26 August 2012

on monkeys...

if you give a girl jakarta, she will want a monkey. and she will beg her mommy for one until said mommy agrees - after a thousand disagrees - and even throws in a sugar glider for good measure. one for all my friends! on me, in fact! plus one yellow canary who sings the girlies three awake and asleep, daily and nightly.

these are the deals the mackin parents make when they haul their children overseas to that one area of the world that prompts grae-rose to furrow her brow after a day or two, look at me quizzically, and note with a ventriloquist's mouth, "huh. there are a lot of asians here."


but the wonderful peccadillo about jakarta is the taxi system, you know. like time, it heals all wounds and, as a bonus, kills all dreams and promises.

when we ride, we ride sans belts with noses steam-pressed up against the windows, seeing everything we can catch. it's hyper clear that the more we see of jakarta, the more we realize there's so much more to miss.

tuesday, we saw a monkey. he was on a leash and the man who held him had no legs. the monkey stood on his hind ones almost apologetically, in kind of a crouch like they weren't even that great and workable even though his handler and everyone else knows that legs are legs and even monkey ones are worth two in the bush, whatever that means, and so we smiled ruefully as we took it all in on our privileged taxi drive-by.

it was like that scene in the town, kind of, when the van full of robbers in nun masks drives slow-mo by the aghast kid....but this scene was all mucked up with our face masks gleeful for a half-second...until we realized that the monkey was wearing a fedora and a man-mask.

if you've never seen a two foot tall hairy monkey-man in passing, consider yourself fortunate.

we no longer want a monkey. we would also like our nightmares back, thank you very much, jakarta.

here and here.

19 August 2012

strong, man...

uncle sugar does this thing with esmé. kind of a launch off in the pool, any pool, where he holds her above his head and flips her. flips her, for real. {and if you know this reference, i will love you forever.}

it's the same thing he did with the girlies two in oman before our esmé was even invented, which is probably why those two stare wistfully in the waters while it's happening.

and grae mumbles sometimes, "why doesn't he do that with us, anymore?"

my answer bubble is full of the wrong words. excuses, really, when it comes right down to it. you're too big you're too old you're too embarrassed oh hell's bells you're too big and it is gutting us.

tonight they introduced a french boy to me and pat, and my boy spoke french to that boy. he said something like je habitué dans grenoble at the very same time he sent a message in another language only spoken between boys and girls' fathers. something like, "do. not. ever."

the french boy later texted the girls, "your parent is cool."

just after the pool and sometime before he met this french boy, pat went to the club gym here and worked on his arms. i think he thinks he needs to be stronger for those growing girls of his.

anyway. i just wanted to write down one of the reasons why he is such a good man.

here and buy that awesome pillow cover right here.

10 August 2012

speaking of coughs...

there's been no shortage of non-magical moments in jakarta.

like, you know how esmé is perfect? not so when she's hungry or mad tired. this happens a lot here, especially after a full day of school, hours of play and swim afterwards, and oh yes an entirely different life. and i only recognize this much much too late when i catch her glaring at me with folded arms, origami-ed in an incorrect twist, but almost. and then the hissper.

this was the worst day. ever. why did i get stuck in this family? tell me. because it's the worst family. ever. and this place. it's the worst place. ever.

ugh. can somebody get this monkey a banana?

the first week here, we had to take a lot of taxis, the girlies three and me. it was...unsafe. no language, no seat belts, esmé on my lap like it was the late seventies.

after one epic fail of an afternoon of back-to-school shopping in malls overflowing with Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin, we hailed a cab home. bagless. scrunched up in the back. preparing ourselves as best we could for the probably hour long drive through traffic to our house one mile away.

at one point, i coughed. loudly and twice. and then repeated that loveliness again.

the look grae gave me made me cough again. WHY? would you HACK? on ME? she hisspered.

for the record? she knows me. she has known me her entire life. she knows i have never once not ever hacked on anything or anyone. it has never in the history of happenings happened.

through gritted teeth, i hisspered back. i am trying to wake up the cabbie.

dead asleep.

things here aren't perfect. they're just kind of perfect to me.

all images found here.

07 August 2012

there's a place...

so there's a place in jakarta where you can buy cotton candy colored chicks. but that's not surprising at all to me. because there's a place for everything here. 

there's a place to crack your iphone, a place to get the best mexican food you've ever eaten in your life even though you've lived in texas and even once traveled to mexico, a place within stumbling distance to get a before-bedtime massage, and a place where a seamstress sits in wait of torn catalog pages, the styles on which she is ready to unabashedly copy at a twentieth of the honest cost if you're ready to be a little dishonest. (as of this writing, i am not ready. i've heard you need to be in-country for at least two weeks to be this sort of ready.)

there's a place to get a 7-eleven slurpee, and a place that holds a forever 21 and every other store and brand you never thought you'd see in person or again. there's a place to see a movie with subtitles that you don't even see, really, the popcorn smell lulling you into thinking you're home until you walk out into the lobby and wonder why there are so many indonesians in virginia. there are many taxis to catch, a sea of smiling faces you'd swear were meant just for you, and so much dirt coating the bottoms of your feet and the lining of your throat when you come home at night that you believe it will be permanent. and you don't mind. not even one bit. 

choke-cough. choke-cough.

best of all, there seems to be a place for us.

pat asked me to write something here. i told him i am too full right now to do that, but he just shrugged his brows and passed a little silent judgement and so here i am.

you guys. this place. i feel like i was deflated for the past two or three years. uninspired and flat. and now? man...i'm full. and i don't know what that says about me. nothing good, i imagine. i do know i enjoy swimming against the current even though i never get my hair wet, i like being in the minority but only when i'm treated like a treasure. or an oddity. whatever. and i guess i like proving myself. i might even like being a little dishonest. i mean...in a few weeks. haute hippie, i am coming for you. 

kittens! totally kittens.

so. i'm here. i'm awake while you're sleeping - (i originally wrote the line i miss you while you're sleeping, but that sounded rather skeeve, yes? indeed.) - and that makes it a little difficult to keep in touch, but we'll figure it out. if anything major happens, like babies needing to be named or if you got a cute new pair of jeans or if you've taken a particularly fetching snap of yourself at carpool, please tell me? i would very much like to know.

xoxo. and yay. this is good.