Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Living in a small town

Since our arrival, people here have been anxious to know how we like living in Salatiga. Our reply has been and continues to be that we like living in Salatiga. A typical comment to our reply is that Salatiga is a nice small town.
Now I recognize that one's perspective is almost everything, however I'm not to the point where I would call Salatiga small. Our previous two homes were in nice small communities; Communities of two thousand or less. Salatiga is a community of roughly 176,000 with the population swelling to close to 250,000 as people travel into town for the day.

The picture to right was taken at the north end of the downtown area looking south. Shops line both sides of the street and continuing south about a half a mile. Behind the shops lie more shops and vendors, each happy to sell you something.

The challenge of shopping here is that you may visit 4-6 different shops to get the little bag of stuff that you will carry home. For instance, I purchased a light bulb and extension cord at one shop, brought bread and a few groceries at another, purchased canned goods and soy sauce at another, fabric at another, hooks for hanging things in Dana's classroom, some charcoal tablets (for an upset stomach that I've been trying to calm for a week) and a few plastic baskets at yet another shop.

Mind you, none of these stops is quick. In shops here you must either hunt for things or try to explain what you are looking for to the shop keeper. In some stores, once you have found what you are looking for you must take it to a desk where someone hand writes a ticket for you. Then you take the ticket, to a cashier and pay for the items you want. In the mean time, someone has brought your items to the cashier. Upon payment, the cashier gives you the "stuff" you purchased. Shopping in Salatiga is certainly a different experience than at Super Wal-Mart in the states!

The pictures of house tops was taken from the top floor of a hotel in Salatiga. Like in large cities, people here build up not out. In fact as you look across the house tops you will notice very few green spaces. Trees grow along the sidewalks and streets. There are a few green spaces but nothing like what we've been accustom to living in the rural Midwest.

I find the constant flow of people and traffic somewhat exhausting so I'm always thankful to get back to our community and home which is less than a mile from downtown. I'll take the roosters crowing, goats bleating and cows lowing over the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Can you see our house? Let me know if you can, because I can't. I think our neighborhood is located somewhere left of the six tall trees on the right of the picture. Blessings, Jeff

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Pictures from our Hike

Indonesian Sunset

Greetings to everyone! I know Jeff posted yesterday, but last night we went hiking with some friends up what they termed a "hill"...in Oklahoma & Nebraska it would be called a "mountain!" We arrived just before sunset and then climbed a good distance up...all the way to the top. We could see seven volcanoes, one was even smoking! Don't be alarmed it's not about to erupt. The view of our new world was breath-taking. God has created an amazing world and being in Indonesia gives our family a different perspective on life. We did watch the sunset behind the volcanoes and when the last rays were hidden we began the climb down. I had thought the climb up was interesting and it was light then! The climb down definitely went faster, even though it was dark. Thank goodness for the flashlights! It was a wonderful time and we look forward to many more hikes and days of exploring in our new world.

What makes a home?

So, what does make a home? Is the title of a "home" dependent on location or style? I hope not. This is our new home. It is made from the standard buildings, concrete and bricks. The roof is tile. The porch floor is covered with a smooth maroon tile while the rest of the house is covered with white. The cool tile feels good on one's feet. A less obvious benefit of white tile is that you can see the many creatures who share the home with us. The regulars are geckoes, large winged ant-like termites and small concrete eating ants. Frequent visitors include wasps, beetles and a lizard that is somewhat larger than a gecko. The obvious downside to white tile is that it shows dirt, which we have in abundance. Dirty footprints cover the floor after the kids come in. In the U.S. we often sought to get things clean and hopefully keep them that way. Here we are learning to live with the understanding that the word clean can include a few ants and footprints on the floor. Perhaps this is God's way of helping us realize that we don't so much arrive as Christians, but instead must daily sweep and mop the floors of our souls.

The top picture is of the front of our Indonesian home. Below it is the view from the road traveling west. Third from the top is what we see when we look south from our porch and the last picture is the road east from our home. The road east is what we take to get to school. As you can see, the term road can be applied to all varieties of paths, but that is a story for another time. Blessings, Jeff

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Praise God we arrived safely

I apologize for the delay in our blogging. Apparently the internet provider is out of Hong Kong so everything is in Chinese. We arrived in Salatiga safely and are slowly adjusting to life in a different country. I'm late for a prayer bunch, but I will post pictures and share a few stories about our time here later. Jeff