Sunday, June 20, 2010

Infinite Love part 2

I think Dads in general might have a way of shaping their daughter's perspective of all the men that come into their lives both romantically and in friendship, and my Dad has provided for me a sterling example of what to expect from a good man. None of this real men don't cry, and are breadwinners but don't connect with their children nonsense from him! Some of my earliest memories are in the family room of my mom and dad's house, setting up an obstacle course of toys to jump over and carefully instructing my dad on how to do properly jump over and around the teddy bears and blocks and such. And I remember him listening and playing along like it was one of the most important things he would do all day. Now, my dad is a pretty big guy, a little scruffy around the edges (especially when he doesn't shave for a few days), and he was brought up on a dairy farm in rural Alberta (a place where men are expected to be fairly stoic in general), but there is somehow still room in there for a sweet, soft side that cries while watching the Lion King, and knows all the words to every song in the Sound of Music. Every time I go home to visit my mum and dad it goes without saying that I will be tucked in at night by my Daddy, but in a way he came up with when I was in my early 20's, and that has a striking similarity to the Kecak trance dancing that I saw in Bali. It might actually take longer to fall asleep after being so carefully tucked in; all the giggling goes on lasts for a good ten minutes after the tucka tucka tucka tuck in. When I am sick or tired or feeling sad I have been known to crawl up into my dad's lap and burrow my face into his shoulder and he will hold me like a baby until his legs fall asleep. Not talking, not anything. Just being held. My dad is not a complete softie though, I remember the terror he incited in my first boyfriend when we started dating at 17, and I am sure that young man hasn't forgotten either, even though that relationship ran it's course long ago. So on Father's day, I want to remind my Dad how much I cherish the fact that I am still his baby, and I won't be seeing him today, but he will be on my mind and in my heart.
I love you Daddy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Did you just say what I think you just said???

In the last 11 months, I have been stared at more than I would have thought possible in an entire lifetime, and I have done a really good job of laughing it off. Until this week. It seems that the comments have taken a decidedly licentious turn as of last weekend, and it has been getting progressively worse since then. I have mentioned before in this blog how much I stand out in a crowd here, standing head and shoulders over most women, and glaringly pale-skinned even after nearly a year in the tropics, but what I haven't mentioned is how hard I am trying to conform to cultural standards of propriety and dress. In 33 degree weather I wear a cardigan or a long sleeve top to work, so as not to morally offend anyone, and also as what I would consider a preventative measure against lecherous staring and lewd commentary. Yet I have been hearing things from grown men, in all probability married men, that are nothing short of filthy, all while I am covered up from my ankles to my wrists and everything in between. And wearing big sunglasses. It took all of my self restraint to not turn around and lash out at these lusting wankers (ahem) men and give them an earful. It has been on my mind enough that I even know what I would say to them in Indonesian, and that definitely takes a bit of mental rehearsing. And then to top it off, two of my students, age 10 and 13 actually wolf whistled at me... in class. Now I feel absolutely no sympathy for the people who I see prancing around with next to no clothes on for getting unwanted attention, but COME ON!!! I don't want to hear any lascivious nonsense from these sexually repressed men, so I dress appropriately and keep my head down. The shouts of "hey bule" are no problem, and the "I love you misterrrrr" from those who don't speak much English is nothing to worry about, but the graphic hand gestures and obscene comments to match are unacceptable. To anyone. Western, or Indonesian or otherwise. Full stop. The next ungentlemanly fellow to shout at me is going to get a talking to, and a stern one at that.

*Disclaimer: Before I make all Indonesian men sound like perverted jerks, please let me make note of the fact that I have been treated with respect by many men of all ages and status in this country and there are many who would fall into the category of gentleman, in every sense of the word. I think my tolerance level hit maximum capacity and writing about it seems to have let off a little steam. I am reaching the point in my stay here where I just want to blend in, even if only for a day. But realistically, that will never happen, so maybe I will continue blogging instead?