Saturday, January 6, 2018

The fruit of rainy season

A cart of Jackfruit
The weekend is here again. Our friend from Singapore has arrived to stay the week. From my perch in the office, I can see the banana leaves waving outside. The wind is still sweeping across the hills but the rain that fell on the leaves earlier has dried.

Thursday, January 4, 2018
This used to be our walking day and I miss it. We have a few more Fridays before (hopefully) we change back to Thursday walks. It turns into a writing day instead. I have to finish editing my book. I'm almost there but it takes a lot of time. Today the big job is putting footnotes into the main text. Exciting, no?


Our study group is small today. In the late afternoon, Agus comes to the house for help with a scholarship application. He's typically Indonesian: reticent about writing down his accomplishments. He doesn't want to brag. "Westerners are so confident," he exclaims. We insist that he include his activities and awards. He's a smart young man.

I'm exhausted and my back is sore when I quit writing in the evening. This reminds me of working on my dissertation - after long hours, my tired body tells me when the day is done.

Hauling a load by hand - in the middle of the road. Everyone goes around.
Before 8, we head to town for breakfast. W has eaten twice at a food cart in front of a restaurant and wants me to taste their bubur ayam (chicken rice porridge). Alas, the vendor tells us it's kosong (sold out) so we head into the restaurant and order their version. It's an excellent meal for $1.00. And the tea's not bad, either.

Our "date" destination is a street with hotel supply stores. When we arrived in Bandung, we bought most of our kitchenware from this short block of wholesalers. Today, I'm replacing some things that are being reclaimed by the landlady and looking for a fishbowl. (A 19-liter / 5-gallon bowl is $7.)
Bolts of oilcloth from the factory@$1-2 meter
The fish are free: our neighbor's pond is full of vigorous black-tailed platys. Every few months I release them from a glass vase back into the pond or into the bathtub in our backyard. Then we fish for replacements.
Red platys plus a 40c beta (from the market)
It's soothing to watch the fish swim around when we're doing class prep or when we return home from travels. We often sit outside on the porch, enjoying their gentle motion and the singing of the canary birds.
On a 2-lane road, the taxi pulls up on the line, making it 3 lanes.
Our car gets stuck in traffic on the way home, so we stop at a little hole in the wall across from one of the high schools.
Fried noodle lunch
While we have lunch, the driver, a devout Muslim, heads for Friday's noon hour at the mosque. Community mosques exist in every neighborhood and men drop by the closest one, in a nation-wide network.
Bandung Grand Mosque with 2 towers

I'm up before 4am but don't get back to sleep. At 6, W suggests a walk. We go around a very long block with the dog before I head to work. Before we leave for the airport at 8, I clear the kitchen, make some tea, and approve a dissertation for submission: it's time to send it on to the committee.
The crosswalk takes you to the middle, then you have to walk into the street around a barrier before avoiding cars making U-turns across the offset crosswalk on the other side. Why?
I can't wait to see my friend. When Sumathi comes out of the arrival gate at the airport, it's a treat to hug her again. We met in England, saw each other again during a few summers in Singapore and then met again in Bandung. When she moved away last year, I missed her so much.

After lunch at Miss Bee, the rain pounds down. Sumathi and I relax with tea and cookies while W is editing my writing.
When the rain stops, I go through the back gate to the empty lot. The world is a beautiful place. It's become a jungle of vines and overgrown plants. I slap a broom ahead of me and encourage the dog to run through where the trail has disappeared under greenery. No sense in surprising a snake or rodent!

What shall I put in our glass vase? I look around and whew, what a lot of interesting plants are back here! I grab a couple of vines. (I used to pay for these at Molbaks Nursery; here they're weeds along the fence.)

Hey, I don't know what these fruits are called but I've been told they're inedible. They look a bit like lemons. I snap three 2-foot stems off the shrubs. I head for the old bathtubs at the back of the yard and break three bulrushes off their stems. When I get into the house, I plop them in separate vases with an inch of water. They fit on either side of the sofa.
A woven cloth on the back of the sofa was a gift from the faculty in Medan.
Isn't the world a wonderland? God's creativity astonishes me, day after day. How about you?

Read more:
*See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him. Isaiah 40:10

*Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1

*By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Luke 1:78-79
Moravian Prayer: Spirit of the living God, you call us to be your witnesses to a hurting world. Strengthen us to be salt and light as we share your love with neighbors near and far. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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