Indonesia: Gulings and weddings

It took me a while to remember that “guling” in Indonesian means “bolster”. I couldn’t quite think of a fitting word, thinking that there was no English word for “guling” at all. There are various kinds of bolsters, but just the quick and dirty: a guling is an oversized, usually cylindrical-shaped pillow, that is often hugged at night.

It is pronounced gew-ling – basically, not “gulling”. Apparently there are various kinds of bolsters but gulings are very common in Indonesia given their shape and size. I’ve always called mine a guling; can’t quite bring myself to call it a bolster because when I think bolster, I think of a small, fat pillow.

The past few days I’ve just been clinging onto a guling in pain because I somehow contracted salmonella, or other nasty, gross food poisoning. Last time I contracted salmonella was when I visited Indonesia in 2003. The pain was excruciating; I didn’t make it to the toilet in time once. It hurt to move, I spent most of a few days in a foetal position unable to move. After a course of pills and much rest, I felt better, but it really did take almost a week to heal.

This time I fell sick on Monday, having the familiar diarrhea I had experienced in 2003. I thought nothing of it, thought it may have just been the change in diet from Australia to Asia, and went on with my day. The next morning I woke up with unbelievably painful stomach cramps and a headache and… hmm, I couldn’t really walk. I managed to make it down the stairs and tell my mum I was not feeling good, so she gave me some familiar diarrhea pills as well.

I know it sounds gross, but I pooped my pants a few times (TMI alert… wait maybe that should have gone as a pre-warning)… because the diarrhea was that bad. 😢

I needed to go to the bathroom that morning and had to walk up the stairs. I don’t know what happened but suddenly I lost control and my vision went white. I remember looking for my towel hanging near the balcony, to take with me to the bathroom, and not being able to locate it… then the next thing I know I had ran straight into a door, head spinning, and was on the floor in a foetal position and started to cry.

Before I started crying I thought I had blacked out and fainted, but my aunts and cousin and the maid came to my aid, lifting me up by the arms as I cried. My vision returned but I felt a horrible pounding in my head. That was the worst of it, though.

I slept most of the day and took the diarrhea pills. I didn’t eat for a few days. The nausea was unbelievable and the thought of even the yummiest food made me want to throw up. 🤮 I only managed my first meal in days this morning; just a piece of bread. I was able to eat some noodles later on for lunch.

The first day was pretty terrible, but the headache and nausea disappeared once I got some rest. It was really difficult sleeping at night, though. I seem to have gone nocturnal a little since I arrived in Indonesia. I seem to have gotten better quick, though, which is surprising. I was expecting to still be in pain today, but I just have the odd stomach rumble every now and then. I didn’t eat much today but I did manage to eat, and I’ve been keeping up my fluids.

I don’t suppose the diarrhea will go away too soon, but it’s definitely a lot less severe than before. :)

My cousin Ronald got married on Sunday. It was a huge, really busy day, and the ceremony and reception were both incredibly fantastic. The night before, we stayed at a hotel near the church where the ceremony was held. I managed to go without the internet for 24 hours that day… :P Which means I can cross something off my 101 in 1001 list.

Of course, at the ceremony, I couldn’t resist taking my camera and shooting some photos. My favourites are these from the outside of the church where everyone let a bunch of balloons go.

Ronald and Astrea
Ronald and Astrea
Ronald and Astrea
Ronald and Astrea
Ronald and Astrea
Ronald and Astrea

At the wedding reception I was actually at the front desk collecting envelopes of monetary gifts for the newlyweds. :D Ronald asked me if I wanted to and I didn’t mind being there – it was a bit difficult as my Indonesian is really broken, but I managed for the most part, with my other cousin’s help. There were six desks and I was there for nearly the whole reception. My cousin Ricky got me some food from the buffet, but I found that I wasn’t all that hungry. I got tired of standing but we all got a seat to sit on.

I’ll admit that before the wedding I was really ticked off – angry about all the makeup and the fact that my other aunt hadn’t arrived with the dress I was supposed to wear. Ronald’s mother made all the dresses for the extended family, including mine, and when my other aunt arrived I was upset to find that the straps were still too big (I had to pin it up) and the hem hadn’t even been sewn. :( It could have been worse; I spent the first half hour silently moody. :X

I didn’t see most of what happened but I enjoyed meeting all the guests and giving them their photo and wedding souvenir tickets. I took so many photos with my cousins at the photobooth. At the photobooth, you just line up and professional photographers photograph you with the background a lovely set-up of flowers and such. You get your photo printed straight away, which is pretty cool. /bounce

I found that the wedding differed from Western weddings greatly. At the reception, there are no seats, but it’s just a huge buffet where you walk around and pick up everything you want to eat. My dad said that’s how it’s been for years. He said that it is also cheaper because you don’t have to pay per person, but you give an estimate or a maximum of guests and you get a fixed price for the food/drinks and other services for the evening.

I regret not taking a longer break from the front desk as I missed a lot of photo opportunities… but oh well. My brother had a go, but he had trouble operating my camera in the yellow light. He normally does so, so well despite not knowing much about a DSLR – he doesn’t shake, he is familiar with some of the controls and he has good focus, but I guess he got let down that night with a bunch of blurry photos.

I really enjoyed the night regardless, and am very happy for my cousin and his new wife. ♥️

Comments on this post

When I got severely dehydrated in Israel, I was shitting my pants for like two days before I went to the hospital to get an IV. :/ It was soooo bad and embarrassing.

I’m glad you’re better now!!! ♥ ♥ ♥ I can’t imagine what it must have been like. I hope I never have to find out…

The bride looks so beautiful! At risk of sounding like an Asian mother here, she’s so pale and has such big eyes! Do you think she wore eyelid tape?

I wouldn’t say it’s embarrassing – I’m sure many people have gone through that experienced or experienced something of the sort. D:

I don’t think she did – her mother and sister both have big eyes (even though she herself wears glasses in everyday life), so it must be genetic. /eee

Oh dear, I hope you’ll get fully well soon :( Your diarrhea must be due to a change in water. When I go to some other place I always use mineral water or I boil & cool it before consuming (if water purifier is not available).

Bride looks so beautiful :)

The wedding was amazing!!! (y) . In Malaysia also have the guling thing, but it not too famous. We usually have those guling thing according to our races and culture. Mehehehe.

Oh yea? You have that diarrhea? I don’t know what that is but it sounds kinda painful. =.=

That simple explanation just got me thinking because I’ve always think that guling is equivalent to bolster and that a small, fat pillow would be….a pillow. /ho
Eek! Food poisoning from the country I’m currently living…. O_O and that diarrhea sounds really bad… It surprises me that a change in diet from Aussie to Indonesia can get that nasty? I hope you’re fine now.
Are you sure your Indonesian is broken? Hehe because I’ve been smiling from behind the PC when I read your Indonesian tweet; it’s just…fun to see you talking in Indonesian, I guess. /bounce
I don’t mean to be rude though.
Anyway, it seems like you enjoy Indonesia eh and especially Two Mangoes haha nice to hear that XD

I’m glad your feeling better now, I know how it is to have food poisoning, or being sick overall.
I’ve been “sick” for the past month now, thanks to this baby growing in my belly /eee

The wedding looks spectacular too by the way!

That was a gruesome ordeal you had to go through. The last time I had a diarrhoea in that kind of magnitude I was around 7 or 8 years old. I hope you’re fully recovered now.

The wedding looks lovely and fabulous!

Btw, I’m back and I’m back for good! It’s nice to visit you here again! :)

P.S. I love that your layout is mobile friendly!

Ooh! My culture has a version of a guling too! xD We call it “knai owp” where “knai” means “pillow” and “owp” means “hug.” Most of my siblings have one and because I was the youngest during the time my grandma (and maybe my mom too) were making one for each of us, I ended up with the smallest knai owp, haha. I still have it and hugged it between my legs last night, though, not for the same reason as you… I hope you’re better now (and if you are, awesome!)…

‘Cause I know how you feel. :T During my second trip to Cambodia, I ate a Cambodian sandwich (like the Vietnamese bahn mi) and it had these pickled vegetables in there which I think got me sick within a couple of hours. I’m not sure if it was food poisoning or what, but I was terribly hot and sweaty the whole night, even with the hotel room’s A/C on blast near me. I would wake up in a cold sweat, tossing and turning, and feeling the need to throw up. It was AWFUL. D:

The next morning was the worst. I felt pale, clammy, sick to my stomach and just gross and I was angry because I really didn’t want this to affect my trip that was going so well. : But then at one point, we finally stopped by a local pharmacy and I took the pills they prescribed to me and I eventually got better. Reading about what happened to you just brought back memories of that horrible part of my trip! xD

Anyhow, the wedding looked like fun! Congrats to your cousin and his wife! :)

That sounds terrible. :-( I hope you’re feeling much, much better now! This reminds me of the time I had very bad gastric pains and I lay in bed for almost a week and didn’t eat much and lost about 4 or 5 kilograms. The pain was so bad I didn’t get to sleep much at all and I couldn’t even stand up. At that point I really thought that I was going to die.

And I HATE diarrhoea. They always come at the wrong time and I get them when I am feeling nervous.

And lovely photos! The third and fourth photos looked like they were taken from some movie or drama hahaha! Congrats to your cousin and his bride (she is very pretty)! When Chinese couples get married here in Singapore the day usually starts with the groom going to the bride’s house to get his bride and before he can enter he must play some weird games or give a big fat red packet. Then there’s the tea ceremony and all where the bride and groom kneel in front of their elders and serve them tea. At night there’s usually a dinner at some restaurant in a hotel and each guest will give a sum of money they think will pay for their dinner there. I’ve never been to a wedding dinner buffet!

I can feel the pain through these words. I wish I could make you feel better. T/_T

I’m so sorry that you’re really sick on a holiday; that is the most terrible thing. I remember in your last entry you had talked about eating cheap food. This isn’t the most comforting thing for you to read, but I would say please try to avoid them. I feel terrible for “lecturing” but I’m feeling more terrible reading all this. Food poisoning is one of my worst fears (though I’ve never had it).

Just because your cousins can eat whatever they want doesn’t mean you should do the same. It’s something to do with what your body is naturally used to. When my best friend took one of our American-born friends to China, they would eat a lot of market food and the American-born friend was always the one to get sick. In countries like Indonesia and China, we cannot live Australian and American lifestyles because the sanitation isn’t the same quality. Sure the natives are fine, but they live by different standards (such as not eating uncooked vegetables, washing your hands after handling money). Plus, they have the adapted immunity of growing up in such an environment.

If you had gotten sick for some other reason, then I can’t think of what you can do to prevent all this again. I really wish it wasn’t happening. I’m sorry for being so dramatic, aha.

I hope you’ll be feeling well soon. Like, right now, feel better!

Oh, and the photos of the balloons are beautiful. Congratulations to your cousin as well, even though that completely looks like a Western style wedding to me.

Get well soon, Georgie! Your food poisoning (?) sounds awful. I guess that people who live in Indonesia might be immune to whatever microbe caused it.

Your cousin and his wife look gorgeous! I adore the balloons. They make the wedding sillier and happier.

Do you speak Indonesian at home? I’m impressed that you can still speak it even though you live in Australia. In America, most second-generation Chinese Americans cannot speak Chinese fluently at all, even if their parents speak it to them at home.

Oh no, sorry to hear that you got sick :( What you had to go through sounds horrible! I hope you get well soon!

I’ve never seen the balloon thing at a wedding before, but that’s such a fun idea. So colorful too! I also love the bride’s dress. It’s so elegant with the lace, sleeves, and gloves :) I feel like you don’t see dresses like that as often anymore. Congrats to the newly wed couple!

Oh Georgie! That was terrible! I hope it doesn’t happen again.

I just realised that I haven’t visited your blog for a while. o.O

I finally set up my new site! AND IT IS A .NU YAY!

I love the way you set up this comments section, with the rules on the left and the comments/smilies on the right. :) Unique.

Awh! I’m sorry you felt bad that day. I can imagine how that felt. I’ve had food poisoning before. I was in the bathroom crapping (TMI lol) and all of a sudden WHILE I was crapping I threw up. I exploded, it was strange but I felt fine afterwards. XD

I’ve also been so sick where I felt like I had to crap literally ALL DAY that day. I was just glad I didn’t wake up until noon or 1 that day. hahaha. It was awful. The doctor’s never found anything wrong though. :/

I think I am going to work on my designing skills on Neopets (since I am back on there again). I figure since I came from there, maybe getting back to my roots will help me get better as a designer, since I am already AWESOME as a coder. lol

Wow, I think I want to have a buffet at my wedding but idk if I will eat, I’ll probably just have cake as my only meal that day (I love cake). XD

The diarrhea you just described. I have encounter it as well. I felt an excruciating pain that I hoped I just died and I couldn’t think.

Mine turned out to be amoebiasis. I couldn’t drink water and eat anything at all. For days, I only had bottles of Gatorade. I was so sick of it by two weeks. -_-

oh dear! I hope this won’t happen again =( Is this an illness? I had blurry vision and everything turn white a few time when I was in pain, too. My head wanted to just die, but I tried really hard to drag my body to bed before I fall unconscious in the bathroom.

Wow that’s a lot of balloons! I find weddings boring so..that’s all I can think of lol

Hey Georgie! I’m so so so so sorry, I haven’t been able to comment recently. Truth is and I’m not going to lie to you, this internet at this house I’m at has been acting up really bad, and people downstairs claims it blocks their wi-fi which I don’t think it is because it runs through an Ethernet cable. But whatever right? Also, just been to busy trying to spend time off the computer, and enjoy life. Though at one point in time I did have a boyfriend, but he gutted me from the inside out (long story).

Anyway, I’m sorry to hear that you got food poisoning in Indonesia! That really sucks! It’s never any fun to get that! I don’t believe I’ve ever had food poisoning but than again I really don’t remember if I did or haven’t. Well; girl, I finally did it! I got myself an apartment! I move on the first of August!! The only thing I have to pay for is the electricity and the internet/phone/cable. How awesome is that? I get one month free rent due to the fact of it being summer. I hope I can keep up with the bills and what not. Though since I’m on Ssi, they may make an exception and put me on the care program through Edison. I’ve heard of people doing that. Where I’ll be living is definitely with the Elderly, but they are extremely nice if you are to them and I haven’t a problem of being nice to those people. In fact, when I got the call saying I had been approved they told me I got lucky with the pet deposit and it is already included in the security deposit :). My dad and his girlfriend are giving me some pots and pans and I got some dishes already. I’m half way there!! Haha!!! But other than that, I’m just busy packing and what not. I got my t.v. back, took me two days to clean the entire kitchen as the little witch downstairs stole my “boyfriend” at the time because she was here first (long story again) and she had a cut on her finger so it was just an excuse to NOT to clean up. So I did it :). I’m happy about it too.

Congratulations to your cousin Ronald and his new bride/wife!! The photos are amazing as always. Maybe you should be a photographer instead of a web designer? Just a though.

I’m sorry you got food poisoning. That really (really really) sucks. I had the stomach flu earlier this year and I was starting to get concerned because it had been going for about two weeks. When I went to see the doctor, they told me it was likely that it was a virus and unless it persisted for more than 5 WEEKS, there was nothing they could do. I also got food poisoning when I went to China (I ate too many of some weird raspberry-like fruit) and the pain was really hard to bear. I ended up going to the hospital, but since it was food poisoning, it passed on its own within 24 hours. They had me on some kind of IV for pain.

P.S. I love the balloon photos!

Haha I still have my guling. Here in Brunei we call that pillow guling as well ;)

Gackk, sorry to hear you had diarrhea. I had a food poisoning once and I had to suffer from it for over 3 days. I was confined in bed, can’t eat anything because I’d just throw up. I hope you are already recovered by the time I post this comment, but if you haven’t, do get well soon dear.

Congrats to your cousin and his bride. The wedding looked so wonderful and lovely. ♥
I would expect the customs of weddings for each country to be different, in fact, customs of various ethnics within the same country would differ from one another. :)

Arghhh, and now I’m fighting the impulse to narrate to you the wedding customs in my country. :P

I hope you’re feeling better! sob, that definitely does not sound like fun :(
Whoo! It seems like there’ve been a lot of weddings lately (well, I guess it’s the summer xD; I recently went to a wedding in China and thereby missed one of my friend’s weddings in the US). Those pictures you took look awesome, but I think I just have a soft spot for pictures of balloons ^^
And Indonesian weddings are a lot more similar to Western weddings than Chinese ones are (wherein we just ate and then sat around as if it was just one giant informal family gathering XD).

Hello, Georgina! I hope you’ve already recovered by now. :)

I think I haven’t suffered from salmonella poisoning yet so I do not know the feeling. Maybe you’ve eaten something that was poorly prepared? I really hope you’re better now. 😳

Anyway, I Google-d what a “guling” is and I remembered having that kind of pillow when I was still a kid. I used to call it a “hotdog” pillow. /hehe

Very nice photos! ;) I’ll be checking your photoblog for more. Yay! Congratulations to your cousin’s wedding. They both look good together~

I didn’t know those cylindrical pillows even had a name.

I had food poisoning once. I’m still not sure how I got it. I keep thinking that it was from my dad’s friend’s cookies, even though they tasted amazing. I felt like my stomach was twisting itself, and I pretty much had the same experience as you. I couldn’t make it to the toilet on time and pooped in my pants a few times. I had to keep changing my underwear and bottoms. All I did for those few days was curl up in bed, refusing to eat. The meds I took did not help. :P

I hope you get over it soon. I guess in a way it’s like extended, more painful cramps when you’re on your period. You just have to wait for it to pass.

Oh, man, that’s something my Mum would have had a fit about, if she had’ve heard about your story of contracting salmonella poisoning; ‘THAT’S WHY WE DON’T VISIT STRANGE COUNTRIES YOU CAN DIE FROM THEIR ROTTEN FOOD AND UNSANITARY WATER’. Even worse, she’d probably have the same thing to say to me if I were in your position! /angry

… Not sure why I mentioned that, heh. :( It’s just the first thing that popped into my head and very much wanted to get it off my chest as soon as it did. But anyway, I’m very glad you got through it all okay, and that your whole family was supportive of you. That part was so sweet and cute, when everyone was helping you off the floor because you were too weak to do it yourself! N’aww … ♥ ((I find the strangest things cute, eheheh.))

And the wedding pictures, oh my gosh, so beautiful! The first one with the bride, oh she looks like a movie star! /love OMG, gorgeous. Eeee!~