Thursday, May 11, 2017

Welcomes and warm travels

Exotic village chickens are everywhere
Tuesday, May 8, 2017
At 8, we head to J and C's place for a team meeting. We love the readings from the team in Jakarta - they have a liturgy-loving member who assembles the most beautiful prayers and scriptures. We contemplate them week by week together.

Clau has made cheese buns - oh yum! Brazilian style. Brandy is especially happy to have a South American treat. Amanda is exploring Bandung on many fronts. She'll be exposed to lots of people and activities in the next weeks.

By 10, we're at a study slightly south of C's place. Seven of us sit at the table, introduce ourselves and pray for the person on our left, and then we open the scriptures to Mark 3. As always, we are surprised by the insights and application to our lives.

Then it's time to drive across 2 hills to get Amanda a SIM card - except she has forgotten to unlock her phone. She may have to buy a cheapie here. We stop for lunch and arrive home before 3:00. We're all tired. Time to relax and tackle some academic stuff, I guess. (I teach in 3 weeks in Singapore.)

My instinctive reaction to those who protect abstract theories
or get excited about innovations
I recently did a personality evaluation for a leadership group. The cartoons for my type's reactions are spot-on and gives me the giggles. (right)

I'm asleep by 10:30.

At 2am, the alarm rings for a one-hour online seminar on "asking good questions." It's worth getting up - there's excellent information and lots to think about. I snooze a bit but can't fall asleep.
A quote from the "Powerful Questions" PPT
I'm still thinking when the alarm goes off again at 5am. Pak E and I leave the house about 6am. We're at Clau's house in 20 minutes - and soon on the toll road to Jakarta. We have to stop for gas; while Pak E refuels, C and I run across the parking strip to the Starbucks. (Starbucks, KFC, McD, Dunkin Donuts, etc. are global franchises.)

A typical load on the narrow streets
The highway is crowded with buses, cars, trucks, and - wait, thankfully no motorcycles. Drivers weave in and out, which slows down things. Some pass on the left shoulder, looking ahead to avoid parked or stranded vehicles. It's not helpful that some of the trucks are so loaded down that they are driving 20km/hr up hills (15mph). I catch my breath a few times; for some reason, our driver is uncharacteristically aggressive today.

We arrive only 15 minutes late for our 11:00 lunch. Yes, it takes that long to drive 160km (about 100 miles). Clau and I enjoy the "Long Lunch" put on by Hillsong - we hear lots of ideas for making people feel welcome and "at home." After, we have a few minutes to talk with Katie and Tirza. They have interns coming who might enjoy working in both cities.

Views beyond the banana trees to skyscrapers on the next hill
Brandy left her own suitcase and 2 for us with Katie in Jakarta: they were too heavy to drag onto the train when she arrived Saturday. Today, we transfer them to our car and bring them to Bandung.

We were hoping to go to IKEA, but it's 4:00 by the time we're done ... and traffic is stop-and-go already. There's a holiday tomorrow. Seems like every few weeks, we have a "red-letter" calendar day that encourages Jakarta to drive to Bandung for cooler temperatures and great shopping.

C and I compare GoogleMaps and Waze, directing PakE through the narrow streets toward the toll roads around the city. There are multiple accidents and random police checks. We read, chat, and C naps a bit. We drop her off first; I'm home by 10pm.

The driver zooms away on his motorcycle. I've told him to take tomorrow's holiday off: he says he could use the time with his grandkids.

I look inside the suitcases before bed: some linens from my mom's downsizing, a few foods we can't find here - ordinary things we crave, and lots and lots of paper plates for movie nights. (One suitcase is nearly all papers plates from the Dollar Store. They're expensive here and good quality ones are 20/$1 in the USA.) I fall asleep after midnight.

I'm awake before 6am but determined to get out and walk. After an hour of office work, I blend a kale/ fruit/ kefir smoothie - and spill it all over the kitchen cabinets and counters and floors. Ugh. I have a bit left to drink, but spend most of 10 minutes wiping up the green goop.

The helper decided she wanted the day off as well - so the house is quiet. I meet Brandy and Amanda at the door: Brandy is doing a workshop for a group of caregivers today and Amanda's going along. They ride off with an Uber.

By the time I'm out the gate, so many strange things happen that I could make a comedy film. The backpack slips off, the keys I couldn't find fall out, the trail mix falls on the porch, the water bladder slides out and dangles from the tube. The dog runs away and will only stand still to have his carry pack put on after I leash him.

Typical home-paved paths
Our occasional gardener, arriving an hour late, tries to help me understand that I have to lock the gate behind me. He is cutting the hedge in the back. First, he stabs a bamboo pole into the tall tree above the driveway to bring down two jackfruits: IbuA can cook those Saturday. I have little idea of what else he'll do in this ever-growing climate - but there's no one to cook at midday, so I'll have to be back in time to give him lunch money.

I shove my stuff back into the pack, lock the house, collar the dog, and finally make it out the gate. The gardener takes pity and locks from the inside, handing me the keys through the bars, avoiding the trails of black ants that stream across the metal gate and up into our house. I'm too late to run back in and spray them dead. Later. Just go.

I was hoping to stroll 6 blocks to the meeting place as a warm up. Instead, I'm hot and sweaty from walking as quickly as possible. I'm 15 minutes late but the 3 others are cheerfully waiting.
Locals wave to us from the far bank as we climb the hillside
We walk up a very (very) long, steep hill. It's sunny out and in the high 80s, so we rest every 50-100 meters, drinking from our water bottles to stay hydrated. I forget to check my tracker at the top - but once we start down, we've gone 2.5 miles. There's not much air stirring so we're hot hot hot. But the beauty, the shabbiness, and the wealth crushed together take my breath away, like usual. I love this city.

Laundry drying over a river valley. We cross on a
hand-poured concrete bridge with bamboo rails
Gypsy snarls and lunges his way past dogs on the street and behind gates. It's a good arm workout for me, holding him back. Sometimes I'm tempted to free him so he can fight it out - but I act like a responsible dog owner today and keep him leashed.

We've walked over 5 miles (+7km/11,000 steps) when we sit down for lunch at Ethnic Restaurant. My folks try to FaceTime a few times but the connection is poor and they can't hear me. We finally give up after multiple tries back and forth.

We four women enjoy our food. Three of us head back to the same neighborhood while the other goes the opposite direction.

The gardener is happy to get his lunch money. At 3, he alerts me by ringing the bell at the gate. He collects his pay envelope and starts to head off. Oh oh. He comes back and chatters at me but I can't tell if he's asking for more money to feed his kids or happy to get his wages. I tell him I don't understand; he should sort money stuff out with W.

Brandy and Amanda come back about the same time. The house is quiet all afternoon and evening except for the calls to prayer that echo off the hills. I have a headache. I think I need more water. And some sleep.

Read more:
*You are my hope; O Lord God, you are my confidence from my youth. Psalm 71:5 NASB
*(Paul wrote:) So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
*Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Your leadership, O Christ, is the resurrection. Your healing, O Christ, is redemption. Your work, O Christ, is reconciliation. Lead us, heal us, and send us to work. Amen.

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