Friday, September 12, 2014

A bit more faith and gratitude - and a little less bulk here and there

"Crackers" that put the crunch into lunch
I've missed writing about lessons of faith. The blog shifted to a cultural travelogue as we moved from the USA to Indonesia. I mentioned my feeling of loss to a friend. Her good idea is that I choose a day each week - how about Sunday or Monday? - to post observations on life with Jesus. Thanks for the great tip, Kim! (Check out Kim's website and blog here.)

Oh, we had a great lunch, stopping at a restaurant we pass in the angkot nearly every day on the way to school. We're acquiring a taste for the fried flour crackers that accompany most meals. A little bagged assortment often sits in a basket so people can snack until their meal comes. We're charged for whatever we open. (Scroll down to see pics of the rest of lunch.)

W's driving has improved. He knocked someone's mirror with ours in a narrow alley. They were parked on the wrong side of the street, not very near the curb. I could feel his confidence growing, and Jakarta traffic was on the other side of town. A good thing.

Gado-gado. Vegetables in spicy peanut sauce
On this Friday night, our household continues to settle. We bought cooking pots and kitchen knives from a commercial wholesaler today. It's about time: my $3 general-purpose knife is already dull. The non-stick coating on the little $4 saucepan is peeling and scratched ... after a month.

Laundry has taken a lot of time and energy since we moved. The washing machine is tiny and requires standing by to add water for each wash or rinse. For one wash-load, we move clothes to the separate spin tub up to 4 times and make multiple adjustments for balanced weight. The spin tub was too small for a duvet cover or a large sheet. After three weeks of intensive language school, we didn't feel much of a call to stay home on days off to wash 2-3 loads of clothes. Just saying!

Last week, W checked out mid-range washers that rinse and spin the clothing in one tub like at home. The shop delivered one yesterday and the helper smiled when I cheered. It doesn't heat water, since that would have cost an extra $400 and detergent here is designed for cold-only washing. W moved the little oldie to a bathroom; we'll wash rags, the small rugs which needed at every 'wet' door, and generally dirty household things.

Bihun (vermicelli) in broth
We have no dryer. We hang clothes on the clothesline or on a big indoor rack during tropical downpours. Dryers are rare - and expensive. We found wire to redo the clothesline, which is currently five strands of twisted wires stretched between metal supports. Laundry has often snagged on the knots. Oops.

Our true luxury this week? Buying a bathroom scale. W has shed 20 lbs and I'm down 13 lbs from the high we'd packed on during the stress and rich food of itineration. Dragging the weight around each day was draining. A bonus: our clothes fit again! Sure, we could have done without a scale. But stepping on it made us happy and it sure comes in handy when packing luggage.

Our a very special "THANK YOU!" to Angela Craig and the women of the NWMN who donated a household allowance gift to get us re-started. It has really blessed us. When we sold most of our things at home, we put the money in an account to replace things here. But oh my, what a $$ difference between selling used goods in a land of plenty and acquiring them again - even on sale - in a land where decent-quality household goods are a luxury.

Greens with chicken
Our nice landlord came by again today. Instead of chipping away at to-dos bit by bit, we finally wrote a list for him. We've been renting a big space because of future plans but living in a few rooms.

He seemed a bit overwhelmed - and asked us to check out termite companies and get estimates for getting rid of the bugs. (None of us want the heavy roof tiles collapsing on us in the coming years.) When IKEA opens in Jakarta, we'll tell him how much cabinets are: W has installed them before and can easily replace the rotting ones we have now. Hmmm, these base cabinets aren't even fastened to the wall ... Our neighborhood handyman is no craftsman carpenter.

Dr A's helper fixed the water flow in the guest shower - so after the bugs stop dropping things on the beds, the house will be considered open for visitors. Meanwhile, we'll have company for Sunday lunch and we look forward to that.

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