Monday, February 1, 2016

In transit

"Oma, can I have this?"
"How about I take your picture with it instead?"
It's been a week since I wrote. And what a week it's been. What I notice about Seattle:
  • Grandkids are even sweeter in person.
  • It's so quiet! that you can hear individual voices and cars.
  • Toilet paper (padded to the max) can be flushed - no garbage cans or spray guns beside toilets.
  • You can buy everything - big, fresh, and packaged to sell - but most things cost more than I remember.
  • Everyone protects their own space. "It's mine" vs. "It's ours" (Indonesia).
  • I can read everything, talk to anyone (English), and learn anything (free art demos at Daniel Smith)
  • Internet - it works. The pics that take 5-10 minutes to upload into the blog in Bandung take 4 seconds here.
  • Traffic is sparse and orderly, even at rush hour. "We could fit 3 motorcycles between," I think when people leave gaps between cars at the stoplight.
Tuesday, January 27.15
Suitcases are packed and ready. We leave our home for Jakarta. But first, two friends come to say goodbye. Relationships are everything here, and people go out of their way to maintain them. I am touched: our friend Dr Hanna leaves Jakarta at 6am and to make sure we don't miss each other. She brings batik squares and a few scarves for incorporation into a craft project. DrW stops by to give me a double-hug traditional in Indonesia. I will miss them both!

Mickey perches
And Rambo glowers
We drive pass the themed "hero" factory outlets near Ciwalk Mall. They seem so weird but apparently help sell to tourists and locals who shop on weekends.

In Jakarta, W and I meet up with Kelly, a NU alum who is going to intern at a non-profit in Bali. Life is in flux for her but she is on a journey of faith. Very cool. 

We're up at 3:30am. The shuttle drops us at the airport and W waves me through security before hopping back on to get some more winks of sleep at the hotel.

3 flights. 24 hours. For the 9+ hour flight from Tokyo, the airline asks if I will exchange my aisle seat for a "middle-of-4" seat at the back of the plane. Economy class is full and a couple wants to sit together

Of course I'm happy to move ... if they will bump me to business class where there are several seats available. 

"You are on a very cheap ticket," the attendant informs me. (I know that.) And she makes other arrangements.

I've ordered Kosher meals. The flight attendants bring every one to me at the start of the flight. Apparently I have to puncture the plastic wrap and take it off to guarantee that it's Kosher and untainted. Who knew. The meals are tasty though.

Rebekah, our d-in-love, picks me up from SeaTac without incident, though I don't have a working phone. We catch a late lunch at a juice bar that happens to have fabulous Pakistani-style gyros. Delicious!!! She drops me off and wades back into traffic after greeting the family at the house.

It's such a treat to say hi to son Timothy and his family. "Oma! You're here! You're here! I'm so glad to see you!" our cucu greets me at the door.

Kinsey goes to gymnastics and loves it. Oma enjoys watching her play! 

First off: flowers
We stop in at Costco on the way home and I'm staggered by the abundance of everything I haven't seen for a while. I load up on fruit, vegetables, goat cheese, and a multigrain bread. With W far away, only healthy foods make it in my cart.

We have to rush back because a cleaner is coming. I thought I'd hired her for the day, but she arrives at 11:30 and leaves to get her kids after school. Oh well - it's a good start! She vacuums and runs a rag over the floors, cleans the kitchen and bath thoroughly. That gets me focused on the job ahead. I start scrubbing the floors on hands and knees, using baking soda and soapy water to bring the stains off the white-painted concrete.

My knees get cold. I find the foam "prayer" block in the spare room and carry on. 

The bedding under the sofas has mildewed so the laundry machines get a good workout: I love the sanitize and allergy cycles - they restore the white sheets and freshen up the pillows and blankets. (It takes a few days to get through everything.)

I zip out to Trader Joes for flowers and a few staples in the afternoon.

Our granddaughter gets permission to walk to the store with Oma - and we talk about all kinds of things. She pretends to climb a tree and tells me knock-knock jokes.

I get a few groceries but she wants a lollipop to reward her for the long walk. We agree to an ice-cream sandwich since there are no lollipops available. And she promises to eat her lunch when we get home. (I toss a chunk of ice-cream in a garbage can along the street when she's had enough.)

"Oma, I feel like being carried," she says after about 2 miles. We're on our last street before getting back home.

I agree. "Me too! I wish there was a pony that could take us home." I tell her about the horses that take kids for rides around the Padma Hotel in Bandung. And we walk the rest of the way home together.

Timothy calls T-Mobile to find out why my SIM card isn't working. They've messed up the number somehow - I've had no internet or phone (except WIFI) since Tuesday. The rep is helpful, polite, and knows what she's doing - and it's fixed! (Thanks to our son, too, who understands the jargon and electronics.)

I meet a friend at Third Place - oh so good to see your face, Kim!!! - and then it's off to Seattle.

Amazing workshop at Daniel Smith
I'm at Daniel Smith Art for a few hours: how I've missed being able to go to the demos for inspiration! First off is a class on composition - how to put together a painting. Then a young printmaker demonstrates collographic methods of making art prints. I leave with a full heart, feeling like I've eaten a huge meal for my soul.

Between every event, I'm sorting/washing clothes, cleaning/rolling up the rugs and moving furniture to wash the floors. What a good workout! 

I am ready to move to my own space tonight. A guest room is great (thanks, Melissa!) but our home is the basement suite. Little by little, things flow (well ... are hauled) back into place from storage. 

Bandon speaks at Canyon Creek Church, Mill Creek
One of our sponsoring churches is celebrating an Open House in a new space. Dozens of volunteers have completely redone the facilities and I decide to spend my first Sunday with them.

Except that the website map is to the old site. And I accidentally punch in a wrong number. So I'm in the middle of a neighborhood. Then at an elementary school. And finally I find the actual address (light font in the middle of a paragraph. Oh, dumb me, a skimmer when there's a map link in sight.) 20 km and a half-hour late, I'm there.

And so glad I persisted. The volunteers, under the direction of senior pastor Di Beals, have done an amazing job. The building is inviting, the greeters welcoming, and I immediately feel "at home." The message is inspiring, something I needed to center me for this unexpected trip back to Seattle. Thanks, Pastor Brandon Beals! Afterward, it's fun to talk to people who know and pray for us.

The grandkids come and go as I sort and organize before lunch. Levi (2) is fascinated with the family pictures in the stairwell. I hear a picture glass breaking; oops. I ask him to leave the rest hanging. 

"Why?" he asks. Just because. (Trust your Oma. haha)

Rebekah cooks 2 new recipes, both of them "hits": super-charged nachos and an apple crisp. Oooooh yum! It's wonderful to see our sons and their families together. And it's kind of weird because I used to cook and prep for everyone on Sundays. I hold the youngest grandson while Melissa and Rebekah clean up - grateful for dear women who have joined the family.

I'm not jet-lagged exactly, but feel weary and disconnected after cleaning, lifting big bags of upholstery out of storage (sofa covers, blankets, etc.), etc. My brain hasn't yet checked out of Indonesia - and not having a phone for a few days hasn't helped in making connections. 

I decide down time is not overrated for a grandmother! Especially since I'm working until midnight most evenings. A few more days and I'll be settled. I hear the kids thundering overhead and am glad to be a grandma. I pray blessings on their mom and wish her much joy in doing for her generation what I and my friends did for ours. :-)

Read more:
*Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

*Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:25-26 NKJV

*How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:1-5 NIV

*From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:13–14 ESV

*Paul wrote: I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:33 NIV

*For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. 1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Generous Lord, infuse our spirits with your love and compassion that we might see the broken spirits of others and respond as you have shown us. Where there is need, help us to meet it with your kindness. May all that is good be seen in us, your children. Amen.

C. S. Lewis, writing to a friend: on the meaning of interruptions and real life; on the difficulty of being patient; and on expiating through embracing one’s own sufferings.

Things are pretty bad here. ... Sometimes I am very unhappy, but less so than I have often been in what were (by external standards) better times.
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time—I know your problems must be much the same as mine (with the important difference that mine are of my own making, a very appropriate punishment and, like all God’s punishments, a chance for expiation.)

Isn’t it hard to go on being patient, to go on supplying sympathy? One’s stock of love turns out, when the testing time comes, to be so very inadequate: I suppose it is well that one should be forced to discover the fact!

I find too (do you?) that hard days drive one back on Nature. I don’t mean walks . . . but little sights and sounds seen at windows in odd moments.

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