Friday, January 22, 2016

A few final things ... and a brain freeze

In transition: a building site prepared
by tearing down the old walls
Do you know the feeling of "checking out?" = the disconnection between what is happening around us and what is going on internally. I feel myself starting to "check out" this week.

Yesterday we are in town, talking to people in the market and on the streets but my mind won't focus. Words I know that I know slip away and I find myself stuttering and limited even in basic phrases of Bahasa Indonesia. And I'm exhausted, that soul-weary fuzzy zone of almost-not-thinking that precedes another transition. 3 more sleeps in this house before we drive to Jakarta for my early-morning flight to Seattle ...

Wednesday, January 20.15
Gypsy gets his first-ever bath: the mats are cut out of his hair and he is glossed and pretty when he comes home. But the natural oils that made dirt shed off his feet are gone, too. When he plays in the mud, the fine grains stick and his paws turn tawny yellow. 

We have 2 new walkers this morning, a neighbor and a new language school student. There's a new dog, too - a beautiful Rottweiler who is calm and friendly. Several drop off food (potluck afterwards at our house) before we start walking. We go behind the complex and down through the villages to cross into the grasslands that line the valleys.
Center dot: a walker (hat visible) coming up the trail between tall grasses
Gypsy is half-neutered, we find out. And the half that is not neutered is aggressive and won't calm down on 5 miles of walking. He pulls, barks and strains toward the other dog, and continually plunges ahead of me. I've never had a dog who returns to the same behavior time and time again after correction. (Poodles and Dobermans are more compliant!) 

I've scheduled the first appointment with the vet possible: W will be the "nurse" when the dog comes back from surgery next weekend.

The trail is slick as glass after several days of rainfall. Several of us slide back down hard-fought ground between the tall grasses. Gypsy sees the dog coming up behind us and pulls me down. Slip and slide, and we fortunately stop within 5 feet of the other (well-behaved) dog. 

Everyone clambers back to their feet and before long we are winding up paved alleys and through villages. We knock the sticky mud off our shoes. Scrape it off. Drag our shoes through grass - back and forward and sideways. But it sticks until it begins to dry and we can stomp it off on a paved path.

At one point we cross the river and pause to watch boys jumping and swimming in the strong current. There is no adult to supervise. No lifeguard or minder yelling from the bank. Just boys having fun in the sunlight and the swift, dirty run-off from kitchen sinks and muddy hillside. 

We have another steep hillside to climb before our house. Today we end with a tea party.

I hurry ahead to our house while the group climbs a final veeery steep hill. Do I have time to dive into the shower to rinse off the clay and splash of the trail? QUICK.

Then it's time to finish cooking and enjoy food, tea, and great company. For the first time, I meet the famed pavlova, an Australian meringue concoction that takes like sweet heaven. I've come to love these women and will miss our walks!

Then it's off to the Bamboo Shack for our Bible study. We cherish this time - it is food for our souls. It's always hard to say, "More next time" because the scriptures are so interesting.

The driver walks the dog while we get ready and clear a few emails. When Pak Entang returns, we go to town. W is looking for travel trousers but we only find fabric stores where we can buy "Italian" wools, silks, and cashmere blends for $5-10 / meter.

"We manufacture fabric in Bandung for Joanne Fabrics in the States, for the couture shops of New York and Europe, and for tailors in the whole world," one seller tells us.

One of the great privileges of being here is praying. As the ritual prayers ring out from the central mosque, we pray for those calling out prayers. We pray for their families. We pray for those listening. We pray for those praying along. May God make himself known in all his fullness and glory to them and to us.
The central mosque of Bandung
The city is full of curiosities. It's 90o but a young woman is dressed in full bridal wear to advertise a shop.

We browse the little shops of women's wear and updated traditional wear.
Chic clothing for the modern Muslim
I'll miss Miss Bee, the local restaurant where meals range from $2-10. We stop in for a light meal.

And I'm absolutely exhausted. I can feel how slowly my mind is working. I feel like my brain is atrophying, especially in the last month since we found out we have to return to the States for a few months.

"What I've missed most," I say to W, "is our habit of constant learning and engagement with information." 

Because our Indonesian is basic, we cannot read and scan and absorb everything around us like we are used to doing. Sure, we're still reading books, learning language, and trying to converse. But it's like slogging through a field of wet clay.

When W asks me to decide where to eat, where to go next, or to make other small decisions, I shrug him off. "You decide," I say. "My head is full."

And he is just as tired. When we drive by the downtown market, I ask to stop. W says, "We can come back later."

But we both know we'll be too weary after a few hours in town to fight traffic to return. It will be a few months before I get the right-sized swimsuit ... I just hope the vendor of the little stall is still there.

Read more:
*We your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. Psalm 79:13 ESV

*O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Psalm 105:1 ESV

*Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

*Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 ESV

*Paul wrote: We may proclaim the good news in lands beyond you. 2 Corinthians 10:16 ESV

*With joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:12 GNT 

Moravian Prayer: Great Shepherd, we are your flock, honored to hear our names called by you. You, Lord, give us green pastures to lie down in and still waters to walk beside. In you we find all that we need for true purpose for our lives. Call on us; we are yours.

We find comfort in your message and purpose in its proclamation, heavenly Savior, but too often we feel like we are in a world that doesn’t want to listen. Remind us that it is your message that we are called to share, not our own. Help us to take ourselves out of the message and share only your true light. Amen.

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