Last Sunday I planned to make an American-style brunch for my host family. On Friday I went to the large supermarket in Batu to get some items that wouldn’t be available at the local market—big loaf of bread, breakfast sausage, butter, chocolate peanut butter spread and cinnamon. Then on Sunday morning I asked my host mom to get eggs, potatoes and bananas at the market.
Will came over and we took over the kitchen making french toast (which we served with honey, chocolate peanut butter, and bananas), breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs with garlic and onions, and beef sausage (no pork here!). Right before we took everything out to the table I said to Will, “I hope they like this stuff because they are counting on this for lunch!” You never know what foods will please the palate of someone from another culture (for instance the guacamole we made several weeks ago was appreciated mostly by the Americans).
As soon as we had put everything on the table, called Will’s host dad over and told everyone it was ready, everyone standing over it, eating the french toast with their hands exclaiming “ENAK!” (delicious!). My host mom started to make a sandwich out of french toast and sausage and then reassembled things when she saw me making it with honey and bananas. The grandma in the family took turns eating off her grandson’s plate then my host mom’s plate, causing my host mom to say “Nanek, suka!” (Granny likes!)
We all sat in the floor of the living room eating our brunch, and it felt like a really bonding moment. Maybe it was just that we were all eating together for the first time since I arrived, and people don’t really do that here (so my American self felt cozy breaking bread), or maybe it was because this culture exchange had gone over so well and I felt good about that.
After brunch, my host mom insisted on cleaning up, and I got changed and Will and I went into Malang to explore the town square area. Our friends had gone into Malang much earlier and we decided that we’d just explore on our own instead of trying to catch up with them. We decided to totally American-out as we walked around the town square area, ate at McDonald’s (for the first time here), had coffee at Dunkin Donuts and used their free wifi to find a fancy hotel nearby. It turned out that Hotel Tugu (rated the best hotel in Malang by some accounts) was a ten minute walk away. There is nothing like spending an hour exploring a museum in a fancy hotel and having a cold beverage when you are in the Peace Corps to recharge your batteries. We had a long conversation with the concierge at the hotel, got some brochures and promised to come back.
We walked out of the hotel, immediately found an angkot going in our direction and started our journey back to the village. At the very end of the day, I turned my calendar to June, and realized it had been five years since our first date. I felt like we had spent the day appropriately. Except of course that I had to call Will to tell him this fact before we went to sleep—in separate houses!
Here are a few pictures of cooking: