Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Jalan Jalan" for a Cure

At the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's 2010 Walk

During my second year of law school, I spent 10 weeks working for The Center for Law and Global Justice in Bali. During my time there, I was part of a team of lawyers helping the Indonesian government develop their first set of intellectual property laws. And I surfed.

After about a month, my friends and I learned where the secluded beaches were - free from infestation of two exceedingly annoying groups: drunk tourists and the "merchants" who came over from neighboring islands each day to hustle them.

Sometimes, because of work, we stayed local and surfed tourist spots like Kuta, where obnoxiously aggressive peddlers follow you up and down the beach trying to sell anything and everything from blankets to coconut ice cream. Luckily, once we uttered the phrase "jalan jalan" and responded to their weak come-backs in Bahasa Indonesia, they'd leave us alone.

The phrase "jalan jalan" literally translates to "walking walking" - but like most Bahasa Indonesian expressions, literal translation is only tangentially related to actual meaning. Roughly, when said by a group, "jalan jalan" means "I am only interested in walking with my friends and not with you".

Last weekend, this dusty unused phrase peaked its head out from my subconscious because I was in fact "walking walking" with my amazing friend Christine, and did not want to be anywhere else in the world.

Gary and I walked with Christine and "the kids" (Christine's niece and nephew, and their cousin) in the 2010 JDRF Walk in Avon, NJ. The event raised money to help find a cure for Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes - which Christine's niece was diagnosed with a couple of years ago. It was truly an honor to walk with such a brave and beautiful group of kids and their families. As one little boy's shirt said: "insulin is not a cure" - and "walking walking" was the least I could do to help find one.

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