I’m on an Indonesian Whoa-oh Radio

Our awareness of this extraordinary experience tends to get lost in the daily grind. Even our day-to-day experiences, at first thought, seem typical and, for the most part, ordinary. It’s only when we take a step back and think about them that we realize just how strange and unimaginable they really are.

When I first started writing this post, my thoughts were structured around the idea of documenting a simple middle-school field trip. Nothing too exciting. Just a day trip down to Timika. “Just a day trip,” I thought to myself…until I realized just how inconceivable the specifics of it really are. A full-day recording session in a remote island radio station, beginning with a twenty-minute chopper ride down the hill and ending with a two-and-a-half-hour armored bus ride back up the hill. In reality, there was nothing ordinary about it, even though, to Ally, it seemed like a typical day.


Ally’s gentle voice was heard all over Timika yesterday afternoon by local residents who had their radios tuned to 102FM, Radio Publik Mimika. She and six other middle-school students recorded a special show about friendship and music for young Indonesian children. This photo, courtesy of Ms. Sherri, was taken two weeks ago when the students spent the day at the radio station.


In addition to her speaking role (which was communicated in Bahasa Indonesia), Ally played a song on the bass. This photo was taken by Ally’s principal, Mr. James.

Posted in Ally Rose, Kylee Rose, MZIS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few of our Favorite Things

This list wasn’t planned or intentional. At least not initially. It was the accidental result of our family’s musings of this crazy adventure. In my need, as a self-professed documentarian (in the personal and written sort of way), I started recording the little things that were important to us.

Knowing that these things are too easily forgotten, we continued to keep a running list of them. It didn’t take long, through conversations and stories, to realize that they give us some of our fiercest memories.

With a long (and continually growing list) this is an abridged form of it. In essence, these are just a few of our favorite things:

Best Fireworks
Timika, Papua


Fireworks are sold on the streets of Timika during Christmas and New Years. This is the stand where we bought our Christmas fireworks, which Chris described as “borderline Armageddon, which almost killed [him] off.”

Best Airport Souvenir 
Giant tubs of Tang in the Doha Airport


Of all things, the Doha Airport sells giant tubs of Tang. We would have bought one, but they were too big for our already full pieces of luggage.

Best Hamburger
Somewhere at a roadside cafe on Australia’s Pacific Highway


Ally emphatically carried around the leftover portion of her hamburger for more than 24-hours. She had plans to finish it, but it got too late, and we couldn’t find a garbage can to throw it in. By the next morning, it became our primary mission to get rid of the thing!

Best Villa
Little Hastings Outrigger Resort in Noosa Heads, Australia

Best Milkshake
Benjamin Browns, Singapore


Ally and I went with Stormy, one of our favorite people from jobsite, to Benjamin Browns for milkshakes. This was Ally’s “over-the-top milkshake” – the Old School. Stormy had the Nutella Banana milkshake and I had the Strawberry Shortcake milkshake, which were just as shocking! That’s Stormy in the background giving a big thumbs up.

Best Swimming Pool
Panvaman Hotel and Spa, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Best Hot Chocolate
Wakatipu Hilton Resort and Spa, Queenstown, New Zealand


Kylee and Ally both agree that this is the best hot chocolate that they have ever had.

Best Tuna Tartare
Isle de Pines, New Caledonia

Best Hike
Noosa Heads, Australia

Best Street Food
Beijing, China


A fresh pomegranate juice vendor in Beijing.

Best Quad Bikes
Queenstown, New Zealand

Best Pisang Goreng (fried banana)
Timika Airport, Papua

Best Beach
Tallow’s (squeaky) Beach in Byron Bay, New South Wales

FullSizeRender-2 copy 2

A shadow photograph of Chris, Ally, Kylee and me on our favorite beach.

Best Snorkeling Spot
Ilse de Pines, New Caledonia

Best Coffee
ArcadiA Estate Coffee, Columbia (do yourself a favor an order a bag here).

Best Public Toilet
Port Douglas, Australia


One of many photos from our port-o-potty ambush photography collection. This public toilet was completely automated; patrons don’t need to touch a thing (door, sink, tissue, toilet handle)! It even provides a verbal warning about the amount of time patrons have remaining in the stall before the door automatically opens.

Best Street Music
Byron Bay, Australia

Best Christmas Trees
Rimba Papua Hotel, Timika

FullSizeRender-2 copy

The Rimba Papua Hotel creates a new Christmas tree every year out of recycled materials. This tree, from 2014, was made from drinking straws that were in cold, refreshing drinks served to guests when they arrived. Staff members collected the straws for an entire year.


This Christmas tree, from 2015, was made from the remaining bits of the soap bars that were left at the end of each guest’s stay. The soap was melted, colored yellow, and shaped into roses.


Posted in Ally Rose, Kylee Rose, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Here and There

It’s not unusual for small anomalies to wield their way into the monotony of mountain living. Like I stated in a previous post, we look forward to them, and, for the most part, appreciate the distraction that they create.

Until now, they have always occurred as single-episode events. Last week was an exception. A couple of events thrust our little family of four in different directions across the map. Earlier last week, Ally and I flew to Singapore for a few days, while Chris and Kylee stayed in Tembagapura. Chris scheduled an unexpected trip back to the U.S. while Ally and I were in Singapore, but, with some luck and careful planning, all four of us were able to meet in Bali to enjoy a quiet evening together before splitting off in different directions again.

On Friday night, Chris continued his travels to the States, while the girls and I remained in Bali. By midnight tonight (Indonesian time), Chris will be driving toward his final destination of Idaho Falls, and we will be checking-in for our flight back to Timika.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rain, Rain, Go Away

A typical afternoon shower turned into a fierce downpour yesterday afternoon. Torrential rains swept through Tembagapura in a 50-year storm that triggered floods, landslides, and power outages, which resulted in varying degrees of destruction throughout the small mining town. The hardest hit area was the mine’s main access road (the same road seen in my previous post, Roads). Multiple landslides washed sections of the mountain down, sending mud and debris into the path of parked buses, trucks, and LVs (Toyotas), leaving hundreds of employees stranded.

Chris was on his way home from work when the first landslide occurred. He attempted to wait it out, but, after a couple of hours, and, after hearing that the road was completely impassible and that no clean-up and/or repair work could begin until the river receded, he turned his vehicle around and drove back to his office to wait. Conditions continued to get worse as time passed. By 11:00PM, Chris realized that he’d be spending the rest of the night in his office. To help pass time, the group of stranded employees watched Avatar and a movie about mixed martial arts on a giant screen in one of the conference rooms, dined on spicy Indonesian chicken and rice, and slept on their office floors.

Chris arrived home at 8:30 this morning, and returned back to work after a quick shower and shave. Just another day in Tembagapura.


A long line of buses, trucks, and Toyotas that were hit and disabled by the rushing mud and debris from one of the landslides.


More buses, trucks, and Toyotas that were hit by another landslide.

Posted in Irian Jaya, PTFI, Tembagapura | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Most roads are nothing more than a means of reaching a destination. Without much thought, they get us from Point A to Point B. There is one exception, roads with an unspoken significance.

When we take a minute to think about and reflect on the roads that we’ve traveled, it doesn’t take long to identify one that triggers an emotional reaction. Perhaps, a narrow, winding canyon road that slowly appears through a thick canopy of towering trees. Or, a long, dusty gravel road that runs through a sea of golden wheat. No matter where it starts, or where it ends, there’s an underlying connection to it that makes our heart beat just a little bit faster.

Until moving to Tembagapura, the roads that Chris took to and from work were, for the most part, unremarkable. Here, he follows a 6km gravel road, with grades up to 25%, in four-low. It takes him 30-35 minutes to drive from door to door, with spectacular views all around him. It’s a road that leaves an indelible mark on everyone who drives it.

Chris recently mounted his GoPro on the dashboard of his Toyota and recorded his morning commute. The video was recorded in time-lapse mode, so the thirty-minute drive is shortened to a one minute and fifty-two second video. The road takes him from Hidden Valley, down two-thousand feet to Tembagapura, back up two-thousand feet to Zaagkam Tunnel, along a road cut from a cliff, and ends at his office, OB 4.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Every little girl fantasizes about being famous at some point in her life. Star-filled dreams of standing in the spotlight and coyly smiling at a crowd of paparazzi and their flashing cameras fill their minds. For some girls, those dreams come true. But, for many girls, those dreams get lost in the night sky.

Interestingly enough, there’s a group of girls who experience a very different and strange kind of stardom – little, blonde girls in Asia. Those girls capture the attention of Asians who are captivated by Hollywood. So much so, that it’s not unusual for them to personify them as Hollywood stars. They will often appear with their cell phones or cameras and high hopes of taking a picture with the little star walking past them.

Kylee, and her confident, self-assured developing ego, has been in the Asian spotlight numerous times. The first time it happened, she thought it was “really weird.” Now, she finds herself relishing those little moments of fame.

IMG_2785 copy

Look at that smile and tell me she’s not enjoying her newfound stardom! This picture was taken when we were in Xi’an, China.

IMG_2786 copy

Males and females, alike, were intrigued by Kylee, and wanted to have a picture taken with her. Like the ladies above, these men took turns having their pictures taken with Kylee.

IMG_2795 copy

The people of Xi’an were so captivated by Kylee that, at one point, a large group of Chinese nationals surrounded her to take pictures with her and watch her buy a bubble toy from a street vendor.



Several members of the Indonesian military saw Kylee walking down the streets of Hidden Vally (Tembagapura), and called out to have a picture taken with the “bulai kecil,”which means little white person. The guy who was taking the pictures already had three or four cameras in his hand, while still receiving another phone from the guy standing to the left.


The owner of one of the woodshops in Timika asked to have a picture taken with Ally and Kylee.


While shopping in Bali,these ladies asked to have their picture taken with Kylee. They were so grateful for her generosity that they gave her a beaded keychain and bracelet as a token of their appreciaion.


Not everyone will ask for a picture. In fact, it’s not uncommon to catch people taking clandestine pictures on the sly. When we were in Thailand, a lady was hiding in the bushes behind Kylee taking pictures of her jumping into the swimming pool. She’s a little hard to see, but she’s standing to the right of the center corner of the rock wall (where the fern is planted). She is leaning forward, wearing a white shirt, and her head is slightly visible through the leaves.

Posted in Kylee Rose, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Queenstown, One More Time

People who visit Queenstown, New Zealand for the first time experience a strong and unrelenting gravitational pull to return. The insatiable desire of, once again, laying eyes on its resplendent sights and breathing its intoxicatingly sweet air is deep and intense. Only after a second visit will their souls begin to feel satisfied.

Within days of returning from our first trip to Queenstown, we knew that we needed to return. Replaying the events of our first vacation wasn’t enough. We wanted more. We wanted to continue immersing ourselves in its perpetual beauty. We wanted another day of riding quad bikes and trailblazing through Queenstown’s foothills. We wanted to experience the excitement of a jet boat ride through the Shotover River a second time. We wanted one more bite of a Fergburger. We wanted to explore more of the island. And, the girls wanted to visit their duck friends, one more time.


Our welcoming view of Lake Wakipitu when we arrived in Queenstown. It was absolutely breathtaking, and nothing short of what we expected to see!


A view of Queenstown from the top of the Skyline complex.


Queenstown’s most majestic mountains, The Remarkables.


The sun shining through clouds above Queenstown’s countryside.


A sleepy sheep station near Queenstown.

Off-Road Adventures


The group of quad bikers driving around the trial track. Ally is third from the left (in the burgendy sweatshirt), directly followed by Kylee and Chris.


A quick break for a photo.


Kylee leading Ally and Chris through a deep creek.

Shotover Jet


A jet-boat spinning toward the dock for another drop-off/pick-up.


A jet-boat, speeding 85kph over 10cm deep water through tight canyon walls, past rocky outcroppings, and around crags and boulders.


The same jet-boat heading downstream.



Fergburger with The Remarkables (AKA the Misty Mountains for Lord of the Rings fans) commandingly standing behind it.


We took a wefie while standing in line at Fergburger because…there’s nothing else to do!  We waited 30 minutes in line just to place our order, and then waited another 30 minutes to receive our order – and that was at 3:00 in the afternoon. But, it was worth every second, even for Ally who, as you can see, was less than thrilled about enduring the long wait!


Ally and Kylee eating their Fergburgers at the park across the street. Kylee, Chris, and I had original Fergburgers (prime New Zealand beef patties topped with red onion, lettuce, tomato, aioli, and tomato relish) and Ally had a Bun Laden (falafel patties topped with lemon yogurt, chipotle chili sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, and aioli). Gotta love their sense of humor!



Lake Wanaka


The girls and I walking along the tree-lined beach.


Chris and me at Lake Wanaka.


Chris and Ally taking a photo of themselves on a peak between Queenstown and Wanaka.

Te Anau


Lake Te Anau, New Zealand’s second largest lake. We took a ferry across this lake, through Fjordland National Park, to reach our destination, Te Anau Caves. This photo was taken when we arrived at the western shore.


Te Anau Caves are part of a 6.7km labyrinth known as the Aurora Caves. The ceiling and upper walls are filled with larva (more commonly known as “glowworms”). After a short walk through the cave, we boarded a small wooden boat that took us into a large cavern filled with glowworms. Photography is not permitted in the caves, so I found a photo online (courtesy of thetimetravelersclub.com). This is an enhanced photo with light in the background. When tourists are taken through the cave, it is pitch-black. Glowworms pepper the ceiling and walls like stars in the night sky.


Glowworms use their light to attract prey and then “fishing lines” to capture them. The fishing lines are made of thick, sticky droplets of mucus embedded with chemicals that paralyze small insects after becoming  trapped. Once the insects have been caught, the glowworms reel them up, kill them, and suck their juices out. Photo courtesy of southern-edge.com.



The hotel we stayed at has a large team of ducks that raced toward the girls when they saw them coming because they knew that they had a big bag of fresh bread in their hands.


The ducks chasing the girls down.

IMG_7685 (2)

This year, a large black swan was new to the scene. By the second day, the girls had managed to gain his trust enough to feed him from hand.


One of Ally’s best wildlife selfies! She captured a picture of her and the swan, while he was straining his neck to catch a piece of bread that she tossed up in the air.

Australia’s Tablelands

Before flying to New Zealand, we spent a week in Australia’s Tablelands, a fertile plateau above Cairns. We stayed at an isolated resort near Karanda with a natural stream for swimming and kayaking. During the day, we took countryside drives through dairy farms, coffee plantations, and wineries that led us to protected national parks with magnificent waterfalls and idyllic lakes.


Ally and Kylee sitting on a hammock while watching the resort’s resident peacock preen himself.


One of many wallabies that visit the resort.


Kylee having a chat with one of the birds.


The river behind the resort kept the girls entertained.


Kylee riding the kayak upstream.


The girls hanging from a vine on the boardwalk to Barren Falls.


Ally and Kylee with Barren Falls behind them.


The girls found the best climbing tree EVER at Crater Lake. Don’t miss Ally – she’s standing near the top of the picture (toward the right corner).


The girls standing near a giant termite mound. They are common and permanent structures throughout the Tablelands.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We’re on Vacation!


I’ll be back in two weeks to post more pictures and stories of our family’s adventures in Indonesia (and beyond)!

Posted in Ally Rose, Kylee Rose, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Simple Christmas

Completely isolated from the pandemonium, chaos, and hectic nature of the holiday season, Christmas in Tembagapura gave us the opportunity to focus on the little things. We played Frisbee with our neighbors in the hot morning sun, had a few games of Sequence after brunch, and spent the afternoon dodging rainstorms to relax in Christmas hammocks strung across the river that runs behind our house. After the sun fell and settled behind the mountains, we bid farewell to another memorable Christmas by setting off a small, but very impressive display of Timikan fireworks. It couldn’t get any simpler than that.


Chris helped the girls tie up their Christmas hammocks in the river behind our house.


The girls enjoying a perfect Christmas Day in the rainforest.

Bob Hope once said, “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.” His words take on an even greater meaning in a small, isolated jungle town in the middle of the Papuan rainforest. We are grateful for the happiness that we found from a simple Christmas in Tembagapura!


Annual Rose Family Trivia

Strangest Travel Companion
While traveling through the Sydney Airport last Christmas, we bumped into a real-life Fairy Godmother. Covered from head-to-toe in sequins, jewels, glitter, baubles, beads, and bells, she caught the attention of everyone around her, including airport security.


Sydney’s Fairy Godmother went through the security line directly in front of us. I asked her if she was dressed up for a reason and she replied by saying that she wasn’t dressed up.


Two security guards and a Fairy Godmother. They followed her to the ladies bathroom (where she spent 30 minutes), and then on to her gate. As far as we know, she boarded her plane and flew to Brisbane.

Dodgiest Drive
We have had some pretty scary taxi rides during our travels, but nothing that compares to our first taxi ride in Makassar. The driver had no regard or concern for our safety as he sped down streets, weaved in and out of traffic, and drove within an inch of vehicles in front of us (including a gas freighter). By the time we arrived at the hotel, we were overwhelmed with relief and a strange kind of happiness.

Funniest Moment
A UFO in the Balinese night sky briefly startled us. When we first spotted it, it looked like it was moments away from landing in the hotel’s swimming pool. However, it didn’t take long for us to realize that it was a lighted crane in a construction zone on the other side of the wall.


The Bali Lights

Most Disliked Food Item
No matter how it’s prepared, we are hopelessly sick and tired of chicken.

Most Appreciated Food Item
One of Chris’s colleagues from Phoenix brought in a few dozen packages of Kool-Aid for the girls during his last visit to jobsite. It’s surprising how much joy and contentment a pitcher of ice-cold tropical punch flavored Kool-Aid can bring to the face of two girls and their friends.

Wildest Flight Plan
Our flight route from Doha, Qatar, to Venice, Italy, took us over the full south to north length of Iran.


Even in poor lighting, you can see the apprehension and uneasiness in Chris’s eyes. We just kept our fingers crossed, hoping that no mechanical or weather related problems would force us to land in Tehran.

Best Lesson Learned
Don’t tempt the vacation gods! During our trip to Europe, we missed cold weather, heavy rains, flooding, and a cruise ship fire, all by a single day. Every time we averted disaster, Chris would say, “The vacation gods love us!” Even in Bali, when we were stuck for three days, he continued to say, “The vacation gods love us!” After that, the vacation gods stopped smiling and sent us to Makassar!

The gift of love. 
The gift of peace. 
The gift of happiness. 
May all of these be yours at Christmas!

Posted in Ally Rose, Kylee Rose, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

China Extended Study Trip – Part II

Freezing temperatures and extreme smog gripped the city of Beijing during the first week of December, but that didn’t stop Ally and the rest of the MZS group from having the time of their lives. With pure energy and excitement, and in the guise of a “flock of pandas (and a penguin),” the teachers and students braved China’s cold and gloomy conditions. They spent every waking hour (which was A LOT) seeing the country’s magnificant sites and immersing themselves in its rich culture.

The group accomplished every task that they set out to do. With an itinerary that took them from the Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xi’an to the Great Wall in Beijing, they, surprisingly, found enough time to have a snowball fight, eat chicken brain, and haggle in the markets. The trip was all about making memories that mattered.

MS Arrives in Bali Fashion Craze Ensues

A quick shot of the MZS students and teachers after landing in Bali. With visions of falling snow, they couldn’t wait to arrive in the northern hemisphere. Ally is standing in the second row, second from the right.

Xian Gate

A picture of the group after purchasing souvenirs from a government owned shop in Xi’an, famous for its replicas of terra-cotta warriors and reproductions of ancient furniture. Before buying souvenirs, the students  recreated their own terra-cotta warrior using the same strenuous process of molding, drying, and firing that the shop’s artisans use to make reproductions for sale. Ally is standing in the back row, directly under the light on the right.

Bike Ride Ancient Walls of Xian

The students and teachers rode bicycles around the Xi’an City Wall, which is 13.7 kilometers from start to finish. Ally is standing on the far right straddling a yellow bicycle.

Ally Biking

Ally, Mae, and Ms. Tammy riding their bicycles.

IMG_6557 View from Xian Wall

Xi’an beyond the City Wall. Xi’an’s smog index was high, but not as  high as “Smogageddon,” a term used by news outlets to describe Beijing.


The group practiced tai-chi with an 87-year-old martial arts’ master on the City Wall. Everyone was more than happy to learn and participate.


A photo-op with the Terra-Cotta Warriors. The students and teachers are scattered among replicas that are strategically positioned in front of a backdrop. Ally is crouched down in the front row, second from the left (wearing the burgundy scarf).

IMG_6642 Warrior Ally

Ally standing behind a bronze replica of a terra-cotta warrior.

IMG_6737 Chicken Head 1

Ally and Jemimah were the only two students who were brave enough to eat chicken head and brain. Ally stated that the head tasted like chicken meat and the brain tasted like butter.

Ally on the Bullet Train 2

The group of students and teachers rode the bullet train from Xi’an to Beijing. Jordan, Cleone, Tilly, Iona, Aurelia and Ally being silly and passing time on the six-hour ride. Ally is seated on the far left.

SShot Bullet Train

China’s bullet train can reach a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

IMG_6805 Fresh Air

Beijing’s air quality index reached above 500 when the group arrived on the 1st, but the country didn’t issue a red health alert until six days later. December 7th was the first time in China’s history to declare a red alert. During those six days, it maintained a “burgundy alert,” which indicates “very unhealthy” conditions. China’s multi-tiered pollution index stops at 250, which is considered “dangerously high” and would deem a red alert. As mentioned above, the air quality was double that during the MZS trip.

Forbidden City and Panda Hats

A flock of MZS pandas (and a penguin) near the Temple of Heaven. Ally is in the very back with her panda hat covering her face. Brrrr!!

IMG_6888 Chinese Fashion

By this time, the students were sporting panda hats AND masks.

SShot Ally's Lecture

Ally all dressed up for Beijing’s zero degree weather and smog.

IMG_6844 Mao

This picture was taken outside the Forbidden City. If you notice, none of the Chinese people are wearing masks. That’s because they only wear masks when they are sick and want to protect others from getting sick. Ironically, they don’t use masks to protect themselves from smog.

IMG_7100 Beautiful Day on the Wall 3 best

Winter at the Great Wall of China.

IMG_7089 Ally on the Wall 3

Ally, Tilly, and Charlotte (with Mr. Shaw and Mr. Gary in the background) trekking up the Great Wall. Everyone is wearing multiple layers of sweaters and jackets to block the cold during their 10km hike. Ally is standing on the right.

IMG_7054 Beautiful Day on the Wall 2

Another view of the Great Wall. The group was incredibly lucky to have clear, blue skies that made it easy for them to enjoy the views that stretched on for miles and miles.

IMG_7065 Ally on the Wall 1

It snowed the week before, making the wall slick and icy, but those conditions didn’t stop the MZS flock of pandas (and a penguin) from enjoying it to the fullest.

IMG_7145 Snowman

Weeks before the trip, all Ally talked about was wanting to build a snowman on the Great Wall of China. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, there was nothing left but compacted snow and ice. Fortunately, the remains of a snowman was left for her to enjoy and photograph.

Posted in MZIS, Tembagapura, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Mountain Adventure

Living life on the edge of the world is inherently complicated. The simplicity of a normal life continues to be replaced by a challenging reality, which often turns menial tasks into adventures. Ironically, it’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about our life on the mountain.

Before October break, we were informed that Ally and Kylee needed new passports by mid-January. In true Tembagapura-fashion, the task of getting those passports was anything but simple. The application process requires applicants and both parents to appear in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate so, we scheduled a trip to the embassy in Jakarta. Our initial plan was to go immediately after Ally returned from China in late-October, but we ended up having to reschedule it because of the wildfires, airport closures, an erupting volcano, more airport closures, Chris’s work schedule, and the rescheduling of the China trip (which was postponed until the last week of November due to the wildfires and airport closures). It’s never one thing that complicates things; it’s always a series of things.

Kylee and I flew to Bali last Thursday to meet Ally when she was in transit from China. Chris joined us on Saturday. It was a perfect set of circumstances that offered us three days to enjoy good food, shopping, and the sun before continuing on to Jakarta. Less than twenty-four hours of arriving in Jakarta (and, after a twenty-minute appointment at the embassy), we were back in the air on GA652, the wretched red-eye flight to Timika.

Until our next adventure…


The U.S. Embassy of Jakarta (photo courtesy of CNN.com/ ADEK BERRYADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

China Extended Study Trip

Books are windows to the world; the ability to step into and explore the pages of those books is an adventure. For the past several weeks Ally has had her nose buried in textbooks studying the rise and fall of the great Chinese dynasties. Her eyes connected words and sentences that took her into the mind of the powerful First Emperor, on a journey across the Silk Road, and through the revolution that created and shaped the Republic of China. Today, she and many of the other MZS middle-school students are on their way to China to see those facts and stories come to life.

The students will spend a week immersing themselves in China’s dynamic history and rich culture. They will travel by plane, bullet train, shuttle bus, and rickshaw to see its national treasures, which include the Great Wall, the Terracotta Soldiers, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Aside from site-seeing, they will have many opportunities to engage in hands-on activities. They will take a martial arts lesson from a tai-chi master, bike along Xi’an’s city wall, and visit a pottery factory to make their own terracotta soldier. They will attend a local school to engage in academic and athletic activities with Chinese students, and shop at a local market to buy fresh ingredients before going to a familial courtyard home to learn the time-honored tradition of dumpling making. And, if time allows, they will walk through Beijing’s popular Dong Hua Men night market to test their haggling skills and indulge in its unique and unforgettable gastronomy (spiders, snake, scorpions, silkworms, and centipede on sticks).

Confucius, China’s most notable and distinguished philosopher, understood and validated the idea of cementing knowledge by seeing and doing. He said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” This trip will give Ally and her friends a heightened and more enriched understanding of Ancient China, and memories that will last them a lifetime. Perjalanan aman, Ally!


Ally (standing against the bulletin board) is waiting outside Family Shopping to check-in for transportation to the airport in the lowlands.


The group arrived in Bali earlier this afternoon. They will take a red-eye flight to Beijing tonight, and continue on to Xi’an tomorrow morning. Once they land, they will be off and running for a full day of scheduled activities. Note: all of the students and teachers are wearing brand new Papuan batik shirts, specifically designed and made for school field trips and special events.


Posted in Ally Rose, MZIS, PTFI, Tembagapura, Uncategorized, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments