Saturday, January 13, 2018

Controlled freefall

115 people ate at our house Monday through Wednesday. Even I was surprised when I did the quick count.

Monday, January 8, 2017
We love the group that comes over for a study - they're interesting and as absorbed as well are in learning together. We've had so much rain in the last week, but it doesn't rain until everyone is gone.

Two helpers are hard at work today. One is the regular cleaner. We have so many guests that a clean home is a priority. She washes the porch where we'll meet, and then makes 3 pots of tea and a few trays of cookies for the study.

The other lady is a cook from the neighboring hill. She tells me, "Don't bother with Western food. These women won't like it. I will cook something for them."
The women behind the scenes: Ibus A and S

She leaves for the market, spending $40 on chicken, vegetables, and red rice. When she comes back, she gets to work on the meal for tomorrow's arisan, a neighborhood group of women that meets monthly. They're coming for lunch tomorrow.

Sumathi is staying the week - what a treat to have a friend in the house. I feel like a horrible host this week: there's so much going on that I just ask her to help herself as I cover the bases for our gatherings. I just can't keep track of anything more. Maaf, Ibu Sumathi! She's a good sport about it.
We squeeze in a few walks

Tuesday
I sleep in. HELP! I was up in the night from 1:00 to 4:00am so I set my alarm for 7:00. That should have given me plenty of time to rest and still get ready. Except that I wake at 8:30 - I didn't hear the alarm and W's prepping for next week's classroom, sitting on the porch.

I have to sort out my head first. Sumathi helps me set up for lunch and I walk around the porch and the kitchen a few times to remember the flow of lunch and what has to be prepared.

Waldemar goes to pick up 30 Bariton Bakery food boxes: inside are a cup of water and a few snacks. The arisan custom is to pick up a box, snack for a while, and then eat lunch together. Sometimes there's official business or an update on a project we are supporting.

The official start time is 10:30 but women begin to arrive at 10. The first group sits on the porch, enjoying the breeze coming down the valley. The chimes ring an accompaniment to their chatter. All 20+ women are accomplished: some have worked in education, politics, medicine, or are otherwise connected.

Gradually, more ladies come and spread out in the house. They've been here before, but with IbuWi who lived here for 40 years. The house looks a lot different with Westerners in it (including emptier).

IbuWi is still part of this group. She takes home all the vases left behind for me. (Good thing that I bought a few at a wholesaler last week.) She also has the guys manhandle a non-working washing machine down from the laundry roof into the back of her jeep. She leaves a non-heating water dispenser and another old washing machine: the helpers are welcome to take them or we'll toss them.

The arisan women have known each other for 30-50 years. I'm the newcomer. I understand so little, but can converse a little more this time around. Sumathi can understand most of it, but says she's rusty in speaking after being out of Indonesia for the past year and a half.
Wow, I owe the arisan a lot of money. I paid for September and October, but I don't have a receipt so can't remember if it's this group or another. I'm asked for 4 months fees and pay up without complaint.
The treasurer gives me back a portion for food costs, so it's all good. The women say they liked the food, so IbuA was right - they probably wouldn't have enjoyed a Western lunch.

Canadian friends of ours brought along a few suitcases of scrapbooking goodies two years ago. (Thanks, Trudy!) We're still using up their stickers, papers, glue, and other supplies. Today, we set up to make a photo page. The gals ooh and ahh over the sample pages, getting ideas on how to set up and personalize the craft. Some of the gals got the announcement via WhatsApp and have brought their photos. They choose materials and make some beautiful family pages.
A few didn't get the updated message: some take supplies home so they can work at leisure. "I don't have a husband and my days can be long and lonely," says one older lady. "This will be fun when I am by myself."

When they leave, the helpers help us clean up. The floor is sticky, but they'll be back next afternoon to carry on.
Friends from the local seminary drop by to say hi to Sumathi. It's great to see our language teacher again, who brings her 1 1/2 yr old miracle son (she's in her mid-40s). We drink tea and eat the yummy baking they brought along as a gift. I'm just not up to setting up another food tray.

During a breather, Sumathi asks me, "What are you making for movie night?"

I'm startled by the question and shake my head. "I don't know yet. I can do only one event at a time." With today done, I'll start to think through the next thing. I'm pretty sure we have enough food in the freezer and fridge for the big dinner tomorrow night.

Wednesday
Monthly movie night is tonight. Sure enough, when I wake, I have a general menu in mind. I make a list on the fridge for reference, to make sure we stay on track. W sets up the projector and has someone help him move furniture for the onslaught tonight.

Last night, we thawed 4 commercial-sized packages of frozen sausages. Sumathi starts grilling them as I head to the grocer for last-minute supplies. (What a help she is, my right hand in saving me that hour or two of prep.)

And here they come! Love these young people.
When I get back, we boil water to cook 3 huge packages of spaghetti noodles. Though the pot is very big, it can only take one package at a time. Because we live at an elevation where water takes longer to boil, it takes over a half hour for each pack of noodles, refilling from the drinking water dispenser after each packet and reheating.

While Sumathi keeps grilling, I pour olive oil over the cooked spaghetti to keep the noodles from sticking to each other. I'll warm them before our guests come at 6:30. I cook a big pot of coconut curry sauce for the sausages and heat spaghetti sauce, too.

Just enough room, if you squeeze in
The helpers arrive at 3:00 to make 2 pots of rice and a Sunda dish with potatoes and tiny meatballs in spicy sauce (which the ladies loved yesterday). They cut greens for salad (minuscule pieces despite 3 months of "can you make it bigger please?" haha), and chop fruit for a big bowl of fruit and yoghurt.

A young law student shows up 1 1/2 hours early with a cheery, "I'm here to help!" We send her to the "dirty" kitchen where the helpers are chopping and sorting. Sumathi and I are almost done in the main kitchen before clearing off counters and setting out plates and cutlery.
By 6:00, there's a crowd and they keep coming. S counts 75 but a few come and go all evening, as usual. We start the meal at 6:30 - and whew! It disappears into the long line of students and young professionals.
One of the bittersweet things is saying goodbye: one gal is moving to Germany this month. "Bye, Mom, I'll miss you so much," she says. I'll miss you too, sweet young lady.
We offer the caution to consider those behind them in line. "Please go back for seconds once everyone is though, ok?" but some plates are heaped inches deep. (But who cares, as long as everyone gets food and the food gets eaten, not tossed, right?)
A regular and his visiting brother honoring us during their limited time together.
As the food dwindles, during a second lineup, I ask the helpers to put supper on their plates. "Stash them in the back! There will be nothing for you if you don't take some now."

And sure enough, there's not even a grain of rice left (disappointing, since they usually have plenty of leftovers to take home.)
Just hanging out to talk...
During intermission, all the baking in the house gets eaten. We've put out the last of the cookies, all the snacks people have brought, and set out the fruit. It's gone in no time!
Celebrating a few birthdays, including for 2 Claudias
The classic and awful movie Galaxy Quest is a total hit. There's screaming, laughter, and afterward, lively conversation. People get up and move around, forming and re-forming new chat groups. They drift from living room to kitchen to porch, refilling their water glasses so they can talk some more.
"Please go through the neighborhood as quietly as you can. Try not to wake the neighbors, ok?" The house is empty by 11:00pm. Sumathi helps us close up before we all fall into our beds exhausted.

Thursday
It's a grading and writing day, between reordering the house. I put some tablecloths and a few slipcovers from chairs and sofa in the wash.

Since we're washing up, it might be time to change the LR from cream to purple. (Thanks to IKEA for their decades-old slipcover, so well-made that it has traveled to Indo with us.) I leave only one big picture in each space. Empty. A fresh start. Since the weather is the same all year, I appreciate a change in decor more than ever.
Before and after
The evening study is at the Bamboo Shack. We have so much fun with these guys. We alternate facilitating with having others lead: Beba and Alice agree to be in the hot seat next week.



Friday
Waldemar meets a friend for breakfast. Pascal has returned from his home village, bringing a hand-painted batik shirt for W and a length of fabric for me. Very pretty! (Perhaps I can sew a skirt with it after things calm down?)

For brunch, Sumathi and I walk with DrW to Ethnic, a restaurant nearby. The food is good. The company is even better. Our friend sneaks to the front counter to pay while we're not looking, (hey, thanks!) and then we walk home together.

We considered going to Pasar Baru (the big central market) but S is not feeling 100%. We relax instead. In the early afternoon, W and I take S to the airport. She makes it to Singapore safely by evening.

On the way home, W and I stop along the street at a wholesale flower market. It's late in the day, so for about $6, we get 6 big bunches of white mums and little purple stems, plus 5 "Queen of the Night" stems (white flowers that release their fragrance at night). When I open the newspaper to clip the flowers ... "Eeew! Yuck!" the mum are crawling with scale and mealy bugs. I strip the leaves into the sink and make 3 huge arrangements. (Live and learn. I'll check next time at the florist shed.) The 2-3'-tall bouquets are beautiful anyway.

After cleaning away bugs and floral debris, I'm not hungry. We snack and veg out with a TV program. Then it's bedtime. Thank you, God! The house is very quiet indeed.

Saturday
What a lousy start. I forget about my 6am walk with DrW. She kindly WhatsApps her faithless friend that she's off, after waiting in vain for me to show up. I'm puttering, getting ready for a big baking day.

One of the guys from the neighboring hill comes to pick the avocado tree. We have promised a full day's wage for picking the tree: someone may have to come back in a week or two to finish if all are not ready. The guy picks for 2 hours, and tells us the next crop will be done in a week or two.

However, he asks for the full amount, saying no one would come back on the second day. (I arranged this through an acquaintance; she says she probably misunderstood me.) W discusses and debates the arrangement with the picker, who is adamant. In the end, to keep harmony, W gives him the full amount but won't rehire him. I feel the turmoil of negotiations in a language we have not yet mastered.

It's a catch-up day, too. I have an online class to grade. Looks like there are 24 students enrolled, which is a multi-hour endeavor. They each write 4 things per week ... but I prefer to wait until everyone's assignments are in so the grading is equitable. That means a long day of grading ahead.

IbuA spends a full day baking to replenish the total devastation of everything food-like on Wednesday. "I'll be back Tuesday, and continue then," she promises.

Read more:
*Praise the Lord.


Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Psalm 150 NIV

(What else needs to be said?)

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?

(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.

Friday
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

Saturday
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.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sweet start

The sky is crashing above and the lights are flashing. There's a big storm rolling in from the mountains every afternoon. Usually, it hits before sundown but today at 6:30pm, the lightning and thunder are in full glory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2018
W's still a bit weak and under the weather after the stomach flu. Our helper carries the Christmas supplies up to storage. The house is back to normal - all the decor is put away, the vases washed, the furniture returned to its place. I enjoy the rhythm and changes that celebrations bring to the house.

One of the packing chores is getting the portable bathtub washed and put away. I shower before sitting in the bath 2 days in a row. W brought an RV filter back from his last trip. To keep bugs out, I cover the tub every evening. But on the third morning, the filtered water has turned green and there's a layer of scum on top of the water. EEeww. I drain the water and wipe down the tub before folding it away.

It feels funny to write "2018" on the date. It's that transition between what was and what will be that catches me off guard each year.

IESBandung has our first team meeting of the year, starting in the morning. The beautifully cooked lunch is thanks to Claudia, before we review the last year. We agree to a few goals and will work on specifics in the weeks to come. J and C's kids show us their rooms and some new artwork: their painting class has unleashed their creativity.

Wednesday
We start with a bowl of plain oatmeal and a kefir smoothie. A friend gave me a jar of kefir grains last year. More recently, she brought me a kembucha mother, which is thriving in its fourth sweet tea infusion. I pour some of the sweet and sour bubbled tea into the glasses. It settles the stomach.

For lunch, we're at Dr Wuri's house. She's invited us to celebrate her granddaughter, who is 20 days old. There's a neighborhood feast. Most of the neighborhood women have left but it's fun to meet her daughters and sisters and their families. The baby is adorable! She's a good eater and sleeper, too. (Seeing this little darling and her young mama - as we await our fourth cucu to arrive at any time - makes me homesick.)

Afterward, it's time for the monthly book group. We've read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The research on the resistance to assimilation into American culture by the Hmong is excellent. The story compelling. This will become one of my textbooks for teaching intercultural studies, especially anthropology and compassion care. After the study, several women give me their copies - which we'll distribute to libraries across SE Asia.

We drink tea and eat sweets during an afternoon of discussion. This is an unusual group of women: each of us has studied or lived cross-culturally. Few of us live in our "home" culture now.

We will celebrate 3 birthdays this month. Someone's ordered desserts and I brought some cookies from our New Year's stock.

W meets Andrew, as usual on Wednesday night. At home, I curl up on a rocker at home to read, catch up on emails, and write. The business leadership course I'm finishing online has taken a good chunk of the available day. The course is stimulating and exhausting (from an Australian university.) A pause before going to bed feels like a good thing.

Read more:*Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116:7
*The Lord has sent me to provide for those who mourn in Zion—to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. Isaiah 61:3
*Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
*My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Moravian Prayer: Sacred Friend, your presence is always with us. When we are lonely, you offer companionship. When our bodies and souls are weary, you offer refreshment. May we follow your example as we provide presence for one another. 
Healer, Redeemer, Binder of wounds, through your love all things are made new. We give thanks that in you we are made whole. In the name of the one who calls us beloved. Amen.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcome to the end of the YEAR OF OUR LORD 2017

Ornaments ready
Remember when some people thought the year 2000 marked the end of the world? There were predictions of catastrophic meltdowns, people stored puddings and canned goods in their crawlspaces so they could stay alive post-apocalypse, and we were told we were crazy because we thought every calendar day is like every other day to God. No worries.

18 years later ... God is still in control. We anticipate his good care of humanity in the year ahead, regardless of circumstances and human-caused hardships like migration, politics, and environmental concerns.

Friday, December 29, 2018
It's a day of odds and ends. I finish a painting and hang it in a guest room. We prepare the house for our 3rd annual New Year's Open House (on Sunday). We have no idea how many people are coming, which seems to be normal for our house.

I've painted 2018 onto the ornaments that our neighbors will take home, and the helper hung them on the sparkly white tree we snagged in post-Christmas sales last year. Earlier this week, we went to the 100 Day Memorial for a Catholic neighbor: they had last year's ornament on their tree. "I hung mine up, too," another neighbor says.

Saturday
Love these video calls - the 2-yr-old goofs off
We start with a walk-the-dog loop around our neighborhood.

I've been resting. Years ago, my dear mother-in-law told W (who is a restless bundle of energy) that I know how to rest: maybe she saw me "check out" after a big event. I can "do nothing" for a few days without a single ounce of guilt. I might cook a few meals, walk around, read a few books, paint or play piano, and tidy when I feel like it. Or not. Puttering, the Brits call it.

The ancient Roomba vacuum roams the office and the teras; I'm not in the mood to clean, though I'm finishing a batch of meringues. We have a lot of egg whites left over from pumpkin pies (a total of 8 pies, 4 egg yolks each, @ Thanksgiving). We used up about half of them, from Thursday to today.

Holiday baking (IKEA's amusing gingerbread cutters)
It takes so long for meringues to dry (we don't have precise oven control) so I burn a batch - oh the stink. And as soon as they're dry - on oven, off oven, on again, off again... - we have to whisk them off the warm cookie sheets into a bag, suck the air out with a straw (inhale, extract straw, ziplock, closed!) and pop them into the fridge.

It's not worth it, I tell myself on the third day of baking. They're delicious, but doesn't it make more sense to make one or two Angel food cakes? We'll do that with the second batch of egg whites. Another time.

While W is rushing here and there, running errands in town (hopping out to walk when the angkot vans are stuck in traffic), I stay home. He's asked, "Do you want to come along?"

Are you kidding me? I still have a whole day of puttering (and baking) left. Or so I think.

I don't like to spend Saturday working. But today I get sucked into three editing jobs by opening email. I need to send all of them on their way before the New Year. One is a fundraising newsletter for an innovative, worthy BAM project in Bhutan (please let me know if you could help launch this center); another is the chapter of someone's dissertation; and the last one is the final edit of an advisee's dissertation. I really want all of these to succeed.

A 100-day memorial mass
in our first house, earlier this week
W and I say yes to such projects because we deeply believe that this area of the world needs to be heard: and most of the world can only listen and learn from what is written down. I spend 2 more hours (after the +50 already spent editing and advising the dissertation) fixing grammar, taking out spaces, reformating footnotes and the bibliography, and making it print-ready. (Someone did the same for me - thanks, Dr. Annette Newberry! I'll never forget your kindness or your expertise.)

There's thunder but no rain. The dog hides outside. The lizards are running up the inside walls - drives me crazy if they dart toward me. Something about the way they run shocks me every time. I was up for a call at 11pm the other night, when one ran across the floor. EEEEEK. Some people think they're cute. I think they're hideous. And scary. I know they eat bugs. But they also poop all over and scoot in my direction. (Please do your job and enjoy the place while I'm in the other room. Thank you.)

I take a break after editing by browsing Facebook posts. Friends are writing about massive snowfall across Canada and the USA.

Happy me! Some people love to watch snow piling up from inside their house. They're holding a cup of cocoa and toasting their feet by the fireplace. Me? I like snow only on pictures from places far far away. haha
Can you see the warm rain?
In the evening, W's stomach starts to heave. He's up most of the night, ridding himself of a day's lunch and snacks. Poor guy.

Our granddaughter plays us a song
Sunday
I enjoy playing keyboard for church this morning. The regular musician in ill; she calls and ask if I can take her place. I've only played in public once in 3 1/2 years in Bandung.

Today is the second time. It feels like breathing, natural and sweet. (I started playing in church when I was 9.) We have a great bass player, who holds the band together. I lock into his rhythm and let the music flow.

We have to cancel our New Years Eve event. W is still too sick for company.

Our neighbor contacts her WhatsApp group with the cancellation notice. I put signs on the gate: the helper who delivered the invitations is in another city with her family. I don't know who has been invited, so a sign on the gate will have to do. It feels so rude, but there's no other way to notify our neighbors.

Happy New Years - to all of you tomorrow. We'll be going to bed early and resting into the New Year.

Read more:
*As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. Psalm 103:15-17
*From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
*Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16
*Paul wrote: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. Galatians 4:4–5
*So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Immortal God, give to us your mortal children the grace to receive new and everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word. Grant that this light, burning in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives. We pray through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Photo review: 2017


"The Flow" pretty much describes 2017
The end of the year is coming quickly. What was the most fun - or the most affirming for you in 2017?

On my desk are a few checklists: "Evaluate Goals," "Gratitude Reminders," etc. But the best boost for my year-end evaluation seems to happen when I steal quiet minutes in bed before the day begins. Memories and thanksgivings come easily.

This year has been full of opportunities. It's been challenging in as many ways. We got our one-year visa, a relief and a blessing. We've had hundreds of people over, written and edited, traveled to teach (not always together = time apart, plus hours of class prep and grading), and had several non-profit teams make our house their base while in Bandung.

Here are a few pictures for a peek at what we do. (FYI: I send a "New Normal" every week or so with a photo and short explanation of things we didn't encounter in N America. If you're interested, put your email in the comments. As soon as I snag it, I'll delete the comment. Or send it to me via my email.)
Weekly walks in the hills above the city when we're home
Celebrations with others
Friends on the journey (with a youth leader in Malaysia)
Weird traffic (see the horse and buggy among the cars?)
Monthly movie nights: menu on the fridge
... and then sampling the menu
Studies on the porch
Making connections: this time for preschool teacher training
Networking opportunities and challenges
Neighborhood women at the monthly arisan
Teaching (Jakarta)
Speaking (Bandung)
People coming and going
Online conferences
Strange-to-us transport
Airports and airplanes
And lots of local food - we are adventurous eaters
We love Indonesia. We've gotten to know students and non-profits around SE Asia. It's great to see people selflessly giving of themselves to improve life for others.

Read more:
*Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:1-4 NIV

*Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1 NASB

*A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. Isaiah 42:3

*This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

*Paul wrote: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. Galatians 4:4-5
Moravian Prayer God who came, who comes, and who is to come, find your resting place in the manger of our hearts. Abide with us and let us find our abiding place in you. In the name of the holy child of Bethlehem. 
God of completed things, we pray that, in the fullness of time, you will claim us and name us as your own children. In the name of the One who is Son of man and Son of God. Amen.