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J a v a J i v e :: Paradise is not all that it seems
a boy leaves everything he knows for the tropical island of java, Indonesia - soon to find that paradise is not all that it seems...

October 31, 2002  

… w h y d i d i l e a v e ?? …

To tell you more about why I’m in Indonesia… guess I have to give a little bit of a background… I finished my degree last April, after 7 years of studying engineering. I combined engineering, fine arts, and business to build a degree called Industrial Design. No I don’t design factories… I design cars, products, electronics, motorcycles, boats, architectural structures, etc. Anything you see around you has to be designed by someone… the way it looks, feels, and interacts with people. Prior to coming to Indo I was working at a company called Lear Corp. designing auto interiors for companies such as Nissan, Mercedes Benz, and Toyota.

As nice as this could have been, it was making me feel old quickly. Looking back, I realized that every day was the same. I could gaze back upon 5 months and hardly remember a distinct day. They all blended together into this fog. This freaked me out! I realized that if I wasn’t careful, my whole life could become a blur - it could literally flash by me without even a hint of excitement. So I decided to sacrifice money for memories. My friends fresh out of university are making $40,000 - $65,000 a year. Not bad for being 24 or 25 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living like a poor boy… my job is very good. It simply doesn’t pay as much as I would be making in the States.

Two weeks before my graduation last April, I was offered the chance to teach in an international school in Jakarta, Indonesia. The details of the offer didn’t even phase me. I simply said, “thank you, this is not for me”, and gave it very little thought. I had hardly ever heard of Indonesia, much less ever desired to see it. All I new was that Bali was close by. I never thought I could do something like that. I knew that I was supposed to get a good job involving my degree - not venture off to some island and teach. Teaching was never an interest for me and to tell the truth it’s still not my ambition in life. But the more I thought about the opportunity, the more I realized that if I was ever going to do anything crazy, anything reckless, and anything irresponsible, now is the time. It’s better to get any of this out of my system before I have a wife and kids. I know that if I never had accepted this offer, I would have always wondered, “what if?” - and that scared me much more than leaving. I never want the weight of wonder or regret.

After April I spent the summer taking a break from the stress of school… and worked for my dad’s construction company. Not to get all cheesy or sappy, but those 4 months were time that I cannot put a price on. It was great spending time with family again.

Once July came it started hitting me that I was actually leaving. I didn’t feel any pondering; I was ready so I got my vaccinations… an experience in itself. I felt like a dog at the vet. The doctor was very reassuring of my decision, “are you fully aware of the problems you may encounter over there?”… was her response. “Let’s see, you’ll need: Typhoid, Hepatitis, Smallpox, Dengue Fever, Malaria…. “ Haha, yeah…

So on August 1st, I boarded a plane with my life in two suitcases…

posted by Brandon | 4:20 AM

October 30, 2002  

... i n t r o d u c t i o n ...

I suppose I should start from the beginning... Well I was born on August 12, in the state of Michigan ............ just kiddin....

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, I'm Brandon.... I'm a 25 year old recent graduate from university. Yes, I was there for 7 full years. Yes, I graduated with an Engineering degree, yes, I loved college, and no I didn't want to stay in the U.S. Do you realize what 7 years of calculus, relationships, and a fraternity will do to you? It makes you a bit restless... and eager to explore the real world. I say "real" only because I felt sheltered, protected, and fortunate. I now feel a bit raw... a bit on the edge, and somewhat unsafe. Guess what? I'm lovin it!!

I always felt as though I was on a track... that track was laid out perfectly, sculpted by my ideas and ideals of what a future is supposed to entail. I was supposed to finish high school, go to college, find a job, and get married. I realize that as nice and safe as that sounds, it's just not for me quite yet... so I was offered a job on the island of Java (next to the now infamous island of Bali) in the heart of Indonesia. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable with geography, but I was completely oblivious to Southeast Asia! It was someplace you hear only occasional headlines - about a volcano, or a diplomat's son getting caned, or the Nike sweatshops. I never really paid any attention to that part of the globe. I even went to university with tons of Malaysians, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese... And I can honestly tell you that I cannot remember the name of even one of them. Pretty sad, I know, but that's life.
My younger brother, Ryan, spent a year in Japan a couple of years ago. He absolutely was changed forever by the experience. At the time I remember thinking, "wow, that's great for him, but just not something I'm into doing...". Now I can understand how he could feel so much different, but never was able to put it into words. You cannot show someone a few pictures, nor tell a sampling of stories. It's impossible to relate the day-to-day life of a new culture - the smells, the people, the food, and the lifestyle. It's not something accurately portrayed by media, travel channels, or tour guides. However, this "journal" is my attempt to speak my mind, my thoughts, and my experiences in this wonderful, dangerous, exotic country. I hope that whoever reads this will understand just a little of what it's like to be here, and maybe even be curious enough to want to see it someday. thanks for listening... brandon

posted by Brandon | 7:06 AM

October 27, 2002  

I'm hoping this could be the answer to my problem of keeping people updated to my experiences!

posted by Brandon | 10:55 PM
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