Givin’ Thanks

I’m talking about Thanksgiving 2015. Why a month late?

I have an extremely good reason for that, but I’d much rather tell you about Greenland (aka Bowhead) whales. Much more interesting. Their flubber is 1.5 ft thick (about .5 meters). They are also some of the world’s longest living animals (some are estimated to be 200+ years old).

You can research Greenland whales more if you’d like (because honestly, who wouldn’t want to?) and we can have a discussion about them.


Day 1:

All the YES Abroaders came to my house in Bogor for Thanksgiving. Instead of eating regular traditional Thanksgiving food, we decided that any sort of American food sufficed.



We had garlic bread, mac and cheese, spaghetti (with regular tomato sauce and alfredo sauce), pancakes, mashed potatoes, donuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and skillet cake mix cookies ( an experiment on my part since we don’t have an oven).

Should any of my readers want to make skillet cake mix cookies, I would strongly advise you to exercise caution. Prepare the dough like you would cake mix cookies (look it up online), but do not fry them for the 2 minutes advised. Just eyeball it or they’ll burn.

We all chipped together to help make the food (or sat on the floor while Preston made the food hemhemSteven).


The group.

Before eating, we joined hands and said what we were grateful for.

Apparently that’s a Thanksgiving tradition. I’ve never done it before, but it was pretty cool.

The rest of the evening was filled with laughter and chatting. We all haven’t been together since August.

‘Twas a good Thanksgiving.




Preston supporting world peace.

Day 2:

We went to Pure Agung Parahyangan, a Hindu Balinese style temple on the outskirts of Bogor. I’ve been there once before, near the beginning of my stay, but a second visit was definitely not a problem.

Selfie with Isa @ Pure Agung Parahyangan

Selfie with Isa.

Hindu worshipping place @ Pure Agung Parahyangan

Hindu worshipping place @ Pure Agung Parahyangan

After we visited Pure Agung Parahyangan, we drove to Gunung Bunder, which is on the same mountain as Pure Agung Parahyangan (Gunung Salak).


I’ve visited Gunung Bunder twice before, but pretty much everything I saw this time around was new.



Lizzie showing off her modeling skills.

YES Indo @ Gunung Bunder. (Thanksgiving in Bogor)


Steven, Lizzie, Bunda, and Isa.

The next place we went to on Gunung Bunder was a waterfall. It was green and beautiful. There were also monkeys, but we didn’t see any up close.


Preston, Lizzie, and Ruby.


PC: Isa

We had decided beforehand to go swimming. Swimming was a lot of fun. The water wasn’t that cold (I’ve been in much colder: Calf Springs, Escalante, UT). It was definitely one of the highlights of my exchange thus far.



All taking turns going under the falls.


And then, of course, there was the ride home in wet cotton clothes (Boy Scouts “Cotton kills”, anyone?). We made it, though.

The rest of the day was spent talking and resting. And maybe staying up late.


Day 3:

We dropped Isa off in her city and Steven off at a random donut place in Jakarta (both had things to do). Then the rest of us went to a KFC in Jakarta to my host cousin’s son’s birthday party.


And later that night, we went and ate dinner.

Eating dinner. (Thanksgiving in Bogor)

You know, exchange is about pushing yourself. You push even when you don’t feel like it. This applies to a lot of things.

I really pushed myself at this dinner. I picked something I’ve been afraid to try. I’ve been really afraid of how it might taste.

I picked pizza.

And you know what? Besides the mushrooms (that Lizzie was terrified of), the pizza was great.

#smallyesvictories  😉

Day 4:

I went with Ayah (my host dad) to drop Lizzie off a 1/2 hour away from Bogor.

Java always has really awful traffic, but it is always worse on the weekends. The traffic we encountered in this instance, however, was the worse I’ve faced so far. We were stuck in standstill traffic for an hour and a half, so I was gone 3-4 hours instead of 1.


And then before Preston and Ruby left, we made onion rings fried in pancake batter. I’m not sure how they tasted compared to ‘murican onion rings, however, because I’ve never tried them before. They were good, though.

And that, friends, was my Thanksgiving. It definitely was a unique one, but it helped me remember how lucky I am and how grateful I am. I’m grateful to be on this program. I’m grateful to the taxpayers for paying for my program. I’m grateful for my YES Abroad Indonesia family. I’m grateful for my biological family as well as my Indonesian families (and all the families I’ve had, like my Peruvian and Turkish families). I am thankful for all the opportunities I have and for all the people I meet. The list honestly goes on and on. I hope all you guys had a good Thanksgiving.

I’m out.


2 thoughts on “Givin’ Thanks

  1. Pam Johnson says:


    You look great–even in wet clothes–is that how people always swim there??!! Fun to see your other exchange friends and you obviously engineered a really fun Thanksgiving with your array of American food–as always, Ruth to the rescue with her good ideas!!
    Speaking of gratitude–I’m grateful for you and your high adventure example–looking through YWs paperwork today and guess what was on the top of one of my piles–your list of activities!! You’re gone but definitely not fogotten!! Trying to gear up for another year–New Beginnings staring us in the face and just talked to your good Mom tonite. Love, Pam


  2. Mike Reed says:

    It’s nice to read your blog. We don’t have as exciting of a life as you? I’ve been stress out by work. On Dec 20, 2015 7:40 AM, “The Truth By Ruth” wrote:

    > rufio3 posted: “I’m talking about Thanksgiving 2015. Why a month late? I > have an extremely good reason for that, but I’d much rather tell you about > Greenland (aka Bowhead) whales. Much more interesting. Their flubber is 1.5 > ft thick (about .5 meters). They are also some” >


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