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Entries in Jakarta (35)


Jakarta Organic Farm Homestay {Travel Files}

I think we find the perfect little Jakarta mini-break destination. This little organic farm and homestay serves up some of the freshest, most delicious, innovative food you'll find in all of Indonesia. (Can I just say that pesto made with basil, parsley and coconut cream was a life changing bite of goodness?)

Lodges Ekologica at Portibi Farms: Tops in the Jakarta Organic Farm Homestay situation. 

Stella and I headed out of the city with a group of friends and a gaggle of kiddos. 

We slept in beautiful cabins, paragons of Indo-hipster design esthetic. There were three-year-olds dancing to records, little boys eagerly feeding logs into a fire that roasted our sate, a nocturnal visit from a civet, vegetable harvests, and constant sequels of children running in the grass, barefoot and gleefully dirty. If you know anything about Jakarta, you know that this is basically the perfect antidote to our lovely, crazy city.

Stella was basically as happy as happy can be, reveling in the freedom offered by life in the "crunchry side". With vast tracts of grass, fresh air, and a partner in crime, my big little girl suddenly became this independent, self-reliant human person. 

For more prefect and artful images of this epic weekend, see my talented friend's website. PS, she books family shoots. So if you're local, get in touch.



Oh, and yes, my child DID wear the same dress for three days straight. I had to peel the thing off of her once we got back into the city. But I guess that's a sign of love? Dress c/o Matilda Jane.


If you Go:


  • Honestly, I couldn't think of a better mini-gateway from Jakarta than Portibi Farms This Jakarta Organic Farm Homestay offers good food, great hospitality, and lovely, lovely, fresh air.


  • All meals are included in the room rate. Which is good news, because there's not much around except trees, and nature. But I couldn't imagine wanting to eat anywhere else, frankly.


  • Like most places in Indonesia, it can get surprisingly noisy at night. Particularly if you're here on a Friday evening, the mosques in the village below are quite persistent in their reminders to pray. Bring ear plugs.


  • Expect a back to nature experience. There will be bugs. And okay, the occasional civet cat. But no bigs. Just bring some mosquito spray. 


  • While kid-friendly, (there's a little play structure / climbing frame for kids to run themselves ragged on, and the owners are more than gracious and accommodating of little ones) small people with terrible risk assessment skills (read: the under three set) will need to be closely supervised. There are balconies without railings, and the occasional steep drop-off.



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"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Stella: She spent almost the entire weekend running off, exploring the "crunchry side" with her friend.

Stella and I are back from a much-needed respite in country where we spent a three-day weekend with some of the very best people in Jakarta. It's amazing what some fresh air and dirty feet can do for the soul. I'm feeling clarity and direction like I haven't in months, and am determined to make regular trips outside of the big city.


Idul Adha in Jakarta

Selamat Idul Adha! 

Yesterday we celebrated Eid al-Adha, (or Idul Adha as it's known here in Indoneisa.) 

Idul Adha in Jakarta is a big deal, second only to Eid al-Fitr (Idul Fitri), which marks the end of Ramadan (Lebaran), as a major religious holiday. Idul Adha commemorates the willingness of Ibrihim to sacrifice his own son in obedience to God. Traditionally men and women dress in white, and cows, goats or sheep are sacrificed. The meat is then butchered and given to the poor. 

Admittedly, our celebration was non-traditional in the sense that it involved neither sacrifice of domestic animals nor any ritual prayers, but instead, a trip to the newly opened H&M and lunch at a Japanese restaurant. But still.  

But the night before the big holiday, well that was something. Jalan Sudirman, the main thoroughfare that cuts through the city was closed to traffic late Monday afternoon, as thousands of drummers gathered to welcome nightfall and the beginning of Idul Adha. 

Of course Stella and I wanted to be part of the action, so out we went!

The mood was buoyant, and we got lots of high fives and "Hello Misters!" We stayed out till dark, taking advantage of a rare opportunity for an evening stroll. Then we came home and watched as a parade of thousands of torches and the occasional fire breather passed along the street below our building. 

Prayer songs rang out all night long, and we slept fitfully but happily. 

Jakarta, sometimes you just kill it. 



Swimming Lessons Jakarta Style.

Stella has just started taking swimming lessons, and you guys, this is totally major! We're on week two, and I don't know who's more excited about our swim Fridays, she or me. The grin on this kid as she swims "by mine selwf" is just too much. And my Mama heart: swollen and prideful beyond all recognition. Let's just say we're both pretty stoked. 

With an amazing pool right on our doorstep and an appreciation our year-round swimmable climate born from 24 years of Canadian winters, I feel like it's, like, kind of a crime not be at the pool every day of life. You know? Plus, with a new baby coming in a few short months, well now's the time to learn to stay afloat in water so independent pool play is possible. Thus, swimming lessons. 

And now, this sounds terribly posh and privileged, and okay, it kind of is, but whatever. We're working with a private teacher who comes to our building to teach our three year old and her friend how to blow bubbles in the water. But, in the Jakarta context, believe me, it's totally the way to go. I mean, when you have Indo traffic to contend with, who wants to go to the municipal pool (oh, wait, there IS NO municipal pool, duh.) So swimming lessons in Jakarta happen at home. It's just the way things are done. 

On this particular Friday, we swam not once but TWICE! Swimming lessons were followed immediately by a swimming playdate. Because it's Friday, and why not? There was a little splashing, a little swimming, some time spent getting acquainted with a flutter board, a nasi goreng break, and then off to the next pool where the kids splashed, the mums chatted and there may or may not have been mango iced tea spiked with vodka. Fridays, I'm telling you. They're not too shabby. 




Family Photography in Jakarta

I have some images for you this morning.

Because I went to Yoga for CrossFit last night. 

And then did a CorssFit conditioning workout.

Because I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a bus.

Because I have a gigantic stack of work to do.

Because I'd rather take a nap.

Because I've been sitting on these pictures for two months. And I lost the CD which houses them. Twice.

I thought I'd better get around to putting these up on the internet.

That's why.





And because I have no self control and because the images are so good, I'll just go ahead and post a billion. Okay? Okay.

The super-talented (and all 'round quality human being) Becks of Viveash Photography made these images for us. And to say that I was pleased is a total understatement. They came out better than I could have imagined. I'll be so happy to look back on these many years from now and remember when we were young and fun and settling into our great Indonesian adventure. 

If you're in Jakarta and looking for portraits or family photography, may I suggest you get in touch with Becks? Because you should. Totally. 


Project Life ::: Week Three

I like this little project life. It totally jives with my "Hey-you-you're-not-the-boss-of-me-you-don't-get-to-tell-me-what-to-do-and-when-to-do-it" ethos, which is a very roundabout way of telling you that I do not like structure. Hence week three going up at the end of week four. 

I'm still not sure, exactly, what format this project will finally take. I do want a tangible artifact to come out in the end, but will this be something that I make with my hands, or a book that I print out, I dunno. Anyway. Totally not important or interesting!!

Week three. What can I say. It was kind of a bifurcated mess. I started off Monday of week three wholly consumed with significant and totally consequential tasks such as eating nice food with nice friends and beautifying my apartment. And then Jakarta was hammered by a massive flood that left thousands of people homeless and cruelly cut short the lives of others.





Stella and I had lunch with some friends in this lovely restaurant. Open air, sate stands outside, doves haning out on the lawn. It was great. And I really loved this wall. 

The flood. Oh my. You can read more about it here. 

Of course we're lucky and we came out totally unscathed. A few days off school, a few days inside, but by and large no big deal. For most, however, it totally was a big deal. We had Stella's nanny, nanny's sister, and their friend staying with us for the better part of 10 days as their house was without power and water. So we made like a big family and cooked and ate together. I learned two new Indonesian dishes. They did not approve of my fried rice or my ability to include adequate chilli. 

We ended the week with a lunch with some of our across-the-street neighbours. Some much needed sunshine and cheer. 

That was our week. 



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New Year's Eve: Act One

I like New Year's Eve. I like it a lot. I'd almost go so far as to say that I'd take it over Christmas. It's the anticipation, excitement, freshness of the day. It's the celebratory way in which we bid a fond farewell to extra-special year, or perhaps a gleeful "sayonara sucker" to a year that we'd rather forget.

I've found that the best way to enjoy this last day of the year is to make no plans, to have no expectations, and just wait for the night to unfold.

Mr. Chef was working, as is the lot of those in hospitality, so my girl and I, we just went where the wind carriedus, and we had one of the best nights in aeons. 

One of the busiest roads in Jakarta was closed from late afternoon until well into the night. Streets that are usually gridlocked and honking were now gridlocked and honking, but of a different sort. People, packed into so tightly there was no possibility of movement, blowing horns, lighting fireworks, and shouting greetings well into the night. And everyone was so happy, despite the drizzle.

In place of cars and busses were food stalls, fiery woks and glowing charcoal.

Things deep fried and delicious. 

Steamed peanuts and steamed corn.

We met this little girl, dancing her heart out in the central fountain. Scores of people were blowing bubbles, plastic cups of dish detergent and pipe cleaner wands sold for a few cents turned the air to magic.

Stella got in on the action. And was thrilled.

I only pass my kid off to random strangers on special occasions. 

And here, she's amazed to be set free to wander through the streets and dart in and out of crowds without hindrance from her mother. 

All of this was only the pre-party. Rain started coming down heavier by 7 PM, so my girl and I took refuge inside. 

More adventures to come!

While not exactly wordless, per se, this post is word lite. And so, I'm pretty sure that justifies linking for Wordless Wednesday at The Paper Mama, Parenting BY Dummies, + Seven Clown Circus