Sunday, September 17, 2017

Water from where?

Apparently, our tap water (and shower water and toilet water) comes straight from the nearby river. Someone just told us the good news.
Rice paddies upriver
We know that river. It runs through dairy farms, crop fields, and villages on its way into the city. It stinks when you walk next to it because people dump everything into it. Everything.
A bridge over troubled waters
Now I know why, when I ran a bath in our portable tub a few weeks ago, the water was greenish. I sat in it anyway. I was desperate to read a textbook that had my eyes glazing over in minutes, sitting at my desk.

PVC pipes are strung along the walls of neighborhoods, and I guess they bring the water directly in. Other open-ended pipes poke through retaining walls, draining water from home sinks and showers right back into the streams.

Sometimes the water smells musty; sometimes it smells of other things. A while back, a friend of ours got amoebic dysentery when he brushed his teeth in the shower. Yeah, that was a bad idea. Even locals buy drinking water.

Most weekends (Friday through Sunday, and sometimes during the week,) there's not enough water pressure to have a shower. At least five new highrises were built on the hill in the past two years, and as many new restaurants. But our infrastructure is the same.
Wash vegetables at the sink. Then rinse them well with filtered drinking water. And you're seeing correctly, that's a bit of garden hose attached to an outdoor faucet - at the "dirty kitchen" in the house. The previous tenants took their faucets with them. We've replaced most of them, but a few are still in "original" move-in condition. (Another fact of life: that back room is open to the sky and wind - anything fried is made there since no kitchen stove has a fan to whisk away grease.)
We often walk along the river
This morning, I open the kitchen taps (gravity fed from algae-crusted roof-top tanks), toss an electric heating coil into the basin as it fills, and wait for it to warm up. (Oh yeah, we have to get someone to go into the tanks to scrub them clean. We're too bulky to fit in.)

Every traditional bathroom has a pail of water beside the toilet. A plastic dipper is used to scoop up water for sanitation after using the toilet. Most people don't use toilet paper. (That's also why you never use your left hand to pass things to others or bring food to your mouth.)

We have a few dippers lying around, relics from the people who used to live here. Our helper fills one to rinse the shower once a week. After a few years of rinsing, I figure the dipper is pretty clean. Today, I use it to splash water on myself in the shower. Do I feel cleaner? Maybe.
Irrigation, drainage, you name it ...
The house looks quite modern and sturdy. When people come to visit (esp. our Western guests), they think we are living beyond our means. "We could never afford the 40-year-old stone tile flooring in the USA." They're right. We couldn't either.

And then they try to shower. "There was no hot water today because the pressure was low. I feel kind of stinky without a shower," or better still, "We have no water at all." Yeah. We know.

The basics are sometimes a challenge. For example, we bought a dozen dining chairs from a local commercial shop with an excellent reputation. W and I both liked the look of them. They were narrow enough to seat 12 around our table, and that they were half price at Informa's annual clearance sale.

After a few months, the piping began peeling from the seat and the back. The manufacturer apparently used material that disintegrates in the heat and humidity. No returns permitted, of course.

"Oh well," we have to shrug. Such surprises are par for the course. I sewed slipcovers last month to prevent further damage. The canvas covers are made from a huge painter's dropcloth (bought ages ago at a USA hardware story).

Truth be told, Indonesia has been good for us. It's reminded us that life is not about appearances. It's about reality. About people, living with us side by side, life on life, day by day.

Being here is wonderful. And crazy. And interesting. If you're particular or a perfectionist, you would soon be in a madhouse. But if you don't mind an unexpected event or two every day and something new every morning (in addition to the blessings of God), this is a wonderful place to be.
Regional delights: a wild banana tree in bloom
Locals seem taken aback when we say we like it here. "Isn't it a step backward? We want to go to the West and leave here." "But it takes so long to get anything done!" and, "Don't you mind the garbage?"

yes yes yes. Our experienced expat friends warned us when we moved here: "Don't compare this to that. Just live in the day or it will kill you." Their counsel has been spot-on. Time after time.

Yet when you know you're supposed to be here, you love it. Ask anyone who's been in our shoes.

Read more:
*Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits. Psalm 103:2
I will praise God’s word, I will praise the Lord’s word. Psalm 46:10 NKJV
Jesus says, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you are great and you created all things. May we always remember your goodness and keep your spirit in our hearts. Amen.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Women as bright as birds

Saturday, September
It's our rule not to go to town on the weekends, when traffic is stop-and-go. But we need a new fridge and the landlord has agreed to contribute 4 Juta (about $300). We visit a bunch of shops on the “appliance street” and haggle the price from Rp5.6 J (about $400) to our price.

We count how many people help us in the next shop. Wow, 11 employees are involved, between walking in and paying. We have been greeted, shown to our department, seen all the features we’ve needed and more … When our shopping cart is ready, someone has recorded the price on a sheet and another has taken it downstairs to the payment center. We follow, pay at the counter (below), and walk away with smiles all around. There’s low unemployment here.

There's a big "Scout" meeting downtown. The police have roped off several main streets, so we chat with the kids as we wait for our Grab car. One girl sees me about to take a photo of her friends and runs across the street toward us, screaming, "Wait wait! Me too! Me too!" She squeezes in. Snap.

Is it a good idea for hundreds of scouts and their troop leaders to be sitting in the hot sun on the pavement? They must be assembling for a parade. Some kids are dragging dragon costumes around the lines of teens and children who are streaming from all directions. 

The Grab driver can't get to us. The roads are blocked, so we hike a half-mile to him instead. It takes another hour plus to get home (usually a 1/2 hour trip). Not bad. Traffic hasn't really started up yet. The evening's macet (traffic jam) will be ferocious.

Sunday
After church and his theology class, W heads for a Catholic group who are interested in theology. They have lots of questions. It takes him until late evening to get home. Why? Apparently, iIf they miss the break between masses because they're wrapped up in discussion, they have to wait for the next pause.

I'm home when the fridge is delivered. It's the first of five on the pickup bed. One skinny young guy hops off the truck, maneuvers the appliance off the truck, and holds the two straps wrapped around the box. He hefts the fridge onto his back and into the house, before his friend helps him manhandle it upstairs. 

They ask if they can grab some fruit from the guava tree. Sure. One climbs the tree like a monkey, tossing fruit down to his coworker below. We add a small tip to their overflowing hands and they drive out of the gate happy.

The fridge is even better than we thought (how can you tell in the store, with the lineup of models?) Our friends shake their heads when they hear the price. "You are truly Indonesian if you only paid that much." Hopefully, the landlord will be as happy: it has a great warranty and came in at budget.

Monday
After the morning study, W and I do some writing and head for town. One of our strange little finds is a press: we don't know what it's used for. But it makes enough Spätzle (German noodles) for one person. We squeeze two lumps of dough through and bravo! what a great little invention, whatever it is.



Tuesday
There’s an arisan meeting (the neighborhood women’s group) which I’m attending for the first time in 3 months. We start munching from plates of snacks on the table and open the boxed water and snack packet. Then we eat the main meal. Soooo. Muuuch.  Foooood. What can I say? I take most home to share with the helpers. They provide plastic takeaway bags for such emergencies.

There are warm greetings all around, updates, and lots of conversation. The beautiful older woman next to me is the most honored: she's in her 90s and still active. She gets the first handshake and kisses on each cheek. 

I'm getting better at understanding – especially since these women are articulate and educated. They don’t use slang, though they slip from Indonesian to Sundanese in conversation with each other. Some know English, and translate the jist of what I need to know.

Our part-time helper is ill but bakes cookies in the morning to draw her day’s wage. It looks like the beginning of the flu – she has a lot of kids and grandkids living in her house. They attract and spread colds and flus, especially with the change to dry (or wet) season. She promises to be back Thursday, but nope, she’s still sick.

Rear-ended, plus 4 dings from traffic
Thursday
It’s a deadline day so we have to skip the long walk. W and I take a break to walk 2 miles down the hill to see if our car is finished. (Not yet; it’s in the body shop – maybe tomorrow.) Then we hit the books. I’m determined to finish editing a few academic papers, and have just gotten another from a journal editor. I’ll wrap that up today and tomorrow.

We are at the study in the afternoon, along with several others. We share an Uber ride with DrH and her daughter on the way home. We haven't been at Wild Grass Resto for months, and we're too tired to cook. We eat, then walk home in the warm darkness to unwind with a movie and a bit more work before falling into bed.

Friday
We get a shock! William is in hospital, having surgery. He’s a French expat we met at our movie night. He is known and liked by many. Apparently, last night, he was cycling down a main street when a motorcyclist knifed him in the stomach. Thankfully, none of his major organs were hit, but he is in serious condition.

Many friends head to ICU right away, as we are hearing about it. They send texts, “Don’t come to the hospital. Already, there are too many of us.”

W WhatsApps William, assuring him we are praying and we will visit as soon as he is able to see us. We get a heartfelt thank you and a recovery timeline: if all goes well, he’ll be in a regular ward by Sunday. Then would be a better time for a visit.
Between everything, scribbling pen markings on a postcard of watercolor splashes.
But wait! Claudia WAs that her two kids are in the hospital, too, along with several others from their school. They’ve caught a stomach virus from the food and are severely dehydrated. 

“But don’t come. Apparently, it’s contagious.” The kids are on IVs – they’ll be there at least until Sunday when their vitals stabilize. We get a cute picture of them learning origami from mutual friends, whose son is in the next bed.

W walks down to get the car, while the driver walks the dog and waters the garden before heading home. (He doesn’t have an extra motorcycle helmet or he’d give W a lift.) 

It's marvelous to hit "Send" on 10 journal blogs to Jakarta, an edited academic article in town, and another to the Philippines. Isn't it amazing how we take for granted all the messages and work we exchange around the world? It's sure faster than a postal delivery, which is a wonder in itself.
Enormous blooms on the neighbor's tree
Isabelle flies in from Surabaya in the early evening. She’s a Montessori specialist from Surabaya, come to help about 40 teaching volunteers learn about life stages and classroom discipline.

We have a nice supper together W’s made chicken in his sue vide machine; I grill it, make rice and pasta, and add a green salad and papaya with lime. We eat a few chocolate and a few peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Saturday
We leave the house just after 7am. It’s a one-hour drive. Dr Wuri’s driver, Pak Igo, gets us there on time. The superintendent of schools is waiting with the administrators. The minister of education shows up 20 minutes later. We wait in the office until he arrives and greetings are exchanged.




There are informal (community-run) and formal (government) schools in the city. The informal preschools have sent 40 teachers to Miss Isabelle for training. They are dressed like colorful birds in jilbabs (headscarves) and bright clothing. Bandung women are cantik (beautiful).

The steps to the second floor take up a mere 8’: yes, they are that steep (a 13-15” rise). Good thing we have healthy hips and knees! We sit on the floor, but luckily there’s a carpet roll at the side. I park myself on that for a bit of ease and a sigh of relief. Usually only the men sit cross-legged, but it’s the only way I feel comfortable on the floor. So I tuck my knees up and to the side. Several others gradually ease up onto the riser as well: it’s way comfier and I can lean my back against the wall (think, 4” chair).

After a few speeches (1/2 hour+), we stand up to take a lot of pictures – including one with the certificate that I will get for showing up. The minister says he is already hoping we’ll do this for schools all over Bandung. The room is bright and sunny. It's going to be a hot day.

These teachers may be volunteers but they are devoted to their young charges. Most teachers and students come from poorer homes. They cannot afford the uniforms, books, and extra-curricular fees required by government schools. (Tuition is ‘free’ but the peripherals costs money.)

Part of our reason for living here is resourcing worthy local projects and education. This morning, Isabelle brings her teaching materials for a day-long workshop. Dr W provides the snacks and connection to the schools. W and I provide the link to the master teacher, many prayers for the well-being of the participants, and pay for drinking water. The two little libraries we sponsored last year are filled with books for teachers and families to borrow. Everyone does his or her part.


The lead administrator hands me a gift (yummy cakes) as I leave them after an hour. I start work in the car - the one-hour trip down takes an extra half-hour on the way back. Traffic is picking up for the weekend. Soon every road will be crammed.

The wind chimes are ringing on our teras. Today, we are thankful to live in the northern part of the city, where mountain breezes keep temperatures about 5o cooler than in the central city.

Read more:
*My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:15
*Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
*God has helped me to this very day. Acts 26:22
*Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4 NIV
*Paul wrote: Let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6
Moravian Prayer: Lord, we are thankful for your forgiveness and need your hand in all we do. Be with us always. Let us not forget that everything we have is from you. Keep our world living by your command. Amen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

It's hot in them there hills!

And just like that, it feels like autumn. 

Well, not really. We found some little pumpkins at the market a few weeks ago.
This morning, I pull out the Dollar Store silk flowers (stuffed into a suitcase on our last trip from the US). I put pops of color in 80c IKEA vases. You have to invent your own seasons in the tropics, where the temperature every day is alike.



Thursday, September 7, 2017
We go for a brutally hot walk down through the valleys this morning. No one has told our area that it should be cooling down. With every step of the steep descent, I know we have to come back up: this is a loop walk. 

It's absolutely gorgeous, even if it is hard work. And the company is great. Each week, we have a different group of expats and locals. Today, there are 18 of us.

There are three final steep uphills before we're done. Our guide has forgotten about the last and hardest one. "She must have been blocking it out!" gasps one of the women who is walking beside me. Well, no wonder!
We stop at Dago Dairy, where the enormous "happy cows" have a view of the valleys to rival the best hotel. Fat chickens peck in the grass and congregate around a shaded area with feeders.

There are wildflowers on the slopes and at the roadside.

Several participants have to call for the drivers on the last long hill: the rest of us sweat it out under hats and sunglasses. Most of us wear long sleeves and trousers to ward off the hot sun (31oC/88oF) and the foliage.

I used to marvel that people wore jackets, long trousers, and winter caps, but now it feels quite cold at night if it drops below 21oC (70oF). "Quite cold" hardly describes this walk, though. It is a fiery climb back to the picnic area.

We're stuck on black pavement, dodging motorcycles and cars for the last mile. One group breaks the cardinal rule of our hikes and heads up the hill, too impatient to wait for those having a hard time in the heat.

Everyone has pitched in for a very stout potluck picnic: casseroles, KFC, fruit, salads, and healthy drinks. Of course, these are followed by cakes and desserts, including crepes made by a French participant.

She also has hauled her hefty (21Kg) son up the hills in a backpack. Yikes. Last week, he lagged behind but today he fairly skips down the hills and climbs without hesitation into the carrier for the uphill parts.

Meanwhile at home, the helper has made "bread," a flat-as-a-pancake lump: apparently the yeast is dead, killed by the heat and humidity. "Want it for your chickens?" I ask her. Sure. We've gotten home in time for a shower before heading to the study on the next hill.

I can hardly focus at the study and have a massive headache by evening; perhaps I have mild heatstroke. Hydrate and rest. That's my prescription. And an early bedtime after finishing some grading.

Friday
We're sending the car into the body shop for repairs of several dents and dings. Travel here is a hazard. If you don't bump someone, they'll bump you or scratch your car, trying to get by.

My headache persists through the morning so I stay home.

DrH sends a text that she is rehanging some of her beautiful textiles: they have been placed too high on a 7 meter wall. "Will you come over to help once the scaffolding is up?" (Gladly. Decor is relaxing as the headache begins to fade.)
Before. (Scale: the cabinet is 7' tall and wide.)
I walk up the lane to her house, waving a cheerful hello and "how are you?" to the neighbor lady. DrH tells me the husband had a stroke yesterday and is in hospital. He's in critical condition and a coma. No wonder she stared at me without replying. I feel sad. (He was our first landlord in Bandung.)
In process. They climb up as quickly and securely as monkeys!
The young men clamber up the steel scaffolding and reset the nail holes. The concrete drill is loud! They spackle the old holes immediately, then move to another hanging. We watch from a table in the inner courtyard, where fish swim lazy lengths in the pool behind us. DrH serves a luscious mango and a smoothie of banana and "Dutch eggplant" - it tastes of papaya, guava, and all things sunny.

With the hangings done, the wall is greatly improved. (Proportions matter.) Now to put all the collections back into the cabinet ...

W and I eat lunch before I write a peer review of an article for an African academic journal. The rain sprinkles the garden in the afternoon and then it's sunny again.

The weekend is coming. Several participants for tomorrow's cooking class are out of town or ill. We postpone the class due to a lack of critical mass. We'll do it another Saturday.

Read more:
*The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God. Genesis 3:8

*God is wise in heart, and mighty in strength—who has resisted him, and succeeded? Job 9:4

*The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:8-13

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. Revelation 3:3
Moravian Prayer: Lord, give us grace when we see foolishness in people, not to judge others who act differently from ourselves. Our world is large and vast and needs strong leaders. Be with those who are called to be leaders, give them courage and patience and wisdom. Amen.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Happy 40th and a lot of cooking

I seriously don't know where the time goes. Facebook tells me I've reached 50,000 likes, Blogger says this blog has almost 240,000 views, and people all over the world say hi and treat me like their friend (even those I've never met in person.) Social media is a strange beast with long arms and a warm embrace.

The Feast of Sacrifice is over - the goats and cows have been slaughtered and barbecued in every neighborhood to commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. "You have to kill a male to ensure that you have male heirs," someone tells us. All kinds of local traditions become attached to religious rituals.

The parties last through the weekend. We avoid town: traffic is stop-and-go on everywhere. Thursday night, the readings and prayers resound through the wee hours. Josie's mom has cooked up a feast and sent it up the hill - we're not going hungry, that's for sure.

Friday
Thankfully, I'm not sore today after our walk yesterday. (yay! Last week was brutal.) But we stay in. With many family members and strangers in Bandung from out of town, foreigners are wise to stay away unless specially invited to the celebrations. Our regular meetings are canceled.

In the afternoon, I finish sewing a dozen slipcovers for our dining chairs.The piping around the seat and the back is disintegrating. (It must be the wrong kind of foam for this climate, we think). The chairs need to last a long time.

I cut rectangles and squares from the last of three enormous painters' canvas dropcloths we purchased a few years ago at a USA building supply store. It's a math puzzle to fit all 36 pieces onto the fabric. The simpler and more fitted the results, the more planning it takes.

Ibu A loves the IKEA pinking shears, which cut zigzag edges rather than straight. She's never seen such a thing.

"You could just cut trousers off and not have to hem them!" she says. Maybe I'll buy her a pair for Christmas.

Each chair has three pieces: one long rectangle drapes up from the floor, over the seat, then up over the back before it drops to the floor; two little side squares join for a minimalistic cover. I have a few small strips of fabric left over, but that's it.

To my trusty ancient Bernina: "SEW!" and it does. I customize each cover to fit the chairs. (I'm a careless cutter and rarely use pins.) Hems are done, then I dress the chairs - and ... whew, another project is completed. The covers look and drape like linen. (But it cost us $35 for all 12 = my kind of "linen.") I don't bother ironing them: in this humidity, with so many "bums in seats," as my friend Susan elegantly puts it, the creases will iron themselves out in no time.

Saturday
Here's the plan.
I'm hosting the first cooking class (by request of our movie night attendees), starting at 9:30am. In the middle of the night, I pull out a scrap of paper and jot down the cooking/preparation schedule. I need the flow clearly in my mind: some dishes take 2 hours; others a half-hour, and still others need mere minutes.

We'll be cooking a German meal together. Last night, I premixed the vinaigrette salad dressing, boiled potatoes, and made hard-boiled eggs. This morning at 8:30, I set an enormous pot of water to boiling, cover it, and turn off the heat. We'll need that for noodles in a few hours.

Ibu A comes at 8: she knows we're cooking with guests, but she's not sure what's going to happen. As a first-rate cook, I can trust her to help wherever needed. Sure enough: she is my extra hands when the apprentices need them.

First, 9 guests gather around the dining table as I explain that Germans like their food hot - and that we expect the whole thing to arrive at the table at same time, not one dish at a time, Indonesian style. The physics of preparation takes time to learn, but are they willing to pitch in, whether male or female, to chop, slice, peel, wash (and wash their hands over and over), cook, and set the table?
This Persian knows what he's doing.
So does this Indonesian.
"You're all in?" Everyone nods. Cool - let's get to it!

Everyone pitches in. They peel potatoes, strip off eggshells, cut onions (oh the tears), and chop red cabbage. There's no "I don't do that kind of thing," or reluctance to wash dishes, fry the meat, or stir the cabbage. Our kitchen is pork-free, of course. There's no bacon in this red cabbage.

They pound chicken breasts into thin cutlets and sprinkle them with salt and pepper before dipping into flour, beaten eggs, and finally breadcrumbs. In the back kitchen, the young men flip one piece of chicken after another in hot oil, draining them on Japanese oil-paper.
First dip, then fry


W buzzes around with his camera as everyone laughs and talks. The strongest arms push the homemade noodles (Spätzle) through a specialty press into boiling water. (The press was a gift from my  best auntie 20 years ago, when the press was already well-used.)

The last step is tearing leafy greens into a beautiful salad and dousing it with vinaigrette. We give the canaries on the porch the bruised leaves, which makes them sing with contentment. I sneak a few packages of Maggi chicken gravy powder into a small pot, stir it with water, and put that on the table, too. You can't have meat and noodles without gravy, can you?

Then we sit down to eat. Oh yum. They have done VERY well! I'm so impressed with their teamwork and focus. One fellow doesn't like the chewy Spätzle texture, but everyone likes the Rotkohl (vinegared sweet red cabbage with apples), Hühner-schnitzel (chicken cutlets), and salad.


We talk about the cooperation needed to prepare this meal and the loving generosity of God, expressed to us all. We've come from Indonesia, Japan, Iran, China, USA, and Canada. We share love and laughter around the table, eating what we've cooked for each other. They leave after 1:00, sated - and as happy as W and I are to have had them here.
The only one missing is our hard-working photographer
Ibu A cleans with me, takes a sack of leftovers home, and the house is put to rights by late afternoon. Our old Roomba (dragged along in a suitcase on our last trip) chugs around the floors, picking up lint, grit, and a few crumbs.

Sunday
It's our Ruby (40th) anniversary today. I have no rubies but I wear much of the jewelry W has given me over the years: my wedding set, a diamond necklace, and the birthstone ring he bought me for my 60th birthday. W wears his batik shirt. I wear an embroidered white blouse that my best auntie bought in China in the 80s (recut to fit last week) and white trousers that surprisingly still fit, though my body is morphing into the straight lines of age. White is my treat to myself at this time of life: I could wear nothing white the first 30 years of marriage - dogs and kids saw to it that.

The church has a potluck after service. Which means more cooking! W starts the water boiling at 6am. I slowly pull myself out of bed at 6:45 to start cooking two 2-kg bags of spaghetti noodles, one bag at a time. It takes a long time for water to boil (45 minutes today) and then it has to reheat before the second bunch is inserted. W groans as he hefts the enormous pot of olive-oil-saturated noodles with hot spaghetti sauce to the church a few blocks away.

Monday
I have my usual conference call at 7, after a short neighborhood walk with W. Groan. I'm tired.

Dr. H is MIA at our team meeting: celebrating her grandson's birthday
At 9:30, we host a study on the teras with 10 people. Then I heat up the "German" Saturday leftovers for our team lunch - there's still so much! and we finish our meeting at 2:00.

W and I zealously guard our date night: today we're going up into volcano country, winding through cities and towns for almost an hour, to a hot spring. The rain splatters the windshield, but we're determined to get away on our anniversary "trip." Ok, for 4 hours of relaxation, but still ...

Hey, this hot spring pool is quite well maintained! (Some are not.)

"Can you believe we live close to this?" we ask each other. What a wonderful treat after a busy weekend.

As teenagers, we lived about the same distance from Harrison Hot Springs as this is from our house here. Many winter Mondays, the youth group from the church would drive to the pools and swim together. Sitting in the warm water, W and I share fond memories.

Tuesday
Up and out by 6am, we pick up the driver down the hill in his neighborhood. He rushes over with a little bag of food, saying, Maaf, ya, maaf. Saya membeli makanan. ("Sorry about that? I was just buying breakfast.")

The minivans of public transportation double as school buses
We're on our way to Jakarta for the day. We get into town at 10, have a series of meetings, and just before heading home, drop into IKEA (the one and only in Indonesia). It's sold out of many items: shipping must be difficult for them as it is for other stores. The wear and tear on the new buildng is showing. The "As Is" section, which is our main reason for coming, is closed, too.

We grab a halal IKEA hot dog and ice cream and head out of town. We're home by 8:00 after dropping the driver back in his neighborhood on the way up the hill. He's a godsend: negotiating Jakarta traffic and the weaving of cars on the freeway is a job for specialists.

Wednesday
W heads out for a meeting while Ibu Ingrid and I sit on the porch. There's no helper (a family wedding, apparently) but the rest of the usual attendees are busy elsewhere. I make a pot of tea, put out baking, and we chat and do the study.

Afterwards, I have to go grocery shopping. It's not that the fridge is empty; it's full of odds and ends, but there's nothing to cook for tomorrow. And we have another cooking class planned (a repeat for other attendees) for the coming Saturday.

I finish grading the papers from Singapore students and get them ready to send off. W goes through a doctoral paper for one of his advisees; it's always a relief to have the grading done.

Read more: (ESV unless noted)
*O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1
*Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2
*Paul wrote: For us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him. 1 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV
*Paul also wrote: God highly exalted Christ Jesus and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Philippians 2:9-10
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you have given us so much, and have shown our ancestors the goodness of the earth; continue to show us the way to love one another and to live in peace. We are grateful for the beauty of our earth and your teachings. Let us always rejoice and praise you. Amen.