Friday I had the opportunity to go to a Christmas production by a school we (Partners for Compassion) sponsor about two hours outside of Jakarta. To get to the school you feel like you drive to the ends of the earth and then turn right. Driving on dirt roads or paved roads with giant potholes really felt like an authentic back-roads experience.
When we finally got there, we were a few minutes late, but luckily the production had not started yet because there was a slight make-up crisis. Because I am a buleh (Westerner) apparently I must know something about makeup, so I got recruited to help finish getting the girls ready. It was a flash back to my years in Christmas presentations–helping tie halos and putting make up on some of the younger girls.
Apparently in Indonesian Christian culture you cannot just have a Christmas presentation, you have to have a whole church service first. So before the Christmas presentation started, we did a one hour services consisting of worship, a message, offering, and a candle lighting ceremony.
After the church service, then the school presentation began. It was so interesting to hear the opening welcoming remarks after having sat with the same people for the last hour, but since that’s how they did it, I just rolled with it.
The kindergarteners and elementary school students were the first to perform. I think they were just as excited to be able to finally stand up as they were to perform! They were so cute in their little crowns.
The rest of the production consisted of songs, dance, poetry, more songs, and a drama from each of the grade levels. At the conclusion of the Christmas pageant, we were invited to stay and eat dinner with all of the teachers.
After eating, Korry and I decided to take a walk around the school with one of the new teachers. Two of the first grade girls came up to us and decided that we should be friends. They were super shy, so we didn’t actually have a conversation past what their names were, but they were so cute and so sweet, that it didn’t even matter.
The whole experience reminded me a lot of Mexico. The outfits, the music, the atmosphere, it felt very familiar–like I was walking back to my childhood. That seems to happen a lot here in Indonesia. Who knew that growing up in Mexico would make me feel at home for the holidays in Asia?