Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cheer and Chinese food

Friday: August 1:
One of the things I love most about moving to Indonesia is the eternal summer. The thought of 3 months of summer has always made me feel desperate. Even summer is squeezed by rainy or cool days between spring, fall, and winter, as the calendar flips from month to month. No longer. In spite of it being dry season, we hear rain on the roof many nights. During the day, an occasional ocean breeze sweeps through Jakarta and cools the moisture from our skin. Other times it’s just plain hot. Lovely.

In the morning, we catch a ride to IES (church) to watch a recording session and catch up with the staff. Pastor Dave’s recording all day, but we break for lunch after 2. Mario and Daniela are amazing at finding food. (We haven’t yet figured out the protocol for bringing something for the staff shared meals.) 

Fast food delivery: KFC (even McDonalds delivers like this)
We’re on our way out of the foyer when Gigi tempts us back for apple crisp and ice cream. I am so not hungry (didn’t we just eat?) but W loves fruit pastry. The taste is totally worth the 40 steps up to the offices again! along with the million-layer traditional cake we’ve been munching on since VBS two weeks ago. Here everyone walks the stairs, ignoring the elevator. No wonder they’re trimmer than we are back home.

At 4, we hop Bus Blok M for a jaunt to see what’s what at Glodok. W finds a tech mall that’s mostly closed, so we walk by and he’ll return. By 6:30pm, we’re ready for supper at Sun City, where we had dim sum another day. It’s not far from the bus stop, but we can’t find the entry. We end up being waved to a service elevator and coming out beside a garbage truck on Floor 5. It’s a quick walk through the parking lot to Sun City, a whole different world = Chinese elegance. Above us, three 8’ wide crystal chandeliers hang in gilded ceiling nooks. Over the balconies, 2-3’ crystal lamps droop from rounded gold domes.

We are the second table seated in a restaurant with 70+ tables. It doesn't start to fill up until after 8pm. Our server puts the napkins on our laps and hovers at table’s edge. He refills our jasmine tea the moment we’re down ½ inch. He adjusts the table #62 sign. And the minute food is ready, a person comes out from the kitchen and hands it to the waiter. We decide on steamed rice and 2 dishes: first, crisp Szechwan chicken on teeny skewers = toothpicks that are bites of hot (temperature) hot (spicy) deliciousness. And second, a mushroom/port noodle combo. Oh yum to both. We have leftovers for another day.

When I put rice in my luncheon-sized plate, the waiter rushes over with a separate rice bowl. Oops. He sweeps away a used plate and bring a clean one the instant our plates are cleared of food. It’s slightly strange to have someone watch us eat. Good thing we’re not self-conscious. I wonder if he's hungry and pray provision on him and his family.

When we're done, we walk outside. We come down another elevator and don’t know what side of the street we've landed. So we make a guess and end up going around a big block (dark put populated), past neighbors sitting on the curbs and smoking or talking, past little food vendor carts, and past dark houses. Definitely not a tourist destination at night. We keep turning corners until we end up on the main street again. A gal points us to the next bus station, within a city block or two. W’s happy: he's walked a new neighborhood and gets to see what’s around a newly discovered bus stop. He notes how safe things feel and how friendly people are. A man shook his finger in embarrassment earlier in the day, when his little daughter looks up in surprise and exclaims, “Bule!” (foreigner). We smile and say, Yia (yes).  The occasional person glowers at us, but they might do so to their neighbors as well.

Beautiful music: a traditional group in the mall
We hop the bus for one more stop: the Senaya malls. We’re not in the mood for much, though W finds the tea shop he spotted on our Jakarta first mall trip. He buys a teapot (IngenuiTea type, that drips tea out the bottom when placed on a cup.) A music group of traditional flute, guitar, drum, and violin-ish plays in center court. W snaps pictures, while I enjoy the music. An enormous lantern hangs overhead.

A 20' lantern overhead in the mall, with a big screen in the middle
We’re happy to catch a taxi. The driver has no clue where he’s taking us and makes a U-turn which makes it obvious. He stops so W can hop in the front seat with GoogleMaps to steer us home before 10pm. I get a pop-up on my phone: "You have no events tomorrow." Hurrah! When has that been the case?

In the night, I read enews from Seattle friends when I wake to turn on YouVersion Bible reader. As usual, we have things to pray for and things to thank God for.

Every morning we wake up grateful for being able to be sent here because of supporters and friends. Once more, THANK YOU. (Can you understand our love and appreciation?) 

Our daughter emails and calls with a practical question. She has decisions regarding flat rental. She’s not accustomed to being yelled at or having her stuck wrecked by roomies, so it's time for a change. We pray God’s protection and provision with her. All is well that is under God’s control.

Today’s typically the day we go to service at IES Central.  We leave the flat with the pastor's family in his car by 11:30 and are working online in the office by 1. W catches a nap in the conference room while I write. Then we walk to the mall to rack up some steps and move a bit before service.

The next topic or focus at IES is about moving toward belief, whether one is already a Christ-follower or thinking about it. The talk is a good summary of how we reconcile suffering with a Good God, think about scripture, and how we can be compassionate and kind to others while believing Jesus is the true way to God. 

We're so hungry that the food courts in the nearby mall seem overwhelming. We cross the skybridge to the next building and get only as far as the restaurant next door. For the first time here, I order a burger - and the Tee 9 chef more than fulfills my expectations. It's excellent beef, perfectly prepared, with crispy-outside-and-hot-inside fries to match. "The only problem with air-conditioning is that the fries cool off quickly," W notices.

We catch a taxi home - and the driver asks if it's okay to take the newly-opened ring road. He knows where he's going, unlike others we've gone with. He tells W, "I can find, don't trust GoogleEarth." He's right. It's faster by 15 minutes and the route our friends usually drive, but the fare (based on milage not time) is double going through town. 

"Next time," W says "we'll know to sit in traffic as usual." Travel with him is an ongoing adventure. We're in the door before 9pm, but he's asleep before I call my mom at 10pm for her 79th birthday.

Mom's out on her second walk of the morning (first with Dad; second with her neighbor). Dad and my niece are preparing a surprise breakfast when I call the second time. The power blinks out in the flat, so I check the phone when it goes back on ... and the light blinks that there's an incoming call. The ringer is turned off for the night, but I pick up. My mother! sitting in her comfy chair, enjoying the breakfast surprise, complete with a cup of coffee. Life is good. We feel far away but happy to be part of a loving family across the ocean.

No comments:

Post a Comment