We’ve been here for a solid two months now, and we’ve been thinking a lot about the things that living here has made us thankful for. To be honest, we do miss being home for Thanksgiving, but we’ve had so much vacation lately that we’ll be OK. We’ll have a Thanksgiving Scrabble match to honor the holiday.
For trash pickup.
For closed (as opposed to open) sewers.
For Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
For readily-understandable traffic laws and roads.
For cats that have all of their tails and don’t have to live outside.
For free public education (we cannot stress this enough).
For businesses open past three in the afternoon.
For unleaded gasoline and buses that use it.
For car seats for children.
For servicable sidewalks.
For quiet (everything here is always at full blast).
For clean tap water.
That you don’t get stared at all the time.
For clothes driers (not clotheslines).
For access to dental and orthodontic care.
That every person that provides help, wanted or unwanted, does not expect a tip.
That cars use their headlights.
For bike lanes.
Your relatively efficient bureaucracy (more on this another time).
That you grew up speaking English.
For Diet Coke that tastes right.
For apartment rentals that can be paid monthly instead of all at once.
Let it not be said that we don’t love it here, though. Here’s some things that we find especially endearing.
That you only know one kind of mango.
That your government assumes that Islam = Arab, and that "political Islam" is a blanket term.
That you have to own a sweater and a coat.
That you can’t try java in Java (not to mention Sulawesi, Sumatra, Papua, Toraja, or ginger coffee).
That many of your fellow citizens want to keep jobs out of the Third World.
That you’ve never tried (or maybe even heard of) snakefruit, jackfruit, mangosteens, rambutan, lychees, dragonfruit, durian, or rose apples.
That you don’t get a day off for every holiday in every religion (save one).
That real news from around the world is not part of a regular news broadcast.
That, in fact, almost no news reaches you from the fourth largest country in the world.
That you’ve yet to see some of the most amazing foliage and flowers anywhere.
That people in big cities don’t smile at you.
That almost every food does not include peanuts in some form.
That the only places where you can hear the beautiful Muslim call to prayer are in Michigan.
That taxi cabs are hard to come by and expensive.
That Perdue and Butterball make chickens too big.
That travelling 100 miles does not take you to a totally different culture.
That the children you seen in public are not always smiling, pleasing to be around, and running around everywhere (and we mean everywhere).
That fish doesn’t taste quite as good as when it’s been grilled over coconut husks.
That instead of outdoor markets, you have Home Depot and Walmart.
That it took 32 years to overthrow Soeharto.