I’ve actually held off on this post for a while, not sure if I wanted to give the world access to this ridiculous story.
After several months, though, I determined that this kind of insanity is what truly captures the experience that I’m having here in Indonesia. I’ve had approximately 129,102,297 items crossed off of my “I have never…” list, and this one sits somewhere near the top.
In the fall*, I received an email with an exciting request. The stranger writing to me was hoping that I would allow her to use my pictures from Manado (a city on the northern end of the island Sulawesi) to accompany her magazine article!
Excited, I replied that they could, of course, publish my pictures. I also added that my only stipulation was that I was given credit.
We chatted back and forth a bit, I sent her the files, and she offered to send me a copy of the magazine once it was published. I obliged. She was super sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed our interaction. One email excitedly informed me that they were using many of my pictures, and that my name would be printed clearly with them! I’ve never especially prided myself on the pictures that my point-and-shoot turns out, but was pretty pumped about the opportunity.
Because she was writing her article on Manado, I figured that she was working for some travel magazine. Part way through our correspondence, I found out that it was an Indonesian magazine, and figured I had never heard of it.
Eventually, she informed me that the article and pictures were finished and the magazine had gone to the press. I would receive my copy in several short weeks. At the end of our conversation, I discovered – though I cannot quite remember how – that I had indeed heard of her magazine.
She was writing for Maxim Indonesia.
Yes, the men’s magazine.
It slowly dawned on me that not only would my pictures and name be published in this magazine, but that a copy was going to be sent to my Christian-owned apartment in a highly Muslim country.
This was an unseen turn of events.
Aware that I had only sent pictures of food and scenery and such – nothing men’s magazine worthy – I didn’t worry too much, but decided to let the situation run its course. After all, there was nothing much I could do at this point.
In December, as promised, I received my copy of the finished magazine**. The articles with my pictures were in the very back of the issue. Sure enough, my name was printed large and proud, and followed by a good eight or nine of my pictures.
I glanced through the article, completely unable to read it, as it was written in Bahasa. At the end, I came upon the (hopefully) final surprise of my first publishing experience – a picture of myself.
Thankfully, it wasn’t the kind of picture you would expect to uncover in Maxim. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Having spent an entire day flying Indonesian budget airlines, I’m sporting a ponytail and a rather sweaty profile. In my hand sits a plate of about-to-be-eaten dog meat, and my forced smile suggests (appropriate) terror.
And this, my friends, ends the story of my first experience being published and my first and last photograph in a gentlemen’s magazine. It probably makes a better laugh-at-myself-while-still-in-my-20’s story than it does an item for my next Christian school application or story for my grandchildren, but this is how it’s going down in the books.
*Let’s be honest – all the weather is the same here. My brain still functions on American seasons, though. Fall here was defined as the-time-that-I-really-miss-American-football-and-pumpkin-spice-from-Starbucks.
*Thankfully, it was inside a package and therefore completely mysterious to the guards that delivered it.