Friday, August 10, 2018

Lost My Phone, Discovered How to Buy Cheese, and Embraced the Culture

It is really a very typical small town girl in a big city story. While I was at the mall (which is HUGE by the way) someone stole my phone right out of my backpack. If this was a romantic comedy, it would have been raining dramatically and Chris Evans would have shown up to rescue me. Neither of those things happened (in case you were wondering).

However, something wonderful did come out of it. One of the teachers and his wife ran into me at the mall right after I had lost it and gave me hugs and prayed for me and that made me feel a lot better. Then my new teacher friends asked around and within 48 hours I had bought a phone that one of the other teachers had refurbished recently and it was like brand new (and better than my old one). I felt very loved by the way they pulled together for me. Everyone kept checking in on me and took me to the mall to get a new number and phone case.

And if any of you want to message me, if you download Whatsapp onto your phone you can message me any time!

But I know you are all dying to know how to buy cheese here. Well, you can do it the normal boring way and just go to the store. But it turns out when you don't live right next to Wisconsin, cheese is way expensive! They don't make cheese in Asia the way North America and Europe do so most of it here is imported. And because it has a shelf life, cheese costs lots.

So the way to get around that is to know a local who buys it in bulk. I ordered a block of mozzarella through my teacher friend Zoe who gets hers from a local. I got a block ten inches square and three inches thick for about $24. I cut it into blocks and put it into my freezer. Every so often I pull out a block to thaw and keep it in the fridge to cut and use. I have no clue where it comes from but it is really good cheese!

Embracing the culture here is not so hard as I thought it would be. Once you know things are just different, it becomes easier to accept. Orderly lines and procedures are not commonplace. People may cut in front of you while you are waiting, and I have yet to discover the rules of the road. Horns are used a lot to communicate while driving and motorbikes can pretty much do whatever they want on roads that often do not have centerlines or curbs.

Not everything happens on time here. The locals joke that "Indo time" means you can show up 20 to 30 minutes late. School, of course, is not like that and I think some of the students struggle to come to class on time because they grew up in a culture that says time isn't so important.

I am growing to know the quirky little things that make this country what it is. From the crazy patterned clothing to the rice with every meal to the crazy driving practices, I think I will be happy to call Indonesia home for the next two years.

Indonesian words:

Bulia: a white person from another country

Selamat pagi (sometimes shortened to just "pagi"): good morning

Nasi: cooked rice



  1. Words cannot express my pride in you, sweet granddaughter, Rachael. And thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. I love you to the moon, ❤️🙏🏻🦋🌸 Grammie

  2. Lovely post! And I'm glad the phone issue worked out okay, even though it must've been stressful at the time! Glad to see you settling in and can't wait to hear more. <3


  3. Wow, that's so insane to have your phone taken right out of your backpack! But you turned it into a fun story (even better than Chris Evans coming to the rescue ;)