Turis!

I’m known as “wong bule”, “wong Amerika”, “wong Kanada”, or simply, the “turis” (tourist). I’ve made some friends, and everyone wants me to “mampir”, or drop in. This is very common here. You walk around, and mampir with friends and family, just seeing how things are going and spread the gossip. Yesterday I went with Bu Zumaroh first to her friend, where we stopped in, and picked up some rice to give to another family who’s grandpa passed away. Then we stopped by a store to buy a sea sponge. Then we went to the family who’s grandpa had passed away, and then we went to a family to see their newborn baby, Zahira. We were walking this whole time, and then on the way back, we got on a becak (rickshaw), and Bu Zumaroh made one more quick stop to say hello, while I waited in the becak. We had to hurry a bit, because we had to be back by Mahgrib (the dusk prayer).

And at each place that we stopped at, you sit down on a mat or a carpet in their living room, which is always the first room from the main entrance, I guess designed for ‘mampir’. Many people don’t have furniture. Sometimes a bed is in the room, or the baby’s crib, as families all live together. If there is furniture, it’s usually squashed in a corner, and then only pulled out when there are visitors. Last week I visited a family, and I got to meet 5 generations of women! While we sit down, snacks and water (these plastic cups that have a plastic seal over top, like bubble tea, and then you poke a hole in it with a straw; it’s just unfortunate because it is so much garbage) are placed in front of you. And then, since I’m the wong bule from Kanada, I’m urged to eat and drink, and it’s very impolite not to, even if you are the only person eating. So usually I’m eating these snacks that are insisted upon me, while everyone else watches me eat. Sometimes I can get out of it by saying that “Matur nuwon, aku wis warok (Thank you, I’m full)”, but most people don’t accept that excuse. The best experience I had so far was when I was drinking an ice tea from a plastic bag. It is actually really hard to drink from a plastic bag, because if you don’t put your mouth all the way around the hole you rip into it, then it’s going to dribble down your chin and onto your shirt. And then you can’t really suck from the hole in the bag without make weird noises, so you have to tip it, which is difficult because it’s so wobbly and unstable as a plastic bag. I think I was sweating more from trying to drink the ice tea without making a fool of myself then from the heat of the day. Anyway, after these mampir, I’m quite full, and then I should eat a full meal with rice when I return home!

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