Friday, April 28, 2017

Marvelous Malang

The former sultan's chariot, parked at
Kantri (country) Restaurant in Malang
We're returning home from Malang today. W spent the week in the classroom with 14 students and loved it.

When we first were asked to come to Indonesia, Malang was the place we were supposed to land. Its universities, seminaries, and open culture would have been easy to adjust to. The warm welcome of administrators, faculty, and students this week has been a joy.

But we landed in Bandung, which we wholeheartedly love. God's ways are mysterious indeed. And today we head home again.

Sunday, April 23, 2017
We get early enough to listen to the worship team practicing at Green Gate: an all-female group is singing this morning. W and I are speaking at church, which we enjoy. There are guests from the city as well as from around the world: Australia, North America, Africa, the Asian Pacific, and Europe. It's always fun to see who shows up. It's a friendly church, welcoming anyone who wants to attend.
Street children are "silvered" to solicit
donations from passing cars
After service, W teaches an hour of theology before a quick walk home. We grab our suitcases, stuff them into a taxi, and are ferried down the hill to the xTrans station. We grab a few sat├ęd chicken sticks and some rice from the little shop across the street before boarding the shuttle van.

Traffic isn't too bad. (In 2-3 hours, it will be stop-and-go when Jakartan tourists hit the toll road home from Bandung.) The shuttle driver makes an unscheduled stop in front of our comfy $30 hotel and pulls our luggage from under the stacks of suitcases at the back of the van. We relax. I'm editing a book this week and start reading.
"Good traffic" means it's still moving...
We're up at 4am, grabbing a quick buffet breakfast at the hotel and a shuttle ride to the airport. Our flight to Malang leaves after 6. We sit close to the doors to the ramp at the gate: there's a divider in the middle - and of course, we - along with half the other waiting passengers - are sitting on the "wrong side" to board. An attendant points out a U-turn - we have to go all the way back in the room and around the center, to the door opposite us.

By the time we start to move, the line snakes around almost to our original seat. A few children and their parents are allowed through the near door, but the rest of us line up and wait patiently for the attendant on the other side of the waiting room to check us in. It's the logic of a non-Western system. None of us seems to mind. "That's the way it is." Besides, it's really early in the morning and our minds are not yet awake.
Malang, a tropical valley nestled between volcanic mountains
The direct flight takes just over an hour. Faculty member Jefri is waiting for us and drives us to the school. What a beautiful campus - the palms wave above groomed flower beds. There's a star fruit tree. Apparently, there are avocados, mangos, and other fruit trees around, too. We're happy to be working here rather than paying a steep tourist fee!
Everywhere the Dutch colonized, they left behind wonderful drainage canals and water systems
We walk to the nearest shops to see what's in the neighborhood. In front of the campus is a fruit and vegetable market. If I lived here, I'd grow fat on sweet potatoes and apples, for which Malang is known.

My task is editing for publication a book on Korean theology. I worked on it for a few weeks, off and on between travels and arrivals. But now I have clear direction on what the publisher wants - it's not what I was doing - so I restart the process. It's interesting and boring, too. The information is good but I'm wedging a dissertation format into topical book chapters, without losing footnotes and subtleties of theology. (Great practice for doing my own and Waldemar's, which are overdue for publication.)
This man sorts and strings farm-fresh heaps of sweet potatoes each day
Waldemar is teaching and loves it. He's interpreted, which cuts into class time a bit. But he's delighted with the level of student, their interest and interactions, and the material they present at the end of the week.

W has a bad cold and sore throat at the beginning of the week. He already hates air conditioning. I put it on the instant he leaves the room but toss and turn at night in the warm humidity. His throat gradually heals.
The Pardedes, almost-new friends - treated us royally
 Breakfast is delivered to our door every morning - rice, a vegetable, tofu or noodles, and sometimes deep-fried prawns or chicken. Lunch is in the cafeteria, a similar menu. Every evening, someone takes us for an outstanding dinner at a local restaurant - or one night, for coffee and chocolate lava cake. I'm still shedding +American weight+ from March. Ummm. Maybe next week?
A 2" baby lizard presses his sticker-feet to the window
Thursday night, after one last excursion to a good Chinese restaurant (established 50 years ago), we pack up. The Pardedes knock to say goodbye. Oh oh, we have our PJs on, but they're modest. We pray together, hug, and put the avocados the Gani family are sending along into the suitcase. Can't wait to try them! They've also arranged for the security guards to pick up a net bag of Malang apples to take home. Thank you - generous couples indeed.
Staghorn ferns everywhere. Eat your heart out, Molbaks.

We're up before it gets light outside (about 5am). Malang is on the early side of the Bandung/Jakarta time zone so each morning, I put on my eye mask to catch a little extra sleep. The light bulb outside our room is bright the first night, but W unscrews it (and puts it back in) on the other side of our white-curtained window. That helps, though students and staff chatter from 5am each morning. Yup - earplugs make everything better :-). Since we're eating around 6am, W starts work early. I check email, write, and wait to work until he leaves at 7:45. Then my workday begins.
A lipstick plant, like my mother-in-law grew years ago
 A kitchen worker rushes over when she sees me admiring the bromeliad (below). She chops two little plants from the side. Into the suitcase they go!

I'm ready for W to read the pre-book for theology and flow by Friday morning. He's tied up with emails, student papers, and other things - but hopefully ... I'd like to send it to the author this weekend for review so he can send it back for final content edits.

We pack up at 6:30am and wait for the shuttle to the airport. We've loved Malang - the staff, administration, faculty, and students were warm and welcoming. We hope to be back to teach here soon. The flight home - unremarkable. (Perfect - we're in the gate by 3pm.)

Read more:
*Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19
*Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree.” Luke 13:19
Moravian Prayer: Through the gift of the amazing variety of seeds on earth, you feed our hunger, give us shelter and clothing, help us to wisely use our soil and give us beauty and pleasure. Through these gifts, you give us the ability to live, to grow, and to serve and be served by others. Give all people in this world, we pray, the seeds of hope and nourishment, and help us to do our part in serving others. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

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