Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rainy season

Rain washes away concrete borders
It is definitely rainy season. We've had 4 flashfloods in Bandung in the last 2 weeks. Cars have been submerged. The entire first floor of a private school washed downhill: new laptops, desks, chairs disappeared. Their Coke machine was found at the airport, miles downstream (well, miles away still in the city.) The roads become causeways for the water that falls in the hills so we try to run errands in the morning before rain falls.

It's actually harder to write less often: so much is forgotten as I pick through recent memories. Election Day comes and goes. Trump is the President-Elect while Americans are parading the streets. I find myself shedding parts of culture that no longer fit. American Thanksgiving is next week but we celebrated in October with Canadians so that's probably that.

Wednesday, November 9
In the evening, we meet Paul, who asks for help recruiting teachers for an international school. They have great facilities and it would be a super opportunity for a junior high / high school teacher. Interested? (Various subjects, but you have to be 25 to teach here.)

I scribble a list: this is what I'd want to know before sending an invitation to teachers, education departments, or alumni directors. Paul takes it with him and talks to officials in the morning.

Typical "walking paths" between buildings
Yay, the group is walking again. An Australian military contingent is completing their year in Bandung so personnel is moving out. Some of the walkers are army or airforce spouses. Today we're saying goodbye with a walk and potluck. W and I walk down the hill with our dog to drop off the avocado salad I made.

Avocados are in season. A tree in the neighboring yard is dripping fruit. Their gardener brings us a bag of not-yet-ripe avocados that will have to sit on the counter for a few more days. I eat one every morning. Ibu Sumi cuts and freezes the rest. Freezing is a lazier version of canning: I pull food out of the freezer nearly every day. (Thanks to our Canadian team for their gift of a freezer!)
What goes down must come up
We cross the swollen river on a footbridge. We pass through tiny lanes and paths between the houses that have sprung up on the hillside. Oh this neighborhood is steep! We walk up and down twice. I can't imagine the families who live here: it's too steep and narrow even for motorcycles. Whoever lives on this hill must hike up and hike down. To think that all the concrete, wood, tin for roofs was carried in by builders? Mind-boggling.
House crammed upon house, with tiny alleys between
We come down again and land in a field. Some construction workers nearby point back up the hill but by now several are too tired to climb again. So we trot through the swamp (wet feet!) and end up beside the river with no exit plan.
Swampy grass. Not a snake in sight today
Someone points out a hole in a concrete fence. We clamber through it, landing in a muddy garden before coming out in a secluded neighborhood. One irate fellow is not pleased to see us near his private property.

Oh well, we trudge up the hill past him and say, "Maaf, maaf, Bapak (sorry, sir!)" and keep going until we hit a thoroughfare.
See those young boys in the river?
We wind our way down again and cross the river again. From this bridge, local boys are jumping into the swift, polluted and rain-surged river. It's like body-surfing or white-water rafting as they let the current lift them to a concrete landing platform.

"I can't look!" says one of the Australians. "What if they get swept away?"
Ready to climb back up to the bridge for another jump ...
The ever-patient Ibu Elis tacks a plastic spider
from our "Spider Catcher" gadget on her bulletin board.
We drive into Jakarta after language school. My head is buzzing with new words and review. I only do 2 hours a week but the conversation and practice between is helping consolidate things - unlike when I was in class all the time (and words shed like water off a duck's back).

I'm thinking about Christmas already. When we were in the States, friends in Canada posted Christmas decorations after Remembrance Day, November 11. But I'd wait until the day after American Thanksgiving. Not anymore.

IKEA today (left); Christmas 2012 (right)
W agrees to a trip to the 2-year-old IKEA store in Jakarta. The orderliness is balm to my spirit. But when I see the same 5'X6' poster that hangs in our Seattle apartment, I feel a sudden, unexpected pang of homesickness. I better put my Christmas tree up soon - then maybe the season can begin, even with family so far away.

Supper and the evening with David and Paul S is another treat. We know what to expect, the social conventions, and can relax completely together. We enjoy a comfy bed at their place, too.

Jakarta is far more sophisticated and global than Bandung. Juliana and Nikolas come for us about 10am. One of their friends is a professional chef, cooking in a display of food creativity at the Grand Indonesia Mall. She comes over to say hello and make recommendations.

Oh the food! It is splendid (Beef Cheeks in Curry for me) - with experimental organic rices from Japan.

And dessert is a worthy followup.
Beautiful presentation: the chocolate ball with lemon mousse

Pouring hot chocolate sauce over opens it up. YUM
Mine is equally beautiful and tasty
But it's the company that's so much fun. We sit and chat - and I run my fingers over the keys of the grand piano behind us to see if it's in tune. In this air-conditioned mall, anything is possible. (It is tuned!)

In the evening, we soak in the worship and Word at IESJakarta. Afterward, the staff gathers for a meal. We've missed these gatherings, that's for sure.

There's abundant food, laughter, and sharing life on life as always. Then it's time to drive to Bandung. Luckily traffic is good: we're in the door at home before 11pm.

After an extra-long sermon, the study group votes to meet for lunch right away. At Bumi, there's a big family celebrating a birthday. We wait 2 hours for our food, which comes in spurts. We suspect some has made its way to the big table and been replaced. Oh well - we love these friends and are glad for time together.
The rain comes down in torrents. The thunder and lightning are spectacular. We make it home damp but sated.

A few conference calls. Some writing. Bible study, which is always refreshing. We hear stories of God's surprises and His goodness.

Then it's down the hill to language school ... except that my guru is stuck up north. We cancel the lesson among many apologies and drive back up the hill. I'm happy. I really needed to review on my own anyway. W's much more tied to meal routines, which tends to disrupt my flow of learning.

I've given a Christmas tree away this morning - and I admit I sighed a bit as it went. However, when I go up for ornaments for the LR tree, I discover a small fluffy tree (much nicer even) tucked away behind some boxes. I set it up in the bedroom and the lights begin to sparkle. What a nice feeling. And it's all God's stuff, right?

The exercise class is canceled. Apparently, the man who turns on the music for the women is feeling under the weather. So is Ibu A, but she cooks my supper (plus some to take home to her family) and tidies up before heading home. Again, the storm is fierce, the rain and wind strong, and the thunder loud. She bundles up in a raincoat and takes a motorcycle taxi home.

Oh the side dishes at a Korean restaurant!
The lunch appointment with Ibu Ingrid and Ibu Jenny is at a Korean restaurant (Wonjo) on Jl. Setiabudi. I show the driver on the map and he nods. Apparently, he thinks it's elsewhere - so we drive for a half hour. I know we're going in circles so I show him the same map and turn on Waze. We were already there, 15 minutes into our 1-hour trip. It's worth the drive as the food is excellent. The proprietor comes over (Jenny's friend) to make sure we're happy. Yes. Happy!

We look at the first chapter of Ruth - which turns out to be God's timing for us. We talk about letting our children follow God even when it takes them away from us - or us away from them. As always, the scriptures come alive to inform and encourage us. Thanks be to God.

Read more:
*Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy." Exodus 20:8-11

*Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Yes! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

The Levites ... instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet wine and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:5-10

*Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

*God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his.” 2 Timothy 2:19

Moravian Prayer: Dearest Chief Elder, all praise, honor, and glory are yours. Lord, you are our master as well as our friend. Thank you for guiding us through all that has been and all that is yet to come. In your name we pray. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment