Indonesian on a Stick!

At the Minnesota State Fair you can get almost anything on a stick: deep fried nut rolls on a stick, cheesecake on a stick, eggrolls, chocolate covered jalepeno peppers…need I say more? It is gastronomical suicide…on a stick. But on with the story…

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. It is preceded by China, India, and the United States in that order. As a result, Indonesian is one of the most widely spoken languages. But that’s not why I’ve decided to learn it. There’s a quote by Steven Covey, Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It just seems like the right thing to do.

I also have a unique opportunity for immersion. My house helpers, Pasek and Ketut, and my Balinese friends love it that I’m trying to learn. Most Balinese have completed ‘tourism school’ where they are taught English so they can communicate with the hoards swarming over their country. They make it too easy. So now that they know I’m serious they have become devoted task masters. I have all the help I can handle!

There is an Indonesian phrase book, dog-eared and ancient, that was left here by some former resident. I started with that but I have no need for a bus terminal or a shopping mall. The book is of limited value to me. So the other day I strolled to the Ganesha Bookstore and found a sweet Pocket Indonesian Dictionary. I say sweet because it appeals to me aesthetically as well as functionally, and I appreciate that! It is small (pocket) and has a plastic cover (durable) and it’s orange (pretty!)

The dictionary is an immediate improvement, but things aren’t happening fast enough for me. Flash cards. I need flash cards! So today I go in search of recipe cards, or something similar. I want to make my own. My first stop is the convenience store where I remember seeing tape, staples, tablets. No luck with recipe cards there. So I meander across the street to CoCo’s Supermarket. Again, no such thing as recipe cards. Okay. Think outside the box. What will work instead?

My eyes graze over cardboard gift-type boxes, stacks of brown paper cut in perfect 10″ squares, airmail envelopes, popsickle sticks…Stop…back up! What are those? I pick up a package of little flat wooden spoons, the kind that come with the round ice cream cups. Thirty to a package for 42 cents. I toss two packages into my basket along with a bottle of Kecap Manis and one of Kecap Pedas (sweet soy sauce and spicy soy sauce.) I can’t wait to get home and see if my ‘necessity is the mother of invention‘ purchase will work.

My latest invention: Flash Sticks!

Look at that…would you look at that! I had one package done in no time, Indonesian word or phrase on one side and its English meaning on the other. I’m pretty pleased with myself right now! It’s the simple things…

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane Struble
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 05:41:23

    Very inventive. Should work perfectly.

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  2. mary santiago
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:33:23

    that is hilarious! love it Sherry!

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  3. Barb Garland
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:57:47

    I enjoy you so much, Sherry !!! with love

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  4. Lottie Nevin
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 19:57:43

    Why oh why didn’t I come up with that fantastic idea?!

    Sherry, you are an absolute genius and I’m going to go and find some popsicle sticks today if I can, and take your lead. At the moment I’m writing random new words or phrases on scraps of paper which is hopeless as inevitably I lose them or, have to resort to using them to wrap well chewed gum in when theres not a waste bin around. It’s time for a new approach, and I think popsicle sticks are the way forward.

    My Bahasa Indonesian is just about good enough that I can direct a taxi, ask for something in a shop and order copious amounts of beer, but it’s no good if I want a proper conversation, which is the killer because I’d really love to be able to do that.

    For example, I’d like to be able to say – ‘Please will you stop staring at my bosoms, it’s very rude’ to the man in the Circle K store, or to the young, very pretty, tiny, size minus 0 shop assistant, – ‘yes, I know that I am a good 2 foot taller than you, and at least 3 foot wider, but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to shout out YOU JUMBO SIZE ! so the whole bloody shop can hear’

    Good luck Sherry, and looking forward to practising my Bahasa with you when we meet up 🙂

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  5. julieinbali
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 05:46:49

    Very inventive…

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