President Obama’s Trip to an Ancient Indonesian City Had a Deeply Personal Meaning
President Obama and his family have spent the past five days island-hopping in Indonesia, visiting everywhere from Jakarta to Bali. But it was the latest stop on their visit that may have been the most personal.
Although he was born in Hawaii, Obama spent several years of his childhood in the Southeast Asian nation after his mother, Ann Dunham, remarried an Indonesian man. Dunham devoted a few years to doing anthropological research in the ancient city of Yogyakarta. In fact, the area proved so influential to her that she later wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the city and its surrounding villages. Obama moved back to the States to live with his grandparents when he was 10 years old but no doubt has nostalgic memories of his time with his mother in the historic place.
In Yogyakarta, the Obamas visited Borobudur, a 9th-century Buddhist temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest of its kind in the world. They are later expected to go to the Hindu Temple of Prambanan.
Ever since leaving office in January, Obama has been quite the world traveler — vacationing on Necker Island and in Tahiti. But as his quick jaunt to Yogyakarta proves, sometimes you just need to go home again.