It is only a matter of time when interning in Indonesia before a blog is dedicated to the people here. Without further ado….

Although I have met some wonderful people here in Jakarta, some that I am happy to call friends, I think the shining star has to go to the Contact Man himself – Robbie. 

Sierra and I met Robbie at a bar called Eastern Promises. Somehow we got to talking and he invited me along for a game of touch rugby. Then he invited me to come play Australian Rules Football (a sport I had always wanted to play for the record). Then it was badminton and squash and climbing. Next he invited Sierra and I to go on a trip to an Island off the coast of Ujung Kulon. Since then he has organized dinner parties, board game nights, movie nights and other super excursions.

No else, has done more for Sierra and I to create a community here in Indonesia than Robbie. Robbie’s fun-loving, outgoing, adventurous personality and his openness to others makes him a must see tourist destination! 

It must be warned that Robbie is a bule-catcher (pronounced bu-ley, which means foreigner). I have even heard it said that “he only has room in his heart for bule.” But this is (almost) unfair to say. I have met some wonderful Indonesians through Robbie too. For example, the AFL team that we both play, sponsors a program for an orphanage in Bogor. The team will pay for the boys and girls to come out and play each weekend and cover any travel costs. Many players on our team have grown up through this program and are now incredible athletes and people.

He has been responsible for numerous events that have allowed us to visit different parts of the Java. Robbie’s personality is so warm and inviting that people flock to him. He is incredibly daft and outrageously himself, which makes him all the more enjoyable to be around. 

Robbie finally catches a fish in the 1,000 Islands!

Robbie is owns a nice little ginger exporting company with his brother, I believe, whilst simultaneously in the process of getting his law degree. But  he could be pulling my leg. Some of his other accomplishments include: 

He expert eyebrow juggler. 

A third rate fisherman (he won’t be pleased I said that), but I did watch him catch a squid, which was very impressive. 

Surprising athletic in almost any game he plays, but he is yet to beat me at squash!  Occasional poet. In fact, he has recently got into the habit of serenading with poetry on instagram. 

All-round top quality friend.

I know for a fact, Robbie would LOVE the that I am writing a post in his honour, so it is the least that he deserves.

Another person who deserves a wonderful mention is Pascal. In fact, it is only through Pascal that we met Robbie in the first place – he was the one who took Sierra and I to Eastern Promises. 

Pascal takes Sierra and I for food a Blok M, a major food hub in Jakarta

Another character and a great collegue, Pascal has made sure to show us some of the hot spots in Jakarta for food – on a budget. Pascal speaks English fluently and often becomes our teacher, cultural guide, and interpreter. 

Fun fact: accordingly to a Malang belief, whenever you wake up in the middle of the night it is because someone is watching you. 

Another fun fact: Pascal actual had this happen to him!!!

Pascal is one of four current trainees at CIPS (CIPS runs both an internship program and a trainee program). His current task is to write a policy brief on El Nino, a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean when the trade winds change. El Nino and La Nina can have major affects on climate and therefore agriculture in South East Asia. I am pretty sure this policy brief has been a real headache for Pascal, because it has a required him to learn a ton of scientific information about weather patterns, all of which he has to condense into a couple pages. Every writer’s dream! But he never misses an opportunity to bring up El Nino in conversation, so he must have enjoyed it a little bit.

Previous to CIPS, Pascal worked as an interpreter for the US Army, here in Indonesia. A job he loved and will do anything to get back to. I guess he will have to try study the effects of La Nina in the US next!

Of course there are a few more people who have been truly wonderful to us, that I can’t mention in full. One of our managers Anthea, has invited Sierra and I out for dinner numerous times. We have had a couple movie nights with other staff members (movies are incredibly affordable, definitely recommend). Some of our bule friends who have helped to build a community, Emily in particular comes to mind. Fun fact: Emily spent a lot of her childhood in Indonesia because her father has worked here her whole life. She now lives and works in Indonesia on sustainable farming for palm oil at an NGO that teaches corporations (like the ones her father works for) to transition to sustainable farming systems.

Robbie forces Sierra and Emily to take a photo of his fish, before they force him to release it.

The main reason for this post is to reiterate how wonderful the people are in Indonesia. It is said that the people make Indonesia. That is true. And that is saying a lot because Indonesia is gorgeous! I always enjoy when I meet foreigners and tourists and they mention how kind the people are here. I have this sense of pride toward Indonesia now. When foreigners visit I want them to appreciate Indonesia in certain ways that a local might. I want people to talk about the food and the generosity of the people. These are the hallmarks of Indonesia.

It was Indonesian independence this Thursday, August 17th. Knowing the struggle the country went through for their independence, I was excited to celebrate with them. To take part in all the fantastic customs and games. Because I knew for a fact that they would invite me to join.

The wonderful CIPS team celebrating Independence Day together a few days early (in costume)!