Jakarta 2010 recap

After only a week in Jakarta, we’ll head back to Manila tonight at 1AM.

It’s been a very different kind of holiday (well, compared to Boracay), but good nonetheless.

There’s definitely a different feeling to Jakarta when returning as a tourist. Most of my friends have moved on to other countries, and Novita’s family was quite busy to hang out much. I ended up spending a lot of time in Kelapa Gading simply because it’s the area I know best.

I didn’t have my car, so I was thrown into the heat head-on. I’m not sure if it’s the temperature difference or humidity, but this week I found Jakarta more uncomfortable than the current weather in Manila. Then again, Manila does get a bit cooler but also a bit warmer – we just happen to be coming out of the cooler season there. And by ‘cooler’ I mean like 3-5 degrees. But man, after 8 years of living on the equator, I’ve grown to appreciate those 5 precious degrees like you wouldn’t believe.

The gastronomical reacquaintance was another story. It was so nice to dig into some bebek monggo, sambal hijau, nasi merah, mie ayam, cumi bakar, etc. Oddly enough my stomach shrugged all the spices off with the confidence of a linebacker. As I write this, Novita is off hunting for spices to bring back to Manila. Hopefully the customs officers will be in a good mood at 5AM.

It’s always hard to please everyone on a week long trip – especially with friends in all ends of the city and in all walks of life. We weren’t able to juggle our time well enough to meet up with all our friends. But then again, we’ll always be returning periodically to Indonesia, so it’s not that big of a deal – hope we’re forgiven.

Sampai nanti.

Heading to Jakarta, Indonesia tonight

We’re leaving tonight for Jakarta. We’ll be there for a week visiting family and friends. Fortunately, one of my close friends will also be in Jakarta for a couple of days. When he first got to Indonesia, he actually lived with me for 5 months; haven’t seen him in 4 years.

Novita will have a chance to be with her family, friends, and her beloved spicy sambal, while I catch up with friends and visit my old stomping grounds. We may be able to organize some sort of tweetup as well for those that are keen.

Looking forward to going ‘home’.

Presenting for Apple as an Apple Distinguished Educator

The past 10 days have been a whirlwind of activity. I presented on behalf of Apple Asia as an “Apple Distinguished Educator” at the Shangri-La to a diverse audience of educators, superintendents, principals, and owners of universities throughout the Philippines. It went very well, and was a fantastic experience for personal growth. I became an ADE in December, 2007 – in the first group in Asia.

What is ADE?

“The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program is a relationship program focused on educational excellence and leadership. ADEs are members of a select group of K-12 and Higher Education professionals possessing an identified expertise in educational technology leadership. This group of over 1500 educators spans the globe with membership in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Latin America, and Asia.”

A funny story – a wonderful lady who works at the Shanghai American School also presented (in a different hall) with me. I knew her online via Twitter and her blog, but we’ve never met face to face. It was only after a day of working with her that she figured out that I was “javajive” on Twitter! Apparently she had known “Brandon Hoover”, but didn’t realize that I’m one and the same with my Twitter/Flickr/blog persona. :)

On Friday a friend from Singapore (well she lives in KL now) arrived to stay with us for 5 days. A few of you may know her – Adrianna Tan – (aka SkinnyLatte), she runs the always interesting blog – Popagandhi. She’s been spending days exploring all the sites and restaurants that we’ve never had a chance to see. Hopefully she’s catching a glimpse of why I enjoy Manila, and can give ME tips on things I need to see/try/eat.

At the end of next week, we’ll be heading back to Jakarta for a week or so to visit family and friends. It’s not the typical spring break we usually enjoy (Bali!?), but I can’t pry Novita away from her beloved Indonesian food, family, and kota. It’ll good to be ‘home’ for a while.

Moving to Manila, Philippines

My previous post was titled, “Life 2.0” for a reason; we’re moving to Manila, Philippines in July.

This newly created future was unplanned until very recently. Forgive me if some of you feel ‘left out’, but I wanted to make sure everything was 100% before announcing anything.

This post has been difficult to compose, as many of you may realize I’ve spent a quarter of my life in Indonesia, and have had more dramatic changes occur in that timeframe than in any other single period of my life in America. It won’t be easy leaving – to me, this is also home.

Despite some previous posts eluding to my curiosity for what the future may hold, I had fully planned on staying in Jakarta until at least June of 2010. However, an opportunity arose that I simply could not pass up. Just as I couldn’t pass on the chance to move to Indonesia in 2002, I cannot let this one slip away.

Only time will tell if this is the right decision, but for now, I am confident that this will be a very positive experience. I won’t lie, this is a career move first and foremost – but one that will challenge, expand, and test my skills and abilities. I fully welcome the chance to meet those challenges head on.

I’m also quite excited to move to the Philippines; I love learning about new cultures, exploring new destinations, and getting to know all about a new country. It’s only a 3 1/2 hour flight from Jakarta, so it’ll be quite easy to return ‘home’.

I’m very happy to remain in Asia – it’s a region of the world that has captured my heart and inspired me photographically. I had considered moving back to America at some point, but considering the economic woes and the fact that half of my family is overseas (in Australia and Japan), I’m completely content with remaining an expat. I have no idea how long I’ll be in Manila; the minimum is two years, but if things go well, perhaps it will be longer than that.

I’ve strived to keep a delicate balance between posting introspective writing and photographs while not publishing too much personal information. For these reasons, at the moment I’ll refrain from discussing my employment any further. Those of you who know me well may ask, but I am undecided about posting much more detail at this point.

I have maintained that policy in regards to Novita as well, but needless to say, she will be joining me. I’m excited to see how she handles living overseas, embracing a new culture, and getting around the quirks of a new life overseas. I’m sure she’ll adjust very well – probably my main concern is how she’ll handle the different cuisine! She’s a food addict and accomplished cook; surely she’ll be able to whip up some Indonesian food with ease.

I’ve only been to the Philippines once (in February you may recall – are the pieces fitting together now?), but most people I know have had very positive things to say about the country, the beaches (of course), and the people. Manila initially seems similar to Jakarta and/or Bangkok – correct me if I’m wrong. We’ll be in the Makati area; a posh, upscale section of Manila. I’ll be sure to share more about the area once I arrive.

The next three months will be a whirlwind of activity, planning, shipping, and paperwork. Lots of paperwork. I’ll be increasing my posting frequency once again now that this is ‘out’. It’s been tough sidestepping this subject whilst so much has been happening.

July is approaching much too rapidly. In many ways, I feel as if I’m not finished with Jakarta or Indonesia. The reality of leaving isn’t fully settled in, but surely it’ll hit us soon enough. For now, please know that I’m in no way leaving Indonesia because of anything other than the fact that this opportunity came up at the right time. I will always consider Indonesia my beloved 2nd home, fully plan on revisiting often, and perhaps will reside here again in the not-so-distant future. Only time will tell.

Now what about this blog’s address!? “thejavajive” won’t make as much sense over there.

Let the next chapter begin.