Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I win the lottery ... Ummm, did I enter it?

$10 Saté at the Padma Hotel
Wednesday, December 10
Tomorrow we host the second Housewarming at our place, the third gathering in three weeks. It's starting to feel like home.

Monday we shopped for the week's groceries and got a few miles in. My FitBit quit and I haven't had  a response from their customer service.

I clean, cook, and wash dishes most of the day, but also write our Christmas letter. W and I address envelopes and talk about the wonderful people who support us. As we write, each friend is precious to us! and there's almost always a story attached to your names.

Still can't believe we can leave the windows open
in December. At the Padma Hotel.
We walk to an expensive restaurant nearby. (Would be cheap in Seattle or Jakarta @about $10 plate.) The Padma Hotel overlooks the jungle valley between Ciumbuleuit (our hill) and Dago (the next hill). It's only our second visit, but today we celebrate Advent and anticipation in moving forward. We pause to consider what we care most about in establishing IES Bandung. We appreciate the 5 values of IES Jakarta, so will probably transfer them here.

In the evening, I clean up the ants and rice weevils from the hallway by zapping the thick trail with the stove lighter (quick and deadly). Then we spray Bagon repellent and call it a day.

We agree with this "value" of IES Jakarta
We planned our first trip to the post office but the day brings too many diversions. Our neighbor Dr W and I walk to GRHA Guesthouse for a regional women's meeting. It's her first attendance as well as mine, though she joined a few months ago. She teaches abroad so can't always be at the meetings. I join the group as well. Ok, I'm fuzzy on details (a monthly meeting? This lady is known for this? That one for that? A lottery?) as Indonesian flies by on all sides. I need to learn a lot of flashcard vocabulary by next time!

The lady who lives next door sweeps in the door like a ray of sunshine. She teases the women and makes her rounds, friendly to all. She and Dr. W are good friends. I feel flanked by warmth with them on either side of me. I also chat with Lillian, a Dutch woman who organized the event. The two of us are the only ones without black hair. She remembers, "The glory days were in the 50s and 60s, when I was young."

A gathering of educated and distinguished women
"I wish I'd learned the language sooner," I admit to her. "You have no accent in Bahasa." She smiles and says she's lived here for 60 years.

The chairperson makes announcements and Dr W asks me to add an invitation for our Thursday gathering.

Dr. W leans over: "If you win the lottery you can have everyone over. And when you win they also deduct membership fees back to September." Win? Apparently part of this morning's fee was $8+ toward a money pool. They draw names and someone "wins" about $125. Hmmm. "It's a good way to invest in each other," Dr. W explains. "Then someone has a large sum at once."

There's a brief chatter among the ladies: many are older and would rather not venture out at night. The chairwoman looks at me and asks, "Since we can't come in the evening, shall we have the next meeting at your house?"

I'm taken by surprise. I'd be serving a full brunch, if this hotel gathering is anything to go by - and the women are meeting me for the first time. They really want to come over?

"Sure. You are welcome to meet at our house in January." And it's suddenly settled for the next second Tuesday, 10-12.

"We will give you $70+ to buy food for the meal," they tell me. "Part of what you pay each meeting is $3 for food. If it is at your house, you will get that money." They tell me I don't have to keep receipts.

Then someone draws names ... and I win the lottery. God knew the women were coming over but I am surprised - and amused. What next! I stand to bow with my palms together at nose level and say thank you.

"I apologize for winning my first time. We look forward to hosting you at our house in January." We may have to do something about the steps to the house. Some of the older women had trouble with the same number of stairs at the hotel.

The craft show on the way home
The hill where we live was the hotspot for the last generation of doctors, government officials, educators, and scientists. The 30-some women at the table come from all those groups. Some are practicing physicians, lecturers, and researchers. Among them are grandmothers, mothers, spouses, and siblings of government ministers and other influencers. What am I doing at the table?

"Our neighborhood has no problems with utilities because the family members of the person in charge lives here," I am told. 

There's another meeting for women in our neighbors on Thursday morning. "Please come!" says the hostess. Ok, I'll be there.

She's moving to another one of her homes in February and American friends of friends are moving here then. "Please look at the house when you come for the morning," she offers. Her place is similar in size to ours; the family coming has 3 or 4 kids.

We stop by Dr W's faculty office on the way back. They teach special chemistry courses, renting spaces at a hotel. The fitness facility is good and the pool looks inviting. Going back to school? Not so much. We browse a retired faculty gathering. They have a craft fair at the back: batiks ($5 for 4 meters) and jewelry. I spent my little wad registering for the group earlier. A really good singer on stage is followed by someone who is probably tone-challenged. Dr W and I then explore the restaurant and ballroom which can be rented out for events.

The tinsel arrived in a package from my folks, but I
found the stone bowl in our flowerbed.
On our walk home, Dr W points out who lives nearby and refuses to be introduced to someone she suspects of corruption. I admire her principled approach to life and value her insider's perspective on culture and what's considered right and wrong.

Meanwhile, work continues in our house. The living room is almost up to "regular" condition. That is, the big cracks in the plaster are repaired, water damage is cleaned up, and paint goes to the ceiling rather than ending where the last painter's bamboo pole reached from the ground.

The first thing to greet me in bed (besides W) is an ant. Squish. Go away.

Climbing up the white wall
on a homemade scaffold...
A local artist drops by in the morning. Two weeks ago he convinced us to buy 2 large paintings of local scenes ($8 each). He has made frames (another $8) and staples the canvas to them. That takes care of two bare bedroom walls. The artwork here is unlike the art we sold in Seattle. How nice to use those funds gradually = the house feels more lived-in. Soon I'll pluck a few flowers and take out my watercolors to make my own paintings.

The handyman sets up his bamboo trellis and hangs a length of batik fabric that Dr. H brought last week. It drapes down the tall end wall of the LR. Another piece in place, portable enough to move when we change our minds.

Our shopping list is boring essentials: bulletin board, envelopes, and paper for the office. A return-address stamp. Tension rods to put a curtain up in a bedroom. After checking that off, I'll be cooking for tomorrow most of the day.

... to hang a bright focal point.
"Bagus (good)," says the handyman.
Read more:
*Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more;  the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20 NIV

*I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

*Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. John 11:25 ESV

*In love God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:4-5 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Loving God, we are blessed to be your children, recipients of your amazing love. Help us to share that love in our families, in our churches, and with those who have not experienced it. Amen.


  1. Hello there nice to arrive in here , this is me anyway . As i saidwill reading urs, so here i am :)
    Beautiful outfit of home words plus the photographed taken. All juz complete each other in a harmony.
    Welcome to Bandung then ^_^

    1. BBB: we love it here - kind neighbors who look out for each other, good weather, and enak-enak foods!