Birthday Bash – Indonesian Style

3rd Birthday Party

This past week had gone by so fast with blurry images of birthday, birthday, birthday. Part of me is glad that the birthday party is over and now all I have to do is to recover from it.

Our precious Lil’ A turned 3 years old on December7, 2009 but since it fell on Monday and no one threw a birthday party on weekdays here, we postponed the party until last Saturday, a good 5 days later.

Even before we picked the date for the party, I was overwhelmed by how much it takes to throw a kids birthday party here even for a simple one. Perhaps the definition of simple here are just different than what Mr. X and I are used to. The first two birthday parties for Lil’ A were simple, families only, nothing fancy or elaborate. We bought the cake, had snacks then that’s it. Not here tho’…when my Aunt started telling me about the goody bags to do I had to interrupt her “Woaaa…time out! They give out those kinds of goody bags now?!” From faint memories of my childhood birthday parties, the kiddos just went home with simple small box with snacks inside it. Not anymore, she said! Nowadays, the party favors had become more exquisite and of course expensive. I was floored to see the birthday packages price lists offered by event organizer companies here!

We agreed on Thomas the tank engine theme since Lil’ A loves anything Thomas related. Mr. X did the right thing, to stay away from the preparation and left it all to me. Since this is after all Lil’ A’s first birthday party in Indonesia and him being his the first grandson for my parents, understandably my mother wanted to make it special so I agreed with a lot of the stuffs that she offered although personally I’d rather not.

Last week my aunt and I went to this place called Asemka, closeby to Mangga Dua area. It’s like a bulk market where one can find all kinds of party favors for cheap. We got our Thomas backpacks there, too bad I didn’t bring my camera. The place isn’t for the faint of heart tho’ because it is more like a wet market, don’t go there expecting AC or anything fancy like the malls because you won’t get it.

When discussing the venue for his first birthday party in Indonesia, it took us awhile to finally settle for my mom’s house. At first I wanted to have it done at one of the seafood restaurant my family and I frequently visited because they have a nice big backyard but since it is the rainy season, that idea was crossed from my list. There’s no way we could have the party at our apartment or a hotel ballroom (yeah, we’re not going to pay $500 just for a room for 3 hours!) so we agree on having it done at my mom’s place. Considering our budget, and also the facts that December is always the busiest time of spending for our family due to 4 birthdays plus Christmas we didn’t really want to throw such a luxurious birthday bash. Lil’ A is sharing the same birthday as his big half brother Justin. Mr. X is celebrating his birthday on December 24th and my father in-law’s special day fell on December 25th (yes, on Christmas day!)

I wanted to have face painting at the party because I thought the kids would enjoy it so after some researched, found a guy who did it for $50 for 3 hours. Not too bad, I thought. Perhaps one should check out these artists’ works before you hire them because when I think of face-painting, I think of whole face being painted. That’s not what happened at the party, he just painted some small pictures for the kiddos on their faces. One event organizer that I talked to about this said that most Indonesian kids wouldn’t want their whole face painted and sometime their parents won’t want them to have it done while the expats kids usually loves to have their faces painted. The parents that came to our party yesterday, actually encouraged their kids to try it out and I’m glad they did and the kids seems to like it although some of them only wanted their arms painted.

Unfortunately, it rained so hard on the big day. This isn’t good at all because when you are living in Jakarta, you’d know what it means when it rains. The traffic will be a nightmare and I worried most of the guests won’t even make it. Most of the people that we invited who had RSVP-ed on Facebook didn’t come, probably due to that very reason.

Despite the facts that a lot of our guests couldn’t make it and the birthday cake showed up with one side smudge, without the candle (although I had reminded the lady about it hours before our driver and assistant came to pick it up!), and how complicated the preparations were, Mr. X and I agree that Lil’ A did had fun and that’s what mattered most.

On our ride back home I playfully asked Mr. X “So, you want to have another Indonesian style birthday party for him again next year?!” He quickly shook his head and said “No thank you!”  To that I had to agree and said “Yeah, let’s do it our way, next year!” 😀




Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.

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  1. Saundra Rohn
    December 14, 2009 / 1:00 pm

    I think you did the right thing with having the party at your Mom’s house and letting Oma have a part in it was even better. You know how we grandparents are about doing all things for our grnadchildren. 🙂 You are so loveable and capable!!! Alexander is surrounded with so much love.
    Love you around the world and back,

    • Tatter
      December 15, 2009 / 8:05 pm

      Oh, Oma had so much fun preparing the party LOL. 😀 Love you too around the globe and back, Mom!

  2. December 17, 2009 / 9:21 pm

    Happy belated birthday, cute guy! Si mommy sibuk banget pasti. Would love to see the goodies they sell in Asemka, Yen. Bisa pengsan kali ya gue? Banyak banget yah?

    Ooohh, ternyata skarang ngadain birthday pake goodie bag sgala, ky wedding aja yah? Jaman gw kecil dulu cuma potong kue, tiup lilin sama bagi-bagi permen… itupun gw pake ngambek dulu secara ga rela permen gw dibagi-bagi. Hahahahah

    • Tatter
      December 27, 2009 / 5:04 pm

      Thank you Tante Dhi sayang.
      OMG bisa banget Dhi hahahaha gw aja sebenernya masih pengen explore tapi kesian kalo kesana bawa anak ya secara panasnya minta maaf hahaha.

      Exactly my thoughts! Soal goody bags birthday party had turned kaya kawinan hahahaha.

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