for an hour. Sometimes it felt great, sometimes it hurt like hell, but at the end, both ankles felt better than they have since I fell in that hole a month ago! He said that he made my feet more “symmetrical.” I don’t care what he did. I’m going back next week. Eastern medicine has it figured out!

I’ve been wondering for weeks what “dll” is. It’s on the sign for almost every store – “clothes, shoes, dll,” or “mangoes, apples, bananas, dll.” I really wanted to get some of this dll! Too bad dll means “etc.” Duh.

My mom had heard about a Mennonite couple from Columbus who are here in Salatiga, but hadn’t been able to get their info yet. Then, when I was googling “Pizza Hut Salatiga,” (there isn’t one) I came across their blog and messaged them. We met for coffee last week at a really nice coffee shop that I never would have found on my own. My first bule friends! Then, the opposite thing happened – a girl who teaches at the international school here came across my blog and messaged me, so I met her and her friends at another great coffee shop. More bule friends! And lots of great coffee!

I bought a vial of Britney Spears perfume for 50 cents and a Louis Vuitton clutch for $4. Surely these are authentic… Right?

That wraps it up for this week. I’ll continue to be on the lookout for the exciting and unexpected – both big and small!

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2 Comments to “The magic of small things”

  1. I would love to hope on the back of that pink scoobie and get a whirlwind tour of Indonesia!!

  2. I love reading about the small things- its really those day to day things that allow you to really know a culture!

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