This Year in Books 2014

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This Year in Books 2014 Living in Indonesia was good for my reading. With time being so loosely approached, I often found myself sitting and waiting, sometimes for a few hours. We’re going to the immigration office? Let me get my book. You’re inviting me to come to a conference with you that I can’t participate in? Let me get my book. Dinner is soon? Let me get my book. Fortunately, I enjoy reading, and…

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[NSFA] Daging Anjing: Culinary Exploration of Man’s Best Friend

*Warning: Not Safe For Appetites* I live around the corner from a warung, a local street-food stand that is famous for serving one specific dish. At jam 3 sore, three in the afternoon, they start building the tented structure that soon becomes a mini roadside restaurant. By 8pm they are usually sold out and have begun putting away the rusted poles, tarps and benches. They make a killing. The warung is by far the most…

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What is Durian?

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King of Fruits, the true test of a fruitphile, a delicacy, Durian is an assault on the claim of all other fruits to their categorization, and it only grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit is most notable for its pungent smell that has been compared to rotting flesh, and heaven. The odor is so abrasive it is banned from confined public spaces like airplanes and hotels. Traveling through Lombok with my German friends, I had…

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Island Paradise: Trip to the Gili Islands

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If I ever fall off the face of the Earth and you really need to get hold of me, I’ll be basking in a bungalow on Gili Air. Dig through the archives to find this post, and come search for me. The only flaw in your plan will be you mysteriously forget why it was so imperative to find me and will instead join me. You’ll get stuck, just like I did. During another round…

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Living in a Disaster Prone Area: Mt. Kelud Eruption

Two weeks ago Mt. Kelud, a volcano roughly five hours away from my home in Yogyakarta erupted spewing ash hundreds of miles. Wind carried the ash all the way to Yogyajakarta where it shut down roads due to visibility issues and laid down a layer 4 centimeters thick. At the time I was in Bali with my family celebrating my quarter-century birthday. Friends still in the city said my lungs would thank me. The eruption…

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Dragons are Real: Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island

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A few weeks ago I travelled to a city called Labujan Bajo on the island of Flores.  It’s a lazy harbor kind of town with one main street reminiscent of the deadwood towns of the wild west.  The only difference is instead of guns and saloons you see cameras and SCUBA diving centers. Right off the coast is a series of islands constituting the Komodo National Park.  There is only one Komodo Island, but others,…

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Borobudur Temple: Buddhist Temple in Indonesia

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Hidden in a valley between a few mountains and volcanoes about an hour outside of Jogja sits Candi Borobudur.  This 9th century Buddhist temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, claims to be the biggest Buddhist monument still standing today, and is the most visited tourist site in Indonesia. If you want to avoid the crowds you can pay an extra 40 US dollars to go through the a hotel for sunrise before the park…

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Trash: America, You’re Doing it Wrong

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Indonesian lifestyle and culture is beautiful.  Each member clearly contributes to society as a whole and deeply cares about those around them.  I never go a day without a complete stranger offering a quick smile and bow.  I love being a part of that for just a little while. There are many things I have learned since moving to Indonesia that have struck me as interesting lifestyle choices I should bring home.  For example, I…

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Linguistic Perspective

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My introduction to the study of linguistics came from my friend and fellow Cal lacrosse player, Kevin, who also happens to be the most intelligent man I know.  Four years ago we were sitting in front of the Golden Bear Café eating sandwiches from Cheese & Stuff, “turkey, no cheese, everything, no pickles, no mustard, thanks Sam.” He was going on about a genius professor we had each heard speak by the name of George…

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Culture Shock is a Picnic Idea

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Culture shock is a picnic idea.  It is the stark beauty of an open field beneath a majestic temple primed and begging for the blanket and wicker box filled with goodies.  It is the excited planning of a crisp white wine, veggie platter hors d’oeuvres, deli sandwiches, with a chance of sundresses.  It is the realization that none of this is possible. You haven’t seen white wine anywhere; the knowledge required to find ice to…

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