Just Another Day In Indonesia…

Selamat Ulang Tahun!

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I bet you can guess what the title of this blog is. For those of you who have known me for more than two months (and let’s be honest, for those of you who just met me in Peace Corps too), you probably know that about my love of birthdays. My PA staff still teases me about being obsessed with my birthday, although in my defense, I love all birthdays – not just my own. J Anyway, all that to say, it’s May and that’s birthday month!

My language teacher Mas Jono kicked off birthday month with his birthday on May 1st. Our language class celebrated Indonesian-style by eating nasi kuning…that’s right, as if we don’t eat enough rice for every meal of every day, on your birthday you get…rice! But this is special rice because it’s yellow (nasi kuning literally means yellow rice) and it comes with meat, vegetables, tempe, and more. It’s a whole meal-deal, and it’s delicious. (For photo evidence, see my facebook.) In addition to the nasi kuning we had to introduce Mas Jono to a little American celebration, so we added a birthday cake. Cake here is a little different than back home…most cakes are rice-based and those that aren’t often taste spongy, like angel food cake. I definitely miss carrot cake, german chocolate cake, anything I can get from Papa Hayden’s…but I digress.

Birthdays in Indonesia are not a very big deal, apparently. I think this is such a shame, since it’s fun to celebrate people on their birthdays! (Maybe my secondary project will be to try to get Indonesians to celebrate birthdays more. J Kidding…) Anyway, besides nasi kuning, other Indonesian traditions include the Happy Birthday song, sang to the same tune as the American version.

Selamat Ulang Tahun (happy birthday)

Selamat Ulang Tahun (happy birthday)

Selamat Ulang Tahun Mas Jono (happy birthday to Mas Jono)

Selamat Ulang Tahun!

Pretty easy, eh? Except for the third line where you kinda slur everything together to cut out the excess syllables that are so prevalent in Bahasa Indonesia.

Moving on down the birthday chain, May 12th was my grandpa’s 80th birthday! This morning (May 13th for me, evening of May 12th back home) I skyped in with the WHOOOOLE family and got to join in the celebration. I even sang Selamat Ulang Tahun to show off my new language skills. J Grandpa got a brand-new iPad for his birthday and we were able to FaceTime for the first (but hopefully not the last) time. It was wonderful, although I did truly wish I could be there in person.

And up next is yours truly! This Wednesday is the big day, and I’m still trying to figure out how to have an Indonesian celebration. My current plans are to treat myself to a Magnum bar (aka, ice cream bliss) on Wednesday and hopefully get together with friends on Saturday (maybe find some “American” food – Pizza Hut? – and hang out). Whatever happens, it will be memorable as my first international birthday! And first of three in Indonesia, oh my. That’s a lot of birthdays.


Author: Sarah

I'm Sarah and I like many things starting with the letter "S," including (but not limited to) Seattle, springtime, summer, sunshine, swimming, sunrises, surprises, and sociology. For anything else you want to know, you will have to read my blog!

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