Thursday, February 2, 2017

Teachers teach ... and learn with others

One of the things we love to do is teach - that is, W gets high energy from teaching. I like hearing and absorbing the stories around me. We both have a great week.

Friday, January 27, 2017
W and I pack, wrap up chores and writing, and set off to the airport in the afternoon. We hand over our suitcase to some guy with a turntable, who wraps it up in pink plastic. It's one way to ensure that nothing is stolen along the way. Sure enough, the suitcase arrives intact and unopened.

We're on the first leg of 27 hours of travel. There are only 2 flights - and not long ones at that. But we stay overnight in a cheap hotel near the airport in Malaysia and then get a 6-hour van ride from the airport to the university.

It's evening by the time we unpack. We make the apartment as homey as possible. A welcome basket with a greeting card, fruit, and banana bread is waiting on the kitchen table. The staff is hospitable and thoughtful, no doubt about it.

Dr. Kay, Debbie, and Dave
The first faculty members to greet us are a surprise. 30 years ago, Debbie and her family attended the same church we did. Since we've seen her, she's married and become a faculty member, but she still has the warm smile and mild voice we remember from her and her mother.

Debbie and Dave take us to church in the morning. Dr. Kay is the lead pastor. We eat lunch together at a delicious Chinese restaurant. It's wonderful to hear what they've been doing and where they've been. This life of faith is an adventure, for sure.

They wait while we buy mangos (the sweetest in the world must be here!), a notebook and pen (I forgot mine - what was I thinking ... it fills up page by page this week), and a few groceries.

My breakfasts are PB whole-wheat toast, a mango and another fruit, along with my big cup of tea. W always walks up a flight of stairs and down the hall to the dining room, where he has a full breakfast.

W is presenting a lectureship this week. He rereads his material in the evening and adjusts it a bit. I am working on a few chapter proposals (for books) and browse a few books I'm reviewing.

I'm enjoying hot water at the kitchen and bathroom sinks. That's a luxury we don't have at home. You hear the hiss of the gas heater starting up when the hot water tap is turned on.

The only quirk is the shower. The heater flips off every 2 minutes, so you have to listen carefully. As soon as that gas hiss stops, you quickly turn the tap off and back on, restarting the gas heater before cold water hits you. Such small inconveniences are minor adjustments in this region of the world.

"These aren't the real tropics," W notes. "There are no ants or roaches in our room. And none in the kitchen either!"

Inside an almost-empty Jeepney - lots of room for passengers,
who climb in and out of the open back door
We almost feel like we're back in America, except for the smokey cars, and the road repairs (who left that pile of dirt and a pylon near the gaping hole?), and the gorgeous Filipinas, and the street vendors, and the smells of pork baked, barbecued, and steamed. It seems like every dish has pork in it.

We have the morning off so we head to town, walking from where the Jeepney drops us. It's not that far but the elevation thins the air (1600 meters or about a mile high, similar to Denver, CO). Combined with hills and the pollution of unfiltered cars, it's a challenging walk.

We stop at an antique and craft shop. This is a Catholic country so there are religious statues everywhere, including this one of (I presume) Jesus. It is full height and wears a real-hair crimped wig that falls to its waist. A local version of "God in our image," I guess.
A Jesus statue, compete with human waist-length hair
We decide to go to the same restaurant as yesterday, where the food is excellent. Our meal is cheap, delicious, and safe. There's filtered city water - whaaaat? Everything is so modern and well-maintained.

Meanwhile, we completely miss our lunch with Dr Kay, who is also the school's academic dean. The week's schedule was a bit wonky (columns mixed up) and I wrote down our appointments wrong. So there are arrows here and there - and we've completely zoned out about our date. Kay is very gracious and makes plans for later in the week. Our friends Weldyn and Barb get to eat the "death by chocolate" cake Kay prepared, in our stead.

W's first obligation is a short introductory lecture at the dinner banquet. The food in the dining hall is good, the company warm, and we say hi to the international students and faculty we haven't seen since we last taught here.

It's a steep walk from our room to the academic building - about 100 steps from our room, plus a steep driveway. We don't have too much trouble getting up the hill if we pause now and again.

W sure enjoys teaching. He settles into his week's routines: a morning lecture, listening to an afternoon paper read a grad or post-grad student, and sitting on an evening Q&A panel with other faculty. I go to most meetings, but my priority is to finish and submit my chapter proposals. Of course, I have to catch up with people, too.

In the late afternoon, we meet with our regional director Bill. He encourages us, renews our tenure for another 3 years, gives permission for our house lease, and asks about our work. I felt a little stab in my heart this week, thinking about those 3 years. It's a big commitment at our stage of life. God's posted us in a place we love (yay for the people, surroundings, and food of B!) But still. It feels like a long time while our parents are aging and our grandkids are growing up without us.

Careful!!!! that's a long way down
Student workers have roped metal pipes (scaffolding) to the concrete pillars inside the dining hall. The poles extend outside through the windows. It looks pretty normal from our lunch seats. But when we look from our apartment window, we see that the young men are suspended 5 storeys above the ground to wash windows. Anyone afraid of heights need not participate ...

After the morning lecture, W and I eat with Dr Teresa, one of the lecturers. Her house overlooks the valleys below. The food is tasty, and the company - friends Barb and Weldyn also at the table - is wonderful.

The students have questions for W throughout the day and ask about working with me on doctoral projects. We set up appointments.

Dickie takes me and two others to Philippine Treasures, a workshop and wholesale showroom for jewelry and decorations. The creative artist and founder of PT is devoted to Christ. She sells to high fashion shops and decor outlets in the States and around the world and attributes her success to God's favor.

Oh my ... there's a lot to look at, and the "50% off" warehouse at the back... I try to resist but don't escape entirely unscathed. I buy a ring, a few Christmas ornaments, and a shell sculpture (about $30). Not bad.

Supper is a wonderful feast with Galen and Dickie, who treat us to a meal at a Greek restaurant. My, the food choices here! We've forgotten what it's like to have food options from "all the nations" in a city. And then it's back to work in the evening.

Outside our window, a 12' high gazebo and endless mountains
Dr Kay treats us to Starbucks after the evening session. It's the first time I've been at Starbucks in ages. We share a mango cake and hear about the wonderful provisions of home, work, and travels. I resist buying a Baguio mug for our family Starbucks fans. (They've said they have enough clutter.)

While the Bandung walking group swells to 16 without us, we have a full academic day. I look at the walker's pictures and sigh at the beautiful scenery.

Our view isn't that bad, either.

The first student taps on the door at 10:30. She's brought her project for review. I edit, advise, and wrap up 5 consultations by supper. What great projects! I think of the hard work ahead and send up prayers for the students. Doctorates are hard work.
An inspiring "almost-doctor," eager to finish
W returns to our room after the afternoon session with a slight fever,  headache, and queasy stomach. Oh oh. I've already eaten in the dining hall. He's not up to that, so I make PB toast and cut up a banana for him.

He naps and heads out again for the evening Q&A panel. Hopefully he'll be better tomorrow - we have a long trip ahead of us, heading home after the day's work.

Read more:
*The Lord said to Gideon, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace. Judges 6:23-24 ESV

*I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have taken heed of my adversities. Psalm 31:7 ESV

*Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20 NIV
*Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27 ESV
*Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” John 16:24 ESV
*It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the gifts of your holy peace and eternal life. May we live lives that are worthy of such amazing love, and may we bring glory to your name.

Ever loving God, you are with us always. We see you in times of joy, and we acknowledge your love and care in times of distress, when it may not be as easy to know your presence. We rejoice at your great love and caring, and say, Amen.

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