Sunday, July 28, 2019

Reimagining spaces and long walks

We've rested up a bit this week - but it was a fun one, too.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
The morning is in the office and exploring the new hall configuration for August 11 = "from portrait to landscape," as one young person put it. Ruth, Daniel, and Chandra join W and me in imagining what could be. Sanny arrives and helps move everything into place. (It will be returned to the old layout Saturday before the Sunday Gathering.) Old and new below:
Working with artists is a pleasure. Their ideas are amazing - I can see the concepts in my mind's eye before they're made. Budget and personnel (builders) will be a constraint ... but if we had unlimited resources, it might not be this much fun, right?
One of the things on my heart, because of friends with physical challenges, is to ensure equal access for those who want to participate. Universal access means building a ramp, which is a project for Pak Chandra. The finishes are nice, the interlocking sides and supporting grids keep the stage stable. I can't wait to enjoy it with Bandung IC.

It's a day in the hills - walking with a group and our two dogs. The animals are so happy to run off-leash for most of the hike. Gypsy carries the pack with water for the dogs. Working settles him down.
It's not very strenuous walk at 3 or 4 miles: we have two young kids and a new hiker with us. They all do well and the photos show a happy day. The two boys love the adventure of climbing up rickety bamboo structures.

We're in farmland - I stop along the walk for Rp50.000 ($3.55) of pumpkins (10 little sweets). Later, on our way down the mountain, we stop again for broccoli. For the same price, I get 12 heads, fresh from the fields. We give a pumpkin and broccoli head to the helpers and our driver - after I ask him if they cook at home. (We don't take that for granted; with a small family and both parents working, it's often easier and cheaper to buy something from a neighbor's cart.)

Lunch is at a new place - the food is good, the setting pretty. We'll be back.
We still stop for yogurt popsicles at Mambo's in Lembang. Mango and coconut are my personal favorites. We buy a few extras @25c each for our drivers. It's been a hot day - without cloud cover during dry season the nights are cold (66o) and the days hot (90o).

Earlier this week, I mentioned hanging posters of BIC people on our office wall. When we're driving home from our walk, I think aloud about buying slats. V offers 2 chicken crates that she has in her yard. I eyeball the slats when we drop her at home in our neighborhood: they look like the right width. W and Gum plane the rough wood and - what do you know?! - perfect size. And they're free. (That serendipity seems to happen often.)
Back in the office, there's a lot to wrap up before the weekend and the end of the month. Because I'm always planning ahead, I keep wanting to write August and September on my pages. I wrote December on one document a few days ago. Oops.

In the afternoon, DrH and I are at a book group, discussing the effects of Alzheimers on a writer. It's sad but each of us knows people with that challenge. The food is wonderful - the people friendly.
One of the group has returned from India: she brings a scarf for each of us.
While we're there, the local volcano burps steam into the sky - it doesn't reach the city but it coats a few cars in the tourist parking lot with ash.

What a quiet day - W is in the city for three meetings. I head to the third floor (our storage area) to clear out some of the accumulation. While I'm there, I grab a purple IKEA slipcover for the LR sofa, just to mix things up. I'm easily bored with the same room and seasonal slipcovers and other-colored pillowcases are an easy/cheap way to stave off a full revamp. (W notices late at night after he's been through the room a few times. "Did you change the room?" Yup.)
While I was in the attic, I grabbed a huge $3 light shade we bought a few years ago at the hardware store. Downstairs, I turn it upside-down, put it on the African tablecloth Maschers (cross-cultural workers) gave me in the 1980s, and put a candle inside. Looks like a fancy sculptural vase. 
After that quick binge of creativity, I've burned off enough energy to read. I also write next week's talk and make its PPT. Pak Gum takes the dogs for two walks and waters the gardens - the heat sucks the moisture from everything. We're happy to stay in for a supper of ramen and a bag of the frozen chicken we're considering ordering for movie nights. Mmm. Tastes good.

We decide to have a quick 7am breakfast at Pino Terrace before the Gathering. It's great to have a lot of guests again but also wonderful to have our regulars trickling back from vacation. W and I speak on the exile of Israel and Judah, a consequence of idolatry and disobedience. How many times have we refused God's best for us and reaped the consequences?

It's the last Sunday of the month, which means we celebrate a bunch of people with July birthdays. There's a red velvet cake baked by PeiPei and lots of snacks from Hela. Yum. People are still hanging out when we leave an hour-and-a-half after the Gathering ends.
The sun canopies cast shade on the entry to the hall. With the sun is beating down, it can get warm. I wear a long cotton coat over a silk blouse and leggings but it's not too hot for me. Total acclimation, I think it's called. The short-sleeved Australians who are in the Gathering fan themselves - it's winter where they come from.

After lunch at Bumi S, we head home to rest and write. Except that the groomers, due at 1:00, have already washed and blow-dried the standard poodle. They've started clipping her so they've been here a while. They're done in a few hours @Rp150.000 (=slightly over $10 "Or about the same as 10 haircuts for me," says W.) In the States, the same thing costs $80-100.
When I whistle, the dogs come running and sit down to get petted or a treat. Good doggies!
After the groomers leave, the dogs chill out on the porch while W walks to Borma on the next hill to pick up a few things. I read, write, and relax.

Read more:
*Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. Zechariah 1:3
*I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micha 7:7
*Jesus said, “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:13
*Hope does not disappoint us. Romans 5:5 
*But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Loving God, thank you for scripture that reminds us of who you are. You are faithful, loving, providing, accepting, and so much more. We thank you today for holding your arms open and wanting us to be held by them. Continue to guide us on your path.

Lord, you call each one of us to come unto you. As sinners, we know your truth and the door opens. For that we are grateful. Thank you for being ever-present! Amen

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Coach me! Coach me.

Gone, gone, gone - our guests have left and the house is temporarily quiet. What an amazing week it's been with Tyson and Amy deVries, friends from the Pacific Northwest. They are among the easiest and kindest guests we've had since living here. A special thanks to their partners, who sent them our way for their 20th anniversary!

Thursday, July 11, 2019
We've stayed over 2 nights after our Tuesday visa run to Jakarta, so that we can pick up our friends from the airport around noon. By the time we have all the luggage sorted and navigate traffic for home, it's 7:30pm. Fortunately, these guys are already experienced travelers and they take everything in stride.

Amy is sitting in the front seat as the driver weaves in and out on the toll road. She white-knuckles the hairy parts admirably. The rules of the road are inexplicable to us: we have long straightaways with a slow car in the "fast lane" ahead of us and no one to the side, but we toddle along behind it. Then, when there's lots of traffic and a tight space between cars or trucks, we squeeze through and spurt past.

We eat down the street at Miss Bee restaurant before walking home, schlepping the luggage upstairs, and falling into bed exhausted. Travel is brutal here.

It's a day to acclimate and strategize. What will the next week look like? Because it's hard to get commitments from Indonesians and expats alike, most of the planning has to be done at the last minute. We luckily have a big space available (thanks to great hosts at Green Gate) and a big house to spread out in. That helps a lot.

It's Community Dinner night. After Tyson and Amy are out for a few hours, they join us for dinner and speak about life questions. The activity is listening and asking good questions - everyone has a good time.

Waldemar and I speak at BIC in the morning and our guests host a workshop on coaching after. We have about 40 people stay for that; it's interesting and valuable information. After, we go for lunch at Bumi S and are happily resting by 2:30pm.

Supper is a special treat: Tota, Teti, and Ruben take us for Chinese food downtown - oh yum! The center lazy-suzan spins around delicious foods and we are stuffed when we stand up.
"You have to see the wayang," says Ibu Teti. A row of about 100 historical puppets lines up in the hotel lobby. "These are all the characters for our fairy tales," she explains. WOW - costumes, colors, animal and human characters. I've never seen anything like it.

W leads the study while I keep working. I can hear that people are engaged and there's a lot of discussion. Aska has brought the fantastic risoles that are a regular treat.

The non-profit team stays behind when others leave - we meet upstairs as we used to. Ibu Sumi prepares lunch for us and the chicken, rice, and vegetables are on the table when we're ready to eat.
Tyson is speaking at an English-learning event. He does a great job, according to W. Amy and I stay home and get caught up for the week ahead.

How about a dragon-fruit-colored smoothie with our oatmeal for breakfast?
Today is the first day of two days of coaching classes. Amy, assisted by Tyson, is a great communicator. The words she uses are simple and her illustrations cross culture easily. (We never take that for granted!) People really enjoy the sessions.

Early in the morning, I rummage through the fridge and freezer, before writing down a menu for our helpers to cook. They cook at our place and deliver the food at noon (for about 30) to Green Gate. It's delicious - teriyaki sausages, rice, vegetables, salad. We're back to class until after 3pm. (Some of the attendees are below. I don't get W photos this week: I have no capacity to remember to ask for them.)
All week long, Sanny takes care of details in the office and at the venue. Thanks, man. "Let's order pizza," I tell him after Tuesday's sessions. But he protests; he dislikes what we can afford, so I think aloud, should it be this or that? "Sandwiches would be easy, right?" (I don't have the capacity to argue. I'll just get the food ready.)

In the evening, I write out the menu for tomorrow. I take another look at the directions and start cooking the most complicated things - easy for me but hard to explain. W goes off to an organization's 70th anniversary dinner without me: I'm still cooking.

I boil 24 eggs, thaw a big veal roast, and mix all the sauces. By 7:30pm, I'm ready for bed.

I'm up early, making sure the directions make sense for the helper (the one today is not usually the cook.)

Oh forget it. It seems too complicated and it will take multi-tasking to get it done. From yesterday's potful of hard-boiled eggs, I make deviled egg filling. I shred the thawed roast into hot bbq sauce, make pasta, and mix up a salad of apples, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, almonds, a homemade dressing; for good measure, I toss in the leftover greens from yesterday.

At 7:15am, the others walk up the street to Pino Teras ($1 breakfasts) and order for me. I clean up the kitchen, slide everything into the fridge, and erase my complicated instructions on the whiteboard. I leave a short note: "Bake 4 loaves. Bring them and the 2 loaves from yesterday, the broccoli salad, the egg filling, and the bbq meat by 11:30." I slide into my restaurant seat as breakfast arrives.

We're at Green Gate just after 8am. There's a coaching hour before Amy and Tyson teach a full day. Lunch is tasty and non-traditional for Indonesians. It was a lot of extra work for me. Next time, we'll just order pizza (which would have cost about the same).
W prints out attendance certificates for the students who want them - it can be a big deal to have a paper saying you were at a class or seminar. We toss a ball at the end to share takeaways around the circle.

A student hands them two lengths of batik. Dr Hanna calls her tailor to see if she can make a shirt and blouse for them. (She does - and delivers the beautifully-fitted lined garments on Sunday afternoon!)
We have a nice supper at home - it takes no time to whip up something for 4 people. Then we rest.

"We like hiking," say our friends. So we take them up into the hills above the city. The walking leader drives almost to the top so we can start the walk about 1 km below the saddle ridge called Gunung Batu (stone mountain). Someone's planted a flag and put up a few touristy statues since we were last here.
We climb up a few narrow paths between sharp drop-offs to the fields on either side. Our standard poodle Cocoa leaps down the steep 8-10 foot inclines a few times to the fields below and effortlessly clambers up to the trail. She's an athlete. We need walking sticks for balance as we climb up the steep trail to the top.

Once on the ridge, we can see Lembang on one side and Bandung on the other. It's a stunning view.
To descend, we poke our walking sticks into the deep cracks on the path, our shoes slipping downward on dry clay. We tramp across a meadow, push through the forest, and walk beside orchards filled with lemonade lemons. It's a short walk today (1.5 hours) but it's warm at times. Our guests are fantastic - they don't complain. All of us are happy to call the drivers to get us before the final steep hill that goes up to the restaurant.

Our lunch seats are on a cliffside. The city spreads below us, deep valleys cradling old villages. We order pizza and drinks and relax. (Though they do another personal coaching session in the evening.)

First thing in the morning, Tyson and Amy coach individuals on the team. Amy and I get a ride to the city - first to the souvenir shop for tablecloths, then to lunch. After, we stop at Baltos (a local mall filled with little shops on 3 floors) to buy 2 batik dresses for her daughter ($7.50 for both). I am drawn to an original batik fabric picture of a sassy lady. I can't decide whether to pay $5 for it. ("Is that too much?") Later I regret leaving it behind. Maybe I'll go back another day.
We meet the guys at Rumah Mode, an outlet super-store filled with batik and export clothing. I buy a scarf for a friend. Our last stop is at Setiabudi Supermarket. The coffee and take-home snacks on our minds are soon in our carts.

We're happy to call it a day with a good meal at Kalpa Tree. The driver drops us off and parks the car in our driveway, before heading home. After we walk the few blocks to the house (all downhill - yay!), the guys unpack the car. We're all tired and happy to sleep.

After breakfast, W heads to town for a few meetings and the deVries do more coaching. They help me work out so many half-thought-out ideas and get clear direction: I need an assistant to help with our events and teams. What will that look like? They also advise me on leadership and offer conflict-resolution skills. I've soaked up their good help all week.
W brings back a lovely packet of green beans - I would have brought them in a baggie but our artist friend Ruth sure knows how to deliver.

It's our oldest grandchild's 8th birthday. Already! I stay up late and wake W so we can say hi to her before her special day starts. Happy birthday, Miss K.

As usual, the bouquet in the hall is stunning. Ibu Fenny provides the flowers each week.
Our guests speak together in the morning and teach a final workshop afterward.

I chat with four gifted volunteers - would they be interesting in designing our hall when we change the layout in a few weeks? They're excited about it: few hours later, they already toss out wild, fantastical ideas beyond most people's imagination. Welcome to the new BIC design team! Can't wait to see what they come up with.

I climb the stairs to the second-floor office to wrap up the morning. The digital media team is taping next week's announcements and hanging out.
Dr Hanna gives the couple a batik scarf and tie. Ibu Ruth ties a beautiful sarong around Amy. Such generosity. Of course, I snap a few pictures.
Our team has lunch together at Bumi. We debrief on the week. Everyone agrees. The information and especially these two friends have been extraordinary gifts to us.
In the afternoon and evening, it takes W and Tyson a few hours to book the shuttle for tomorrow (Jakarta run), while Amy packs upstairs. W orders mango sticky rice delivered to the house via motorcycle. Yum - it's a wonderful final evening.

Tyson leads the study with amazing questions. His stomach is churning from the sticky rice last night.

Attendees bring along many snacks to share. It's an extravaganza of fried bananas, rose apples with spicy peanut sauce, risoles, and more. Helper Sumi says, "I think we don't need cookies today," and makes the usual pots of tea for everyone to enjoy. At the end, everyone expresses their appreciation for a great week and we take a group photo.

Tyson, Amy, Waldemar, and I ride into town. Tyson's stomach is rumbling - so he goes easy on food. The rest of us sit in a table enclosed in a massive bird cage. We eat sup rawon (candlenut soup) and nasi goreng (fried rice) and sip our tea. Then it's off to the shuttle station.
Our friends wave goodbye from the shuttle door. They are dropped at their Jakarta hotel over 5 hours later (120 miles/160 km). Yes, that's what traffic is like. In the morning, they will fly back home to America, and we're still here.

Read more:
*Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Psalm 71:17-19 NIV

*Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!  Psalm 130:1-2
*Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—in peace because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3
*Jesus spoke to the disciples, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
*We want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end. Hebrews 6:11
Moravian Prayer: O God, we put our trust and hope in you. We cannot wait for the glorious day that we will be with you. Thank you for the peace of knowing what is to come for your children.
Lord, hear our cry. At times, we tend to walk away from you, yet know we should never stray. Guide us away from the darkness and take away our fear, that we may know that you are with us. Thank you for never forsaking us. Amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Canada Day, American Indep Day, and a working week

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
We shopped yesterday for movie night. I don't have room in the freezer so I wrap the frozen food in a big towel and blanket and leave it on the counter - it has to last 2 nights, until I cook on Wednesday morning. (It's still kind of frozen when I unwrap it on Wednesday morning.)
The most fun guests come to stay overnight. Anna will stay until Thursday, but Tirza and Mathieu are only staying one night. They're in time to have lunch with our team.
After, we sit on the porch while I grill them for questions to interview prospective interns. They are so helpful! And they're fun besides. They head to the Young Adults dinner at Vieira's in the evening and let themselves into the house when they get back. I spend some time learning emotion words in Indonesian.

I cook from 6-10am. Our guests rest upstairs. I can't believe how fast the cooking goes - we'll have 3 kinds of meats, pasta, potatoes in the slow cooker that will be mashed later, spinach in cream, and other goodies for the movie night crowd.
Then the day is ours. We eat lunch at Kalpa Tree and walk around the neighborhood.
There's a blaze of color all around - after rainy season, the trees burst into flower. The brightest are at the entry to the neighborhood cemetery, where all the graves are aligned with Mecca.

Suddenly, it's time for dinner-and-a-movie night.
We have about 70 over for the very American movie Field of Dreams. That leads to all kinds of conversations afterwards. The porch empties about 11pm.
Two of our Jakarta guests leave for the train station after supper. There's nothing as relaxing as a train ride - the view of the forests, the tea plantations, and of hundreds of motorcycles waiting at the crossing while we buzz by? All good. Unless it's night time. Then it's just nice not to have traffic weaving in and out and lights of various brightness.

It's America's day (Independence) - and lots of friends post greetings. The differences between the American and Canadian cultures come through this week, along with pictures of families celebrating. Canadians post warm wishes and hopes for relaxation. Americans post patriotic notes and fireworks.
We head for the hills, walking through rice fields above the city with a group of 14 Internationals, including a few Americans who are missing the red, white, and blue (and fireworks). A man is  walking out of the forest with 20' long (6 meter) bamboo trunks on his shoulders - we let him pass on the trail. 

 Coffee is drying on tarps in the sunshine - it grows well in our volcanic soil. We examine a bag of fresh-picked berries. They're ready for roasting.

In the jungle trail on the way back, an enormous stand of bamboo has fallen across the path. So we duck under.
There are a few iffy bridges along the way but no one falls in today.

On the way home, we pass a mini-gas station - an umbrella shades the single portable gas pump from the 80o sunlight.

We're not back at the house until almost 5pm. There's a traffic jam most of the way. We pause for a yogurt bar after a 3pm lunch at the Mandarin, a Chinese-style restaurant in Lembang (the city north of Bandung).

Our last guest has to catch the 7pm train. She quickly packs up, heads to the station, and is on her way to Jakarta. No time even to shower.

Friday and Saturday
Friday is office day - with a variety of guests stopping by. One set is from a local frozen chicken processing company - they want us to buy from them for movie night. "We'll taste it - and if it's good, it's a deal," I tell them. It's good. The price is competitive. And they deliver. Woohoo.
Saturday morning, W goes from one meeting to another in town. After he returns, I redo the bulletin board at the International Church - W comes along to drag the supplies for me. What a guy.

As usual, we speak together. After, W hosts a theology class and I sit in with the digital media team as they sort through options. They're so smart - and funny as they joke and work together. Ivo's doing a great job leading the team.

Fatimah joins Aris and us for lunch - it's nice to have restaurants all around. It's also often cheaper to go out than to cook. When we get home, we prep the week ahead. W texts the group processing our visa. We get a call back - they have forgotten that our paperwork expires Tuesday. What now? We'll find out tomorrow. (Below, the beautiful waterfall that was our Thursday destination.)

After a 7-9 meeting with a dear colleague and friend, I feel an urgency to work. The study on the porch is not for me this morning. When I feel this strongly about not participating, I pay attention.

Instead, I listen in from my home office. I spend the morning sorting the week ahead - I write a few weeks of program inserts, send emails, write agendas for meetings, and WA requests. I catch up on Sunday and set up the whole week.

Why on earth? Mine is not to question why. Internally I hear, "Just do as you're told." So I do.

Mid-afternoon, we get a call. We have to be in Jakarta to take visa photos tomorrow at 10am. With the uncertainty of traffic, we'll leave at 5am. Ah ... that's why I had to do a few days' work today.

First, before nightfall, we meet up with dear Jakarta friends who lived at our place in Seattle for a few years, between them. They're staying overnight at a hotel on the next hill over.
Their daughters are adorable - and brave, jumping into the adult pool without hesitation and experimenting with the spray of the fountains in the center of the kiddy pool. We eat an indifferent supper poolside and chat. They're doing well. We are delighted.
When we get home, we toss a few things into our carry-ons and are ready for sleep before 8pm. The alarm is set for 4am tomorrow.

Sleep is restless. I listen to whole books of scripture during the night hours. W reads as well. And finally the alarm ring. We get moving, on our way into the "big city" shortly after 5am.

Traffic is great - until it isn't. The traffic jams up with construction and vehicles weaving in and out as they plunge or waddle into our lane. I have a headache most of the day, whether from fumes or from stress, I can't tell.

We're near the imigrasi office around 9, so we walk down the street to find breakfast. I need the restroom when we reach the restaurant. I go into the room with the "TOILET" sign on the door. The staff eyes each other - and grimace. Why? Oh oh, what's that?

About 20 frozen ducks are partly submerged in a huge bucket of water (which I doubt is drinking water, since the hose from city water - with a reservoir for toilet flushing - is nearby.) I step around the blood and melting ice dripping toward the trough where the toilet overflow drains.

I wash my hands in the sink near the entry, and sit down at the table to eat. "You have to see what I just saw," I tell W - who goes to see what's what.

Maybe the chicken for my chicken soup was thawing in the bathroom yesterday. I'm glad I didn't order duck this morning. The food is tasty.

We've been here 5 years - we have no change in appetite, although we are amused. Life here is full of surprises - one of them is that we don't even have a tremor in our tummies after eating the hot sambal (salsa) and breakfast.
Imigrasi is quick and efficient. Photos done, we walk past huge leaves that edge the sidewalk and hop back in the car. We're headed for the center of town. Our sister organization has their Tuesday staff meeting just like we do - but ours is happening without us in Bandung. We catch up with old friends and new around the lunch table.

I need a few items from IKEA so the driver takes us almost an hour across town. After battling the traffic coming in, we decide to stay in the city overnight. I have to work anyway - it doesn't make sense to get home late tonight, work at home tomorrow, only to return to the Jakarta airport Thursday. That means potentially 10 extra hours in the car, back and forth. No thanks.

We pass a couple taking home a picture frame or mirror. Good thing they're not speeding - she's holding the frame in her hands behind the driver, feet relaxed and dangling. She'd get blown right off the back of the bike with a gust of wind.
We give our driver the option of a sleepover in Jakarta or heading home to Bandung. He has to pick us and our guests up at the airport Thursday. He chooses to drive home alone. (He'll park the car in our driveway, if all goes well, about 10pm.)

W asks if I want to walk to the nearby malls. Nope. He heads out to browse for snacks while I write and get some work done before an early night's sleep.

Read more:
*Thus says the Lord, “Seek me and live.” Amos 5:4 
*While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light. John 12:36
Moravian Prayer: Dear Lord, give us opportunities to seek you. Put us in situations where we must lean on you, for this is when we can and will be filled with your light. Let us shine your light brightly for others to see. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.