Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oh my! Wedding. Funeral. Art. Food. Movies. Bugs. Flowers. And more.

Saturday, May 5, 2018
The family's been waiting for this day. Lemuel, my nephew, graduates from NU. He's an accomplished debater and has loved his time at the university where W used to teach. He's our last personal tie to the institution and has done us proud. The family gathers in Seattle to celebrate.

The day starts with a study on our porch. We plunge into the book of Luke, one of the gospels that is recommended reading for Muslims and Christians alike. It's always interesting to discuss how people responded to Jesus and his teaching. Everyone is welcome, regardless of religious affiliation. We've become a family on a journey together.

Scott and Sarah are here for her doctoral studies. She's a sharp young woman, and they're looking for a university placement for language. Their lease at the Airbnb is over. They move in upstairs for the week. They are no trouble and participate wholeheartedly in everything that goes on at the house.

Our book group loves to do birthdays together. Right after the study, Dr. Hanna and I head into town. We have two celebrants and of course, the company and the cake is wonderful. And The Hummingbird restaurant has good tea and appetizers.

The neighborhood women are meeting in their arisan. We hand in our fees: three women "win" part of it for their own interests, and the rest goes toward a neighborhood project. I've grown to love the women who live nearby.
It should be noted that many of the ladies no longer live here, including the former owner of our house (the beautiful woman in a floral dress below). But they've all been friends for 30-50 years. I'm the newcomer and they've welcomed me in.

We have a sad event to attend in the evening. A member of the Monday study group lost their step-dad yesterday evening. Praying for you, Reza. The memorial service is tonight and the open casket is draped with lace. The cremation service is later this week.

Hard to believe that tonight we'll host another dinner-and-a-movie night. Our online sign-up list (70 names) filled within 15 minutes on Monday and we have 25 on the waiting list. We love having people in, and they seem to like coming over.

Tonight, traffic is bad so we start late. It's Ascension Day - commemorating when Jesus arose returned to heaven and to his Father. It's a national holiday and everyone seems headed up through the city to the hills for the long weekend. About 70 show up nevertheless.

Here's typically the kind of big meal we eat. I cook from 7-11am and then relax until people show up for dinner at 6 or 6:30.

We have desserts at intermission. I used to bake everything myself, but the helper has mastered pumpkin pies and cookies.

This month, we're watching Brother Where Art Thou? and asking, "What would give your life meaning, and what would you do to find that meaning?"

The highlight for me is seeing our Indonesian son Agus. He's come back to Bandung to accompany his niece to her university intake exams. He brings her and some friends to the evening. I get lots of hugs and we take lots of pictures. He has a special place in our hearts. He sends a few pictures with, "I'll be back as soon as I can. Take care!"

I can hardly drag myself out of bed, but Scott, Sarah, W and I head around our hill and across the river for a slow loop walk. We see a neighborhood store, just a few steps down and off the path.

The village across the river is a poor but colorful neighborhood.

Some of the houses down our hill are basic, with tin roofs and gathered materials for walls.

There's an orphanage and community center along the way.

Garbage piles burn unattended everywhere. No one worries about fires spreading to homes or trees.

Our Vanda orchid is reblooming. The fragrance is incredible. It fills the whole porch. When the door is open, you can smell the perfume from the kitchen in the back of the house.
 The bugs are busy, too. I find a wasp on cocoon under a leaf. Is it eating something or just coming alive? I don't know. The insect is over an inch long so I don't get too close.

W and I walk a mile down the hill before he hikes back up with the dog. He has a few meetings over coffee.

I call a Grab car, riding up to Lembang with Sayaka. We're meeting Andrea, who's prepared a beautiful tea and delicious homemade pumpkin bread for us.

Over a year ago, Kirsten left a black dress here and said, "Give it to someone, Mom." It fits Sayaka perfectly.

Andrea's husband is a creative designer and builder. He created their paradise from a flat yard.

We meet in the Balinese-style guest house at one end of their yard, a park-like setting of pools, fountains, and gardens. Andrea's decorative eye enhances the spaces.

Sunday: Mother's Day.
I call my mom and talk to one son who has taken his famiy to Canada at Grandma's house. (Heroic with 4 kids, Melissa! You're a jewel.) Our daughter calls to wish me Happy Mother's Day. (Thanks, Kirsten!) Another son texts greetings, and one forgets about the day. We are far from home and I miss my mom and our kids.

After W teaches in the morning, we head for lunch at Bumi S. We start with a few orders of potato skins, as usual.

And I try Es Teler (crazy ice) for dessert. It comes with jelly, bubbles, and sauces - over ice - and is huge. I put a bit into my plate and pass the rest around.

The morning study is wonderful but DrH, Alice, and I have to leave early for a wedding reception. I pull a silk batik wrap under a Nordstrom blouse, and I'm ready.

We meet our book group at NuArt Gallery. We're celebrating member Bulan and her new husband Nono. They've been friends for years and recently married. She's the premier dancer and teacher of Balinese traditional dance. So of course, everything is beautiful. (Below: typically, everyone else around us crowds into the picture with white-gowned Bulan. Indonesians do love photographs.)

Andreas Camelia is the artist in residence at NuArt. He paints by dotting canvas or paper with a Rotring fine-tipped pen. We pose in front of a mural he created for the gallery. I'm staggered by his ability.

Magnify to see the closeup dots

 Read more:
*We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1
*The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:9
*Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:21
*You may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  1 Peter 2:9
Moravian Prayers: Creator of all that is, seen and unseen, we join with all creation in praising your holy name. Make your church a source of light in this dark world. Grant that the light of the world is always reflected in our lives.
Our hope rests secure in you, gracious God, whose compassion is unfailing. We eagerly anticipate a future where all creation is renewed. Give us patience while we wait for the fulfillment of your promise. In the name of Jesus, the redeemer of the world. We ask this through your son, Jesus, the light that no darkness can overcome. Amen.

Having a look around

oh how the weeks fly by ... How about we catch up in pictures? We go to the Sunday market at 6:30 in the morning. We find vegetables,

and fish,

and chickens,

and baby chickens - painted all colors,

and spices.

Women buy food to cook ...

and plastics to store their food in.

I buy 10 little catfish for my aquarium jars and the bathtubs that serve as catch-ponds in the backyard. They're hanging on a stand, set in little plastic bags. We walk home slowly, gently handling the bags with the wriggling fish, and catch them - putting them in with our other tropical fish. Then we get ready for church.

We come back from church to find that, within a few hours of going into the tanks, the catfish have started to die among my other fish (which have been swimming around for 6 months and more). Over the next week, every fish dies off despite 3 complete water changes. I dump the mess into the flowerbed and wash everything clean before I start again.
Exotic chickens along the road
"Do you know the catfish that are served in the restaurants are from the same water as those little fishes?" a friend asks. "The toxins from the rivers and the pollution of everyone's sewage and laundry and kitchen sinks ... that's where they're swimming. That's what we're eating."
Typical waste pipes from neighborhood homes into the river (that feeds our kitchen and bathroom sinks
Apparently, the new little fish are already toxic. I've never eaten catfish in Bandung - and now I intend never to order one. Dead dead dead. Ugh.

After a week, I pour fresh water into the 5- and 8-gallon jars and scoop swordtails and platys from the neighbor's outdoor pond. They settle in just fine. No heater, light, or filter needed: I just change the water every week or two.

I'm doing a few art courses with a journaling link. To focus enough to catch up all the things I have to do, I need creative outlets. I play piano, draw, and paint.

A few of the online art courses are fantastic; some are so-so, but I enjoy them all. I've never drawn birds but a quick and easy demo goes into my journal.

A friend sends pastries. Here are one kind - what a treat to hear the bell ring, open the gate to the motorcycle delivery person, and find food gifts.

Weekend of May 5-6
Several friends graduate this weekend with masters or doctoral degrees. I'm CHEERING for you, each and every one! From far away, I send a picture to one: the coaster Kim bought me in March, a cup of tea, and some cookies with which I'm celebrating her. I'm so thrilled that they've persevered and completed this aspect of their education.

Our street is full of potholes but we love our neighborhood. The damage starts with bad construction (putting 1/2-2" of asphalt on a sandy surface won't hold, will it?) The rest of the holes are made by heavy vehicles like delivery and builder trucks, motorcycles, and torrential rains.

People work hard, as does this woman hauling recycling good in her cart.
This is long enough. I'll show you where we've been in the next post, ok?

Read more:
*The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. Numbers 6:25

*O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. Psalm 98:1

*Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV

*Jesus says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

*Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19 NIV
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Corinthians 13:13
Moravian Prayers: Triune God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier—you hold us in the embrace of your eternal love. May all our words and deeds this day, and every day, be pleasing to you and give glory to your holy name. Be with us and all those we hold dear. 
Glorious God, our voices are raised in joyful adoration and praise of you. Remarkable are your deeds; remarkable are your words. It is our privilege and delight to declare the faithfulness of your love, the joy of your salvation, and your unending mercy. May new songs be written and old songs be remembered and repeated by a future generation. We pray this through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.