Saturday, July 5, 2014

A welcome landing strip

These first few weeks, the plan is to meet our partners, the International English Service staff, and explore Jakarta. We'll attend a ministry retreat for coworkers before moving to Bandung. Our friends (the Bramono family) have graciously made us feel welcome! The temporary landing strip is a flat with comfy beds and good internet. We have free texts. W rigs our home number to ring here so we can phone as if we were in Seattle. (We unplug at night so we aren't accidentally woken by folks at the other end of 14 hour time difference.)

Sumathi, a dear friend since our husbands were researchers in Cambridge 10 years ago, checks in from Bandung. We eagerly anticipate seeing her and Augustine - and finding out what they already know about living in our new location.

Our July 4 "bbq" is Nasi Goreng, the
national favorite of fried rice,
topped with egg
Friday: hope it was a happy July 4 for our American friends! Our hearts are full. I set my YouVersion app to read scripture aloud and it pours over like water. I'm in Matthew, listening to the sending of the disciples to heal and proclaim Good News of the kingdom of God, and the mission of God-among-us.

The flat is equipped with filtered water and a rinsing solution for veges and fruit. We brought Trader Joes teas to drink until we find local teas we like. What a difference local water makes to taste. Some of the teas we've purchased overseas have tasted awful in Seattle. My favorite TJ Jasmine green has hardly any taste here.

Breakfast is a star fruit and "French toast" from the mall bakery, with Jasmine tea and W's local coffee mix. W grades papers while I clean up, swim, and begin to wrap my head around being so far away from the past.

I get a gushing nosebleed while updating the mailing list. I have had nosebleeds at least 3-4 times a week in the past month = stress-related, I think. My nose starts to bleed again during the swim. Out of the water I go! My folks email the label from a German remedy for nosebleeds; let's see if we find it here.

Let's get you there! A two-storey escalator
W's uses a mapping app to plot our way to the mall. We're supposed to be headed for the one we were at last night, but two nearby malls are near a golf course and have the same coffee chain shop.

Starting at noon, we walk two and a half hours (instead of 37 minutes to the nearer mall) to the Senayan City Mall, mostly in single file along extremely busy roads. Motorcycles and cars veer to miss us, just like they move around other pedestrians. The sidewalks are irregular when there are sidewalks. That irregularity includes holes to the drainage canals below, uneven paving when there's paving, and curbs ranging from 2' to non-existent. We walk up and down, over gaps, and around trees growing in the walking strips.

When our faces become beet-red from heat, W mentions, "It's just another hour's walk, but we can call a taksi anytime you want." Ah, if we're this far along, why bother? Both of us wear sunglasses and unglamorous sun hats and carry water bottles. The perspiration removes some of my sunblock and my face is red for the rest of the day.

Typical "two-lane" traffic, with dozens of
motorcycles darting between the lanes
(including oncoming traffic lanes, if it's faster)
We pass mosques (on this first Friday of Ramadan), a neighborhood of garbage recyclers, hole-in-the-wall stores and prosperous shops, slums and magnificent homes. Vendors pull their carts through gaps in traffic. We follow others who are darting across intersections. A local trick seems to be to cross at least 20-30 feet from a corner so you can see who's coming in plenty of time - vehicles definitely have the right of way.

Indonesians are friendly. Many initiate a "hallo," tip their heads slightly, and smile kindly at the foolish bules (foreigners) who have ventured into the heat and sun. We smile back and keep walking. We never feel in danger or threatened. Maybe we're just ignorant: we sure wouldn't walk through similar neighborhoods in any US city. Our Fitbits record about 15,000 steps. Our feet say it may be more, considering the terrain. When we reach the mall, we head for an Indonesian restaurant and eat a late lunch at 3pm. The new blisters on my feet are happy for respite.

Yummy ramen lunch
We like to know where to get things we need, and the mall is thoroughly modern and well-equipped. The people stream by. "Who among you knows the Prince of Peace?" I wonder. The reason we're here is constantly on my mind.

We're so tired and hot (even with stops along the way to buy water) that we don't feel like browsing. We buy pastries for tomorrow's breakfast and W looks at options for a printer while I check out small appliances. I completely forget that I need a dishwashing basin. (We pick that up the next day.)

Kristi and Kamille meet us for supper. While we wait for Jonathan (Jojo) to finish work, Kristi drops me off for a massage and W for a haircut and massage (combined, strangely).

Connected: Kristi and Kamille
About 7pm, we eat at a place with Persian-style tenting and a menu ranging around the globe, from the West to Middle East to China to SE Asia. I order lamb in fried rice, topped with an egg sunny-side up. W has a steak and avocado salad. Kristi has a chicken and noodle soup. Though it's yummy, only W finishes his meal.

When Jonathan arrives from work, they drop us at home. It's a half hour drive; we're even further away than I thought. W crashes on the sofa before taking a shower. I scrape the dirt and sweat off my skin with a rough washcloth and soapy water and pull on PJs by 9pm. We've stayed up all day and hope our jet lag is wearing off.

The stairway to the pool beyond the courtyard.
(It takes a few days to get used to the top
stair, a 12" drop from the balcony.)
We're up by 4am. I log in on FB to see the July 4 celebrations 14 hours behind us. What fun to see all the families together. After breakfast, W works online with NU students. I swim before it's back to work on our mailing lists.

W points out that about 1/3 of the addresses in our Excel sheet are not highlighted "so they're just writing, not emails." (Whaaaat? No wonder some of you didn't get updates. My apologies.) It takes a while to fix that and to finish the MailChimp lists. W sets up a fancy hack so that we're online after getting bumped offline. Does he know everything? Well, almost; makes him fun to travel with.

W is researching prices for gear and essentials before our move. "Shall we walk to the nearer mall?" W asks. Except for one-inch blisters on the balls of my feet, we feel great after yesterday's walk. (Good health is a blessing we don't take for granted.)

Dr K tapes moleskin from his handy foot-kit to my blisters
We take a taxi to the mall but we're not really in the mood to shop (again). The B's driver returns us to the flat for a nap before church.

The mall train for children loops the length of the corridor.
A little truck pulls open wagons over painted "tracks." Clever.
The International English Service starts at 5pm. Going to church is like coming home, no matter where we are in the world. We walk in and God's presence surrounds us. Katie, at pre-field orientation with us last year, is at the welcome desk. She's been here for a year.

The IES music and worship, wonderful as always, draws us in. When we sing our granddaughter's favorite, "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)", my heart feels overwhelmed. The sermon about the power of God and his empowerment of his people confirms our dependence: in the mission to which we're called, we need the anointing and power of the Spirit.

We eat supper at the Tony Roma's downstairs. It's a joy to reconnect with our other "daughter" (Daniela, who lived with us) and her husband Mario. They're a wonderful match, co-pastors with complementary and opposite temperaments. M makes us laugh, as does his friend and table-mate, an Evangel alumnus who's taught in Indonesian international schools since his graduation over a decade ago. Of course Kamille entertains us with coos, smiles, and bright-eyed joy whenever she spots her auntie, grandpa, and grandma. (She looks surprised at our pale faces and hair.)
At dusk, the streets come alive
with roadside shops.

We fall into bed exhausted, but wake up again at 3am. We'll sleep well soon, we promise ourselves. Usually we don't get jet-lagged on arrival. (Going home or a second leg can be brutal. Packing up and moving may have made us less resilient.) W falls asleep about 4:30. Lucky man. Outside, the birds chirp madly in anticipation of morning. I'm up until after 7.

Have a blessed and happy Sunday, everyone.

Read more:
*Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 ESV

*Jesus says, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” John 4:23 ESV
Moravian Prayer: Spirit of love and redemption, we come to you with songs, words, and meditations of worship. We pray that our days, no matter how busy, will be full of acts of praise. Amen.

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