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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

category archive listing Category Archives: Breck

Vietnam trip first peek

We’re back from a superb 3 weeks in Vietnam, and wanted to get a few shots posted. We have a JIS photo contest for vacation shots, and I was looking through pictures for it; these are some of the ones that didn’t make the final cut, but are still pretty cool. There are specific categories for entries, and so there are no “family shots” in this bunch, but these give a flavor of our travels. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Alea and Breck. New tablets for enjoyment during our winter break vacation. Spending the morning downloading apps, uploading books, and getting all the custom settings just right. Off tomorrow for 3 weeks in Vietnam!!

Proud owners of new Samsung Tab 3's

Holiday Greetings for 2013!

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Horse!

We hope this finds family and friends around the world enjoying peace, health, and joy as we embark on a new year.


The family in Ha Long bay, VietnamOur family continues to live, work, and thrive in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is our third year at Jakarta International School. Dave happily remains with MS math, Susan welcomed a move to Kindergarten, and Alea and Breck work hard in 11th and 9th grades respectively. Alea and Breck both play in the band and enjoy the rock-climbing club.

Alea squeezes Model United Nations and pilates into her busy IB/AP schedule. She also joined Tri-M music honors society and JIS orchestra, a service group helping local children explore instruments and music. Breck joined the magic club and has also become quite the stage lighting and ‘green screen’ expert. He has been asked to support the theater and tech departments at both the elementary and high school. He will work at upcoming shows of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Wizard of Oz.

Alea checks out the coral growth..

Our family loves living life overseas as global nomads. We travel every chance we get and appreciate the diversity SE Asia offers. We launched 2013 in Cambodia and Laos, dove the walls off Bunaken, Sulawesi in April, and returned to Amed, Bali for more diving in October. We left on Dec 21 for three weeks of travel through Vietnam. We agree that kayaking in Ha Long Bay, clamoring through mud caves in Phong Nha, rock-climbing on an island in Long Ha Bay, biking through rice paddies near Hoi An, and eating our way through Ha Noi street food were absolute highlights!

Breck and Alea, given a taste in their social studies classes, were especially intrigued with the (recent) history of this amazing country. We toured Vinh Moc tunnels near the 17th parallel and saw bomb craters (currently used as fish farms) all over Quang Nam province. We believe one of the benefits of living overseas is the multiple perspectives we gain and develop about any historical event or situation.

Up at the cabin...Of course, summers in the USA always reminds us how blessed we are to have family. We always enjoy our time in MT, but this summer was especially rewarding because we welcomed Alvin Fletcher to the Strachan-Stutz clan. While we are biased, we do believe he bears a remarkably handsome resemblance to Breck. As always, we thank and celebrate the Helena Stutzes who take incredible care of us when we show up. A highlight of this summer was time spent with Blanche and the nieces and nephews at Hauser and Clancy Recreational areas. Hard to believe, but the kids have never been to Yellowstone; we think this summer is the year…

Minnesota is always good to us, but we must admit that Door County, Wisconsin is pretty amazing. We spent a fabulous week there with the south-side Wagners fishing, cherry picking, and shopping. Best of all – we got all the smoked salmon we brought back through customs in Indonesia. Yum!!! Valleyfair with the Regan’s topped the kids’ ‘thriller’ hit-list and deck-time racing crawdads with the cousins at Grandpa and Grandma’s cabin on Lake Vermilion filled the ‘You’ll never guess what WE did’ quotient. Things as simple as shopping downtown, going to a garage sale, or attending a lake-side concert after berry picking take on a whole new meaning when enjoyed with family!


The Minnesota clanWe plan at least one more year in Indonesia. Alea will graduate next year from JIS; it is exciting to think about the future. We have spent time in the USA these past few summers looking at colleges and universities for the kids and retirement homes for the parents. Time will tell!


We wish everyone all the joy and love of this season. We are fortunate and we know it. We hope you feel the same!

Pool Party

Breck decided to have a few of his friends over, for the (very sound) reason that “we haven’t gotten together for a while.” The evening was full of the delightful sound of video game carnage, Nerf gun shootouts, and Lego construction. They did get out of the house for a little bit, getting into a midnight game of pool tag. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Friday…

How much fun is this?!

Clean Up Jakarta

We headed downtown this morning for a session on Clean Up Jakarta day. A great bunch of teachers, administrators, parents, and kids took the time to positively impact our adopted home. We got good and sweaty doing some good for the city!

(And what a fantastic garbage truck driver we had - she was very helpful!)

Bali Break (part 1)

We headed off to a week in the sun on Bali’s east coast. Diving (scuba), driving (scooters), and dining (seafood) were the only things on our agenda. Our hotel was fabulous, and we went under the sea a few times as well. Here are a few shots from around our resort, as well as some of the undersea life we saw on our first day of diving. More to come!!

Breck and the Boyfriend

No, we don’t have any big announcement to make. Just wrapping up the run of the high school play “The Boyfriend,” for which Breck was specially trained and appointed as one of the key spotlight operators.

You can see him in the cast and crew picture below with all his high-tech gear!

4th from the left in the front row

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

Breck and his baby

Breck after the first night with his rent-a-baby, Michael. Welcome to parenthood, buddy!

Breck With Baby


Straight from the facebook posting here

Midsummer’s Night Dream

JIS Middle school production of a Shakespeare classic!

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?!

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…

Welcome back to school

Bali dancer at the JIS middle school welcome back assemblyThe first week is always a bit of a blur for teachers and kids and teachers, especially for all the “newbies.” Most of the first few events are designed to help get over some of the anxiety attendant with that rush of activity. For example, our first assembly at the middle school featured, for the second year in a row, a traditional welcoming Balinese dance. And, of course, for the second year in a row, I didn’t have a camera.

Luckily others did, and I was actually able to steal one from a fellow teacher and grab some shots from the back of the stage, looking out at the crowd of kids. Interestingly enough, even though I didn’t know it at the time, Breck is just visible beyond the dancer’s skirt (he’s in a red t-shirt).

As I noted when I first put this shot on Facebook, I love working at a place where the welcome-back-to-school assembly includes an exotic traditional dance. Very cool!

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!

Dodgeball madness!!

The end of the middle school year is here, and what better way to top things off than through an all-school game of dodgeball! We are split up into “Volcano groups,” and we spent the afternoon of the last full day throwing things at each other. Our volcano – Salak – made it to the finals largely on the strength of Breck’s “savior shot” that freed the whole team from prison right as we were on the verge of being eliminated. We then went on to crush Krakatoa in the finals for the title and to hang on to our championship belt for the year!

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube DirektDodgeball Madness @ JIS

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!).

Out-of-this-world band concert

Breck’s final concert of the year (ok, it was technically a VPA – Visual and Performing Arts – presentation) featured a fun ending. It combined a few of his favorite things – playing the trombone and Star Wars. Their last song was “Duel of the Fates,” the iconic choral tune from Episode I – the Phantom Menace.

To make the effect complete, the director used a lit wand as a baton (resembling a mini lightsaber) and clips from the movie played in the background. The choir even got into the deal, coming down to sing the vocals (which, according to Wikipedia, is part of an old Welsh poem rendered in Sanskrit. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I read).

All in all, it was a pretty fun evening, and it certainly got us thinking about blasting off out of here in just a few short weeks!

The song starts off with Darth Maul on screen and the band blasting away    The choir joins the act and sings along


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!

He must be on the front stage

And now it is Breck’s turn. He was cast as the lead character in one segment of the middle school production!! He is The Man (no really, that is the character’s name) in the play “Could Things Be Worse?” Basically he complains about his life, and his rabbi sets him up with a whole bunch of new troubles at home just to prove that there is plenty more terribleness that could be going on, and to convince him that he doesn’t have it so bad.

I’m not sure I agree with the overall message (which I take to be “hey buddy, even if things are rotten, just accept them rather than trying to take action to improve, since there is always a way for you to be more miserable”), but it is a cute play anyways. Check him out in the gallery below; opening night is Friday and we are all excited about seeing him in action!

Hollywood in Jakarta

Who needs the Oscars, right? I mean, really – I just read that the winner of the best actor award spoke TWO WORDS in the whole movie. What a load of pretentious, holier-than-thou thespian garbage. (the opinions expressed here are solely those of Dave and have nothing to do with Susan, who will banish him to the couch if anyone even suggests that she feels the same way about the arts)

But whatever. We had a middle school social Friday night, and there was a photobooth set up with a Hollywood theme. Although I was in charge of a sumo wrestling event (you know, with those suits you can wear to get all rotund), I still had a chance to spy in on Breck from time to time. It looked like he was having a good time, and the pictures that were posted on the school’s electronic distribution board seem to bear this out!