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13,500 islands

2016 February 28
by Rachel Turiel

We’re in that tween stage of seasons, where during the middle of the day you might feel an inkling of spring thawing and unfurling. Then, the hammer of night falls and no one wants to go outside and lock the chickens up because it’s cold and dark and wintry, and we’re all kind of banking on Dan doing it anyway. Also, what is happening right now is Col is looking under our stove for “stuff to trade with Rose.”

Dan has been coaching Rose and three different girlfriends in a gymnastics routine in our house. He’s pretty serious about it, often asking for “a little more pop!”

Col has a casual but important role: 

And then Dan turns to me and winks, “Hey – who said you couldn’t have a gymnastics routine in 800 square feet?”

So, did you notice my subtle little reference to 13,500 islands and maybe are wondering what that was all about? The crazy wild news is that tomorrow we’re boarding a plane for Indonesia (which is made up of approximately 13,500 islands). We’re going with my parents (which should seem obvious, because you know, we hardly like to leave the zipcode unless it’s to Utah or New Mexico, in which case we’re like, “wow – it’s so excitingly foreign here!”).

We’ll be on a boat sailing around and visiting Indonesian islands for a large chunk of time, and then staying in a house in Bali and eating a lot of exotic fruit. (Dan has been reading Alfred Russel Wallace’s Indonesian journals to us, in which the fruit, durian, is described as: “a rich, highly-flavoured butter-like custard…with a smell akin to open sewers.”

We’re all terribly excited and committed to going with the flow (we hear life in Indonesia is a bit more, well, relaxed than here). I’ve been trying to connect with a school teacher in Bali so we can meet her students. She suggested I clear it with the school’s headmaster. Do you have his e-mail? I asked her. Nope, she did not. Also, all students are currently on a 2-week vacation for Hindu holidays.

At some point in the densely crowded city of Jakarta, we’ll need to find this address (which could be enough adventure for all three weeks in itself) to board our boat:

JL.Raya Pelabuhan No.8 Tanjung Priok Jakarta 14310, Jakarta.

I know! Dan and I may be skilled at tapping box elder trees or sneaking edible weeds and roadkill deer into dinner parties, but finding our way through dense, foreign cities? My dad seems pretty confident we’ll make it to the boat before it leaves the shore.
Rose is insisting on bringing her stuffed polar bear, which takes up 1/8 of her carry-on. She is also smuggling several first world dog treats for some lucky feral Indonesian dogs. Dan just shaved his beard to prepare for tropical weather (the kids had never seen his chin!). And Col is just 100% IN.

We all have our own small anxieties. Me: How will I bring enough books to read? Rose: Will I get to sit next to Mama on every plane flight? Dan: How will I get my marital needs met while sharing a room with 2 offspring? Col: Will they make me homeschool in Indonesia?

I am not bringing my computer and look forward to being unplugged from technology and plugged into the family and Asia. Asia! I have some posts set up to automatically show up on Mondays, though Monday in America is not Monday in Indonesia, but my blog is still hosted in America…anyway, hopefully it all works.

With so much LOVE,


p.s. Thank you for all your shares and feedback on my last post. We’re all in this together. 100%.

p.p.s A few recommendations: This movie and this movie; this book.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Susan S permalink
    February 28, 2016

    Oh, the excitement! I am 100% in Col’s camp. I will go anywhere that involves no schooling! :-) Enjoy, be safe and bring back loads and loads of fantastic stories!

  2. February 28, 2016

    Rachel, what awesome news! I fully rejoice with you all.

    (And I have a feeling that even books will become superfluous at some point :o)


  3. Andrea permalink
    February 28, 2016

    I always look forward to reading your posts and for this one, I am so excited for all of you! What an adventure… You probably won’t have much time for reading as your eyes will be amazed by so much else! Safe travels.

  4. Ellie permalink
    February 28, 2016

    Rachel, I can’t wait to hear what you all learn. Safe travels!

  5. Becky permalink
    February 29, 2016

    I am so excited for you and can’t wait to read all about it as your words bring all your adventures and life so that I feel I have been with you. Enjoy your time away from your zip code with your folks

  6. Amber Lena permalink
    February 29, 2016

    That’s so exciting! But weirdly, the thing I am most interested in seeing is Dan’s chin! ;-)

  7. March 11, 2016

    You must in awe and amazement right about now. So I have to ask…I know Col and Rose are a little older than I was at the time, but when I saw my dad’s chin for the first time at the tender age of four I cried, cuz who’s this strange looking man in our back yard?!?! I hope no one was traumatized ; ) sending you all so much love from a few islands north!

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