Monday, October 27, 2008

Don't mess with me!

As most of you all know, I have been practicing karate several times a week now for the last 4 months. It has been quite an experience having never done anything like this before... except for dressing up like a ninja for Halloween and once making numb chucks in my basement that I used on my little brother. I hope you enjoy the following pics.

We always open each class with a series of warm up moves and stretches. As you can see the splits always seems to give me some trouble. I am officially the oldest, least flexible student in the class.

This is my good friend Andris that comes to practice sometimes, I made him pay the price for forgetting to wear his uniform.

All ninjas have to start with the basics.

Here is the whole class.

This is me looking on with fear and trembling as two weeks ago my skills were tested at this city wide examination to get a yellow belt. Fortunately, the group I am watching went before me so I could watch and try to memorize what I would have to do.

So far, so good.

This is when I really started to get nervous as I was paired up against this 14 year old girl. I got her with a left hook in this picture... just kidding, we weren't actually fighting.

At one point I was tested on a series of punches and kicks that I had worked on during the previous three months of practice. Midway through this portion of the test I blew it as I went blank and forgot what I was supposed to do. At that point I tried to just make something up and hope that I wouldn't be seen. The next thing I know I hear hystaric laughter coming from these little kids that were really enjoying my failure. (Thanks to Jordan for capturing every detail of my performance!)

Eventhough I choked on part of my exam, I still passed. Though the kids above are really enjoying themsleves, I got the last laugh. I also waited for them in the parking lot before I went home after the exam!

This karate class has been one of the highlights of my time in Indonesia. In addition to developing some sweet fighting skills, I was able to make some great friendships that I'll never forget. I find great joy in knowing that I have been able to give a positive influence in such a context like this!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Flower boys

Not too long ago Jordan and I had the opportunity to become Indonesian flower boys. We have learned to expect the unexpected here in Indonesia over the months but nothing had us quite prepared for being in our first Indonesian wedding.

Usually, the way we do it in America is to invite members of the wedding party several months in advance. In our case, we found out about 10 minutes before the wedding began, as we were immediately rushed off to a dressing room after we arrived to be greeted by an old Indonesian woman who told us to "lepas pakaian!" (translation: strip down!) At that point we were thoroughly confused and a little scared to be honest. As soon as we were dressed we were handed large flowers made of banana leaves and ordered to walk in front of the bride and groom.

Turns out our roommate wanted to surprise us by not telling us in advance...but it was almost disastrous as the two flower boys showed up 10 minutes after the wedding was scheduled to start! Check out some pics from what we have voted as one of our top five experiences over the last year.

This is the entire wedding party. We were about 15 years older than the flower girls... but they didn't seem to mind!

We actually had two outfit changes, I personally like the green better myself.

Two studly flower boys.

This is a picture of my roommates family. He is the one standing to the left of Jordan. He has been one of my best friends and a great cultural teacher as he has always been so eager to invite us to be apart of his life here in Indonesia. It has been sweet to get to know him over this last year as we have shared many different parts of our lives together. He is currently in the transition between graduating from high school and looking for work.