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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ramadan 13 - My Birthday

The fasting is done. The feasting has begun. Outside there are 5 or 6 different loudspeakers that I can hear from the mosques. All of them are broadcasting children singing / praying Allah….Allah….. Allah. There are firecrackers and the sky is filled with shooting fireworks in 20 different directions that I can see from my upstairs porch.

One of my co-teachers had me give out my cell phone number to the smartest kids I teach - 11th graders that are studying the science track and the ones with the best scores on the entrance exam got put into a class together. So I have been receiving birthday greetings and happy idul fitri greetings since 1:00 this morning. Actually I got up at 3:00 for the last meal of the fasting so it didn't matter. Here's what I have recieved-

gOod mOrning Oma.

Happy bridy Oma.. YOU is the best.

It's is nice feeling when u know that someone likes u, someone thinks about u, someone needs u, but it feels much better when u know that someone never ever forgets u'r birthday. May Almightys best blessings shwered on u'r HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

(note - Assalamualakum is Arabic for Thanks Be To God.)

hAPpY B'DAY Oma, I HOPE u happy IN OUR SCHOOL yea, I'm very happy have teacher as Oma, Oyea, Have a Nice Trip to Bali OMa, toMOrrow, From Student of Science 3

Today, As we humble ourself, forgetting our arrogance defeating our head. As we were occupied motionless at the front of the window of u’r heart, waiting for u’r forgiveness to open for us. Holy hold Ied 1431 - from Henra Gnawan n family

And from my Peace Corps buddies:

Sami - Happy birthday Colleen! Can't wait to see you.

Maggie - Good morning my beautiful Colleen! Happy birthday - i still remember when Sept 9 seemed so far away when we were in junrejo, and soon enough every muslim in the world will be celebrating on your birthday :-) can't wait to see you in a few days. Miss you!

Diana - Happy birthday Colleen! Hope 62 is even better than 61! See you soon!

Scott – Happy Birthday Colleen. Muslims all over Indonesia and the world are celebrating today, for good reason! Hope all is well. (And he gave me a CD of music – to be opened today!)

And lots and lots more – I just stopped writing them down.

And from the US Embassy in Jakarta - Sep 9, 2010– Amcits (American citizens) are advised that there may be anti American, possibly disruptive, demonstrations to mark an announced Koran burning on Sept 11 in Florida. We again remind Amcits to exercise prudence and continue to take active, personal responsibility for their security. We suggest that Amcits monitor news reports, follow the instructions of Indonesian authorities and avoid demonstrations. We remind Amcits that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Amcits are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.

From our Peace Corps security – more of the same – basically don’t get into a fight about the cost of a cab ride, your life isn’t worth it. Remember, it may be something you did, or said, or the way you dressed that made a person feel that you have offended them.

And my family here, my Ibu-mama and host dad and my sister who just graduated from nursing school sang Happy Birthday to me and gave me a beautiful black and gold piece of fabric with fringes. She told me I could use it when I take a bath. I have no idea if she means that – it’s too beautiful to use as a towel! They had a little teddy bear paper out of a notebook tucked inside and I could read (mostly) what they had written to me:

To Oma Happy Birthday, we wish you long life and health always. From family here. Happy repeat year!

This morning I went to the big market - tons of dead chickens and fish and vegetables and clothes and shoes and everything in the world you could possible want - our market is gigantic! It started raining so I was staying inside visiting at lots of shops that I have just walked by, but since there was nothing else to do, I just started talking with different shop keepers. I had a blast. I actually was looking for a type of snack that they make here out of peanuts and sesame seeds and sugar from coconuts. It comes in flat little squares and it tastes like cracker jacks. I want to take some to Bali with me to give to my friends. I think of them as Indonesian Energy bars. I know where I can buy them at a super market type place, but I wanted to see if they were less at the big market. People were fascinated with the idea: "What do Americans think is a great snack." and several people helped me find someone who had some but he wanted too much money for them - who knows, maybe he buys them from the supermarket too!

And then I got to talk to 2 of my 3 children in America!

For my birthday dinner I had all my favorites – hot noodle soup, cold French fries, hot white rice, a cold fried chicken leg, a cold fried egg, tomatoes, lettuce and watermelon. My ibu-mama knows what I like!

Okay, I’m going back out on the porch in the night air and watch the rest of the fireworks and listen to the kids chanting. I think they are saying Allah akbar. God is Great!

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