Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Ambon

Ambon is a beautiful place full of culture, friendly people and beautiful weather.  I hate to say goodbye, but I know that someday I will be back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Selamat tinggal desa Ema


I came to Indonesia to not only see where it is that this part of my family came from, but to try to learn more about the history of the name Leimena.  Two hours in the small mountainside village of Ema, accessible only by foot, provided me with all the information I could ask for.

I do not speak Indonesian and therefore something is bound to be lost in translation but here is the story as I understand it.  

Five generations ago the world was left with one Leimena male.  He then had three boys that all Leimenas today can be traced back to. Each boy went a different route in life leading to these three Leimena classifications:  

The Kapitan (Army Captain) - This is our branch.  The Kapitan has become a local hero, along with the later mentioned Dr. Johannes.

The Tukung (Worker) - We didn't really hear much about them, we were only shown their houses.

The Ima (Religious) - They have lived in the same house for hundreds of years, a house adorned with at least 20 depictions of Jesus, etc.  I stood in the spot that Dr. Johannes was born.

From there I learned that my great  grandfather was the school teacher in Ema and was the first Leimena to leave the village to continue his education abroad.  This paved the way for not only my Grandfather, but also his cousins (one of whom, Dr. Johannes, went on to become the equivilent of the indonesian Vice President).  Despite their pilgrimages abroad these men always returned to Ema to put what they had gained back into the village.  I stood where these men were born and walked the streets that they walked hundreds of years ago. 

I am attracted to their self sustaining way of life.  We sampled their Mayung Sopi, an alcohol that they make from a fruit that looks to be the tropical equivalent of a grape, and tastes similar to Sake.  They treated us to what seemed like everything they had.  They gladly shared the family history and we genuinely excited to meet a Leimena that they never knew existed.  As devout Christians I think that they liked my name (I didn't tell them that it really hadn't been given with religious context in mind).  

With the exception of the two images of children everyone in this post is a Leimena.  Some even from the Kapitan branch of the family.

From top to bottom:

1.  Peter and a statue of The Kapitan
2.  Ema children
3 & 4.  Two "Oma" Leimenas carrying the groceries up the "road" to Ema
5.  Ema children hiding, scared to come out and face the giant ghost.
6.  Clothes drying outside of an Ema house
7.  A Leimena family from the Kapitan branch.  These were the ones who told us of our history
8.  Josi Leimena, our "tour guide" and my "cousin" with his mother
9.  Josi's "Oma" Leimena

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Selamat Datang di desa Ema

The town of Ema is located in the hills of Ambon and is accessible only by foot.  The Leimena's originated here and remain here in large numbers.  This was a life changing moment that the locals said will bring me good fortune for the rest of my life.  I learned more about my history in two hours here than I have ever known.  All of the Indonesians in these images with the exception of the young boy are Leimenas.  They welcomed us with open arms and showed me the true meaning of hospitality.  This day will go down as one of the most meaningful days in my life.  It is worth more than one post so stay tuned for more to come.

From top to  bottom:
1.  My relatives showing me their version of the family tree
2.  "Oma" Leimena
3.  The "road" to Ema
4.  The Ema version of a barbed wire fence
5.  Squatting
6.  An Ema boy who thinks he has seen the World's tallest ghost
7.  Ema

Ambon, Ambon

The city of Ambon is the largest city on the island of Ambon.  Ambon has been the gateway to the Spice Islands or Moluccas since 1521.  The Dutch set up a fort in this important port town.  The port was overtaken by the Japanese during WWII and led to the destruction of a large part of the city.  It has been controlled by the Portuguese, English and Dutch.  As a result, it is a rare predominantly Christian area in the world's largest Muslim country.  This has caused a great deal of civil war between the Muslim and Christian populations, which has died down since 2002.  The Leimena's come from the island of Ambon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Visiting my Grandfather's Grave

We visited my Grandfather's grave in Jakarta and added the ashes of my Grandmother.

Children of Jakarta

Pretty pretty adorable.

Young boys fly kites.

No Ketchup at McDonalds

My dreams have come true.  In Indonesia they don't give you ketchup packets with your fries.  They give you Sambal.


Smog, Scooters and Culture 

Sate - Mmm Mmm Good

Sate, the delicious skewered, grilled meat served with Peanut Sauce.  Gotta love it.  In Jakarta it seems standard that they serve it with Sticky Rice which has been slightly overcooked, rolled in banana leaves and allowed to chill and set and a "limon" which is a lime that looks like a kumquat.  


They have the grilling down to an art


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Asia, The First Leg

I'm tired.  I feel like I am 5 days into this trip.  Really I'm only 1... or 2... I don't know.  This whole International dateline thing has my perception of time all screwed up.

Sunrise outside of the Taipei Airport

My home for last night

Kirin:  Brewed For Good Times (Including 10 hour Taipei Layovers)

Who needs a watch?
I love my iPod and it's abilities.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Portland -- Round Two

So I started this Blog with a post on Portland, so a while later and here we go again.