Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

Amy and I have been decorating and rearranging the house like madwomen. After many combinations, the furniture FINALLY makes sense, we have new sheets that we aren’t embarrassed for people to see, we have separate spaces for eating and relaxing, and we have pictures on the wall that reflect our travels. Life is all kinds of comfortable in the Mesteller-Worley house.

We also have this masterpiece of a family portrait.



This caricature of Amy, Monty, and I was made my Anpan and Jaka. We think that it’s a pretty accurate reflection of our little family and we crack up every time we see it! The bottles of alcohol are a very nice touch.

Have you ever had a caricature made of yourself? What physical or personality features were highlighted in yours?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

This is an exciting time for everyone and every plant because the rainy season is in full force! YAY! My yard, that used to be dry patches of grass here and there and lots of dusty dirt is now thick with grass. The weather is also a lot (well, relatively) cooler now that we have daily showers. I am also loving watching the lightning shows over the mountains and the ocean from our balcony.

Dry Season

Rainy season. Much more life than before…

You could say that all people are feeling fresh and renewed and the land could not be happier! Finally, our fruit trees are starting to produce fruit and soon we will have fresh durian, starfruit, and papaya. YUM!

Our durian is getting bigger and bigger! A rain cloud rolls in… 

There are few things that I relish more than laying in bed and listening to rain pour down and thunder boom and I love walking outside right after a downpour and smelling the freshness that comes right after it rains. Yes, I am feeling renewed in body and spirit… and much less sweaty.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Apart from my blog’s subtitle and the ‘About Me’ page, I’ve really downplayed the fact that I’m in Indonesia teaching English. Teaching ESL abroad offers so many opportunities for growth for everyone involved. Below is a picture of the classroom rules that my students and I made together. At the first meeting of every new class, I like to go over classroom guidelines and let the students play a role in deciding what should and shouldn’t be done in the classroom. Then, we talk about how following each of these rules will help us all learn better and after everyone agrees, we all, including me, we all sign the bottom of the page. I love this class’ rule sheet because of the awesome pictures that the students drew to accompany each rule.

Working together in following these rules, I hope that my students’ English skills will grow. I hope that I will grow as a teacher. And  I hope that we all grow as global citizens.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

I’ll admit it. I was kind of disappointed by this week’s weekly photo challenge. The color purple? Had this been a theme in 2009 after carnaval in La Vega, Dominican Republic, I could have simply posted a picture of my thighs and legs, which were all different shades of purple by beaten by these guys.

A sober person would never engage in this activity. That swing is not a love tap.

Under the influence of lots of rum and merengue music, I eagerly threw myself in their way. The next morning, I was hating my former happy drunk self.

I am both clumsy and adventurous. That means that I am typically constantly covered with bruises. Right now, I am enjoying a rare condition of having a bruise-free body and therefore don’t have any stories of injuries or mishaps to share for the color purple.

I did come up with something, though. On Sunday, Amy, Mira, and I went to the circus. While the acts with animals made uncomfortable being there, I still love going to the circus for the clowns and the dancers. My favorite performance was the ribbon dancers. I am so impressed by their strength, grace, and coordination. Anyone who has seen me dance or try to play a sport knows that I do not possess any of those. I watched in awe as they climbed,  twirled, and supported each other while soaring in mid-air. The stage was lit purple.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (my bathroom)

So, I’ve decided to hop on the Weekly Photo Challenge bandwagon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with WordPress, every week, The Daily Post posts a new challenge for bloggers to capture in a frame. I think it’ll be a fun and different angle to think about what I’m seeing in Indonesia as well as give me subjects that I might not normally talk about in this blog. This week, the theme is “Inside”.

Pictured below is the inside of my bathroom! It’s so easy to talk about all the gorgeous bits of Indonesia. The beaches. The streets shaded with palm trees. The coconut milk that has become a staple of my diet. The smiling faces. Even within walls, there are more beautiful things to talk about than my bathroom. How to make a cup of coffee. Amy and I’s lizard buddies that hang out on our walls. Heaps of batiks that sit in Che Che’s living room waiting to be sold. Che Che’s homemade meatball soup and her cozy kitchen. But those are easy delightful blog posts that will come another time. Today, you get to read about my less than fresh smelling bathroom.

What is that hose for? Excellent question!

Welcome, everyone! So you’re in Indonesia and you have to go to the bathroom. I spent most of my first night in Indonesia at Che Che’s house holding it because I really didn’t know where to begin. I also didn’t want to ask, for obviously reasons. Three cups of coffee, a bowl of fried rice, and a glass of water later and my bladder was hating me, so I had to tackle The Indonesian Bathroom Beast.

First off, you’ll note that there is no toilet. This is not a rest room by any means. There is no getting off your feet for a minute or two and using the bathroom here is a very inappropriate time to catch on current events. “Mary, I don’t see any toilet paper!” No you don’t. That’s where the hose comes in. Hook that thing up to the faucet and clean yourself off. It seems gross at first, but it’s actually quite refreshing. Any guesses on how to flush? See that pink bucket? I keep the tub-like structure off to the side full of water and when it’s time to flush, a few bucket-fulls of water into the toilet will do the trick! Just like that you’ve relieved and feeling fresh.

Now it’s time to bathe. My first instinct was to climb into the tub thing. Luckily, I had Amy to tell me that was a bad idea and enlighten me, instead, to the option of bucket showering. No, there is no hot water, however, it is so hot here in Bandar Lampung, that nothing is more refreshing than dousing oneself with buckets of cold water!

Aside from “Weekly Photo Challenge” I’m going to file this post away under “Things I Miss”. I’d be lying to you if I said that I preferred this bathroom style even a little bit to my cozy bathrooms in the United States. I miss spending evenings in the bath tub listening to music. I miss standing in the shower and feeling like I’m in a warm rain storm. And I HATE having to put down my book just because I have to use the bathroom. I’ll go ahead and consider Indonesian bathrooms a character builder for me. An obstacle course in hygiene.