Sunday, 4 October 2015


October 4th, 2015

Jenn aka Mama

Benny is famous in Jogja. Basically he's like Justin Beiber, except slightly less of an asshole. Everywhere we go we are flocked by young girls with their iPhone cameras out and their cheek pinching fingers ready. He's gotten very good at answering the questions "Where are you from?" and "What is your name?" except he thinks his name is Buddy.

We have a few places we visit regularly like Epic Coffee and Merapi View Clubhouse and everyone there knows him by name. Anytime we walk into Epic Benny goes straight to the Barista and asks for "one iced tea". Jesse and I could actually just drop Benny off at a store or restaurant and leave for a few hours if we wanted some alone time and he would be showered with attention and fed all kinds of sugar...don't worry MOM we won't. 

Benny is attending an Indonesia daycare called Bianglala 3 days per week for around 4 hours per day. I take him there in the baby seat we attached to my bicycle and then I go to the gym and pool for a couple hours. The teacher, Pita, who takes care of him the majority of the time speaks a little english so she is able to communicate with us quite easily. In Indonesia everyone is addressed with a title and then their first name. Female teachers are addressed as 'Bunda' which means mother. When Benny wakes up in the morning I usually ask him what he dreamt about the night before. The other day he said "basketball net" and "Bunda Pita".

Since Benny is the only foreigner in his daycare, all of the other children and the teachers speak Bahasa Indonesia. Benny is picking it up quite well, he can already count to 10 on his own and can say quite a few phrases like "Hati-hati" (be careful) and "sama-sama" (you're welcome). I'm sure he'll be fluent by the time we leave and will speak much better Indonesian than Jesse or I.

Benny's love for sports has definitely not faded since arriving in Indonesia, if anything he has been introduced to new sports like ping-pong and futsal, turning him into even more of a fanatic. There is a little basketball 'court' and volleyball 'net' just up the alley near our house. I use quotations because it's basically just a big field of dust with a metal hoop hanging on the concrete wall and some bamboo poles with a net attached. By the end of every day Benny is pretty much black from head to toe like the kids who were sucked up the chimney in Mary Poppins. I still don't understand why everyone insists on having white marble floors here...All of the kids are fascinated by us, and by fascinated I mean they think we're hilarious. A little boy ran up to Jesse, pointed at him, and laughed in his face yesterday. When I get annoyed I usually call myself the 'Bule Monster' and chase them around with my arms outstretched and my fingers clenched like claws... it's fine.

Indonesian words aren't the only thing Benny has added to his vocabulary. He likes to to sign along to Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk, especially "Too hot, hot damn" so now if his bathwater it too hot he says, "hot damn." The other song he likes to quote, unfortunately, is Bubble Butt. Anytime I'm getting dressed he says "bubble butt" and then proceeds to smack my bum--I wonder where he got that from?!

He's not totally ruined though, he is using his manners very well lately. It melts my heart when I hand him something he wants and he says 'Tank you Mama" or if he asks for something and we ask him to use his manners he'll say "Plee" (please). Benny also likes to say goodbye to EVERYTHING when we leave somewhere, whether it's a restaurant, the park, or a room. He'll say "bye ball, bye tree, bye up the stairs, bye slide" when he's finished his bath he puts all of his toy fish away and says "bye fishy fishy, bye yoap (soap)" and then points to the tap and says "bye too hot". Last night we were at a park and Jesse changed his diaper on the grass, when we were leaving Benny pointed to the grass and said "bye clean bum".

Things Benny loves in Indonesia:

-Riding the 'mo bike' (scooter). He likes to sit up front with daddy and press the horn even though it makes everyone on the road think we're passing them...

-Mie Goreng (fried noodles). He could and basically does eat it everyday.
-The loud speakers at the mosque. He claps his hands and says 'Yay' at the end of the call to prayer which sounds like a song and is announced 5 times per day.
-Drinking from coconuts
-All of the art and statues, he is constantly saying "Woowwwwwww".

I just asked him what else he likes and he said "money".

Being able to leave my job and spend all of this time with him in a new world has been so rewarding. I feel very blessed for this experience and even more so for being able to immerse my child into a new culture at such a young age. I know this adventure will have lasting effects on all of us and it has created such an appreciation for the supportive relationships we have made in this life.

Selamat Sore!


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  2. What a wonderful post! You have such a way with words, Jenn, it's like a window in to your lives.
    It is truly amazing all the things you are all experiencing and learning, and especially looking at Benny's perspective. The idea of him speaking two languages is quite mind-blowing.
    I'm thinking when you guys get settled in here again, you'll be keeping your eyes open for your next international adventure! (Not too soon though, okay?)
    Love Jan