Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Coffee dreams and settling in

Thursday, March 12
"Hope it's a wonderful day, Norm." It's my 2nd brother's birthday. We'll try to get to him in the morning (our tomorrow) if we don't reach him today. The strange offset of time makes calling a challenge.

A guava tree by the porch, alive with fruit bats at night
The sun's out and company's coming for lunch. Ibu A is cooking. She ignored my recipe and is doing her own thing, probably a good idea, considering the ingredients. I don't care what we eat and she knows it: what we need is tasty nutritional food. She's a great cook so I rarely take over the kitchen.

It feels like the tail end of rainy season is here. Every week feels warmer; by June it will be really hot and hardly rain. Before we came to Bandung, I worried that its rainy season was similar to Seattle from October to May, where most of the day can be gloomy or at least overcast. I didn't think I could stand it. But in Bandung the sun usually shines half the day before rain gushes down for an hour or more to let you know you're in the wet season. We try to be inside when it pours.

So much happened during the last week. With one week to go, I finally let myself get excited about seeing our family in the Pacific NW.

Meanwhile, we're almost settled into our house. White paint is gradually covering the newly plastered holes and the wear and tear of years. Yesterday I hung living room curtains (white flat bedsheets on IKEA hooks) so we have privacy in the evening. Sheers cover every window but curtains help block light and heat.

Over the past few days, Waldemar and I met with several groups and visited friends at the hospital. We're preparing talks for back in the USA, beginning to pack, and writing. The all-important checklists for our helper's chores are done, mostly because of Josie's capable assistance. Josie is an Excel genius who can organize my ideas into a logical checklist. She also translates my "clean around the window frames" into Bahasa Indonesia.

Ibu A and I go over the lists this morning. I stress to her that she must sign in and out each day with Ibu Stacy, who lives at our old house. Otherwise she will not get paid for that day. The check-in will hopefully provide accountability for her and for her husband. He will continue to plaster and paint while we're gone. It would be very nice to come home after our trip to construction and deep-clean finished!

In the afternoon,  I point to a ring of black around the base of the cabinets as an example of what she needs to do. She says she's already tried to clean it and it doesn't come up. I get the wire brush, some cleaner, and tell her to keep working until I come back.

The landlord's old furniture and two new chairs as the house takes shape
Last weekend - a look back
Sumathi's visa to Singapore is delayed until Friday night, so she changes her flight to Monday while Augustine goes ahead. He's working in Malaysia next week with an accreditation team. Their language class is cancelled while they're gone.

My dear friend stays with us for 2 nights. What a pleasure to hang out with her. Saturday morning, we study scripture, catch up, and share our hopes and plans. We pray together for our kids and our work. Then we do almost nothing on Saturday afternoon, chatting, napping, and snacking while W runs around town. It's pure luxury after a week of moving and cleaning! Sunday morning after church, we eat at Miss Bee's. Then W drives her back down the hill to her home. He makes a stop at the hospital and brings back some electrical cords so we can keep working this week.

We have two tutoring sessions per week, Tuesdays and Fridays. We're not learning as quickly as we did in class but it feels like we are cementing words and more able to use the information.

On the porch, our canary sings sweet notes like there's no tomorrow. He's a lively and noisy bird, caroling the day away between his naps. He reminds me to praise God all day long. He'll stay with the family in our old place while we're away. Their girls are happy to have a pet. Part of the price of coming to Indonesia for them - as for me - was giving away the family dog/s. (Some days I really miss my two poodles! A bird doesn't provide the same adoration. haha)

I mist the canary with a water bottle once or twice a week, simulating rain showers. He's not impressed and ducks his head down until I'm done. Then he preens happily and sings some more.

We take the angkot downtown to Cafe Aroma, wedged between dozens of motorcycle and car repair shops. The shop has a constant flow of customers, buying the coffee roasted (and ground, optionally) that day. Aroma is sold in the finer shops around town but this is the motherlode.

Pak Widyapratama, lord of all the coffee he roasts
Where it all happens
The owner leads us out the back door. Behind the factory, raw coffee beans are drying on screens in the sun before they will be aged for 8 years in piles of burlap sacks. The smell around us is mellow, almost sweet.

Beans, sweetened by the sun
"This is the yellow color of the beans after aging," he explains. The harsh taste of modern coffee comes from the quick process from field to cup. "Most coffee today is processed by companies who care more about money than about coffee. We still roast coffee the traditional way. I am the third generation of Aroma and still make things like my father and grandfather did." His daughter also works in the shop, which has been open since 1930.

Beans before and after aging
Pak W shows us how they roast coffee over a wood fire, turned continually in 60 and 100 kg metal drums. He pulls out a metal shaft, hollowed at one end to catch a few beans, and checks their progress. "3 more minutes and it will be done," he with a quick look and sniff.

Slow wood-roasting
One of the most helpful visits this week is from Terry and Lulu Paschell, who worked in Bandung for 8 years (plus twenty more across Indonesia and the Philippines). They offer us good tips and tell interesting stories, sharing their legacy in students and colleagues. Lulu delights us with a copy of her book on marriage, written in Indonesian, sure to be put to good use in years to come.

The Paschells introduce us to two couples who remain their good friends, even after being gone from Bandung for years. After dinner together at the Reistafel (thank you, Pak I), we are taken to a separate area for the Full Gospel Business meeting. Waldemar and I introduce ourselves, as do the rest of the guests. As always, Indonesians give us a gracious and warm welcome. (How do people in the West treat those who come with Good News from Asia and other nations? Perhaps we're sometimes less inviting or inclusive.)

Two more days. Then we'll be on a jet plane. Feeling happy. But thinking ahead, I somehow miss this place already. This city feels like home.

Read more:
*I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. Psalm 17:6-9 NIV

*O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 25:1 NEV

*Hezekiah received the letter and read it; then he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. 2 Kings 19:14 NEV

*Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 NEV

Moravian Prayer: Loving Father, we come to you today with many questions. Guide us in our journey as we pray for the purpose that you have placed into our hearts, our minds, and our hands. Amen.

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