Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Visit to the Country

With school out, we have time to explore some of the local countryside.  One of the favorite things for many people to visit are the waterfalls.  There are a number of waterfalls hidden in the heavily wooded hills and mountains surrounding Salatiga.  With friends from school as our guides, we ventured into the countryside to take in some of the natural beauty of Indonesia.

A forty-five minute drive uphill and over rocky roads brought us to two waterfalls.  There's something inspiring and peaceful about waterfalls.  Cool water flows down the mountainside converging on the lowest areas of the terrain and then crashing to even lower lands below.  The soil is washed away leaving only rocks to bear the force of the falling water.

Adding to our enjoyment of the waterfalls was the cooler air of the higher elevations.  Here, in small villages, people eek out a living farming small plots of rice or vegetables on the terraced slopes.  It's hard to imagine how long it took people to terrace the ground.  Here, heavy equipment is used only in the cities.  In the country, oxen teams still cultivate the ground.  The villagers' primary tools are a large hoe and a short sickle.  Looking at the small terraced fields makes me wonder if all of the work has been worth the effort of someone's endless days work with nothing but a hoe to move earth.  The answer of course is yes.  Like longterm investors, whoever created the terraces knew that the ground would provide income for themselves and their descendants.

Sometimes the beauty of Indonesia is lost on me.  With each passing day, our lush surroundings, seem less lush and more just apart of everything.  I wonder if the same is true for those who live and work near the waterfalls.

Kids enjoyed the waterfalls.  It was a chance to get wet on a hot day.  They played for over an hour in the cool 55 degree water.  There was even a short natural waterslide just down from the waterfall that the kids tried out.

Like most pictures, there are things that the camera misses; things that the photographer didn't want you to see.  The pictures posted on this blog show the beauty of Indonesia.  Hidden, but still present are some of the ugly reminders of the transformation taking place in Indonesia.  This third world country is rapidly becoming a first world country.  And with that transformation comes the effects of industrialization.  Wood is being consumed and sold to build more houses and furniture for those houses.  Waste is being generated by the huge population that calls Indonesia home.  In the pools at the base of one of the waterfalls we visited, flip-flops, food wrappers, plastic sacks and other human waste combine with twigs and leaves.  Slowly the beauty of Indonesia is being transformed.

One of the amazing things about living in Indonesia, is seeing the great diversity of nature.  I'm not sure what I thought bamboo looked like when we lived in the States, but I know it didn't include the huge groves of bamboo we've seen.  Bamboo, like the variety pictured, is used in all kinds of residential construction, many serving as posts for terraces and awnings.  This grove of bamboo were probably 50 ft. tall.
Our visit to the countryside was enjoyed by all.  We hope to make more excursions into the world surrounding us.  We'll take pictures and share what we see just in case you never make it to Indonesia.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Poetry by Abby

With school out, Abby hardly knows what to do with herself.  The school provides Day Camp three morning a week for K-6, but that isn't enough for Abby.  Here is some of her work.  Enjoy seeing the world in poetic free verse through the eyes of a 10 year-old American girl living in Indonesia.

POETRY By Abby Selzer


Blue is the sky
Blue is a bird
Blue is a color
Blue is a flower growing in the ground
Blue is the wire for the printer
If only everything could be blue


Red is a color
Red is the sunset
Red is a campfire roasting hotdogs
Red is a ball bouncing around
Red is O.U. the best football team


Green is the freshly cut grass
Green is the tops of trees and bushes
Green is the rug that sits in the living room
Green is the stem of beautiful flowers
Green is the best so pretty and clean


Orange is the sunrise
Orange is a pumpkin growing bigger and bigger
Orange is a carrot ready to pick
Orange is an orange sitting in the sun
Orange is amazing so why not be it


Yellow is the sun shining upon us
Yellow is a banana being gobbled up by a monkey
Yellow is millions of tennis balls bouncing around
Yellow is my brothers’ teeth
Yellow is the school bus that stops in front of my house
Without yellow we’re all in the dark


Purple is a round plum made into a plum pie
Purple is grapes being picked in a vineyard
Purple is a dodge ball getting ready to be thrown
Purple is the dress that a woman wears to the ball


Black is a beautiful night
Black is the book bag I take to school
Black is the pen I write with
Black is the end of my pencil
Black is the tires our sepeda motor


Zebras run fast
You could never catch them
Even if you are fast
Zebras are faster
I will tell you the reason
They are striped


Worms are so little
so slimy and stinky
There’s only one good thing about them


I am a spunky monkey
I am chunky
I am funky
I always eat bananas
But I never sl-ip
Ahh thump
“Ah Man’’


Tigers are striped
They like to eat meat
They need to brush their teeth
But if you try you


Lions are mean
They growl a lot
Grow big mains
To become the


Elephants have big trunks
They do a lot with them
They drink through them
They spit though them
Elephants do so much with them

Pink pigs

I’ve seen
Green pigs
Blue pigs
Yellow pigs
Red pigs
Orange pigs
Even black pigs
But never pink pigs
I guess they don’t like me
Yes now I’ve seen pink pigs!

Places to eat

Places to eat there are so many.
Where should I eat? Arby’s Wendy’s
Which is best? Which is fastest?

Where to go?

Where to go?
I want to go to Africa
But I also want to go to China
Where to go
I is so hard to pick
To Europe
Or Russia
Which one
I cannot choose
I guess
I will just stay right here

Hard to Choose

Hard to choose
Between a robot or an army man which one
I know I will
Flip a coin
Heads is army man
Tails is robot
(Indonesian for Ugh!)
Landed on its side!


My name Is Abby Selzer
I like to do a lot
I play sports
I have fun
That’s what I like to do

B.E.L.L.E 1
Stands for Belle!

Active pup
Likes to jump
I miss her so

B.E.L.L.E 2
Stands for Belle!

Amazing pup
Likes to hope
She rocks my socks!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

School's Out!

We can't believe that an entire school year has passed while we've been in Indonesia.  I don't mean to sound cliche when I say that "it went by way too fast."  As the kids have been saying for the last week "Yeah! School's Out! It's Summer! Now what...?"  In fact I think Jeff and I joined right in with their chant.  We have found that during the summer the community here around the school tends to clear out.  Most of the Korean families have returned to Korea for the summer and all of the families that were going on furlough for the coming year have left, along with those families who were only here for language school.  This year the school has had 10 teachers decide that their time was over here at MICS plus 3 teachers leave for the states on furlough.  The remaining staff is in the process of regrouping and getting prepared to welcome new teachers to Indonesia and to MICS beginning the middle of July.  Our family will be bridgers for one of the new families that is coming.  Being a bridger includes welcoming them at the airport and helping them get settled into their new home.  As well as showing them around the campus and the town.  We will be available for their questions and to help in anyway possible.  We are very thankful for those people who were bridgers for us when we first arrived in this "strange and new land."

Now you may be wondering what is going to keep us busy for the rest of the summer...  Jeff and I are required to work for one month during the summer, so we will be spending the month of June working on curriculum for our classes.  We are also continuing to study Bahasa Indonesian with private tutors.  Quintin is working at the school as a counselor for the MICS Day Camp.  Abby and Zach are attending the Day Camp as well.  So for the month of June you can find the entire Selzer family still at school, but only for the mornings.  We are planning to do a little more exploring here in Salatiga and who knows what we'll discover.  On June 30, Jeff's parents (Gerry & Jean Selzer) will be arriving from Hesston, Kansas, and will be here for two weeks.  We will then be hosting a young girl from Holland who will be visiting friends of ours.  She is coming to Indonesia to work on her English.  I know that this sounds strange, but we do have a large American population here in Salatiga.  She will live with our family for one week and help at the Day Camp.  Then on July 24, my mom (Lynn), sister (Betty), and nieces (London & Sydney) will be arriving for a two week visit.  We can't wait to see everyone and have been saving some of the many beautiful sights here in Indonesia to enjoy with family.  Then suddenly the summer is over and we will begin our second year here at MICS.  But summer is not over yet... in fact we're just getting started!

P.S.  Please forgive us for not blogging during the month of May.  Between the many school functions we attended as teachers and then the programs we attended as parents we had little extra time as bloggers.