Indonesia feels like a long ways away, mostly because there’s snow in the air as I type this. But our pictures from the second half of our trip need to see the light, so here are some highlights from Jepara and Yogyakarta.
Jepara is a city by the sea known for its wood carving and we definitely had Indonesian wood on our minds. Joel and I have started a company called Raya Exchange and our focus is on supporting small businesses in Java by importing handmade, home goods that we sell via our web store and Charish. So far, we had been concentrating our efforts on handwoven textiles- pillows, throws and runners- but this trip was planned in order to expand our efforts into teak furniture and planters. We visited our furniture partner in Jepara to check out the progress of our order and we were thrilled to see our products coming together so beautifully.
Next on our list was Yogyakarta, affectionately known as Jogja. This portion of the trip was a little bit business, a little bit pleasure. Jogja is our favorite city so we always have a good time scooting about seeing old friends, visiting our favorite restaurants and taking in the sights like the Affandi Museum.
We met Ina from Animal Friends Jogja and got to meet all the dogs that she’s rescued from the dog meat trade in Indonesia. We purchased some AFJ tote bags to support their cause and brought them back to Seattle where they were sold on Joel’s cousin’s doggie food truck.
Our two weeks in Java hit on almost all of our favorite spots that we enjoyed while living there. It was also a glimpse into the future of our business that should hopefully be taking us back to Indonesia on a fairly frequent basis. If you’re interested, you can learn more about our business and the artisans we partner with at RayaExchange.com.
We didn’t actually drink a Singapore Sling (a drink I envision to be similar to a Long Island Ice Tea), but Joel and I did go to Singapore together on our long trip back to the US. We’d each been many times on our own, as it’s the closest place to renew your visa when you’re living in Indonesia. But because we had moved on different dates (him first and me following a few months later) our visa schedules weren’t in sync and we always took these trips alone. It was fun to explore the city together, show one another our favorite spots and finally visit the place we’d been saving for our couple’s trip- the Buddhist hell museum at Haw Par Villa.
Initially my idea for this post was to make a top ten list of my favorite images of Indonesia, however that soon proved to be impossible. Scrolling through two years of blog posts there were too many memories and snapshots of unforgettable destinations for me to narrow it down to a mere ten. So my top ten became a compilation of pretty much any image that I was fond of starting with our fantastic honeymoon in Kuta and Ubud. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed compiling them.
Truth be told, I can’t wait to get back to the Pacific Northwest- three weeks and counting! The weather, the water and my beautiful, little doggy will welcome me back just in time for a glorious summer. Living in a foreign country has been enlightening and also had its share of challenges. But after almost two years, it’s started to feel like home and there are aspects of life in Indonesia that I’ll be missing once we’re back in Washington. Here are a couple at the top of my list.
As I mentioned before, our days in Central Java are dwindling, so we’ve got lots of odds and ends to tie up before leaving Indonesia to head back to Washington. One item on our to do list has been furniture. While prepping to move here, I downsized in a big way and most of my furniture went to Craigslist (coincidentally that’s where most of it came from in the first place). So when we go back, we’re returning to clothes, shoes and a bunch of still-in-storage wedding gifts, but no bed, sofa or dining table and chairs. Being the diehard thrifter that I am, Joel and I have been doing some browsing to see if should make some of those big ticket furniture purchases here. The teak and mahogany furniture market is huge here and the prices are insanely reasonable (like reasonable enough to make up for the fact that we’d be shipping it across the world).
The pictures above are all from our trip to Jepara, the furniture capital of Central Java. We spent a long weekend there in April browsing furniture shops, meeting teak craftsmen and taking a little time to lounge by the pool.