Saturday, September 30, 2017

Eating in community: it's a thing

Sunday, September 25, 2017
Today is our team barbecue. Everyone shows up at 15:00 (3:00pm) to cook and feast together. These friends are so dear; we are becoming ever closer as we study and socialize together.

One of the values of IES is good food shared in community. We live up to our value with a combination of food from Brazil (meat! done perfectly on the bbq), Germany (potato salad, red cabbage, and green vinaigrette salad), and Thailand (young papaya salad) dishes. Look at the plate full of goodness!

I've printed out the agenda for tomorrow's team meeting. Do we just want to finish it tonight? Clau is off to Timor to work on a children's recording later in the week. Josh is headed for another part of the island with his kids as well. Time is precious.

We're already here, so we decide to read, pray, and plan together. It's hard to focus with such contented stomachs, but we work, wrap up with smiles, and hug our goodbyes with happy hearts.

My 7am online meeting is canceled. This morning's study is big enough that the teras is crowded. We push chairs back, insert more seating, and drink 4 big pots of tea. The cookies and other treats disappear.
Still a few missing outside the photo
Since our team met last night, W and I can head into town for lunch with the group. Two teens, who love attending with their folks, want to eat at a shop across the street from their school. It's over a half-hour in traffic but only a few km. away.

We stop on the way home to buy groceries for movie night. How exciting, right? We look at each other. "Let's stay home and watch the movie for Wednesday, instead of heading out to date night." Yes. Let's not battle traffic and then come home and have to watch. It's a tear-jerker - Lion (2016), a story of being lost and found. A relaxing date indeed.

W and Josue take the train into Jakarta to attend a staff meeting. I have to stay behind to work: they leave first thing in the morning and won't come home until late evening.

The gardener (who tames the rampant tropical growth once a week) shows up at 7:00am. I line up a hose to show him where I want the grass cut out for a flower bed. He takes a little shovel and cuts out the grass - it takes him all day. He also decants 3 little trees into the ground. A good start.

Where there was only lawn, there will be a flowerbed.
Meanwhile, the ibu-ibu (helpers) and I are busy from morning until late afternoon. We bake, cook, and clean for tomorrow. 7 kg (15lb) of chicken breast in the sue vide. Then cooled. Stowed in the fridge for cutting and assembly of two dishes tomorrow. Done. 3 kg of cocktail sausages cooked in homemade curry sauce. Check. German potato salad (15 potatoes, 7 eggs) made and refrigerated. Yes ... and more. Each item is checked off my to-dos.

After the women leave, I go outside. About 40 potted plants from the teras are sitting in the driveway and around the backyard. I haul them into place in the new flowerbed. Wow, that adds useable square feet to the porch! Now if they'll get planted "just like that" (with their backs turned to the house and their good sides to the yard), they'll look great. They'll get put into the ground next Tuesday. Luckily it rains all week, so they're content to sit without watering. Who has time for that?!

Where did all these pots come from?
I come back inside about 17:30 (5:30pm) when it begins to get dark. Supper is a quick pot of ramen. I tug on my PJs with relief, put my feet up, and relax. At last!

But at 19:00 (7pm), there's a knock on the front door. "You-hoo! Rosemarie? Rosemarie?"

Who's that? Am I expecting someone? I throw a robe over my pajamas and find two guests outside.

"Did you forget? We have to go over the material for Thursday."

Yes, I forgot. I apologize and ask them to give me a minute. I dash into the bedroom to dress, run a comb through my mussed hair, swipe gloss over my lips, and invite them in.

Just about that time, W walks in the door. The guys had a good trip. Typically, I don't get many details, but by the time I see him again, I'm too tired to ask questions.

I'm not sure what we are doing - I look on as the learning center leader shows me what she is presenting and asks about an essay she sent my way. I looked at it. I didn't do anything with it though. She leaves after an hour and I drop into a chair. Put the TV on for an hour. I need to decompress.

Today is movie night! Hurrah. We have done most of the prep. 59 guests signed up, but we never know who comes. I putter and make sure things are in order. I call my friend in the USA, who encourages and prays for me. And I glance at the calendar. IbuA has her 57th birthday tomorrow. I put together a gift with a card, and hand it to her.

"I thought you forgot, and I was wondering if I should bring it up," she admits. I would have forgotten, except for the inner prompt to check the calendar.

At big events like movie night, I have enough energy for the day and nothing more. When the helpers come at 15:00, they're surprised by how little they have to do. A local gal comes in about an hour after they arrive, bringing along a friend. "Can I help?" she asks.

I direct her to the women hanging out in the back. No, they don't have work for her. They are chopping fruit, washing vegetables, and rinsing rice, and chatting and laughing together.

So she and I hang out until I have to get back to the schedule on my fridge. 17:00: warm up the curried sausages. 17:15: plate the cold food. 18:00: put garlic bread in the ovens. Etc. Etc. I learned in college that a list keeps my feet moving when the pressure mounts. I go through the checklist and the meal is done. Dr H brings a big bag of vegetable fritters, which go on the vegetarian side. I snag one for myself since I probably won't eat until everyone else is done. I love her food!

Small groups cluster as they eat, a good way
to meet and make new friends.
As young people arrive, the volume begins to pick up. Many of them are late tonight: we had a big rain. Looks like rainy season is back - not after the 6 usual months of dry, but after 3 months this year. The rain went on and on until the end of May (instead of Jan/Feb.) I'm not sure I'm ready for the downpours, but I'm sure people down the hill are not looking forward to the flooding either.

Midway through the evening, the house is full and the movie is playing to a rapt audience. I get a text. "Sorry, my vegetarian friend worked late and we are not coming." Oh well, we were ready, just in case. Maybe next time. (Early in the day, texts flew back and forth: "Will there be tasty food for a vegetarian? I want to bring my Indian friend from Thailand." "Of course," I text back. "But no eggs or butter," he writes. I was vegan for 7 years, so I prepare an extra dish for his friend to eat.)

The group sings "Happy Birthday" to Ibu A, who smiles and claps along with their singing. The cake she frosted this afternoon was her own birthday cake.

The house is quiet by 22:45. W and I clean up a bit and drop into bed. We fall asleep around midnight.

I miss our walk in the hills today. W and I count on the long hike to stretch our bodies and get us out of the house. There's no time today. I write Morning Pages, the first time in weeks. The three longhand pages help me sort out what needs to be done and what just needs to be processed in my head.

One of my best "heavy-in-the-suitcase" items was our robot-vacuum. I love it! Every day, it lumbers over the cracks in the tiles and beats the rugs from every angle, sweeping up crumbs and dust. This morning, it passes around the main room and kitchen. 3 full dustbins later, I empty the Roomba and plug it in for the last time.

W directs the return of furniture to its place. Today, his main task is preparing for a trip he's taking in 2 weeks.

My task is joining a learning center team, training high school teachers about writing. I'm not sure what my part is in this. Am I support, in case they have English questions? Am I there to listen and find out what the learning center does? We have a 3 hour workshop. The essay I received to look at was partly edited and ... wait, was I supposed to make more edits in it? Am I presenting? Am I helping?

At 11:00, I jump in the car to a top international high school, where the learning team is setting up. The teachers come into the room and are energized by the other presenter, who is lively and engaging. Since it starts at noon, helpers bring in individual lunch boxes containing traditional food (yum - chicken, noodles, rice, hot sauce, and a vegetable) and bottled water. The first presenter goes through information on writing a descriptive essay. She asks if I mind her taking more time from the amount allotted to me?

No. Not at all. I have no idea how much time I'm supposed to take, and actually, I'm still not clear about my part. Watching her, I pull up a few files. Maybe that's what I'm demonstrating: argumentative essays?

I scramble to find and arrange the files, which come up hidden one behind the other. I have no outline for the talk, no PPT, and no graphics except the partly edited files. I read them through again, noting what has changed between the original submission and the edited one.

There's even dessert - "green banana":
sliced banana, young coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and ice.
With sprinkles on top.
When I pull up the files to demonstrate what to look for and how to edit student papers, someone leaps to the front of the room to help me out. He narrows the margins so I can view the text @350 so all can see. Ah... that's one way to do it. So logical. Every time I fail, I learn something new. Cool.

I have to think on my feet. If I'd known what I was presenting, I'd have pulled together the session. I printed out some handouts, but they're not duplicated or handed out. The other presenter collects them and takes them back to the office with her.

Next time, I'd know to submit handouts in advance for copying - and I'd be sure to clarify what I'm supposed to do ... until I understand. Though I sound relaxed, my brain is churning to organize the ideas into a logical flow. Comes 15:00 and we're done. I'm exhausted. We say goodbye with handshakes and I'm off to the next thing.

I have to pick up storage bins. This week, two big mice landed in traps in the dirty kitchen (an open room used for storage and frying food.) The rodents chewed up replacement refill bags of sauces and other food. After a quick trip to the container store, I toss the plastic boxes in the back of the car.

Ibu A's husband is a handyman. He built shelves inside and above the old water reservoir in the dirty kitchen (photo below). The ibu-ibu are happy to have more space to work on movie night, when we stash everything from the regular kitchen in the back.

The driver churns through traffic, the weaving motorcycles, the pedestrians pulling carts or crossing between cars, the big busses pushing through any opening, and the little vans parked fully in a lane to take on passengers. I check messages and emails so I don't have to watch. He takes us safely to the restaurant where W is wrapping up a study.
Before: an unused water reservoir
After: storage galore with water bottles underneath and storage bins atop.
The newspaper keeps the mice off the water heater.
Coming home, I'm barely awake. My focus now has to shift to the next class in Jakarta. I have little "hard work" done ahead of time. One by one, I find myself planning new classes between our regular obligations. I know what's coming, but I don't have the headspace to do more than read new textbooks and mark them up.

I dump all information into a big file. This class already has 50+ pages of notes, which I'll sort and cull into submission before the class begins. Once the class starts, I will work late every day, pacing information for the capacity of students. (The second time one teaches a course, it's SO much easier. The first time, anything can happen - and it sometimes does, no matter how much we know.)

Someone calls with another opportunity. W and I accept: we'll speak together on a Sunday morning at a local church. The topic interests us both: stewardship of the environment, based on the Bible. What is the obligation of someone who says they follow Jesus?

An email pings into the inbox. It's from the head of the seminary. The students need a syllabus of textbooks, the class outline, etc. What? They have no syllabus yet?

I had asked for an older syllabus a few months ago to prep my coursework to match previous versions of this class. At that point, I was told I didn't have to give assignments or grade. So I assumed I didn't need to prep a new syllabus. Hmmm, how will the doctoral students read the texts, with the class one and a half weeks away? Most are not English speakers, so the lectures will be translated.

I refuse to fret. This is a country where flow is the norm and information is given as needed (we hope). The interactive group time in class will show me if students understand the information. I don't mind explaining, though it helps if the class has done advance research.

A family vehicle ...
Today's the day to get the syllabus out the door. First, I take everything off my desk. I need focus while I work. I crank up "Focus at Will" techno music. Most of the day is spent on the syllabus, though I get up to organize my office and order my bookshelves. Every once in a while as I'm typing, I squish the little ants that run across the computer keyboard and screen.

I look in a group WhatsApp and see that someone has posted a brochure of the course with my picture on it. (Things have a way of going roundabout before we see them.) New info for me: it's an open lecture format so anyone can attend. That makes it even more interesting. Hmmm.

All of life is sorting: we have many opportunities but not everything aligns with our available time or vision.

I get a late-evening call: "Would you send the material you presented yesterday, along with the edits?" I've just sent off the syllabus and am tired. But if it needs doing ... I get up and go back into my office. Where are the files? (Oh, I thought I was done with them! I'm glad I didn't delete them.)

A beautiful rooster pecks through the garbage
at the side of the road
It takes me another hour to pull together the material into a handout that will go to the teachers. I send it off and tumble into bed. It's a good lesson. This is not the best use of my energy and time. I'll focus on higher ed and leave the younger schools to someone else.

The weekend is for sleeping in? Resting? Not this one. I'm off and running with academic prep. The day flies by.

I cook breakfast and am so hungry for lunch that I toss that together, too. W joins me from the porch, where he's sorting contacts for his upcoming trip. I pet the dog each I go by the open door. (No walk for him today!)

As evening comes, W walks to Miss Bee to pick up fish and chips. "We'll split one order of takeaway." Sounds good.

Except he returns with a pizza and salt-and-pepper-tofu. "What! Sorry, hon," he apologizes. He completely zoned out and put in an automatic order. It will taste good anyway, though I was hungry for fish and chips. ahha

Read more:
*Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart. Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV

*As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5 NIV

*“In the last days," God says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

"I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Acts 2:17-21 NIV

*Paul wrote: Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time. Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, when we find ourselves in the wilderness and alone, be with us. Help us to find our way home to you. Amen.

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