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A Whole New World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Sweltering heat, overwhelming humidity, monkeys in the street? Well, in Indonesia, these things are very common. By the time I was five years old, I had experienced something many Americans never do: living in a foreign country. My family and I packed our belongings and moved from Massachusetts to Indonesia.

When we arrived in Bali, nothing was the same. There were intricate wood carvings, beautiful batik paintings, and the most exotic wildflowers - and this was just at the airport. Trying to push through all the people was a problem and once we got to the streets, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic!

We were completely in awe of everything we saw. We were probably the only ones shocked to see so many people on bicycles and even in three-wheeled cars. On our way to our new house, the streets were lined with palm trees, vendors, and the biggest, most colorful flowers ever. But nothing could keep our minds off the blistering heat and intense humidity.

We arrived at our new house exhausted, but I will never forget how beautiful it was: a white two-story building with front and back porches. Our yard was landscaped with those same flowers I had fallen in love with, and it had a gorgeous pond in the middle. I was shocked to find it filled with a dozen of the biggest fish I had ever seen. Opening the door, though, was probably the biggest surprise. All the rooms were so open and filled with the most amazing furniture and artwork arranged on a beautiful white marble floor.

A new country exposes you to tons of new experiences. Trying the exotic food was just one of our adventures. One of my favorite dishes was nasi goring, a rice dish with pieces of chicken and vegetables, but what made it so special was the sauce that gave it a sweet taste. We loved it so much that my mom still makes it for us.

The artwork in Indonesia is some of the most intricate I have ever seen. The wood carvings are very detailed and batik paintings are in almost every room. They use dye and wax to create bright, beautiful colors and fancy designs. We saw a lot of different puppets and masks. These flat puppets were creatures in extravagant outfits and crowns held on with a stick with two more to control the arms. Their masks displayed more of their great wood carving and painting talents.

Another huge difference was the animals. Everywhere we went there were huge insects crawling around, even in the streets. Lizards and snakes were free to roam and the air was filled with the calls of birds.

Living in Indonesia was a fabulous experience I would not trade for the world. We lived a whole different life for a while and I think we all miss it sometimes. Of course, we did bring back a lot of things and a lot of memories, but nothing is quite like the actual experience.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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