The sights of Sulawesi’s Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja is, hands down, my favorite place in Indonesia. The people are so friendly that they will invite you to share a meal with them while mourning the loss of a loved one, and the views of rice paddies and green pastures are as breathtaking as they are endless. This wondrous place is home…

Indonesia’s school flag ceremonies

Any Indonesian school event is incomplete without the requisite speech at the beginning. You need an upacara (oo-pa-cha-ra) — a flag ceremony – and it is an ordeal. Some schools do it every week but mine seems to think they take long enough to be reserved for special occasions. The police conducted one during my second week,…

Learning to slaughter with a smile for Idul Adha

As a native Oregonian, I’m intimately familiar with the organic, free-range, local, raise-your-own chickens, slaughter-your-own-meat food movement sweeping Portland. There’s an obsession with raising and killing animals humanely — or not eating them at all. But what if an animal slaughter wasn’t a sobering occasion, but rather a public celebration? This is the reality for…