Friday, September 26, 2014

Frog, fish, and fruit

In the seasoning aisle at the supermarket
 Wednesday, September 27

It's grammar time. The last two sessions of every week (W/Th), our teacher is an elementary TESOL teacher who begins to put things into place for us.

We record many new words on Mondays and Tuesdays. It's not like I can actually memorize them all, but a few here and there are becoming familiar when others use them. When I pull out flashcards, W remembers most of the words. I'm still working on the first deck, but he knows most. Oh for such a memory! (Lucky-duck. As father, he bypassed the hormonal swings of manufacturing 4 kids, with the accompanying memory loss.)

We have supper at Miss Bee's and walk home in the dark at 7:30. W whips out his flashlight so we can see the edge of the street. (Last trip, I fell off a curb 2 feet from the gutter.)

Goodbye, house people. See you later.
Our helper arrives at 6:30am as we're finishing breakfast (the bread is frozen so the ants don't get it, then toasted). We're carrying 6 ziplock-style bags of sour fruit that was almost dripping off a tree in the backyard. We'd have 6 more bags available if I could reach beyond the little stepladder's assistance. Apparently these little greenies taste great cooked in salsa (sambal) or are used to flavor meat / fish dishes. Our classmates and lecturers say they are expensive in the shops. They'd get squished in the backpack so we drive to school. W's getting more confident and it takes us only 25 minutes.

A sour little harvest
Can you see the fruit hanging from the tree trunks (center)
Ibu A cooks up slices of sausage for lunch. When I pointed out the refrigerated meat in the morning, she asked about the content. I showed her that it's chicken not pork, and told her we won't bring pork into the house. We want to respect her and we appreciate her good help.

A fraction of the hill... down we go
Ibu A has a nephew getting circumcised Sunday. We're invited. She tries to explain where she lives. It's impossible to understand the directions, so after work, we accompany her through the back of our neighborhood, further than we've been.

We go down down down the side of the hill. The narrow lane is so steep that some motorcyclists have gotten off and are pushing their bikes up. Little steps at the side make the climb easier. No wonder the elderly stay active and strong: it's the continual exercise.

Ibu A introduces us to neighbors and family, whose kids swarm us. Everyone stares and says hi and we find out where Sunday's ceremony is.

Back up we go... imagine motorcycles.
This is maybe 1/8 of the way.
W heads further down, across the valley to Dago on the other side, to run errands and look around. I climb back up the steep hillside and walk back home.

Some ladies sitting at the side strike up a conversation. They exclaim at my skin and blond hair while I protest that they're better off with their beautiful dark hair and skin in the sun. We part with smiles and greetings all around.

W comes back home in the evening with 17 km/ 11 miles underfoot. My own FitBit clocks only 4 km.


We can't sleep in on our day off: we're judging a spelling bee. When we signed up, we understood it was time with high-schoolers and their parents. But our Friday stint is part of a sports and academic showcase for elementary kids. We wait in a classroom for 2 hours and then adjudicate 6 teams of delightful elementary students. We smile at people on our way in and out of the parking lot. And we're introduced to the principal on the stairs as we leave. Who knows the outcome? Our job is to show up at this point. We arrive at 8:45 and are done by 11:30.

Frog's legs - a first for me:
it's true - they taste like chicken
Afterwards, we ride an angkot to the first errand - and then walk. And walk. I get a massage to ease my night leg cramps (have to buy bananas! keep forgetting) while W pays the data provider bill. The fee is a week overdue: W's been sent 3 different places in different parts of the city. He has to pay in person the first time, but had no luck finding where to pay. After today's connection, we can do it online.

We meet two of our instructors, Josie and Pauline, and a fellow student at a food area that comes alive at night. We eat frogs legs (my first time - yes... they do taste like chicken and I pretend it's quail), lamb and chicken saté, fried tofu, 3 kinds of Chinese bbq pork, nasi goreng (almost as good as the fried rice our helper makes), and three kinds of local desserts. Total: $20.

Little clay bowls for Chinese dessert pancakes -
baked over the charcoal that heats the bricks
From there, it's a short walk to the Chinese section of town. Food carts, little restaurants, and lots of shops line the streets. Josie points out the best venders and meals. We'll have to come again - group-sharing food is a lot of laughs. We end up at their Chinese church, a huge structure behind office buildings, with people just leaving a women's conference. We are too tired to climb the stairs to tour the building, but promise to do it next time. We catch a cab home.

All evening, J and Pauline give us cultural tips and answer questions about life and expectations. They emphasize the necessity of holding the landlord responsible to finish the rat/bug/ant extermination at our place. They also tell us we are truly blessed: a good helper is hard to find.

High heels and a formal office outfit in 90o (left).
Note the bicyclist crossing diagonally during the red light.
It's got to be weird to have outsiders quizzing them about life as "normal" for them, but they are good-humored and patient. Thanks be to God!

W has walked 15 km (11 miles) and I've walked over 12 km (9 1/2 miles). We're happy when the taxi driver drops us at the neighborhood gate. We walk only a block or two before we're home.

Read more:
*Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV

*Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 2 Corinthians 3:4 ESV

*And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:15-17 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Christ, guide us to a place of comfort and peace. Help us to place our faith in you when it feels so hard to trust in something we cannot see or touch. Give us patience on our journey. Amen.

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