Saturday, October 14, 2017

Teaching, twittering, and traveling

Clucking in the morning, on the market table
in the hot sun by 6am
Wait a minute - it's mid-October already?

Saturday, October 14, 2017
I got back early this morning from a week in Jakarta, teaching seminarian doctoral students. What fun! Of the 9 students, 6 are businessmen and philanthropists, one is a medical doctor, and the other 2 are pastors. (There are auditors as well.) Best of all, my translator is a dear friend whom I admire and whose kids stayed with us during part of their university term in Seattle.

The week before last, I wedged class prep between normal engagements. W was packing to take a trip. We skipped the walk on Thursday - and really missed it. I also missed a garage sale by the Rotary club, spearheaded by our own DrH (who is president of the Rotary this year.) Let's just skip the whole busy week, ok?
Waldemar checks out the Rotary sale (Dr. H on left)

At 38c, this fish had to come home with me.

Crowded market street
Baby chicks (painted or plain) and ducklings ($1-$1.50 each)
Choosing your pet mouse from a box ($2.50 includes cage)
Hermit crabs inside painted shells
Last week, we headed up to a Sunday market we've heard about, and that's what the photos are about (above.) You also should see the cute kids who crowded around us when we peeked in at a wedding on our way home.

This Sunday, it's fun to preach together again. It's been a while. We're addressing stewardship of the environment - we have no right to mess up God's world. Our neighbor Jez joins us to answer questions: he's a passionate environmentalist and nature photographer.

While W teaches a theology class afterward, people hang out with Jez to try his DIY electric bike (amazing) and chat. He feels welcome. "It's sure was not what I expected this morning." He hasn't been to church in decades.

After an online conference, our regular study, and a 2-hour staff lunch and meeting, we pack our suitcases. We stack them by the door, ready for the morning.
We could be called, "Keeping Rosemarie on track,"
but in truth, we hold each other accountable
every Monday morning.
The driver bucks traffic into Jakarta and drops us at a neighborhood hotel. The room is pretty but it smells of smoke and there are sewer fumes when someone showers above us. The ants in the bathroom are not unusual for Indonesia, though we are on the 7th floor. I don't think twice as I squish a few and wash the rest down the sink. The same little flies that we find in our home shower are flitting around.

I check my class notes and PPTs. By 3:30, our ride to school has arrived (thanks, Mr. Ruslan). The building is just around the city block. My bag with a binder of notes, a tea thermos, books, and my computer is heavy and we finish late at night, so I keep accepting transport all week. I'm not sure how the class will go since it's the first time I'm teaching this one. W sets up the tech - but we can't figure out why I can't see the presenter view for the PPT. It annoys W to no end and he keeps fussing over the computer during breaks. (He figures it out eventually.)

The men bring snacks and tea for us (lecturer and translator). We start with our foundational premises but proceed quickly to questions. What do the students think about various issues? They are responsive and have a lot of experience. It's great fun to hear their ideas as we move through the information.
One night, the students order a salad for me. Looks good - 
And even better when you tip it into a plate!
Someone orders takeaway dinners every night: I focus on noodles today. They are delicious - and I learn how to unfold the plastic wrap in the cardboard box to pour the broth over the noodles. "Wet noodles" are actually a tasty chicken noodle soup. There are more snacks - and more tea - after dinner. Whhhaat? How can Indonesians stay so thin?

Dr Gatut joins the class to share his leadership role in setting up organizational outreaches. The class is interested - some of their non-profits are thinking about expanding as well.
Dr Gatut: rapt attention for a wise man

We sleep well. In the morning, I have to preach in a chapel at a seminary an hour from the hotel. A Grab car picks me up at 7:30 for the 9-11am service. The students and faculty crowd around for selfies while I hold up the certificate given for speaking.
Worship team of graceful dancers
Faculty selfies
I ask Ibu L to cancel lunch: we're not done until almost noon. I sure need a nap when I get back to the hotel after 1:00. L, who lives on the south side of the city (2-4 hours away in traffic), also heads for the couch in her husband's office instead of going for lunch. She's younger than I, but it's a high-focus endeavor to speak or to translate. Meanwhile, W has left for the airport and his trip abroad. 

I ask for a non-smoking room. What a difference. There's no sewer smell, either. I fall into bed after reading my class notes and setting the alarm.

In the evening, the student who asked to take us to lunch tells me he was prepared for my refusal. "I already knew you couldn't come for lunch."

"Then why did you ask me?" I chuckle.

He replies, "It's polite to be hospitable. It's the Asian thing to do" even though he intimated that I'd have to decline.

Each day, we engage in a spiritual discipline. The class has an overnight assignment of reading and reflection. They gather in small groups to discuss their observations and findings. I learn a lot about Indonesia, how established friendships process information, and what is already in place in non-profit expansion. It's exciting to hear. I can understand quite a bit but am so grateful for L's translation skills.

Tonight, Pak Lew is our guest. He spends almost two hours showing students what is possible in new areas of Indonesia. He explains the process of recruitment of volunteers and shows what his organization has done. The class is enthralled and has lots of ideas after he leaves.

My friend Tuesday flies in at midnight. The driver waits at the airport for her after he drops off Waldemar, and then drives her to Bandung, where she settles in.

Without traffic, it takes about 3 hours. However, their drive is a little over four hours in the middle of the night. There is no "good time" to drive with so many old, slow trucks on the freeway. Packed with heavy cargo they chug up the hills and cruise down again.

We leave the hotel at 11:30 to meet most of the students for Chinese food. The well-known restaurant is where the business group regularly meets; we get a beautiful side room. More pictures? Of course. The students assure me I'll be back soon, despite the long commute (= not far away, it just takes a long time to get anywhere.) "No problem, you will have plenty of time to prepare afterward."

The food is great and we enjoy the beautiful presentation. But I have to decline coffee and a tour at a local church afterward. I really DO have to keep up with the class! It's emerging as an interactive and challenging sweep of information - I get a ride back to the hotel with a staff member at 2:30 and have everything prepared on time.
The tenderest black pepper chicken ever?
Our special guest for class is Tuesday, who interacts with us from Bandung via the internet. She works with low-status populations and has an entirely different view on compassionate care within neighborhoods. There are lively discussions after she hangs up.

Meanwhile, W arrives safely in the USA (30+ hours of flights and connections) to enjoy warm hellos and hugs from the grandkids. Oh, I'm so jealous. I put it out of my mind and focus on teaching.

I work for a few hours before having a massage in my room. My back is hunched and my shoulders are tight as sinews from poring over books and typing the past few weeks. OUCH. One solution and the price of a moderate lunch - please knead out those kinks! The masseuse is professional, digging out the worst of the tension.

I assemble the class material and set it to one side. Time is so fluid in Indonesia that I never know how much packing I'll have time for after lunch. You'd think 3.5 hours would be plenty of time to eat, return, and prepare, right? Maybe.

At noon, Hary, a senior student, and his wife Devi come to take me to lunch. "What would you like to eat? Do you like dim sum?" YES! Bandung has little variety in Chinese food; on the other hand, Jakarta has a big Chinese population with great restaurants and specialized menus.

It's close by and takes only 3/4 hour to get to the restaurant. The food is delicious and worth the trip. I make a quick call to a lovely young woman we consider our Indonesian daughter (she stayed with us for a year in the USA.) "We'll be there in about a half hour," she promises.

What? She is willing to pack up her 5-mo-old baby and meet us? I'm thrilled.
Such a pleasure
When she and her husband arrive, I'm astonished that their little guy is even cuter than his pictures. He lets me hold him for a while before puckering his lips and starting to cry. I hand him back to his mama, who rocks him and puts him right back to sleep. His dad says, "He loves conversation. He'll sleep and relax if he hears people talking." How cool is that? (I still can't get over his perfect little face.)

We head out the door at 2:45. "We still have time on the way back to get a birdcage," my hosts say. They turn onto a shortcut, a side street which we passed coming to the restaurant. We hop out of the car and into a few aviary shops. There are cages and cages. There are trays of maggots and trays of worms (bird food). There is every kind of bird from sparrows to exotic songbirds.
Squirmy bird food
In a little open courtyard, judges are examining about two dozen murai batu birds. (Listen here to an $8000 bird.) "When they are chicks, they sell for about $200. These competitors might be $2000. And the champion will be worth up to $10,000." The long tails twitch as the birds sing and posture. The cooing and tweeting is sweet music.

I know exactly what I'm looking for: wire flight cages. I've been looking for something more humane for our canaries: the 14" width of their current cages is awful for birds that love to spread their wings to fly. We find a used cage in good condition as well as a new one. Within a few minutes, Devi negotiates a good deal for both and we pack them into the back of the car.

My ride to class is waiting in the lobby because it's 3:35. See? Time flies.

"No worries," my student says, "I'll wait in the lobby." I rush up to my room (thankful that I packed up before lunch!), change, and head back down.
Having fun at the end of the week
Most classmates are late: Jakarta traffic makes any trip unpredictable. We start anyway and zoom through as much of the remaining information as we can. I pass around a USB stick containing my notes, PPTs, resources, and the class assignments. They can read what we didn't get to discuss, if they are interested.

I pack up the room and fall into bed about 11:00pm. And set the alarm for 4:30am.

5:30am: toll road traffic
When the alarm buzzes, I jump up to tuck the remainder of my things into the suitcase. I carry the birdcages down and gather the box of books from behind the lobby counter (too tired to carry them up last night and back down this morning). I go back up for my bag and suitcase, adn then Pak E helps me put the flight cages into the back of the car. We're off before 5am.

I click into my seatbelt and lay down on the back seat for a 20-minute nap. Then the sun's up, and I'm wide awake. The toll highway out of Jakarta is already starting to bunch up behind trucks and buses. But we've left in time! before the main rush. It takes us only 3:10 hours (for 100 miles) until we pull up at our gate. The driver heads home to sleep.

I intend to snooze. But the helper has caught a mouse in the glue trap (where oh where are the new traps?) and I can't stand to leave things in the suitcase. I unpack. I make a few pancakes for breakfast at 9:30, coax the canaries into their new homes, and putter until noon.

Someone from the international church calls - can I lead the service tomorrow? Sure. "Send me the program so I know what to announce." He emails me the files.

Ibu A makes nasi goreng ayam (fried rice with chicken) for lunch. Deeelicious. She laughs because the rice has turned purple from the shaved red cabbage in it. She's left out the seasoning for Tuesday, who is on a restricted diet due to allergies. T tests the rice and sticks to her own food. Much safe - smart woman.

We sit around the dining table to catch up and chat for over an hour. Then we sigh with relief as we head to our rooms for a snooze. She's still jet-lagged. And I'm worn from the week of teaching. It was fun, though! And I met so many wonderful people.

Read more:
*The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.  Deuteronomy 30:14
*The crowds asked John, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Luke 3:10-11
Moravian Prayer: Life-giving God, may your words and witness be our guide. Help us not only to be hearers but doers also. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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