Monday, November 24, 2008

The kids at home

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ian with family

Introducing Ian Strider Crane

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Relating to the desa

In Indonesian, the word "desa" means "village." Even though we live in a city of maybe 500,000 (hard to know exactly how many post-tsunami), some have called this place a "mega-desa." In so many ways, it is. Having grown up in Bangkok, city of 12 million, give or take a couple of million, and then spending the 6 1/2 years prior to moving here in San Francisco, I would call myself a city girl. I thus find it a struggle often when trying to relate to some of my neighbors here. I really WANT to relate to them, but find myself tongue-tied at times, in large part because the direction of the conversations (aka, the questions fired at me by one and all simultaneously) are so completely unexpected.

Today, for example, I took Jaden for a walk, where we met some neighbors we had not met before. After they ascertained that I spoke Indonesian (none of them were English speakers), the questions came fast and furious. Not too far into the conversation came the question as to what type of contraception my husband and I used. I shouldn't have been surprised, I suppose, as I've gotten that question before, just generally not during the very first meeting. They then proceeded to ask me why I hadn't brought some of it for them, because they were sure it must work better than theirs. "The pill makes us fat," they said. I explained that this sometimes happens in America, too. "Can't you bring us some of yours?" Well, no, I didn't exactly stock a supply for a village. Somehow this seemed to not make any sense to them. And the fact that it didn't make any sense to them didn't make any sense to me. And this is how I often feel in the middle of the conversations ... a vague feeling of having completely lost a connection with any type of logic that I recognize.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reflections on Thailand family vacation

This was our largest attempt at a Kinnison family vacation abroad. 12 of us (the three of us, Mom, Dad, my brother, his wife and 2 kids, my aunt, cousin and cousin's boyfriend) all traveled to Phuket in southern Thailand to enjoy a week at a resort. Unfortunately, several illnesses managed to make their way through almost everyone, causing at least one or two of us to be less than 100% every day of the vacation.

The last time I was in Phuket was 1997 and things have really changed. The main beach area (Patong) now has multiple Starbucks, as well as lots of higher end restaurants. It's also crawling with people, and this was the off season. We took a boat trip out to some of the outlying islands, including Phi Phi, one day, and I was stunned at the number of tourists zipping all over the place in large speed boats. It's still beautiful, but snorkeling with 20 people around you somehow lacks something (I think the fish are more aggressive these days, too; one nipped my aunt!). Part of that little tour was a visit to the beach where "The Beach" was filmed. I definitely recognized it from the movie, but any trace of the movie's mysterious, secluded island was long gone. I think you could barely have found a spot to lay down on that beach. Speed boats filled up the bay. Something about us Americans causes us to want to experience nature in a more solitary manner, and these parts of southern Thailand definitely no longer offer that.

So, being with family was fun, the resort we stayed at was nice (and more off the beaten path, thank goodness), but I'd have a hard time recommending Phuket to anyone looking to experience peace and quiet in a beautiful tropical setting. I guess you might find it if you went even further out to more rustic islands. You definitely have to look harder these days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Family vacation in Phuket

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hanging out with elephants in Thailand


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Everyday life