Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Making a recovery

I'm astonished by the beauty of Indonesia. This orchid sat in the grocery store - fragrant and fringed. W bought me a $5 gardenia bush for the porch instead. If we renew our lease in 2 years, I'll take out the old non-fragrant gardenia and plant this one. Gardenias are my favorite flower and scent.

Tuesday, June 2
We're out early. I bake bread nearly every morning to have something fresh to eat. David is very sick after yesterday's steep walk. He spends the day in bed with a fever. Instead of shopping as planned, Paula stays home with him, resting and relaxing. They've worked hard since arriving 2 weeks ago: it's a welcome break.

W and I head to a local restaurant owned by a friend. We order refreshing drinks (lime and mint over ice for me) and head upstairs. Riga has questions about prayer and reading scriptures. We love the time we spend together. It's a joy to see her eagerness and pray over our families. We ask God's blessings and favor over the city, our neighbors and friends, and our work.

Cheerful colors
Then we head to Good Buy for a chair and side table. We continue downtown for some colorful stools to brighten up the space and provide seating upstairs.

Our meeting and a few errands take all day in traffic. Ibu A has left, but she put the cooked lunch in the fridge. We eat together at 4:30pm.

Slowly David is doing somewhat better; his fever is going down. My big chore is writing today. Late in the day, we watch a 1990s movie from W's files. Before we know it, it's bedtime again.

David is feeling much better though his energy is low. He joins the day's adventures around the city.

I feel almost human again. The walk on Monday energized me - the steep climb flew by and seems to have restarted my body. I'm so grateful. I was sick and without get-up-and-go for 2.5 weeks. That must be a recent personal record. Ugh.

W's driving has improved 100%. I'm no longer swallowing comments at every turn or tensing my toes as the car barely misses vehicles or people in the road. W is also more relaxed and confident. We run a few errands after going to a family massage place ($20/couple @90 minutes). They bruise out the knots of our illnesses and our friends' long flights.

On the bulletin board at Café Oz
A nice places to eat is the Café Oz, where Australian-styled food is prepared in a clean and safe kitchen. We met the owners at a church nearby. She's the business brain while he cooks amazing food ($2-6 a meal). It's fun to browse their bulletin board to see what's going on in the city.

Bandung has many of the amenities of a large city. There is a variety of grocers, besides the local markets. I tend to shop for food and give the ingredients to our helper. She's creative and makes good meals (3X a week). She likes to cook but dislikes cleaning. She seems to have sore knees. Where I run up the stairs, she takes one slow step at a time.

Our feet have been getting dirty after walking on the floors. One of the assignments while we were gone was to scrub the floors. I bought a bristle broom to save Ibu A's back - and yesterday I got fed up with the sweep and mop ... and demonstrated how to clean the old marble floor tiles without breaking our backs or killing our knees.

  • Pour cleaner on the grout lines. They're supposed to be beige not black.
  • Pour hot water boiled in the kettle over the tiles and distribute the cleaner with the bristle brush. 
  • Let the frothy mess sit for 10 minutes. (Should I have added, "and do other work while you wait?" I didn't. The ironing and other cleaning was left undone. Sigh.)
  • Scrub the cleaner into the tiles with the broom.
  • Wipe up the soap with a mop. 
  • Rinse and wipe until the floor is clear.
Easy, right? I've asked Ibu A to do a room a day so she doesn't spend all her time in the next week on floors. 
The view from the upper balcony in golden evening light
It truly helps to have someone come in - otherwise I'd be spending all my time in the house and none working on other things. We don't have a dryer so clothes and sheets have to be ironed. Ironing also kills any bugs that may have glommed onto the fabric.

Without a dishwasher, we have another chore at the end of every meal ... or ants invade the kitchen. With cold-water-only faucets, we have to heat a few kettles of water before we can hand-wash and rinse the dishes. When the dishwater is dirty, we heat more water for the next batch of dishes. So washing up - after the time spent cooking - takes 30-60 minutes per meal. The days the helper comes are a godsend.

From fabric to curtain with a few IKEA clip-hooks
Two more rooms still need curtains. I finished hanging a privacy drape on the windows of our home office today. It's nice to be able to work after dark without anyone looking in.

Last year, at a Ramadan sale in Jakarta, I purchased enough flat sheets and duvet covers to furnish a house. ($80-$120 sheets @$8 each. Thanks for the shopping trip, Gigi K!) We got clip-hooks from IKEA: they make any fabric into instant curtains. The hanging hooks are already in their tracks so it's a simple matter of guess-timating where the hooks should go: 
  • Measure the curtain track to floor drop, subtract two inches for hooks and floor clearance. Fold the top of the sheet to length.
  • Count the rail hooks. Divide the sheet width by that number = the distance between clip-hooks.
  • Clip on the hooks, hang on the rail, and ... instant curtain. 
  • Hand-pleat the folds from top to bottom so the fabric hangs straight.
  • After a few days, the wrinkles are out. It's damp in Bandung at this time of year. We don't have air-conditioning (which also dehumidifies the air), so clothes tend to hang themselves out. That also means the freshly-ironed clothes look limp in no time.
We have to drive to Jakarta for visa photos and fingerprints tomorrow, so the men's gathering is moved from Thursday night to tonight. W and David drive in but none of the others make it. So they eat and talk about our future work and what advantages our complementary skills might bring. Many days feel like "hurry up and wait." We're told this is common. And normal.

Dad sends pictures of friends:
Mom (L) and a friend with the Masai of Africa in 1970s
I wake at 2am but my phone doesn't work. I'm out of data and phone minutes: we haven't had internet at the house since we moved in. I need to call several people but without a phone, I'm stuck. W thinks my plan auto-renews this weekend. I sure hope so!

So I get up to go online and write the blog. There's no sense in lying in bed after 3/4 hour and my email is stacking up. We occasionally borrow service from our kind neighbor until our own is up and running. That means going to the room nearest his house. It's at the other side from the bedroom, of course.

One of W's errands yesterday was to visit the main internet provider for this neighborhood. Last week, W was told at the main branch that the internet company is running fiber cable in a few months. "Could we get service with a modem in the meantime? We had that in our last house, which is the neighbor." W asked them. Cable is available, but it's 3X the cost (about $30/mo) and not reliable. 

"No sir. Belum. (Not yet.) The fiber network is not yet in but we cannot give you the old service." 

Yesterday, W asked at another branch. The gal looked up the address and found a lapsed contract, which she renewed for the grand fee of 50c. The technician is scheduled to come Monday to reconnect the service. What? We won't be sitting on the front porch of the old place to get email? Will we miss that? Nope.

W's up by 6am. I'm going back to bed by 7, while he heads out with David to a men's breakfast in the neighborhood. Good. I don't have to cook; I didn't stir up a batch of bread last night either.

But I will have to get up before 8am to let the helper in. She doesn't have to cook today and we brought her lunch and put it in the fridge for today. Her chores will be ironing the bedding and shirts she left undone Tuesday and scrubbing the kitchen floor. Thank God for help!

Read more:
**You have given human beings dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet. Psalm 8:6 ESV

*Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. He said, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded." Daniel 2:19-23 NLT

*Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another. Zechariah 7:9 ESV

*Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Matthew 5:5, 7 NASB

Moravian Prayer: Holy Spirit, we pray for all who are in need, all who are suffering, and all who do not know about you. Many wait for your grace and mercy; do not forget them. In the name of Jesus we pray.

Creator God, forgive us when we get wrapped up in our lives and forget that you made us caretakers of the earth and all creatures. Open our hearts so that we are moved to help those without a voice. Amen.

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