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?
[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.
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.
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.
*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
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.