Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Body parts and new friends

W reads a script about a traditional dance.
The demonstration = priceless.
Monday, September 22

We take a bus and then walk 1.5 miles to school. There's so much traffic this morning that I get a headache until a few minutes into class, when the pollution clears from my lungs. Our regular watchers wave or greet us with S'lamat pagi (good morning).

Today the old lady is sorting chickens beside the sidewalk: flies crawl over the little birds lined up in her crate. Sometimes she has limp vegetables, eggs, or even what looks like compost. Once in a while people pick through her stuff with her. I wonder if it's what she scavenges to sell or cook up.

Class is pure nonsense. As in - nothing makes sense. It's like they switched languages on me again. I can't understand what the teacher is saying: she explains in Indonesian, which doesn't help. I'm in a tired fog. The night was too short and being away most of the weekend means I'm not rested.

After break, we learn vocabulary for parts of the body. I add over 80 words to my flashcards. A few words I know. Some seem logical. Others fall into patterns, which makes learning easier:

  • gigi (teeth); kuku (nails); dada (chest) 
  • punggung (back); pinggang (waist); pinggul (hip); pandat (buttock); paha (thigh) 
  • dahi (forehead); dagu (chin); dada (chest).

Got that? Of course there's also tumit (heel); betis (calf); lutut (knee); mulut (mouth) and rambut (hair), among others . . .

After class, we dash into a Bakso (meatball) restaurant recommended by a teacher. Not bad! In the evening, I flip through the flashcards. Some words stick. Others are Teflon-coated.

We spend a few hours with our really wonderful neighbor, Dr. Wuri. She offers us banana and coconut soup, baked cassava with palm sugar, and roasted peanuts from Bali. She and her sister bought a coconut and shaved the flesh into the milk: she pours a refreshing glass for W and me. So delicious - we are getting to know entirely different foods here.

The morning walk is easier and less exhausting, though traffic is a beast again. Even our little "park walk" under the overpass is crammed with cars and motorcycles. It's still strange to see a motorcycle coming toward us on the sidewalk or driving against the flow of traffic to avoid crossing over for a block or more. Sellers with carts are on the move in the morning, pulling mobile restaurants and goods either with or against traffic. Everyone flows around everyone else.

We're praying for R, hit by a motorcycle while exiting a car to attend church in Jakarta. He's in hospital for treatment and observation. The IES prayer list comes nearly every day. What a good reason to pause to remember the One who hears us!

Flowers from the garden at
the Polish consulate
Class goes better today. I actually remember some of the phrases and the vocabulary. The angkot riders are friendly and move over for us as we scramble in and out. We're headed straight home because we have afternoon plans.

Bu A arrived at 6:30am to clean - she clears the termite mess once again, this time after our landlord drops by during the day. She also scrubs the dirt from a few more rows of marble tiles in the living room.

Bu A's husband is redoing the windows the termites have eaten. so we ask her to cook enough for all of us. We bought a little New Zealand shank of lamb (10 oz/300 grams@ $3) yesterday - "let's see what she does with it," I think. It's a bit tough (fried rather than steamed or baked) but the flavors are marvelous.

Rice. Lamb. Steamed vegetables. Thank you, Bu A - and thanks be to God for this cheerful and willing worker and her husband.

Dr. W invites us to meet her friend, the honorary Polish consul. The driver winds the car up the hill (so far we've only been down) to new territory.

Ibu Mariola lives one or two mountain ridges over, in a stunning home overlooking a state park. Exotic plants line the yard and flowers drape from vases on the table. Art hangs on the walls. She loves animals - three tiny Yorkies are allowed in the house. The other four dogs wait outside with her two cats and numerous birds. She scoops a few aquarium plants into a bag from her round tank - very pretty! to populate my guppy tank at home.

With Dr. Wuri and Ibu Mariola
Ibu M serves home-baked banana bread with butterscotch sauce and tea. We are also willing taste-testers for a new creation: dried sweet bread from her bakery, in pandan and rosella flavors. We have been on the alert for a good bakery - and look forward to ordering her treats in the future.

W snaps a few pictures and tries out his Polish conversational skills. He's interested in Polish citizenship (born there, parents born there). Ibu M sends us off with advice, goodies, directions to watercolor classes, and the beginnings of a new friendship.

Then Dr. W shares some landmarks and her favorite supermarket with us. We weren't going to shop but soon we have fresh vegetables, a few cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends in the cart. Lucky guppies: they now have fish food instead of the occasional rice kernel I toss into the bowl.

We're home before 7pm. Night has fallen, and it's time to eat a light supper - a slice of cheese on fresh bread swiped with mustard and topped with sliced tomatoes. The water dispenser bubbles away, reheating water after we've made tea before bed.

Bu A has left the house spotless and tidied up the kitchen. It's been a good day. It's time to hit the flashcards and see how much will stick tonight. Goodnight all!

Read more:
*My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:15 ESV

*Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Dear Lord, as we sit in the day to day, the highs and lows, help us not to get ahead of ourselves. We wish to enjoy the joys of our days and not become overwhelmed by those things far off in the future. Please let us feel your loving support as we experience the glory of this day. Amen.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you - please enjoy it and feel free to pass it along if you know someone who might get a smile out of it.