Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Getting antsy

Feathery ant wings,
trapped outside the house
Thursday, October 27.2016 
There's buzzing. Something is flying around my bedroom. I peek to see what it is. The lizards who roam the walls have stopped chirping as it's getting light out (5am).

The bug's buzz and the morning light wakes me even after a short night. I keep a sleeping mask on the shelf beside the bed but forgot to put it on yesterday.

A 1" flying ant zooms around and finally lands on the dangling pull of the ceiling fan. I grab a hand towel from the bathroom and smash the ant to the ground. And then I hit it thrice to make sure it's not moving, pick it up with a kleenex, and toss it into the garbage.

As rainy season kicks in, the flying ants come en masse (by the hundreds or thousands), landing against walls, on ledges, and above the doors. They also find any cracks into the house.

Our Thursday walk has been canceled - the aging members are less willing to slide around the slippery clay trails. Many of them have broken or sprained hands or feet in the past. I'm sad because I love our walks. Now it's sunny out, though it may be pouring by mid-morning.

One guest pads around his room upstairs, getting ready to fly back to Singapore. At 7am, the gardener rings the gate bell. He'll work the day at our house and the neighbor's. Today he's climbing 3 kinds of trees, harvesting nagnka (jackfruit), betel nuts and leaves (which get steamed), and hundreds of avocados next door, if they're ripe.

Taking a stroll with neighbor Jez, I notice a sprawling zucchini plant on a wild hedge behind our homes. Looking more closely, it's plain to see that various helpers have been picking the flowers to eat - I ask mine to make sure they leave some flowers so we can have vegetables as well. The locals often harvest plants in the yards without mentioning it to us - we have to keep our eyes open to see what is ripe. (We share of course: today, one huge jackfruit will go to Jez, one to us, and one split between helpers. Each jackfruit makes 4-5 family-sized meals. Cooked Sunda-style, it tastes like pulled pork.)

The other guest (Pieter) sleeps in and then takes the dog for a run. Our house is about as quiet as one can find and it's a blessing to share it with travelers and friends. Pieter's getting to the know the city through appointments with our friends and connections. So far, he loves it - though not yet as much as we do.

Dear friends Sumathi and Augustine
W flies back in today - he's got a 13-hour flight to Taiwan from Vancouver with a decent layover, a flight to Jakarta, a bus ride to Bandung, and an Uber home. He'll be tired when he gets here, but the trip is pretty efficient = under 30 hours door to door. Travel is exhausting so we are always glad to get home.

Sorting files on my computer, I flip through photo memories. I'm missing Sumathi and Augustine, true friends in Cambridge (UK), Singapore, and here. Prayers appreciated for Augustine, now battling cancer in India.

Read more:
*Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2 ESV

*All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 NLT

*Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4: 7-11 NIV

*Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 ESV
Moravian Prayer: As the days and years edge on, help us, Lord, to not be weary and to not faint. Let our zeal for you never run dry. Daily renew us by the power of your Spirit. Let us by your power and strength finish the race. Amen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Flash flood warnings

Monday, October 24, 2016
It's a day in which God's hand is obvious - the afternoon flood is off our radar when we have the morning study at 10. Our group is working through Philippians 3, talking about the rituals we attach to the simple Good News about Jesus.

No wonder people are confused - do Christians have to dress a certain way (which usually translates to 1940s or 1950s American costume), eat or not eat certain things, and "do church" a particular way? Not according to scripture - which asks us to eat, drink, dress, and otherwise behave in alignment with God's character of love and goodness. That's pretty open to cultural interpretation.

We talk about adult water baptism, which is the outward sign of our inner transformation. "Buried with Christ, raised to new life," is how one of our former pastors put it. We believe and are baptized as a confession of our allegiance to - and identification with - Jesus. In many global communities, you can "believe anything," but with baptism, you declare your faith.

Then it's off to language school. We drop Dr H at a shop on our way down the hill. Pieter and the two gals who stay behind hang out until 2.

It starts to rain. To pour. I am soaked, running the 2 meters (6+ feet) from car door to school entry. My teacher dashes out with an umbrella, catching me in the last steps before the door.

The street we drove in on is a catch-basin for the storm in the hills above the city. While I study, the waters rise, cars are swept away, and homes and businesses are flooded. There is no environmental mitigation for new construction so there is limited ground to absorb water. Water churns up to 1.6 meters (5') high on the road we took to language school.

We have a different route uphill and home and traffic is one congested mess. I note, after an hour in the car, that "there is no good traffic but the streets are very clean. Must have had a good rain."

What I don't find out until evening is that the street we're driving on has channeled the deluge from the mountains down the hill. It has carried the plastic bags, paper, and other garbage into the city.

The street-river has also swept a boy to his death ... from the entry parking lot entry at our regular grocery store. (We unknowingly drove by that driveway 20 minutes later, as the rain was subsiding and the walls of water had receded.) We pray for his family and friends when we hear.

Normally, this is a safe place. Not today.
We are thankful for God's protection on us. Various friends are stuck in traffic for hours. I stay in at night. Learning plus traffic exhaust me; I need time for my mind to relax.

Tuesday. I'm at an online meeting at 6:30am. No problem: I went to bed early and am wide awake at 4.

I cast my first ballot for the American government. It's technically an online vote, which only means I can fill out the ballot online. I still have to print it out and mail it. So who knows if my vote will count - with the mail systems, anything could happen. I'll have to get it to the post office tomorrow.

Lush rice fields edge the neighborhoods of Bandung
American elections seem strange - politicians and hopefuls promote themselves (spending time, money, and energy) for 2 years. Americans alternate the branches of government they're choosing every 2 years.

That means that every 2 years, new "VOTE FOR ME" signs appear along the streets (visual and actual clutter), with $millions spent on political advertising. People give countless volunteer hours where they could do good in their community. Plus this year, who-knows-how-much-time-has-been-diverted-from-work by the President to promote his choice. (Unbelievable process, from a Canadian POV. We're accustomed to 6 weeks - from announcement to election - of our Prime Minister every 4-5 years.)

For lunch, IbuA makes double-stuffed potatoes, bakes the little sweet potatoes we bought at the little market, and steams vegetables. The guys are out, but I ask her to make enough for their meal tonight. She puts it in upstairs. Good thing: it's pouring rain again at suppertime, so they heat the food up and eat in.

As usual, the organizers start to arrange our Thursday walk via WhatsApp, our messaging app. We're hoping the rain doesn't catch us in the hills this week.

Read more:
*See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. Isaiah 42:9 ESV

*The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to (Jesus). He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: 
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
 that the blind will see, 
 that the oppressed will be set free,
 and that the time of the LORD's favor has come." ... 

Then he began to speak to them. "The Scripture you've just heard has been fulfilled this very day!" Luke 2:17-21 NLT

*The mystery from which true godliness springs is great: he appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Lord, we believe that you are excited to share your wonders with us, so that we, together, may marvel at your infinite power and the beauty of your hands. Help us to believe the unbelievable and to not be ashamed to be perceived as fools. Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mouse squeaks and avocado juice

Beautiful Ibu A (helper) shows off
her Korean bracelet from Kristen
Taking a break from memorizing new words. My brain is buzzing. Here's the week in pictures.

The helpers are busy this week: we have people coming and going - they clean, iron, and cook a few meals. I can only say "thank you" for their help.

Monday, October 17, 2016
W hears from US immigration that there's a background check holding up his process. He'll fly home next week and go back in a month or two for his interview (we hope).

On our side of the ocean, the table is set. Tea and snacks are ready when 10 guests begin to arrive at 6. By 6:40 most everyone has come and the room is full of chit-chat and introductions. Two main connectors are at the table: Dr H and Friska. Brandy gets a chance to introduce herself and her project to them and their networks.

Then the conversation gets serious. I sit on the steps and take notes - someone's injured foot needs my chair. Not to worry: God knows I'm better off hearing from a distance the news being shared. Our city has a big red-light district and Brandy works among such marginalized populations around the world. The facts and blunt observations will shape what she will try to accomplish here.

We enjoy lunch at Cafe Oz with Josie - finally. How I've missed her face. I want Brandy to meet her for when she returns. Josie befriends those coming into the city and connects newcomers to locals.

Brandy does some shopping. It's nice for me to hang out with a girlfriend. She'd be my sister if we had any more things in common.

We home by early evening. We consider ordering food in (a motorcycle will bring almost anything) but it's faster and about the same price if I cook. We chat until late around the dinner table.

It's time to wrap up my grading. The last assignment was due Monday but I haven't gotten to it yet. (Lucky for students who submitted their final project a bit late.) I spend most of the morning and afternoon marking papers, making comments to students, and submitting grades.

In the evening, I'm part of an online cohort with a special guest. Her comments on leadership and the five-fold ministries of the church keep my mind twirling. I do further study on several issues she's raised. It's really late when I turn off my computer. I get two completely different results, taking the same test from two vantage points. Oh well. I'll take it again once I've processed the information from tonight's seminar.
There's no walk today - everyone is tied up or gone. I grade someone's late doctoral work and send that final grade off as well. Ibu H comes along to the study at the Bamboo Shack. A newcomer joins in, and what a blessing to have Brandy along.

It's Brandy's final day. She rests, packs, and nurses an upset stomach. That's always a hazard in a new Asian country - our digestive tracts rumble and complain at the unfamiliar foods. Before she leaves, Friska comes over to say goodbye. The taxi takes them both away - and the house is still again. I throw the bedding in the washing machine then spread it on the drying racks on the roof. When I lock up the house, I sleep like the dead.

Meanwhile, Brandy takes the night shuttle to the Jakarta airport. She hops 3 flights with long layovers to the USA. She won't get home until Saturday morning, our time.

I relish the quiet but can't sleep in. I have language school 9-10 and buy an avocado juice from a little shop on the way home. Really, it's delicious with a few squirts of chocolate syrup down the sides.

In the afternoon, I head into the city to meet the movers for our friend Sumathi. This is the third company giving an estimate - it's just too dear ($0000s) to move things without comparing how it can be done. Hopefully this moving company is more affordable. 

We are in traffic, going home up the hill. Jakarta is coming and Bandung is fleeing to their homes by 3pm. The bedding has been ironed (thank you, Ibu S, even if you did leave early...) and some has been put back on the beds. The floors are washed. And the mousetraps set on the top of the kitchen cabinets.

The light wakes me every morning at 5:30, no matter how late I go to sleep. Some nights I read until midnight or later, but I can't sleep in. So I'm a bit groggy when I unlock the door for Ibu A. She makes a good nasi goreng for lunch - 

Joshua arrives from Singapore and settles into the upstairs apartment about 1:30pm. He enjoys IbuA's cooking - and can fluently tell her so. She beams. I'm tied up all afternoon and evening with a newsletter, while our guest arranges appointments for the coming week.

Something is squeaking on the top of the kitchen cabinet. A mouse's tail twitches over the side. Oh ugh. I can't deal with it. Hopefully it's dead when I get home from church. (Nope - but I still can't touch the trap.)

It's raining. We know rainy season is upon us when we have rain in the morning already. I pull a raincoat over myself and my handbag. (I dislike umbrellas). The walk to church is refreshing - if damp. My hair curls and frizzes under the hood of the raincoat.

The current sermon series at BIC covers "unmentionable" topics that the church seems to avoid: sex, prejudice, money, and the like. Today, Pastor Terry does an excellent job examining the purposes, blessings, abuses of sex, and God's ability to redeem us when we are broken. 

Shaun and I join Terry at the end to field questions from the congregation. It's an interesting mix: a young father, a mature pastor, and me - but our calm responses seem to soothe any jitters and nervousness at asking hard questions about homosexuality, pornography, sex education, marriage relations, and other issues. (Not much embarrasses or surprises me anymore, which helps when standing in front of people.)

After prayer, a good group heads upstairs to study Proverbs 18. Joshua joins us and contributes interesting comments as well. It's fascinating to see how various cultures read and understand the wise sayings of long ago. We talk about how to apply God's wisdom in business, family life, and other relationships.

Then some of us eat lunch together at Bumi. Pieter (from Holland) is in town for a week. We haven't met before except through social media connections from the church in Jakarta. Around the table, he makes new friends and finds a tour guide for the week.

It's mid-afternoon when we get home. I hole up in my study with language lists and watch a few episodes of a favorite show. Night falls. The dog patrols the porch. Another week has begun. There's a study and more language school in the morning ...

Read more:
*O that you would tear open the heavens and come down! Isaiah 64:1
*They will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Mark 13:26
*Jesus says, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:14
Moravian Prayer: Holy of Holies are you, Lord. Though you are the Lord of all creation, you humbly assumed the lowliest of duties for our sake. We give you thanks for the ways you meet us each day; until we shall meet face-to-face. Amen.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Brandy for company and friendship

Saturday, October 9, 2016
Brandy Tuesday is staying here for 2 weeks. In the earliest hours of the morning, I wait an hour at the Jakarta airport while she clears immigration. We pose for a selfie in front of Kim CafĂ© in honor of our mutual friend.

And then we're on the road to go 160km (100+ miles) to Bandung. We're in the car for 6 hours. Traffic - even in the dead of night, is stop and go.

BANG - someone rear-ends us! The driver, shaken, goes outside to talk to the 5 kids in the van who were smoking and laughing (and dozing off) before they hit us. Luckily, Brandy and I are relaxed and chatting. And since we are all going 15mph, the back of the car is smashed to a mess but our necks don't even get stiff the next day. Thank God.

Indonesians "lined up" for the flight home
as soon as the gate announcement happens (Singapore)
We pull to the shoulder, in itself a dangerous endeavour. Indonesians drive in any space available - including a free shoulder. They could be flying toward us to pass a truck ... but God protects us. The other driver crosses with us and then keeps going. Though he's only 2 cars ahead when we pull back out, we can't catch him: traffic is solid. Oh well - that's expat life.

The driver can't talk for 10 minutes, he's so distraught. My breathing hasn't even changed: I don't get too excited in emergencies - more like my heart rate gets stronger and thinking gets slower so I can cope with calmness.

Drivers are alert for cars, bikes, carts, humans, ponies, etc.
On this narrow road, we will all pass safely.
"Bapak, it wasn't your fault. Pak Waldemar will not be angry and I will tell him it wasn't your driving that caused this accident. God has kept us safe and we are glad to be going home." Gradually his shoulders drop and his hands stop shaking.

Brandy dozes a bit - she's been on the go for a day and a half from Springfield to Narita to Jakarta. I'm awake the whole way: it's been a long +24 hours for me, too. Yesterday, I left Taiwan for Singapore and Jakarta ... before Brandy and I shared the long ride to Bandung this night. I'm not sleepy. At home, I check email and rest a bit, but I don't sleep until evening.

We're at the CMA International church, where Brandy introduces her doctoral project and asks for connections. By the end of the week, she's met with our contacts and made connections of her own.

We have lunch at the pastor's house after our Proverbs study at Bumi. It's CANADIAN THANKSGIVING - and the turkey costs $120. We chip in, of course. And everyone brings a few dishes along to share. Everything is homemade. Oh yum yum.

What a treat to be with other Canadians: we actually know what is expected and how to behave! We don't have to watch for political correctness or bad manners. Everyone relaxes and has a great time. It helps that Terry and Sandy are amazing hosts.

Monday - Tuesday
We start the morning by welcoming a newcomer to the Bible study at the house. While our friends linger with Waldemar and Brandy, I'm off to language school - oh my, incremental progress! It's a thrill ... and exhausting. By the time I get home in the afternoon, I'm good for nothing.

Brandy is settling in and making connections related to her work. I talk more the last few days with her than in our two years here. I'm essentially mute in Indonesia (except for writing). Language acquisition has been arduous, slow, and shallow - and no husband wants to hear everything rattling around a wife's head, right? (I may not have the gift of mercy, but I have been married for a while. haha)

Wednesday - Thursday
We host a big group of non-profit leaders from northwestern Washington - they come from the train station in the evening with overnight bags and jet-lag (they arrived yesterday in Jakarta). They are game for supper at Miss Bee.

In the morning, we walk in the neighboring hills. It's an easy walk and the sky is overcast - perfect weather (80oF). God stays the rain; it's the beginning of rainy season, so we are doubly grateful.

Then we eat at the Padma Hotel (Bandung's finest) with a view of the hillside just north of where we walked. Many of these guests are longtime friends. Conversation touches on our common goals for wholeness - spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. Each of us works with people who need healing, reconciliation, and God's peace.
Cooling the hot spices on the tongue with a fruit popsicle
A gorgeous valley below a long table
After lunch, it's time to send our guests back to Jakarta. They pile into 2 taxis and our vehicle - and off they go, back to the train station.

We have another Bible study in the afternoon. But W goes alone while I clear the house and make sure things are in order for whoever comes to stay next.

At 5am, W and I drive to Jakarta, and it's sure faster than Brandy's and my trip last weekend! Brandy stays behind, working and connecting to various outreaches.

W and I expect traffic to be beastly, but are pleasantly surprised. We are bemused by the signs on new developments in outlying suburbs: apparently you can go to Europe, Australia, Asia, and all the other continents without leaving Jakarta.

We arrive at IESJakarta Center by 8:30am. The group straggles in about 9:30 - they've made a stop at the Starbucks in the highrise lobby. It's great to hear from the various teams about what's being done in the city - and around the world.

Today a big demonstration is anticipated in the center of Jakarta, but it turns out not to be too disruptive. It's culturally normal for someone to pay demonstrators a small salary and lunch to air a grievance.

By late afternoon, W and I run a few errands. We are ready to crash at the hotel by 7:30pm. By 8, we pull up the covers and fall fast asleep.

W flies off on his citizenship errand and to a theology commission. Pak Entang and I drive back to Bandung in a mere 3 hours (+160 km / +100 miles.) He heads off home. I take a nosedive into bed for a half hour and then walk to our community center to join the arisan (women's neighborhood group).

The group of women is aging - and over 30 ladies attending vote to disband the arisan in favor of smaller interest groups who will meet occasionally and when the need arises. I've enjoyed meeting with them - it's the only way I have of seeing so many neighbors at once. They have funded a neighborhood park, contributed to various charitable causes, and existed for decades. And I'm there when they disband.

We leave the house at 6:15. It's the first annual "Clean Up Bandung" day - and hundreds turn out to grab a blue hat, protective gloves, and garbage sacks. We sort garbage and recyclables into separate feed sacks. Dr W, who is also participating, leads us back into our neighborhood and surrounding lanes to collect rubbish.

We almost fill 3 sacks - and our security guard does us a huge favor. He hauls the full sacks to the drop-off point on his motorcycle. Whew - they were getting too heavy and we've finished pick-up a kilometer downhill from the school depot.

Church is a casual affair - there's a film, music, and a talk. Afterward, Dr W and I walk back to our neighborhood. I drop off Gypsy behind our gate. He's tagged along on the clean up and been tied at the gate during the service. Then Brandy and I eat at Miss Bee. We walk home, ready for a quiet afternoon.

The Johnson family (Texans who moved into our previous rental during language school) drop by in the evening. It's great to see that they're flourishing in Jakarta. They love their new place and are able to converse and interact in Indonesian. Our dog Gypsy is ecstatic to see teenager Luke, who sometimes took him for a run while we traveled.

Bible study. Language school. It's a busy morning and early afternoon.

And when I get back at 2:30, the landlord has a crew of inspectors from the bank on site. (He's mortgaging the house for some project.) It's the fourth time but at least today, we are informed in advance. The helper has not let them into the house without us there. The crew takes pictures of every room and walks the property.

Tonight, Brandy has invited several people interested in working with marginalized women to the house. I dive into my room to decompress before evening comes.

Read more:*Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 ESV
*His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4 NIV
*Your kingdom come. Matthew 6:10 ESV
*This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV
*Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
Moravian Prayers: Wise Jehovah, time and time again you remind us that even your foolishness is wiser than our wisdom. Though in our humanity we cannot fully comprehend all that you are and all that you do, when we gaze upon creation we know that you alone are God Almighty. 
Father, let your holy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May your will for our lives manifest so that in all that we do and say we bring glory to your name. Amen.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Night markets in Taiwan

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Kirsten and I are hungry when we get to our hostel from the Taipei airport. Most shops are closed at the night market across the street. The market has emerged around a Chinese temple. 

We wander around until we find something open, a Japanese restaurant near the market. The decor is urban industrial and the food is a delicious blend of flavors and textures. It's pretty cheap: $5 or so for a full meal. Students and young professionals gather at nearby tables.

By the time we finish eating, the market is in full swing. The streets become congested with pedestrians and vendors pull racks into the middle between shops. Kirsten finds the cutest cosmetic purses - and just finishes paying for them when the gal claps shut her display into a thin long suitcase, snatches the stand, and runs down the middle of the street.
Seafood on a skewer
What? Young men pulling several clothing racks dash past us and into side shops or alleys. They must be unlicensed sellers. Sure enough. A policeman wanders slowly past - he's trying not to catch / shame anyone. After he passes, in a little while, everyone emerges again and trade resumes.

Storms - wind and rain - are blowing in. Kirsten is very sore as we walk to the ATM in the morning. We stroll back to the hostel and both of us rest.
New - and interesting - construction near the MRT
The fruit seller charges us $10 for 4 kinds = ripped off
At about 4, we are ready for another trip to the market. A few hours we have a bite, Kirsten's friend Jenn arrives - we eat together at the food court under the market. It's nice having someone who speaks Mandarin along! She and Kirsten will spend a few days in Shanghai after Taiwan.

We shop a bit. On the way to Taipei, the airline weighed my luggage (10 kg or 22 lb total permitted). I don't have any weight allowance for a purchase. There's so much to see - but the hyperspeed of making change (faster than an ATM by most sellers) and the variety of goods is tempting. I just say no.

An old Kawasaki - mint condition
Young people and old, they're all here, shopping, chatting, EATing, and walking around.
cotton candy
We're back at the flat by 10, ready for sleep.

In the morning, we have breakfast in the room - fruit and egg tart rounds out my meal. I'm off to the airport at 11 - the rain pelts me on the way to the taxi.

I have an uneventful stopover in Singapore and stick my feet into a free massage chair. No meals are served on the flights: I snag a sandwich from a French-like bistro in Singapore and gulp it before boarding the last flight.

I get to Jakarta at 10pm. Brandy gets through immigration about 1am. More about that later.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Visa day! and Taiwan trip

Singapore market
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
In Singapore, my visa comes today. It's for 6 months of work, play, or school. What a relief not to have to reapply every 30 days! But if I leave the country, we start over.

W and I can't wait for him to finish the USA citizenship process. W has an appointment on Monday with USA immigration. Hopefully the process will move along then.

Only the man can be considered head of household in Indonesia (unless he's dead, in which case the widow can qualify. I'm not tempted, just getting impatient. haha) When he's done, we'll apply for an Indonesian visa with longer stays and multiple entries. I got my American stamp in May and my passport in June. (Crossing into the USA without an American ID had become a hassle.)

I have a hard time on my immigration forms though. Filling them out on the airplanes before landing, I write "Canadian" for my nationality. I cross out that reflex twice on this trip. I come back to Jakarta at the end of the week with 29 immigration stamps in my "new-in-June" USA passport = that many ins and outs since June.

Our friend is in town from Kuala Lumpur so we meet in Chinatown for a quick meal and walkabout.

Here are a few of the sights of Singapore:
Strange snacks
My Little Pony dresses
The best lamb biryani on Arab Street 
Bananas we know: the others, not so much 

The waving hand: a mannequin with
an animated flashing "slow down for construction" arm
Public transit is excellent
Goodbye to Joshua, Claudia, Kat and Leo: see you soon in Bandung

I catch an early flight to Taiwan. W accompanies me to the airport and goes back to the flat to meet Kathleen for his 8:00 ride to the seminary. He's finishing his second week of teaching Church History, and his class is enthusiastic.

Kirsten is waiting for me at the Taipei airport. She's come in from Korea a few hours ago.

We take Uber to the hostel she has found across the street from the Night Market. There's nothing going on at 4:00. Shops are closed, a few people seem to be stirring ... but we're hungry. More in the next post.