Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rough reentry - as usual

How do you feel when you return from a business trip or holiday?

2 weeks are not quite long enough to unplug completely or adjust to the new surroundings, but it is a welcome pause. Re-entry into life-as-usual can be a bit of a bumpy ride until the routines grab you again, right?
Yup, that's how it's been since we landed. We lose a day, flying across the international dateline in the middle of the Pacific. It was Tuesday morning when we left Seattle and about 21 hours (and a day later), we arrive in Jakarta on Wednesday night. The 16-hr flight on Singapore Air (plus 2 to Jakarta) is super. They spoil us.

[The happy thing for me is that there's also no long interruption with a layover in China, Japan, or Korea. Usually we spend 6-7 hrs on a Jakarta flight, plus the Asian layover; and then still have 11-13 hrs flying to Seattle.]

W sleeps through much of the flight, while (typically) I get about 2 hours. I read a few books - none of the movies sustains my interest. I think I'm too tired.

Unfortunately, strong headwinds (over 200km/hr) slow the flight - and we've left SeaTac a half-hour late. They'd scheduled a one-hour layover in Singapore but when we arrive, our flight to Jakarta is boarding and they won't let us on. Probably couldn't move our luggage over that fast. The airline gives us a voucher for dinner and rebooks us on a new flight, 3 hours later.

The Singapore airport is constantly being upgraded as a destination in itself. Here's one pretty corner where ferns and glass sculptures tower over the travelers.
When we crawl into our seats on the plane to Jakarta, I crash for 1.5 hours. I don't remember take-off at all. When I wake, we are descending toward Indonesia.

It's a quick trip through immigrations and customs. However, there are no shuttles near midnight and W didn't ask our driver to pick us up. So he books a hotel room near the airport. Our friends meet us at the airport and take us to the hotel, where we unload some of their goodies from our luggage.

We fall asleep about 1:30 am. The room is small but the bed is clean and very soft.

Ring, ring. I bounce up - it's time to get going. I start to dress, and W asked what on earth I'm doing. "That was the phone, not the alarm. It's only 2:20!" he says.

Ugh. We've been asleep less than an hour and it's a spam call from the USA. I have a hard time getting back to sleep. Jet-lagged, I forget to set "do not disturb" hours on my "new" (W's old) phone. By 6:00, we're up to eat a miserly breakfast. Nearly everything at the buffet is empty or missing. We're even scraping the bottom of the rice pot.

The hotel shuttle takes us back to the airport, where W has booked seats on an 8:00 ride to Bandung. They leave nearly an hour late but, thankfully, traffic is light. We arrive in Bandung about noon, to be picked up by the driver at the station. We come into our neighborhood about 12:30. We pass the helper, who is walking home. She asks if she should come back to the house.

"Please no! Silahkan, Ibu pulang!" (=please go home.) We unpack and get things sorted out. We work until about 7:00pm and then fall fast asleep.

Except that I wake at 1:00 and can't get back to sleep. Our last time zone is offset by 14 hours. We spend the morning in the office and run errands in the afternoon. I finish writing the talk for Sunday - but both W and I are jet-lagged enough that I don't know if it's coherent. We'll see.

Oh no! the phone rings after midnight (Oh oh ... I DO have to put the phone on night mode for silence). It's a friend calling from the USA at 10:00am her time. She promises to call back when I'm awake. I fall back asleep until 4. A good night, then.

Before W leaves for a meeting, we read through the talk. I have to create the PPT today. That's my main chore ...

Sarah comes for morning tea. She and her husband Scott were on our team last year. Now they live in Australia but we still miss them. Lunch is a delightful time with Annette and Andrew. He's a renowned author and professor, teaching nearby for a few weeks.

We have a Community Dinner in the evening. Josh's young core team leads the evening. The topic is "What's your voice?" We've grown to love the young people who come - they connect to each other and befriend newcomers at their table. CDB is a mix of cultures, backgrounds, interests, and religions.
For the "voice" theme, the activity has to be karaoke, right? Earlier, just before we left home, I threw together a judging chart. Josh has chosen a few judges and we'll need some criteria for who wins this thing. Being gone has its drawbacks - a lot of little pieces that we'd normally arrange at team meetings have a last-minute snap to them.

 The winner is a young man who plays a zither, Sunda style. He sings a traditional lullaby and is the unanimous frontrunner for all the judges.

I am wide awake at 1:00am. Again. And that's that.

I read, organize some few things, make a Sunday check-list, and give up at 5:00. W and I are speaking together today. We get to the office about 7:00 and the morning is off and running. He is conducting a wedding in the afternoon so I catch a quick bite for lunch after he leaves (Kraft instant MacNCheese from the USA).

We've barely gotten to sleep in the evening when Gypsy, our yard dog tries to get into the room. He smashes his weight on the lever handle, hearing thunder on the distant hills. Poor dog is panic-stricken so we put him in his crate with jazz music to block the rumbling weather. I'm fully awake again - until almost midnight.

Sleep is interrupted a few more times - it is mid-day in Seattle (2:00pm) so 4:00am seems like a great time to crawl out of bed and start the day. The kefir I refreshed with milk yesterday is completely thick. I dip a ladle into the top 4" and strain it through a cheesecloth bag, hung on the kitchen cupboard. The liquid gets poured off or used for cooking. The remaining cheese is delicious, either seasoned sweet or savory.

The study group comes to sit on the porch - the lovely New Zealander Annette is with us today. She leaves me three waxed cloths to cover a plate, wrap sandwiches, or otherwise replace plastic wrap. It's a great idea - environmentally friendly and pretty.

Read more:
*Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? ... In God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me? Psalm 56:8, 11
*Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 
*I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 
Moravian Prayers: God, so often in scripture you send that message of, “Fear not” to your people. Yet, so often we live according to our fears. You promise to give us strength enough to live according to our faith, our loves, and our hopes. May we so live.
Lord God, when we are overcome with sorrow, when we can no longer walk alone, you dry our tears and walk with us. So, in the same way, help us, in your name, to walk with others who are in need of consolation. Amen.

FRIENDS are live-givers!

Here are a few last pics from our trip. We saw lots of friends. What a refreshing pause, though the meetups are part of a busy stay. How I miss being able to call old friends for a quick meeting or coffee at Starbucks or having them drop by for tea.

W and I went to visit his mother (in recovery from hip surgery).We spent part of a day with my parents.
We met many friends and partners in 2 weeks. These gals have been my best friends and accountability group since the early 90s. Since one is moving, we don't know when a WPPRs meeting will happen again.
These dear ones have been friends since the 80s.
Mind you, no trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to a bookstores. I only get to one shop - and that is because Kim and I meet at Third Place Commons. What a gluttony of words. I'm an addict, lost between masses of pages. Here's a pic of a fraction of the Third Place Books shelves that are crammed top to bottom with books and staff notes about them.
With a very limited luggage capacity, it 's like arriving at a banquet with my stomach sewn shut. I hang around for an hour both weeks, inhaling the smell of new and used books, touching and examining as many covers as I can, and reading as many back covers as I had time for. Since I'm visual, I'm endlessly fascinated by new styles and colors and trends, even on books.

Of course, a grandkid sleepover takes over this tidy adult apartment,
transforming it instantly with one heave of their bedding, dragged down the stairs from their place. What a blessing to have them close at hand.
The memories are irreplaceable. We especially enjoy their sleepover: we talk as we eat junk food and frozen mango pieces (their favorite). Late at night, we sip peppermint tea from tiny bone china cups passed down from my uncle and my parents. Before bedtime, we watch Popeye in German.

After a middle-of-the-night wake-up by the little one who has the sniffles, W crashes on the sofa in my office beside her crib. Good Opa!

The other 3 sleep cross-wise on the futon across from ours. We love to watch how they play together as they grow older.

For whatever reason, the older ones love to invent games as they leap from one sofa across the gap (the ocean where sharks live?) onto the huge Coach table (yay Craigslist for a safe island) to the opposite futon (a new country) and back.
The littlest one just watches and runs around between them ... for now. That tradition may change as they get heavier, but they love to accompany their jumps by shrieks of danger below and imagined challenges.

For breakfast, we eat whole-grain and pumpkin waffles smothered in Grandmama's blueberry jam. The orange juice tastes sour after that. The kids mix their own snacks from various nuts and seeds (tossing in a few chocolate chips for good measure).

Of course, we couldn't skip dinner at Tres Hermanos with longtime faculty friends. We missed seeing some who have moved (that would be you, Bill and Jacquie!) or were otherwise tied up. They remind us of joys of years past and the value in enduring friendships with wonderful colleagues.
We make an overnight trip to Portland (tax-free, saving 9-10% over Seattle) for new tech. My computer has been shutting off indiscriminately; I've lost many files and hours of work. Even our guru (W) and the shop cannot fix it. So it's time for a new computer. W gets busy right away, transferring data from my backup disk to the new machine.
While W figures out the technology, I shop Sierra Trading Post Outlet for shoes and Nordstrom Rack for a handbag. My purses and our footwear quickly fall apart in the tropical heat and humidity. And leather gets moldy without a dehumidifier in our storage bin.

One little Nordie bag amuses me @$69 (reg. $140US). It's a washcloth with straps on it. I take a picture. I bet can make one of those for $5.
On our final day in Seattle, Asha drops by. She's a pastor, artist, wife, and mom of two young beautifuls. Our exchange reminds me that I need to find an art friend or group in Bandung. Sometimes, I feel like my creativity is being crushed under vision-casting, administration, and scheduling. (Where oh where is the executive admin I'm looking for?!)

I need the regular whirlwind of ideas that comes only from sitting and talking with other creatives. Asha is God's gift to me before we head home to Indonesia.
We get lots of hugs as we wave goodbye early Tuesday morning, leaving clean spaces filled with art (mine and others'). 
I painted the orchid in the bath below. It's a bright spot - across from a chickadee painting found in a Montana gallery years ago.

You know how some things are an irritant every time you see them? I confess to one in our apartment. Every time we leave, I close the door on our bath with a sigh of relief: I won't have to use that dark, cave-like shower for another year.
Grumble grumble. It's the only thing about our apartment that I truly hate. To shower, we duck through the narrow gap between the toilet and shower fixtures that were installed on the wall by the sink. I had designed a half-wall with a window to let in light (even had the window on hand). I'd sketched the plumbing to be set into the far wall. The plumber's changes (a framed wall with the plumbing in it) jar me every day. Should we ever live in the flat, it's the first thing to rip out and redo properly.

The 2 bdrm apartment is a joy otherwise. Unless we're unpacking or packing up again, the main areas are kept tidy and guest-ready.
Can't wait to see it - and all these dear people - next time.

Read more:
*The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. 1 Samuel 2:7
*Jesus says, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:14
*We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10
Moravian Prayer: Jesus, as your church, we are your body—together with people from every language and nation, rich and poor, educated and unable to read. May our life as your church lead people to say, “Yes! I want to know this Jesus.” Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A lot to take in - autumn

Oh, the things we saw along the way, on our 2-week trip to the USA and Canada. We drove a lot.
And walked a lot under beautiful autumn trees.
My mom's flowers are still going strong, though. She's a gifted gardener.
The color of the leaves was breathtaking.

 The river was tranquil along the path.

 Mom's canning days are coming to an end,
 and Dad is wrapping up work in his violin (luthier) office, too.
Winter is on it's way.
God's world is full of beginnings and endings.

Read more:
*Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey successful. Genesis 24:56
*Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9
Moravian Prayer: Lord, you call us to follow you. Guide us so to understand success—and what in life really matters—that we can truly, with joy and faithfulness, follow you, even when we are not sure exactly where you may take us. Amen.

Family - there's nothing like it

We're home! We're home sweet home.

The two weeks in Canada and the USA flew by. We connected with parents, grandchildren (oh yes, and children...), and partners. Here are a few highlights.
The family: long walks along the river and a fridge with memory pictures

 Mom cooked a huge turkey for Kirsten, Dad and me. Deeeeelicious. And lots of leftovers.
 Always hugs - special when it's grandma and grandpa.
 Goofy selfies
 Love love love my mom and dad!
Back in Seattle, our kids and grands...
Our children and their wonderful spouses.
Found a pic of my grandparents with their grandkids ...

 Our grandkids enjoyed visiting our apartment ...

The oldest two tried squishing into the whirlpool laundry sink where they used to splash around together. They've grown a bit in the years since we moved to Indonesia.
We made a lot of memories

Read more:
*Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail. Psalm 9:19 
*Jesus prayed, “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15 
Moravian Prayer: Jesus, fellow traveler, life is not easy. Following you may not make it any easier, since you lead us to be more aware of our own sins and those of our culture. But you also promise to go with us, and to give us other fellow travelers. Amen.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Long lines, wind, and a bit of watercolor

Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019
Movie night tonight. I wake up before the sun - and by 6 decide to get cooking. Literally cooking. There will be a line soon enough.
I really appreciate that most houses have a "dirty kitchen" at the back where odors and steam can escape to the outside. Kitchens don't have fans - so front and back doors stay open and the breeze blows through. The non-smelly stuff mostly gets cooked inside, while boiling water for spaghetti (6 kg) and frying happen at the back. The dual ovens in the regular kitchen get a workout, along with the back room burners.
It's worth the effort when people start trickling in at 6. The new ones may feel shy for a few minutes but "family" welcomes them.
Our motto is "first time a guest, second time a friend, third time family." And our young family takes care of the guests and friends very well. We have about 75 people here from 18 countries tonight.
The house fills with chatter as people drape over sofas, on pillows, and anywhere else they can find a seat. Most are very respectful of the space - which helps when you have that many people over. (Even so, the Roomba will fill up 4-5 times tonight after everyone leaves.)
One concern is water. During dry season, especially at the end of it like now, water may only come from the city once a day for a few hours. Some neighborhoods have had no water for weeks. Residents borrow water from friends or have it trucked into a central place.

We have Western and traditional (squat) toilets in the back hall. W tries a new tactic for making sure the toilet is turned off after flushing. He asks the helper to listen for running water. And do you think the sign is big enough? It works well.
We lock up after the last guests leave at 11pm. By the time we turn out the lights, it's a new day.

Neither W nor I are up for a walk. The sun comes up about 5:30 at this time of year. So we're awake early. Makes for some sleepy evenings, though.

We have to put the house back together, which takes most of the day. It's time to prune the dill shrub that has grown 6' tall. I snap off long branches and stick them in a bowl in the entry. I love green things.

I head to the office and spend the day writing. Program inserts. Enews. I edit a Foreword for one of my books and an event poster for someone. Depending on advertising skills and savvy, there may be a lot or little info on promo pages. This one is full.

People find it hard to read and follow instructions in oral (non-book) cultures like Indonesia. It takes about 20 WhatsApp messages between 3 of us to get the poster this far.

They're offering a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the world. Sadly, the last version arrives after the drop deadline for enews. We can promote it other ways. Please come if you're able!
Guests come in and out of the office. Three projects will have to wait for tomorrow. I blink a few times as I leave, watching someone paint the second floor eaves of a nearby building. I can no longer sit on my heels like that, never mind shuffle on a narrow ledge with a paintbrush in hand ... two stories above the pavement.
W and I meet nearby at #KalpaTree restaurant. Though I rarely have fish, tonight's fish and chips are the perfect dish. They're setting up for an evening concert, so I stuff my ears with tissue to block the booming bass as we enjoy someone else's cooking.

W has his usual meetings around town. The driver walks the dogs, waters, and picks up a bouquet from the florist for tomorrow's Gathering. He comes back feeling sick - "drink something before you go, Pak," I request. He's dizzy, perhaps from lack of food and water.

I'm playing around. Every month, we need a simple centerpiece for the #BICBandung bulletin board. The black and white mat is paper hijacked from an IKEA picture frame. It probably won't last much longer after having the center and tape torn off it so many times. It's working so far - one more go ... I tear September off and look around for October ideas.

It's not autumn here - rainy season is on the way. How I LOVE the heat day after day. I don't miss a single red maple leaf or cold rainy day, especially with trees shedding leaves every day during the end of dry season.

This month, I'm not in the mood to design anything. I cut off the bottom half of a sketchbook cover. The pencil sketch is the perfect size and I can use the other half another time.

I haul out a few #CaranD"ache watercolor crayons and a brush, which I dip into my tea. (Too lazy to go to the kitchen one more time - have made about a dozen trips this morning already.) Now all I need is a fat blue marker for lettering. I'm not fussy about perfection, that's pretty obvious! I tape the sheet into the flimsy paper mat and am done for another month.
We stab the month's announcements into the bulletin board around this center. One of the most exciting events is an upcoming community reading - here's the schedule. Follow along if you like, and let us know if you want to read or listen along with one of our WhatsApp groups. We'll gladly add your name.
It's been hot and windy. The last few days, the cushions have blown off the seats on the porch.

Is someone in the house? I hear clattering, as though someone is walking in flip-flops on the old teak floors upstairs. Nope, but the map in the stairwell is slapping against the plaster wall. The breeze whistles through the closed windows and doors and rushes up the stairs. The 40-yr-old custom doors and windows are not sealed ... no wonder everything is dusty inside.

Read more:
*May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him. Psalm 67:5-7  NIV

*The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. Daniel 2:44
*For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13 NKJV 
Moravian Prayer: Eternal God, you are what was, what is, and what is to come. We thank you for the new Jerusalem—not only a picture of our future with you—but also a vision of what this world may be if we are in tune with you. Amen.