Lessons From Indonesia: A Tale of a Really Big Puddle

rainy season finalMy deepest apologies for the lack of a puddle picture. This is what we have.
That’s mostly because, when we were in the middle of a downpour, the last thing we thought about doing was pulling out a camera.

Hi there and happy Monday to you, friends. :)

So, clearly, there will be an introduction for every chapter if I continue this way.

I’m sorry about that, and if you don’t like the, here’s-what-I-think-about-this-chapter part, I’ll forgive you if you skip ahead.

So do you ever have a day when you just need a good smile, even a laugh? Today is one of those for me…and this story? Well, it’s one of my favorites. To be fair, I love them all, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t forget this one, even if I tried.

Some days I shake my head, and I seriously can’t believe we lived out some of the things we did. God has a sense of humor, and He also taught me to have one, too. I’m still working on it some days, but it is there.

So here’s to puddles…BIG ones…and the fact that, most days, I’d give anything to live this all over again.

Enjoy. (And laugh.) 😀



So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter.
Gordon W. Allport

When I was little, I would puddle jump like most kids do when it’s raining. You know, in those little patches of water that would miraculously (well, at least to a toddler) appear in the most convenient places after a sudden downpour. The kind that made my mom grumpy when I jumped in them and got the bottom of my jeans wet.

Those tiny, Midwest puddles got nothin’ on Indonesia, rainy season puddles.

In fact, it wasn’t until moving there that I experienced a true puddle. (In my mind, anyway.) 😉

During our first rainy season, we owned a motorbike, and I can’t begin to tell you how many times we got caught in the rain. It would be a sunny day, and five minutes later, it would be pouring…so needless to say, we got used to being very wet a lot of the time.

But the puddles that were created by rainy season were a completely different story…and gave us some pretty interesting memories.

On one such occasion, we had gone to a shopping center at the other end of town on a Sunday afternoon. ­­Kings was one of the best places we could buy fabric in the city, so we spent a couple hours that day browsing and eventually buying what we needed. When we drove there, it had been a sunny, gorgeous day, but just chalk it up as something we had to learn by living in Indonesia longer than we had…

April afternoons = rain. Almost. Always. Rain.

And it was raining. Like, monsoon-ish rain.

We decided to wait it out for a while, found a nearby McDonald’s, and had some ice cream while we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually we realized that we would most likely be waiting for hours and decided to give in to getting wet. Tobin had a rain jacket with him, but I was in khakis and a jean jacket.

Smart ensemble, I know, for a tropical country.

However, in less than a minute I was so completely soaked that it didn’t matter anymore. Water is water.

But what we hadn’t counted on? Was the puddle.


It was just like you see in the movies. Big puddle. Big bus. Motorbike carrying two bules approaches puddle. Bus drives through puddle creating tidal wave. Motorbike and its occupants have nowhere to go and, thus, are drenched by the nasty, dirty, wave of wet.

Never in my life had I felt so soggy and gross.

To make matters worse, once we got back up to our part of town, the sun was shining, and we? Looked like grimy, drowned rats who’d gone for a swim through the streets of Bandung.

And the even-funnier thing is that once we had a puddle experience, it seemed like we had so many more of them…because they’re just a common fact of life in a place like Indonesia. It was almost like God said, “Ok, they can handle as many as I can throw at them.” (Who knows? He probably did.) 😉

They became a strange type of normal in our ever-adventure-filled lives…and almost so normal that we stopped complaining about them pretty much altogether.

I remember the time that a friend and I had made a much-needed, after-school jaunt to the Starbucks down the hill. After some caffeine and a good heart-to-heart, we hopped on her bike to head back toward home. As we left, it started to sprinkle, so we were completely expecting to get wet.

That wasn’t the surprise. Like I said…wet equaled normal on most days.

But as we took a short detour into the kampung so she could show me her house for the next year, we unsuspectingly came upon it.

Another PUDDLE.

This one, we drove right into without even realizing it was there. Well obviously, we saw water…but not the depth.

It. Was. Deep.


Like, up-to-our-thighs deep.

I still, to this day, cannot tell you how we managed to drive OUT of that puddle without toppling over, but we did.

And then? We just laughed and laughed and laughed. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my life.

And it was at that moment when I realized why God had made the rainy season puddles in Indonesia so massive.

Yes, there was another reason other than to get unsuspecting motorbike drivers completely drenched.

Maybe it was to give us more chances to laugh and create memories that will be etched in our minds forever.

As gross and nasty as those puddles were, I will never forget them.
Or the laughter that came along with them.


The stories I’m sharing are about a place and people who are in my heart forever…I never want to paint a negative image of them or their amazing country. Therefore, I ask for your grace over each word and story. I pray that I share these words well.

The above is an excerpt from Lessons From Indonesia: On Life, Love, and Squatty Potties. All words and stories are my own and are copyrighted through Amazon publishing. Feel free to read them, but please ask for permission before sharing them. :) 

Thank you!



  1. I love love this. I love your sense of humor in it all. It brought back some monsoon nepal memories for me to. One of my favorites was me and my teammate were going up a very steep hill on my scooter. We had this giant poncha draped over us and all the sudden we could not get good traction to get up the hill around the crazy mud holes and i did not realize Leah just slid right off the back of the scooter and i just kept going.. until I got to the top and realized she was no longer with me.. :) love you mel and i love love your stories

    • I could TOTALLY picture all of this…there were definitely some moments when we’d take the bike up into the mountains, and I wondered if we’d both make it there! Ah, the memories…aren’t they the best?! Love you, friend! :)

  2. What a hoot! I can just imagine the scenes you describe! I’m glad you are a friend who sees the glass half full!

    • Sometimes I think about how much fun it would have been to watch ME in Indonesia…I have a feeling there were a lot of people laughing! 😉

  3. Oh, man. I hate to laugh at this but just thinking about y’all walking back into the neighborhood in the sunshine but soaking wet…It is pretty funny!

  4. I can just see you going through that puddle and laughing laughing laughing after! You have such a fun spirit.

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