Friday, July 13, 2018

Island life, mixing work and rest

Saturday, July 7, 2018
We get stopped at a railroad crossing, but ahead of us a fuel tanker sits on the track as the barrier comes down. Traffic in front of him is stopped.

"Move it!" we say hopefully, from inside our car. He makes it out of harm's way just before the train comes a minute or two later. Whew.

We buy a hand mixer at the kitchen wholesaler to replace the one the helper burned out last year. She's been beating everything by hand, but her arthritis is getting worse so we get another.

"This is the last one," I warn. "If you put hard butter into the bowl and burn out the motor, I'm not replacing it." She seems to understand.

We are on a flight to Bali. Sounds romantic? Of course. But first, we watch as the wing of an airplane goes over our heads. The plane is taxiing to the runway and we have to wait for it to pass so we can walk across to our own airplane.

Truthfully, we're on the island for work. But the setting is stunning. All around us are flowers, gardens, Hindu statues and temples (unlike Muslim turrets and mosques where we live), and the beach.

Several times, I feel almost overcome by the enormity of God's love and faithfulness to the good and the wicked. Everyone may enjoy the beauty and abundance of his deep blue oceans and their sandy shores. I'm wonder as we walk the shoreline, "If any of us were God, would we let anyone but our friends and family explore our world?" Thankfully, we are not gods but created beings ... and our Creator God is very generous to us!

On of the things I've missed in Indonesia is my poodles. (We adopted adult poodles from breeders in the USA over the years, but had to give that up to come here.) I've heard about excellent breeders in Bali. I contact one and she sends me a questionnaire. And then an invitation to meet her.

The taxi driver refuses to go the way we were instructed and ends up in a lane so narrow he has to pull in his side mirrors. He just misses scraping the sides of his vehicle. We hear the story later: someone got angry with the neighbor and erected a dividing wall down the middle of the street. 

Never mind the dogs: Lizzie herself is beautiful at 71. In our interview, she determines that we are a good home. We know about grooming, the temperament, and high-energy of the breed. She says, "Once you've had a poodle, nothing else will do." True.

She gives us a dog she is retiring - Cocoa, a stunning chocolate Standard Poodle. I am initially worried that W will say no, but Cocoa likes him right away. (I'm ignored.) She bounces, prances, climbs the gate into the puppy pen, and owns the yard.

W smiles and says yes. He makes arrangements for her arrival at our house in 2 weeks. Gypsy will love his new playmate, too.

We walk back along the beach for about 5 miles. Kites soar above our heads. The tourists are baking in the sun while the locals bundle up with long sleeves, hats, and trousers to avoid it. In contrast to the Australians in bikinis, the Indonesian Muslim girls are fully dressed. Both happily take selfies and splash in the water.

 I'm amazed by the silvery sand patterns as the waves wash back out to sea.

Our feet are tired. We sit on a hotel lounger to watch the sun set before heading in. An older lady comes by and asks if I'd like a foot massage for $5 (1/2 hour). 

"$5?!" Sure. We talk about our kids and grandkids, about working and living together as families, and about God's care for us.

When we get back into the hotel, the maid has a surprise for us. I left my sunglasses on the counter, and she's wrapped them around a towel shaped like an elephant. It makes us laugh. 

In the evening after work, we stroll along a tourist street. I get a scoop each of pistachio and mango gelato. It is delicious. Across the street is a surf shop. Of course. This is Bali.

W has to top up our phone so we have internet. The local 7-11 has shelves of cut fresh fruit. Yum! Some restaurants even have vegan and vegetarian offerings to please the tourists. It's so different from where we live.

Along the road, a man taps a dome-like bell. Sweet sounds fill the air.
Most restaurants and shops have a shrine with food or flowers and a statue. These sit mute and still. (Only our God watches, speaks, and interacts with his creation.)
We've learned so much this week and had sweet conversations with fellow non-profit workers. After a morning walk on the beach, W and I take John and Ryan for lunch. It's John's 40-something birthday and no one should spend that alone, right?

Then we drive 1 1/2 hours north. (We've added 2 nights as a mini-break before we head home.) With negotiations between the driver's "known way" - which is at a traffic standstill - and W's Waze app, it takes us 3 hours.

It is utterly pouring when we arrive. We hop out of the taxi just as someone comes by with raincoats for sale. We grab two for $3, shrug our damp bodies into them, and run for the reception desk, dragging sopping wet luggage. It costs $20/night for us to stay here, but it truly feels like we have a few days off.

There are 28 steps to our room at the Airbnb. We lock the door; simple but effective. We hope.

Below our window, the water is overflowing the pool in the courtyard, the skies are angry grey, and we have to stay in until the downpour stops. (The photo improves on the real thing: the coconut tree framing the foreground makes it look amazing, right?)

Inside, the shower pan is cut into the floor, with loose gravel spread in the basin. I hope the stones have been sprayed with bleach; otherwise, there's a lot of area for foot bacteria.

 Every house and yard seems to have a Hindu-style entry with statues inside and out.

We talk to an Australian couple sitting near us at dinner. Then it's back to the room. We're tired. W's asleep by 8pm.

Read more:
*I made the earth, and created humankind upon it. Isaiah 45:12
*The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
All in the crowd were trying to touch Jesus, for power came out from him. Luke 6:19
*God is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27
*But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians 2:13-16 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Loving Creator—you made us to be in relationship with you. Help us to be ever mindful of your presence in us and in all of creation around us. 
Spirit of wisdom, our hearts are grateful that you are in control. We ask that in your divine justice and mercy, you guide our steps into the way of your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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