Monday, October 30, 2017

Slow-moving road

In a bowl on the porch, a beta cruises around
W's home - and that means reentry into our routines. Initially it's a jumble when one person leaves - there's the scramble for a new normal to cover what we normally share. When the person comes back, we have to adjust our routines again.

I think we're almost there with tasks and meals. I eat when I'm hungry when W is away but have to get back to 3 meals when he is hungry. The simplest things are the biggest transitions.

I'm also a light sleeper like most women my age, so as W adjusts his jetlag to our time zone, our nights can be interrupted. Yup, it's 1:00am now and I'm wide awake. He's only been back for five nights so we ought to get our sleep patterns synched soon.

Wednesday, October 24.17
Tuesday leaves for Jakarta on the train. She'll fly out tomorrow night and be back in a few weeks. The helper changes her bed, cleans the room, and washes and irons T's clothes, putting them away for the next trip. 

I thank God for IbuS as I'm crushing through academic information. I have to make a few presentations next month. Every time we teach or speak, it takes hours (days/weeks) to sort information and prepare notes and visuals. It's fun to keep learning, but some days it feels like endless homework. I'm weary by the time I fall into bed.

Instead of our usual energizing walk in the hills, it is a day in traffic. Pak E arrives before 6:00 to pick me up for the gauntlet to the Jakarta airport. W is arriving from a trip abroad and wants to meet me there. I sleep for an hour in the car right off the bat: it's been a short and restless night. After a fitful snooze, it's time to get to work.

The new pavement on the freeway is too bumpy to write things down. Weaving in and out of traffic, the side to side movement makes concentration difficult. I try for three Morning Pages, but give up after two: I couldn't read what I'm writing if I tried. So I sort emails, read a backlog of blogs, and respond on FB.

After 5.5 hours, we've occasionally achieved the blazing speed of 50mph (80km/hr) but mostly crawled or had stop-and-go traffic. It's slow enough that food and trinket-sellers wander between the cars.

We get lost in the maze of roads to the new terminal. "Consider it a tour, sir, so let's not worry. We have time." We've gone just under 200 km as we arrive at the airport. (Can you tell I dislike being cooped in the car?)

I hop out, excited to see my husband after 2.5 weeks apart. Except that, instead of being 20 minutes early as per airline app, the flight is late and there's nothing to do in the new terminal. I sit, write, and watch people, hoping not to miss W as he arrives at the other end of a vast waiting area.

I get a text that a friend is in the terminal somewhere. We find each other: W's brought an extra suitcase along for him. After greetings and a chat we see W emerge. He passes off the luggage and we wait for the driver to find us. Pak E has to make a series complicated turns to get from one floor to the next in the parking garage. Ah, there he is ... he's found us.

We stop for a quick lunch in a mall beside the toll road: it's 2pm and I'm hungry, though W's eaten on the flights and has little appetite. There's a glitzy red-foiled sports car in front of the mall. Someone want to be noticed. We snap a few pictures of its startling glow, and then it's back on the road.

I'm delighted to pull into our driveway at 7:30pm. It's been a very long day.

Friday and Saturday
Chores, preparations, unpacking, cleanup, cooking. The days fly by with visits, curriculum updates. I'm delighted to put a wool rug from MT under my desk. I'll curl my feet into it just as I did at our cabin - the physical touch is grounding as I read textbooks and process info for classes and studies.

I'm leading service again - and enjoy it as usual. It's fun to see a few youngsters join the worship team.

We head for lunch after W's theology class.The restaurant has opened a new gate directly across from the church gate so we walk across the lawn to pavement (there's no continuous walkway yet) and meet friends for lunch. One of our guests is a new arrival from Africa, studying at a local university on an Indonesian scholarship. His monthly food and rent stipend is about $200.

In the late afternoon, we get a call that a neighbor has died. Would I like to come along to express condolences to the family? Another neighbor accompanies me to the house, where the body has arrived from the hospital via ambulance. Women from the local mosque wash the body, tie the chin, and then wrap it in batik, cotton batting, a white sheet, and over it all,  tie a bamboo wrapper with white ribbon. Children, teens, and adults sit nearby, watching the process which is part of life here.

Islamic burial must take place within 24 hours, and the time of death was 3pm. It's a new experience for me to see how the community rallies around the family. Flowers and food are ordered for the next day, a time is set for burial (9am tomorrow), and prayers and sympathy are offered. My friend and I stay for less than an hour and then it's dusk. We walk home together.

The neighborhood is full of cars. "Can we park in front of your gate?" the security guard asks, getting up from sitting on his haunches. "We are running out of room for parking."

It's also the 40th day after the death of Dr Alfred, our former landlord. His family and friends of his widow and children are singing and praying Roman Catholic rituals for his soul in the next house over. Indonesian tradition includes a quick burial, then notes Days 3, 10, 40, 100, and 1000 as memorials. Different rituals are customary for each one to remember the person who has died.

I get the usual early start to the workweek with a 7:00am meeting online (so refreshing it "feels like I've been to church," says an attendee), then our interesting study of Luke at 9:30. People start arriving at 8:45. We move directly upstairs aferward for a team meeting and lunch until 1:30pm.

I check the freezer to see what food we still need for movie night on Wednesday. W posts the announcement on the WA list: within a few hours, we have 80 guests signed up. That's our limit. In the rainy season, we often have 20% fewer people than signups. The downpours deter those on motorcycles. Regardless, that's a lot of cooking!

At the grocer, I start to fill my cart. PING. My phone say two young women from a nearby university are waiting for me ... but they're at a shop way up the next hill. We'd exchanged WA texts in the morning about possibly meeting at the grocer in the afternoon. I hadn't heard back.

The gals find their way down to the grocer on a motorcycle taxi and we meet for half an hour. Decided: I'll be picked up from home at 9am on the day of their conference. My session is at 10:30. 1.5 hours should give us plenty of time to get to the university, right? It's 1 km away (as the crow flies) across the valley to the next hill. It will be a 5km trip down and back up in weekend traffic - which may take us an hour or more.

I ditch plans to shop at another store. Traffic is slow today. I'm happy to get home after 4pm. I send PR pics and a profile for the conference poster, do some more research, cook supper, and then relax for a few hours before bed.

I check my watch: 2am. Time for a second sleep. Morning comes early - the yard guy will be here at 7am and the lady who will help cook and bake for tomorrow comes at 8. Get to sleep!

Read more:
*May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests. Psalm 20:1-5 NIV

*I will do more good to you than ever before. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 36:11

*Paul wrote: God did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Romans 8:32

Moravian Prayer: God, thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to sacrifice your one and only Son. Give us the grace we need to trust you even more knowing that your promises to us are, yea and amen. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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