Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thunder, lightning, and some fixes

Rain soaks the porch but then evaporates quickly
We live at the top of a hill. Lightning and thunder storms are spectacular. A clap of thunder just roared nearby - after we heard lightning hit a tree with a snap. The storm continues through the afternoon.

It's a good day for a hot cup of tea. The sun disappeared after our morning walk and it's dark dark dark. We put the lights on the house as electric flashes resound across the valley.

The driver arrives for his first day. He came highly recommended. When he meets us, he names the people he's worked for, including former AG coworkers. First thing, he washes months of dirt and dust off the car.

When the helper comes, I show her what to cook for today and tomorrow: potatoes one day and rice the next. The chicken is already in the fridge, purchased it at the store because we try to avoid the unrefrigerated meats at the markets. I demonstrate how to cut the little chicken into 4 pieces for today's supper. The back, neck, and wings are for tomorrow's meal (nasi goreng ayam - chicken and fried rice.)

Distinguished ladies at the arisan
We're dividing household chores between two part-timers. Turns out they're friends, in the same Islamic prayer group though they live in different neighborhoods. Both live nearby so we don't have to pay transportation. Our original helper is a good cook so she'll prepare two meals, one for the current day and the other for the next day. We have to prepare (or pay) for lunches for workers. The other gal will help with cleaning.

The driver drops me off at the women's neighborhood gathering and takes our helper to the market for vegetables. At the arisan, I catch up on my dues and enjoy a nice lunch. Mine is some kind of sweet-sweet-and-sour chicken nuggets with rice. My snack pack is tucked away for W's lunch.

Ibu W and a friend sit with me for lunch.
Fork and spoon, of course.
Guess who's sitting next to me? Ibu W, the former landlady, whom we haven't seen since March. It's a delight; she sends home her snack package for our neighbor Jez and fried chips for Waldemar. I leave postcards with a lady who has a birthday and Ibu W, who says she's been in Seattle before. Indonesians travel the world.

The landlord, Ibu W's nephew, drops by without notice. He brings others with him, looking at the property next door. He plans to build on his vacant land. We tell him about the tent-squatters in the jungle acres below. If not moved, entire neighborhoods spring up and it is impossible to evict those who encroach.

This creeping spread happens with houses and businesses. Along the side of the road at an intersection with the main road to town, a metalworker has a fairly big shop with 3 employees. He builds things but lately he's been doing auto-repair and painting, too. There's always smoking garbage or the smell of paint.

"First he asked us if he could put his workbench and a small shelter there, so we agreed," a neighbor told us. "But he keeps adding and it has grown into this big mess. None of us is pleased. But what can we do?"

The bamboo chimes dance in the wind and rain
In the afternoon, amid the helper, the driver, and the man finishing the laundry door, our good friend Josie drops by on her motorcycle.

She brings goodies - her mom's pastries filled with banana, etc. - and some chocolate buns from a local bakery She's also brought a thermos filled with a Chinese pear infusion. How did she make it? "Chop the pear with the skin on. Gently boil it with 1.5 liters of water until it is tender. Then you can add sugar."

How much sugar? "Oh, I don't know. Enough for a good taste."

And it does taste good. We drink as much as we can, throats soothed = yummy and effective. I'm still raw from weeks of coughing and though W's laryngitis has disappeared, his voice is rough. Josie leaves an extra pear and sugar for the next batch.

When we take supper from the fridge, I can't find the vegetables or the potatoes I asked for. I find raw potatoes in a bag in the back kitchen.

There is of course rice. I text the helper, "Please, where are the potatoes I asked you to make?" And the fridge crisper is full of vegetables but she left only a baggie of washed lettuce and a side dish of chopped carrots and cucumbers.

She apologizes. Apparently she made fried rice for tomorrow and decided on white rice for today. She put a few green beans in tomorrow's nasi goreng.

Okay, so she needs a list of what to prepare. She replies that a list would indeed be helpful.

The handyman finishes the laundry door and replumbs the pump to in-the house water reservoir. A previous handyman cut the pipes to get the pump off the main kitchen counter, turned off the water flow, and was done. Today it's fixed and the reservoir is refilled. I toss in a handful of baking soda from our big Costco bag, to sweeten and soften the water.

I am exhausted from all the Indonesian spoken and heard. It feels like a lot of people have come in and gone out of here over the past few days. We're on a steep learning curve, assisted by fellow expats and former NGO workers. The initial periods of training helpers - deciding what needs doing and who should do it - is beyond our experience.

Chocolate pastries - thanks, Josie!
An unbroken night! Wowee. It's my first since we came back to Bandung in May. Mind you, we're up before 6am. We call our folks with the reconnected phone line and go for a walk. It's a privilege to pray for neighbors, friends, and the businesses we pass.

Then W and I sit on the porch and eat Josie's baking for breakfast. After a short study of Bahasa Indonesia, we do our devotional together. I pull out my trusty notebook and record what we find. It's cold out today with the wind: 22oC (71oF). I need a pot of tea and a sweater when I work in my office.

When the cleaning helper comes at 8, she spouts Indonesian. It's extremely helpful, but I keep forgetting words even after I think they're mine. Like setrika for "ironing"; I really must tack it up in a few rooms so I remember. At least, after 9 months, last week I remembered the words for kitchen and fridge. The other helper comes by to apologize, make sure I'm not angry, and that she won't be fired.

The "dirty kitchen" with its big reservoir.
Oh yay! We finally get internet at the house, after a month of borrowing from our old place nearby (sitting on the front stair when the tenants are out) or occasionally sharing another neighbor's line. Waldemar redid the wiring convolutions left yesterday by the technician so that we had a slow but working connection by evening. This afternoon, the internet company turns us up to speed @1 Mbps. (Ok, we try not compare very often with life in the West ... but we had 30Mbps in Seattle.)

Our neighbor Jez also arranges to have his appliance repairman come and translates our basic concerns. W watches the man work and notes, "This one knows what he's doing." Another fellow hired by our first landlord was iffy, to say the least.

The bromeliads capture the rain, a
perfect environment for mosquito larvae
Today he fixes the water heaters. What a relief it will be to have a hot shower. Up to now, we run the water for 5-8 minutes and then sometimes we will get warmish water. (During our quick trip to Seattle in April, I stood in the hot shower thanking God for the luxury of consistent pressure and temperature.) W pays $25 to have both heaters repaired.

Pak Good-One says it will cost $100 to fix the oven, much cheaper than buying a new one @ +$500-800. Currently, heat leaks heat into the gas chamber (we've recorded 250oF!!!), the oven temperature doesn't go past 375oF, the spark mechanism is broken, and the oven door stays partly open. I've gotten used to it but we can't bake or cook anything that needs high heat. He'll come back on Saturday to do the repair. Hurrah!!!

I write, we call and text to arrange a scripture study and upcoming suppers, and between I heat the tasty nasi goreng for lunch.

And then it's late afternoon. Where has the day gone?

Read more:
*Although these nations do give heed to soothsayers and diviners, as for you, the Lord your God does not permit you to do so. Deuteronomy 18:14 NEV

*As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. Psalm 42:1 NIV

*I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul. Psalm 138:1-3 NKJV

*Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27 ESV

*Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

*You have one instructor, the Messiah. Matthew 23:10 ESV

*Jesus said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” John 7:37 NIV

Moravian Prayer: You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. No one but you knows what the future holds. We pray for patience and guidance as we wait for you to reveal your plan. Drinking from the living water makes our souls sing! May those around us hear the music of our hearts and join your ensemble.

Loving Father, many of our neighbors find themselves in need. Help us to show your love for all by accepting them as they are in addition to sharing your word and our resources. Amen.

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