Thursday, November 16, 2017


Sunday, 12 November, 2017
At 7:00am, two students are sitting on our teras. The traffic is minimal: they've arrived two hours before we've arranged to leave for the university. One of the confusing things about living here is time - people come early and late, seemingly at random.

By the time we leave at 9, the others have arrived: we're on our way to a student-led conference at the Adventist university an hour away. I speak for 45 minutes on crossing cultures to a room with 200 students. The translator is doing this for the first time - and she does a great job, assisted by the whispers of experienced professors on the first row.

The Q&A panel consists of an Indonesian who moved to Bandung for school, a Ugandan who is in his first of three years of a masters program, and a middle-aged woman in language school. The student questions and responses are enthusiastic.

We eat lunch together after a photo session - everyone wants a selfie with us. Lunch is yummy: vegetarian, of course. They hand me an envelope wtih a donation to a local women's shelter: how cool is that?

Monday - Wednesday
We are off to Jogjakarta for an organizational meeting. It is mid-island: 1 hour by plane and 8 hours by train or bus. We fly.
A military plane cruises across the crosswalk from the plane to the terminal
One of our colleagues presents his doctoral project and the national executives share their vision for the future. We eat some great food and meet some good people.
Someone snaps a quick picture at supper.
We're back in Bandung by Wednesday afternoon, stopping at the grocer on the way from the airport to home. Eggs. Check. Milk. Check. Butter. Check.

It's a relief to come into the house after travel. I unpack and set the suitcase to the side.

W lifts my Bernina sewing machine onto my desk. I match the pattern on 4 meters of printed batik fabric ($11 in Jogjakarta). It doesn't take much time to sew it into a big square and set it on the dining table as a tablecloth.

My favorite - and most relaxing - chore when having people over is setting the table. I think about and pray over our guests.


We're celebrating Thanksgiving with our team. We're either early or late, depending on the passport. Canadian Thanksgiving falls around October 11 but the Americans will celebrate next week. W's off to teach in Malaysia then - so we decide to have our Thanksgiving a week early.

W brings down the Christmas tree: I'll be decorating this weekend. It makes me happy to see the empty tree standing near the entry.

Sadly, my favorite blue glass bowl from Bali is a casualty: it falls off the hutch while I prepare the room. It was a "first souvenir" of our first organizational trip 3 years ago. Smash ... and the beta fish lies on the tile floor. 
I walk to the kitchen, find a glass jar, and fill it with drinking water. The fish is flopping around but when I try to pick him up, I have no luck. I take a leaf and scoop him off the smooth tiles - he's so slippery that he is impossible to pick up without it. The fish is fine. The glass is gone!

The turkey has been submerged for a day in a plastic pail filled with salt water. I wonder in advance: "Will turkey smell as good cooking in this heat as in a cool Seattle kitchen?" The answer? Yes. Everyone brings food to share: sweet potatoes, beans, and more. The table will be groaning.

Mandy comes from Jakarta in the late morning and settles in upstairs. She's been up since 3am (had to catch an early train). She unwinds, relaxes, and greet people as they start to arrive.
Sweet talking
By the time I've cooked the stuffing, planned the timeline for the menu, and sorted out help, it's almost 3:00. Everyone has chipped in with food so we start with a salad while it is put into serving bowls.The house is soon noisy and full of life - we have 11 at the table tonight.

We prove Josue's theory of "two stomachs: one for savory, one for sweet" by eating the enormous feast and then having a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Leftovers and cookies disappear into doggie bags, to be enjoyed later.
Whipped cream and cookies ...
On a ribbon of paper, we write a few lines of what we're grateful for, before sharing that around the table. Then we pray our gratitude to God: what a pleasure to share good food and time with friends.

Indonesian-style, we line up for a selfie before hugging and saying goodbye to those going home. I am thankful tonight.

Read more:
*I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27 NIV

*Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:3

*Jesus said, “Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:30
Moravian Prayer: Our Lord Jesus challenged the status quo when he dined with tax collectors and embraced those who society rejected. God of grace, inspire us to extend love to all, especially those who are marginalized. Amen.

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