Friday, February 27, 2015

Moving days

Teachers and students: post-school celebration
Tonight is our last night in the house where we landed in Bandung. Tomorrow at midnight, our lease kicks in and we'll be in a new home.

Wednesday, February 24
We finally have lunch with our teachers from last semester. Sumathi's stomach continues to give her trouble but she comes along anyway. How we appreciate the patience and enthusiasm of our tutors!

Parts of Wednesday and Thursday are spent signing papers and getting a copy of the house lease from the notary. W and I plan the next few days. An American family with four kids arrived Tuesday before noon. They unfolds into bedrooms and stack suitcases in the entry. Before long, they're getting sorted, the LEGOs are spread out in one corner, and everyone is getting comfy.

Paket 6: Raja Sunda restaurant
We're not sleeping well or long enough. With change swirling around us, we're both crabby and occasionally short-tempered.

Two girls have short bouts of illness and the family rallies around them. They've moved into our household seamlessly, pitching in to cook, wash dishes, and play together. W's walking around town most of the afternoon so I disappear into my room for some quiet time, reading, and writing. This house is ideally a one-family space: the living spaces are connected so what happens in one room happens in all areas.

Meanwhile, at the new place, Bapak E paints our bedroom white and takes out a big wooden frame above the bathroom mirror. It was built for fluorescent fixtures but when the lights stopped working, the owners ran a wire to a naked bulb in the center of the frame. I asked permission to remove the structure; without it, the whole room looks brighter.

Two floor tiles that dressed up our IKEA patio tables fit over a worn kitchen counter. Pak E will customize and finish it off by inserting a wooden cutting board between them.

To end the day, one of the girls vacuums both sides of a rug left in the house.Then Ibu A and I roll it up and carry it up the stairs. Unroll. Done. Back downstairs. We'll tackle upstairs on another day!

Recycling, 18 tires on a motorcycle
At 6am, W walks Kevin and his 15-yr-old son down the hill to a coffee shop. They have breakfast with the usual guys before walking back up. We love to walk the neighborhoods and pray for those who pass by and those who sit at the side and call out a greeting.

Ibu A shows up at the house at 8. By the time Stacy comes back from a walk with her girls, I've packed up the living room cabinet and much of the kitchen; Ibu A has moved it over. "That's my kind of 9:30," Stacy exclaims. Mine too, life in motion.

We shift blankets and bedding, shoes and hanging clothing, stationary and art supplies. The family comes back from a quick trip for basic supplies. It can be frustrating when the shops are out of goods that they display. That's normal: we often have to go back several times and to several stores to get things we need. "Kosong," they tell us. ("None.")

When I get home, the girls run back and forth with what I pack up. The youngest is quick as a rabbit. By the time I turn around, she's back for another load. It's a huge help. While I'm at the other house, Kevin and Luke roll up the rugs and move the living-room furniture over. They're strong: together they bring the sofa and heavy chairs.

The point is not a new place. We feel always on alert, called to pray when we hear the calls from the mosques. We sense that God is stirring the people we are coming to love and every resource is a tool from him.

W and I start with joint devotions, today from Romans 11. It can be a confusing passage - yet Paul sings an exulting hymn of praise at the end. We have missed a few days of joint study. It's a relief to have time, even shortened to a half-hour, to work together.

Then comes a tutoring session from 9-11am with Josie. W and I are both distracted but it's helpful to hear and speak Bahasa Indonesia. Josie translates for us when the appliance store delivers our new refrigerator. It's big compared to the little one in this house and it doesn't leak water. Here we kept a towel at the base of the fridge to dissipate the water on the floor. (The new fridge costs less than our fridge in Seattle cost 20 years ago.) Cooking and food preparation for groups have been a real chore with limited storage. Being about to work the day ahead allows me to focus on a meeting day.

The Johnson family has fun, too. They head off in the morning with a driver from the language school. While we continue to clear out, they're shopping for appliances and household items. They have their first encounter with ACE Hardware, walking from one counter to the next to pay, to sign up, and to sign out and ... ? Everything takes longer here. It's not as simple as standing in line and handing a credit card to the check-out worker. Typically, we walk from one person to the next until the transactions are completed. It's a good way to employ a lot of people.

Friends, a few weeks ago, in what will be our kitchen
By the time they come back in the evening with a fridge of their own (plus a few other necessities), the old kitchen is emptied and wiped down. The remaining dishes, food from the cabinets, and bedding have been transferred.

In the afternoon, I do a final load of laundry and hang it outside on the clothesline.

Meanwhile, Ibu A has put things into cabinets in the new kitchen. I open a drawer and think, "That goes there? Maybe not." Gradually, we'll move them to suit my own rhythm of cooking and baking.

When the second team of delivery men arrives, they install the Johnson's appliances here and bring our washing machine to the new place. W tells the movers to set the washer in the living room.

"We'll figure it out tomorrow," he promises me.

Good! I would have sent those hardy bodies right up the circular staircase to the laundry on the roof. He'd better figure out how to move it early in the day because I need it tomorrow.

Oh we're tired! W is "finished" by about 4:30. I motor on for another hour and a half. The new place is heaped with pillows and blankets on the sofa and table, packing materials strewn in two piles, and food boxes on the counters.

By nightfall, only our office, fridge, and bedroom are left to clear out here. Let's leave those for tomorrow.

In my head, I can see it all in place. It's a lot of work (again), but we can't wait to have people over when it's done. We'll talk and pray together and see what God wants to do among us.

Read more:
*Because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Deuteronomy 28:2–3 NKJV

*Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. Psalm 25:8 NEV

*Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:16 NEV

*Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Romans 14:1 NEV

*Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NEV

Moravian Prayer: No matter where we go, Lord, you go with us. In each breath we take there is the Holy Spirit filling us to excess with love, mercy, and grace. May each breath that leaves us gift others with the same blessings. 
Let us take the time to listen, Lord, when you are calling. You are not always direct in your speaking to us. Let us be ready to meet you in the places and times of your choosing. Make us instruments of your peace and love. Amen.

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