Getting Ready for World Travel with Joseph

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on July 11, 2011

Joseph

I thought it would be cool to sit down and talk with my youngest son Joseph about our plans to move to Indonesia for an extended period of time.  We’ve talked with the kids a bit about flying in a plane, living with Oma and Opa (Grandma and Grandpa) and the different kinds of food we will be eating.  But I wanted to sit down and just talk about things and see what he had to say, what was going on in his mind.

I tried to get my eldest son to do this as well but he’s a child of a different temperament and wanted no part of it, even after several bribery attempts.  I’ll keep working at him without pushing him.  So I introduce to you Joseph.

So Joseph, how old are you?

I’m 5 years old.

How many fingers is that?

Ummm….(counting on fingers) it’s 5.

Why do you want to go to Indonesia?

Because I want to see Indonesian houses.

What about Oma and Opa? (this is what they call Grandma and Grandpa)

Yeah, I want to see them too.

What else do you want to see?

The beach.  Swimming pools.  And I want a pet monkey.

Ahh…why do you want a pet monkey?

Because they are cute and wear little clothes.

I want to note here that last time we were in Indonesia (Joseph was not born yet) we watched a street-side performance of a monkey doing all kinds of little stunts.  We videotaped it so he has seen that before which is where he got the idea that monkeys wear little clothes.  I felt bad for the monkey who performed with a chain around his neck and was yanked around on the occasion his master didn’t like what he was doing.

Monkey Performance

What kind of food do you want to try?

I don’t know.  What kind of food do they have?

Durian?Yeah (an emphatic yeah)

Do you want to eat a rabbit? Noooo!!!

Mangos?No!

What kind of fruit do you want to eat?

Kiwi, strawberries, star fruit.

Do you want to learn to speak Indonesian?

No.

Why?

Because I don’t want to.

But Oma and Opa don’t speak English. Don’t you want to be able to talk with them?

OK, I want to learn to speak Indonesian.

We all plan on immersing ourselves in the language as soon as we get there.  We’ll speak English but for the most part will try and communicate primarily in Indonesian.  This is bound to be frustrating at first for everyone involved but something I think is very important and feel very strongly about.

What else do you want to do?

I really want to learn to ride a horse.

With your pet monkey?

Yeah, yeah!!  I want to ride a horse with a monkey.

Are you excited about flying in a big plane?

Yeah!

What do you think you will like best about the plane?

Seeing the view from really high up. And the people will look like ants.

Do you think the food will be good on the plane?

What kind of food do they have on the plane?

I’m not sure.  What kind do you want?

Carrots.

Can we sleep on the plane?

We can try.  Hopefully you will sleep a lot on the plane.  What is the first thing you want to do when you get to Indonesia?

Go on the big slide at the amusement park.  Then ride a horse with my pet monkey.

My wife had just shown the boys the rides at an amusement park in Bandung where we will be staying.  That got them really excited, even my eldest son.

What else do you want to say about going to Indonesia?

I want to fly to Indonesia.

How long do you think it will take to fly there?

I don’t know.

Take a guess.

1 hour?

Yeah, that would be great but for some reason I think it will take a bit longer than that. Let’s hope it only seems like an hour.

What do you want to learn there?

I already told you. I want to learn to ride a horse. And I want to ride a motorcycle.

At this point his attention span was diminishing rapidly and he was getting a little testy.

Are you going to miss Oregon?

Yes.

What will you miss the most?

Fireworks.  Going to a hotel.  Watching fireworks from a bridge.  My bed.

Do you think they will have those things in Indonesia?

I don’t think so. They only have them here.

How long do you want to stay in Indonesia?

Every calendar and every day.  I want to stay forever.

How do you know you are going to like it there?

Because they have horses and monkeys and I want to see Oma and Opa.

Do you want to add anything else about our travels?

No, I’m done. See ya!

Straight from the mouth of a 5 year old who is just a few months away from his first trip overseas.  It’s refreshing to see the innocence of youth, the inquisitiveness and the lack of any real fear.  Kids are not afraid that things won’t work out.  They just take things in stride and move onto the next thing.  As adults these are lost qualities that we need to find and cling to again.  Let’s recapture our inner child and look out at the world with reborn eyes.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew July 11, 2011 at 8:31 am

Somehow I think you’re going to have your hands full!

Gotta love the basics of a 5 year old, no complications. He isn’t worried about visas, the odd bad bit of seafood he’s going to eat, hell, even discovering a squat toilet on the other side of the world!

I think your kids would really appreciate you interviewing them on the travels. (Even just for your family/personal, not for the blog)

Where about in Indonesia will you guys be settling in?
Andrew recently posted..Cambodia – Bangkok to Siem Reap on the Overland Train via Poipet

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical July 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Yeah, you are probably right about having our hands full but I’m pretty sure it will be from his brother. I tried again to get him to speak a bit about what he wants to learn and do in Indonesia and he said he would do it for $40. I think he’ll go pretty far in life with that business sense. I really want to do some video interviews with the kids once we land as I think they could be pretty fun and entertaining.

We’ll be settling in Bandung at first and then seeing where we want to end up. My wife has been looking at places in Bali and Manado. But her parents live in Bandung so that will be our first stop.

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Gillian @OneGiantStep July 11, 2011 at 8:35 am

He is too cute!! I imagine they have no real concept of what this is going to be like. Kids are just so darned adaptable though…it sounds like getting a pet monkey can solve any problem!!
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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical July 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Haha!! Yeah I’m not so sure about the monkey. We’ve left it open for now. Now a monkey that can cook is another story. I really think they will do fine because as you pointed out they are just so adaptable. Zachary (the oldest) has been there before but he was so young I don’t think he remembers much about it. It’s going to be interesting. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how they react and adapt. Definitely something I will be writing a lot about.

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Rebeca July 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm

That’s the best interview ever!
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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical July 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Thanks Rebeca. I think I almost have the boys talked into doing a video interview next. That should be a good one.

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Joanna July 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Lovely post…I can barely remember when my kids where that young (scary thing is, it has only been a half dozen years ago with the youngest). Time flies (and then they become teenagers :)) Enjoy every minute of their childhood!

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical July 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I already can’t believe that my oldest is 8. Seems like just yesterday that he was being born. Time does go by quickly which is just more reason to live your life now rather than delay until some unforeseen future. Time does fly by.

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travellyn August 27, 2011 at 3:53 am

He is so cute! Children are very adaptable. My grandchildren went to Indonesia when they were little to visit their other grandparents. They adapted to the different way of life in a small village without any difficulty. I feel sure they were enriched by the experience. They have been back a few times since and even as they are older have enjoyed their visit and always find things to do with the other children and come back enthused about their visit. I’m sure your children will have a wonderful time. Lyn

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Hi Lyn! Thanks so much. My kids are really excited to be heading to Indonesia. This weekend we had a garage sale and they loved getting involved in selling their toys and clothes knowing that we were making money and getting rid of clutter so that we can make the journey there. They are going to gain experiences that most kids their age never will. That’s so awesome that your grandkids got to travel to Indonesia. How old were they at that time?

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travellyn September 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Hi Matt, My grandson was 8 months on their first trip, stayed 3 years. Could speak and understand Indonesian well, had trouble with his English when he went he came back, had to go to pre-school/prep. Took a few months to adapt and get back into his English. Family went back when two boys were four and eight, stayed six months. The eldest remembered his Indonesian, a bit shy about using the language initially, understood what was being said, and spoke it well when they left. The youngest picked up a lot of it while he was there also. In 2009 they spent a month there, joined the local soccer team and had a great time, language was no barrier. Both boys also spent two year in a public school in Japan, neither spoke Japanese, very difficult for them to actually do really well in their subjects. They lost nothing education wise and both speak Japanese better than most of their teachers in Oz. They did have a period of adaption when they came back especially the youngest, who kept involuntarily using Japanese words to answer the teacher, who didn’t understand. Fortunately kids are very adaptable, but it is not always easy, so you just have to be there for them. Good luck with your trip to Indonesia I’m sure it will be a worthwhile experience for you family. Lyn
travellyn recently posted..Scrapbooking designs | Water Lilies and the Lotus Flower

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical September 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Thanks Lyn! It’s encouraging to hear stories like this and to realize that kids will be just fine and that we probably worry too much. I’m excited for them to be experiencing things that other kids their age only read about. It’s going to be awesome!

I’ve noticed that both my boys are not interested right now in learning Indonesian and I’m hoping that will change when we get over there and they hear nothing but Indonesian.

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