Monday, August 10, 2015

Frogs, flights, and finishing the guest room

Frog 'leather' coin purse (remember when eelskin was the rage?)
The light wakes me. I check the time: 5:40am. Ugh. I'm not ready for morning but the sun comes up and goes down early in the tropics.

"Up we go," as our grandchildren say to their mother, lifting their hands to be held.

And so it is with me. I hold up my hands to God.

There's always a song going in my head (called an ear-worm). I tune tune in to find out what's playing. This morning it's this. And "up we go."

Have gear, will travel. (Our above.)
Saturday, August 8
It's my parents' 62nd anniversary. So glad to be born to parents who are still in love, still talking, and still serving each other ... after so many years.

"How old were you when you married?" someone asks Dad this week. Let's just say, Mom was 18 and this week she celebrated her 80th birthday. Thanks be to God for them both. None of their four kids takes the privilege of a happy marriage and healthy family for granted.

vintage cars
We wake up in Baguio, ready for the 5 hour drive to Manilla. (Traffic is pretty good until we get near the city.) We leave behind the beautiful mountain vistas and end the trip in the plains near the sea.

After a short nap, we head to the big American-style grocer. We stand in the taxi queue afterwards. Our northbound line doesn't get many taxis: they'll all headed for the southbound line. Finally one then the other pulls in and the line creeps forward.

When our turn comes, we catch the 7th one. The first pulls out again - wrong line. #2 - "too far". #3 - don't want to. #4 - sorry. #5-6 Other people have hopped in while we were talking to #4. Finally #7 says ok. He takes us on back roads to pass congestion after we stand in traffic for 10 minutes.

We're home in 1/2 hour, rather than the almost-3 hours of walking last weekend. Mind you, last week we found the dining chairs we need at a great price, on our walk. The shop said they'll ship them (if W doesn't find them closer to home for less.)

Memories of the Philippines:

  • Gracious faculty, staff, and students in Baguio. Bonus: a killer view
  • Refurbished vintage cars - reminded me of pictures of Cuba
  • Churches and more churches - lots of statues of Mary and Jesus, and tiles on the houses with pictures of Mother Mary and her Son.
  • Cat in a big birdcage. I don't know why - it was stretching like a pet hamster.
  • Pork everywhere, seemingly in every dish. After a relatively pork-free year in Muslim Indonesia, it's startling to see so much little piggy.
  • Filipinos are quite different than Bandung's population. They not only look different, but the clothing is more suggestive, brighter, and trendier. They willingly help us when we ask but they're not as outgoing or willing to smile. Maybe it's the big city.
  • Jeepneys are the angkots of the Philippines. Many are brightly decorated, painted with florescent graphics, or gleaming chrome.

Airport. Early morning breakfast of oatmeal and toast, as usual in the guest house.

We catch a cab 4 hours before our flight. It's W's buffer, and you never know about traffic here.

  • There are no seatbelts (broken, ripped out) in the back of the taxi. Should we worry?
  • Small shops and markets are open all along the way.
  • The taxi driver is a Christian. He says there's lots of sacrificing of animals and fruit to idols, "and in the villages even more." The underlying religion is a belief in anito, the unknowable, unseen spirit of the Almighty.
Leaving Manilla - beautiful coastline
We've been told several time that we'll leave Manilla from Terminal 4. The guy at the security booth checks our ticket - held out the back window of the taxi - and waves us through.

First we stand in the wrong line and have to go back out and around. And then we're not let into the door for international departures.

"This is not the right terminal," says the guard. Excuse us, please?

"When did it change, sir?" W asks.

"About 2 weeks. It has been about 2 weeks ago." He repeats for emphasis.

We're at the wrong terminal.Our taxi is long gone.  Is there a shuttle to the other one? The gatekeeper points vaguely in a direction. We set off with our 2 heavy suitcases and 4 carry-ons. I'm wearing a thick sweater in the 88o heat but I'm not hot. Must be acclimated.

We are served an extra meal; that must be for our driver!
= his first airline meal.
"Is this the right shuttle?" W asks the agent in a little house painted with an Air Asia logo.

"Yes, we changed 2 weeks ago. Now Terminal 3." Ok - that would have been nice to know, either online or from the gate sentinal who waved us through the entry to Terminal 4. Shuttle it is.

"This shuttle is not free," the driver cautions us. It's 20c each, or 44c total. We can do that.

A nice Air Asia helper waves us to the seniors line. Thank you! We wait a half hour to get to the agent; they're busy setting up and chatting. Hmmm. The computer doesn't have our luggage weight upgrade and W can't get online to give them proof of payment. Finally we are confirmed - and we just have time for a quick meal before hitting Gate Q3 for our flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The coconut groves around KL
The restaurant advertises dim sum, tapas, instant noodles, and creme brūlée. Not bad - nothing to write home to mom about, though. We're glad for the time buffer this morning.

And our flight leaves almost 2 hours late. We have enough time to catch our connecting flight ... and land in Bandung at 8:30. The driver meets us with a cheerful smile and helps with the tech suitcases (30 kg/ 66 lb). We unpack, put things away (well, I do), and it's good to sleep in our own bed tonight.

We're up early - the Philippines clock is set to an hour before Indonesia, so 5am is not a big deal. David and Paula start language school today. I'm breaking the 10th Commandment in my heart. But I remember why people go to language school when they first arrive: we have a morning study today, the arisan (women's group) tomorrow morning, and all kinds of commitments the rest of the week. It would be difficult to break off, put things on hold for language school, and start over again. (Yes, PD, as you warned us.)

Guest room ready
D&P have agreed to practice with us each day. That should help but my heart falters a little, thinking about how they'll pass us within a few weeks. They spend 4-hour days in repetition and incremental learning. Oh well - we walk the path marked out for us for a reason.

The morning study is from Mark 5:1-20: Jesus casts demons out from the man who lived among the tombs. The guys drop me off and head to town to pay bills and run errands. My chores:

  • study
  • get Kirsten's room ready (she arrives tomorrow at midnight)
  • bake bread ("1-2-3 and It's Ready Bread = 1tsp. yeast/2 tsp salt/ 3 c. flour ... plus 1 1/2 c. water. Stir. Wait 8-24 hours. Bake in a greased cast-iron pan @ 425oF/200oC/Mark6, covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 10.)
  • Thanks to Tanya Jo for the quilt left for us!
  • lunch. Our helper comes alternate days. Today, the helper for upstairs cooks rice and chicken for D&P.
I toss together spaghetti and Paula contributes rice for the driver. "It's not a meal without rice," say the Sundas. Rice and spaghetti? Ok. I've bought frozen peas with the expectation of the taste of peas in Canada. Nope - these were picked at least 1-2 weeks beyond ripe and taste as chalky as beans. No wonder Indonesians don't like peas!

"Wow, thanks. Usually a driver doesn't get food this good," says our driver, wolfing down the rice and noodles. (I skip the peas on his plate.) He's the age of our sons and that's how I think of him in my head. Good appetite. Fine young man whom we happy to feed well.

D&P come home from class, as exhausted as expected. They practice Indonesian by riding along when W and the driver head out after lunch.

Bread, hot and fresh from the oven
I finish work and cook supper (bread, sausage, veges) for us all. Then I show Paula how to make the bread - in case she ever craves European bread texture and taste. Bread here is like a mildly-sweet and airy pastry, shaped in a loaf.

Read more:
*Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few. 1 Samuel 14:6 ESV

*Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 ESV

Moravian Prayer: You alone are worthy, Lord. Your ways bring life to the oppressed, humility to the proud, and justice to the nations. We see through a glass darkly; you see through an eternal lens. Open our eyes to your sovereign presence. Amen.


  1. I just read it Dr. RoseMarie...different experiences in different places of the same couple

    1. Strangely current, I found. Only technology and conveniences have changed. People are still the same...

  2. Have a blessed morning Dr.RoseMarie, im just delight to share that as of this time i have 1,215 in my blog.It is a caution on my part to be careful on every post. Thank you so much...