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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

category archive listing Category Archives: Alea

Keep calm…

Photo credit to Alea for discovering our new favorite neighborhood street food stall (mie ayam = a very simple yet popular chicken noodle dish)

At least it isn't goreng...

Band Concert – both kids in HS now!

Alea and Breck perform in their first HS concert together. Breck is in the Concert Band (red batik stripe) and Alea is in the Wind Ensemble (blue batik stripe)

Back in the saddle

School’s back in session, and what better way to get things going than with the kids? Here they are, grades 11 and 9 – both in high school this year!!

Alea and Breck before the first day of school, August 2013

Alea’s Band Award

At her final concert of the year tonight, Alea was presented with the Patrick S. Gimore award “for outstanding contributions to band.” Awesomely cool – we are so proud of all the hard work she puts in!

Band Bash

Alea's all smiles! Breck a'grinnin!
At the big Band Bash tonight!
Electronic City!
The Band Bash was great, but this is my favorite shot of the night. Here was my view of the entire event – how many electronic recording devices can one section of the audience hold?!

Monsoon Planning

Phew – thank goodness Alea and I got our emergency supply shopping done this afternoon, in case we have another flood day tomorrow. Black olives, coffee, baguette, Pringles (regular and seaweed flavor), plenty of meat to grill, and 5 cases of Anker. Bring on the monsoon, baby!!!

Flood water preparation, baby!

Christmas 2012

Our holiday season was festive and bright! We got the tree up and lights lit in November – the latest we’ve waited in a long time! The White Elephant was a huge success, and we had loads of fun getting everyone set for the holiday. Presents were opened on the 16th, and we are off in the morning for a 3-week adventure through Cambodia and Laos. Happy holidays to all!!

Diving on Gili T

We pulled out the trusty underwater camera and headed to the sun and surf paradise of Lombok for October break. This collection of photos are from our below-water adventures…

Back in Business!

Wow – what a summer break. I mean seriously, if there have been no posts since June 10th, how crazy is that?!!

Well, ok, having a lack of internet did contribute just a little to the lack of action, but now we are back in Jakarta and hopefully raring to go. I’ll see about posting some pix from the summer, as well as from activities since we’ve been back, once the school year routine settles down.

Speaking of the school year – today is the first day, and you know what that means!! Alea and Breck’s traditional “first day of school” picture. So here they are, in all their 10th and 8th grade glory!

Last day of school!

Breck and Alea on the last day of school, June 2012 (the end of his 7th grade and her 9th grade year)It is here, and we are off running. Here’s the schedule of events:

  • half day of school for students – Alea and Breck home at 12
  • Elementary staff meeting and school cleanup for Susan noon to 3, then a taxi ride to the main JIS campus
  • Middle school staff lunch (complete with – ahem – “refreshments”) for Dave from noon to 3
  • All Staff meeting from 4-6: who knows what this entails?
  • Susan and kids get picked up for airport drop off – 6pm
  • Dave gets picked up from staff “after party” – sometime later than that.

Whoo hoo! But at least we did have the chance to take our traditional “last day of school” picture. Check out how much the kids (and the morning glory!) have grown compared to our shot at the start of the year.

You can also see all their school year pictures here

Good stuff, Maynerd!

Birthday bash

Well, after a crazy day, Alea finally got to celebrate her birthday. She came down with a rash yesterday, which we quickly self-diagnosed as rubella (no aches, pains, fever, coughing or itching – just red dots all over her body). She’s in the midst of finals, though, so there was some concern on our part about her going to school. I figured that I’d be able to teach my first class, and then with a prep period, lunch, and a “silent reading” time, 2 1/2 hours should be more than enough to get her from home, go to the clinic that is less than 3 miles from the house, and get her looked at.

But no – Jakarta traffic reared its ugly head. Something – we still haven’t figured out what – totally jammed up all the roads in all out little neighborhood. It took us over 90 minutes to get to the hospital, and we were pretty darn frustrated by the time we got there.

Once we got in, though, things went quite quickly. We saw 2 doctors, had blood drawn, and were told it could be any number of things (including measles or rubella), and that we’d know more in 3 days. But they also figured that she was not (probably) infectious, and could go take her last test – in isolation!

So we rushed back through traffic (which had gratefully thinned) to the school, and got her set up outside the main room where the test had already started. Once she was done, she and I hopped back into the van to get it home so Susan and Breck could turn around and go back to the hospital, this time for a checkup on his braces. Crazy!

But at last she got to celebrate her birthday! She made herself a cake, and used the new frosting decoration kit that she got to make it pretty, and then we ate it. I’ll bet she uses some of her new aromatherapy oils to relax tomorrow, as the rest of us still have to go to school – but she’s done!! I guess that’s about the best birthday present around. Her freshman year is over, and she’s now staring down the barrel of summer!!

Cleaning up

Wow – what a week. Since the last post we’ve had parties, packing, projects, finals, food poisoning, giardia, and rubella (German measles). Susan and the kids blast out of Jakarta the evening of the last school day, while I have the responsibility of representing the Stutz family at the variety of farewell happy hours and parties that afternoon (darn).

As I was taking down the room today, I ran across some signs that have been hanging in various classes for the past few years that the kids made. Alea’s is from when she was in Pre-Kindergarten in Honduras, and Breck made his for me when we moved to India. I’ve had them in all my classes since they were created, and thought I needed to make sure I scanned and saved them!

From Alea, 4 years old - "Daddy I love you this much" with spread arms
Alea’s picture is about a meter wide and resembles where her arms would be if she were stretching for a hug. Her entire class made them for Father’s Day (which is celebrated in March in Honduras).

From Breck, 7 years old - "Don't use a calculator to cheat (use your brian)" Love the creative spelling!

Breck’s was a sign he made one afternoon in Mumbai, when he came in and we were talking about knowing math facts versus using a calculator. He decided my students needed a warning sign, so he created one for them (with a creative spelling of “brain.” Maybe that was a shout out to his uncle!)

Korean Kuisine

Alea and Breck seated at the cook-em-at-your-own-table Korean barbecue jointSusan and I worked in Korea long, long ago, and I fell in love with the food. I was really lucky to have 2 Korean kids travel with me to the Mathcounts competition, and we chowed when we stopped over in Seoul on the way back.

One of the families wanted to take us out for dinner, and set things up at a local Korean restaurant (according to all reports, the best in Jakarta). Unfortunately, Susan was still feeling the effects of her food poisoning from this weekend’s adventures, and so had to sit this one out. Alea and Breck, however, were true risk-takers and joined me for their first-ever taste of Korean food.

(As an aside, I have a sign Breck made for me when he was about 4 years old with a big red “X” drawn over a red and green squiggle with the caption “This is a no-kimchi zone.” So I’ve known for a while where their taste bud loyalties were!)

Once we showed up, and all the little side dishes were brought out, however, they really were good about trying things. Our particular meal was very light on the seafood, which I think made things easier, and by the time the barbecue was lit up at our table, Alea was in heaven.

We ate and ate and ate (with Breck experiencing some measure of a learning curve on the chopsticks), only to find that the “meat” portion of the meal was to be followed by the “dinner” part – and we were already stuffed! We enjoyed some noodles and rice, and then rolled ourselves on home. I was very pleased with the way the kids tried things they’d never had before, and I foresee some Korean food in our future (at least for Alea and me!).

Dancing Queen

Alea participated in the school’s dance production this week – Step Up 4 – and we had a great time going as a family. I got to see both productions (1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening), while Breck and Susan just got to see the evening performance (Breck was actually at his very first tennis experience, which he apparently loved and is excited about continuing!).

Congratulations to Alea as she worked hard for a good cause, moving it on stage with her GK Club members!


Climbing like crazy

Alea and I have had double duty Mondays for a bit: she’s been in an after-school rock climbing club all year, while I’ve had volleyball this last semester. Today I traipsed over after my practice was finished to take a look at the goings-on.

I know that there is talk of a summer climbing adventure with her and Aunt Blanche in Helena, and I’ve heard stories of “5.9 difficulty or the European equivalent,” but I really don’t know what all that means. I do know that she’s been working really hard, and it was fun to watch her in action today.

I showed up right when she was getting ready to start a climb, and got to watch as she zipped right up the side of the wall. She made it to the top (“very smoothly,” according to her instructor) and then was belayed down. I did watch two other of her teammates work up the wall as well, both of them taking much longer and falling off a few times (which she never did).

Then, when she was all done, she asked if I wanted to do it! Now I’d done some rappelling in India, but that’s coming down – not going up. What was I going to say, though, other than “Heck yeah!” I got suited up and ready to go. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it was probably the equivalent of the super bunny route, but I made it all the way up without falling!

I probably should bring back the “real camera” to take pictures, but here is what things look like from a camera phone below. Watch out, Montana – Alea’s coming to get you!


So we had all the traditional Easter goings-on this morning: Easter bunny – check. Hidden goodies – check. Egg cracking contests – check. Invasion of swarming ants – check.

Wait, what? We figured out – a little too late, it seems – that hiding eggs and chocolate in a tropical environment is a great way to invite bugs in for the party. We relocated all the sweets back to the fridge, but still had a lot of post-party cleanup to do.

Oh well – guess we’ll just have to jump in the pool this afternoon. I guess life in the topics has its advantages!

And, as they say in Greece – Χριστός ἀνέστη!

2011-12 school photos

We’re a little bit late on the draw this year, since we didn’t purchase the kids’ shots (and I’m still trying to figure out who my JIS tech department “go-to guy” will be). But, in all their glory, are Breck and Alea – taken directly from the online gradebook site!


I’ll get them added to the webpage with all the school pictures soon enough!

She must be on the front page

Backstory #1: Our school is celebrating its 60th year of existence this spring, and part of the festivity is the construction of a “JIS Legacy Mosaic.” This will be a wall made up of glazed ceramic tiles that students and community members design and paint. The tiles are being worked on this month, and the high school gets first shot at creating their designs.

Backstory #2: We got an email today to vote for our school’s Board of Patrons members (the hilarious part of the process is the line which read “Inasmuch as we have two candidates for two positions, results will not be announced. Nonetheless, please vote!”). But whatever, I decided to do my duty, and clicked on over to our school website. And low and behold, what do I see?

Alea painting a tile

Who is that in the picture (with her “Be Pawsitive” t-shirt on) but our very own Alea! She is in the midst of painting her own tile, and on the front page of our school website, but we would never have seen it if not for the Board of Patrons vote. I’m casting my ballot right now – democracy rules!!!

Walking on Water

Our weekends are fun. And sunny. And usually low key. Lovely to be able to say that in the middle of February!!

So the kids came up with a new game last weekend. They figured that since so many of their cousins were skating and skiing and having so much fun on frozen water, they would try to see what they could do on top of liquid water. And this is what they came up with.

  1. Take 3 plastic box tote tops, arrange in a straight line in the pool.
  2. Set up mom or dad with the camera set in “sports” mode.
  3. See how many tops they could run across before sinking into the water.
  4. Laugh, give each other grief.
  5. Repeat.

That’s all. Nothing super special. Just a fun game. At least until the tops cracked and Alea cut her heel.

The cone of shame

Our pretty little horny kitty came home from the vet today, minus her ovaries and plus a shaved belly. She sported the infamous plastic “Cone of Shame” (which is apparently officially known as an Elizabethan Collar) to keep her from licking her incision.

Linsea and Dori hit it right off again, playing and wrestling (to our concerned chagrin – he goes in for spaying next week!), so there seem to be no concerns about them remembering each other. With Alea gone on her Project Week adventure to Manado, watching Linsea bob and weave her head as she stumbles around the house makes a great antidote to missing her!



Waterpark mania!

Besides the malls and the traffic, Jakarta has a plethora of water parks. OK, maybe only three that we’ve heard of, but still…

We got an overhead view of the Snowbay park during our visit to the mini Indonesia park the other day (see previous post), and decided to visit Waterbom – the biggest and ritziest place in town.

We hopped a taxi out there, and had a great day in the sun. The highlight of the visit was when Dave’s swimsuit tore completely in half on one of the rides. Thanks goodness he was able to slip on his boxers under the suit and parade around for the rest of the afternoon like that. Wardrobe malfunction aside, the place reminded us a lot of the water park we’ve been to at the Mall of America (except that it was all outdoors).There was even cold beer and hot satay to enjoy, so we could relax in style.

We didn’t bring the phone/camera in with us when we were at the pool, so we didn’t take pictures of some of the full-body-covering swimsuits that we saw, but we did sneak back in at the end of our visit to snap some “we were there” pictures. It was a super follow-up to our cultural outing the day before!


Ahh, the cat saga continues. We had quite the visit to the vet this weekend, one that will probably live in family lore for quite some time. We wanted to get the kitties’ first vaccinations, and so made plans to get into our school-provided minibus and go. Unfortunately, we made a series of mistakes that morning that were to weigh heavily on our adventure:

Mistake #1 – Breakfast for the cats was some kitty food mixed with some leftover rice and chicken from our dinner. Nice and bland, perfect for a couple of ex street cats, right?

Mistake #2 – I asked the kids to look up the address of the place we were going, but didn’t check on Google maps to make sure we knew (although, in my defense, even if I had looked online, the maze of twisting streets probably would have totally confused me anyways).

Mistake #3 – Susan asked if we were going to put them in a cardboard (beer bottle) box or something, since we don’t have a cat carrier. I thought that it would be no problem to just hold them in the van, and even let them explore, so long as we kept them away from the driver.

So off we go – and within 3 minutes of leaving, one of the cats is experiencing explosive diarrhea as we are weaving down the road. Because of mistake #3, we have no place to put her, but we still want to keep the flying feces off seats and clothing, so we empty out a canvas bag that Susan brought, and stick the cat – butt first, I might add – into the bag.

Now, cat crap is a pretty stinky affair. Loose bowelled poopers are even worse. So there the 7 of us are – the driver trying to drive, me holding the cat’s rear end in the bag, Susan cleaning the poop that got on her and Breck (and trying not to gag from the smell), and Alea keeping track of the other kitten (who is having a great time exploring the van and is totally unfazed by everything). We can’t really open the windows much because most are sealed shut and the others would present a great “jump out” opportunity, so we are stuck in a sealed metal tube, bobbing and lurching through Jakarta traffic.

And then we get lost. Not really lost, but when we finally get the building at #17A, it is a tattoo parlor, not a vet shop. We call the lady who brought the kittens, and she says that we are at the wrong 17A – the one we want is at the far other end of the road (and yes, she’s had people come to the animal shelter looking for the tattoo shop). So we turn around, make two more attempts to get down the road (with stinking cat, who is by this time pretty upset about having to stay in the bag).

But we finally make it. And get chastised in no uncertain terms for feeding people food to the cats. Apparently they can’t digest carbohydrates too well, so that’s why we had “Jakarta juice” all over the van.

And the surprise? Well that was finding out that, instead of two sisters, we actually have a sister and a brother. Oops. Susan is not happy about that oversight, as she is really concerned about male cats spraying things. Breck got very teary-eyed when we told him, and asked if we were going to have to sell NiDorianna and get a female. The decision was made to keep the cat, rename him to NiDorianno, and hope that he behaves himself when he gets older.

Then we all went home, jumped in the pool, and had a series of cold drinks to recover from the afternoon.

First Day of School in Jakarta

Here we go again!!

Breck and Alea by the new morning glory we planted in front of our Jakarta homeNot too much to post, just the yearly picture of Alea and Breck heading off to their first day of school at JIS.

We’ve planted a morning glory in our front yard, and Susan’s big plan is to take a picture of it each year – let’s see how it grows!

And as always, our previous school photos can be seen over on the webpage

What a small world

Setting things up for the classroom the other day, my principal stopped by with a high school teacher (known here as “Speck”). He has been at JIS for many years, and was the driving force in getting the MS science building (at which I am teaching) all revamped and remodeled.

When I introduced myself, he paused for a minute and then responded, “I taught some kids named ‘Stutz’ a few years ago at my last school before JIS. Their names were Karla and Rob.” It turns out that he had been my sister and brother’s teacher, in Amman, Jordan, twenty-three years ago. He’s been here in Jakarta since, and he still remembered them by name!

When we got the schedules last night, guess who was listed as Alea’s science teacher this year…

Alea’s graduation and summer vacation

Alea’s class had a celebration marking the end of 8th grade and middle school. And, right on schedule, the first big rain of the season fell during the evening’s events (as I predicted would happen way back on May 17)!

It was a super evening of fun and tears, made doubly special by the fact that we (and many of our friends) are leaving Mumbai this summer. Thanks to the wonders of electronic communication, we’ll be able to keep in touch, but of course that’s not quite the same as really being there.

This post also marks the beginning of our summer hiatus. We possibly will update a time or two over the summer, but look for the lion’s share of new reporting to come out of Jakarta, Indonesia starting the last week of July. As we said in our goodby email to the ASB staff:

Namaste –
To the ASB community, and all with whom we’ve had the opportunity to work and play.
Shukriya –
A special shout out to all of you who have so positively touched the lives of our children.
Silahkan –
Our doors in Jakarta will always be open, and we hope many of you will pass through them.
Auf wiedersehen –
Until we meet again, please stay in touch.