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Hello Mister

“Hello Mister!”

In Indonesia you feel like a movie star. Everyone wants to greet you as you walk down the street: “Hello Meeester!”, “Hello Miss!”, “What your name”, “Where you go?”, “How are you?”. Usually that is the limit of their English. People everywhere want to find out where you come from, if you are married and how many children you have. How old are you? Have you been to Bali ? How much did your plane ticket cost to get here? How much do you make a month? Sometimes responding to these kinds of questions requires evasive action. Since babies in Indonesia come immediately after marriage, unless someone is “sick”, we said that we were “just married” and “didn't have any kids - yet”. Saying that we were on our honeymoon was sure to produce excited titters or exclamations of: “honeymoon in Indonesia !” before giggling and giving us, especially Anne, sly, knowing smiles. The ever-present calls of “hello mister” are impossible to escape. Walking down a dark street at night might produce a “hello mister” or two from dark corners. Walking past a school was bound to create chaos as hundreds of pupils screamed and shouted from their desks inside the classrooms. After a few months of “hello mister”, we began to tire of being so famous and longed for privacy. Indonesians who asked might discover that we came from the moon (that explains why our skin is so white). We tried different countries for our origins: Germany, France, Belgium, Estonia and England, but only Switzerland generated a constant: “Oh! Swiss!” Something about Switzerland, more than just watches, must be special to Indonesians. Eventually we had no choice but to ignore it all, or pretend not to understand, smile, wave back and keep walking.

Hello Kids