Berita Dari Jauh (News from afar)

Good morning.  I’ve been struggling with what to write about these past few days as I know we are pass due on getting something posted again.  Some of the difficulty I think lies in the fact that things have started to normalize a bit more making our daily life just a normal routine, even thou things are still vastly different from that of back home.  That and we haven’t been doing a very good job at taking pictures lately, sorry.

Probably one of the more news worthy things in the last couple days is Julie has started to drive a lot more on her own meaning we were having to share “Buzz”.  When it comes to vehicles I’ll be honest I like a little child that doesn’t what to share his favorite toy.  So for the last couple weeks we have been looking around a little and discussing whether another set of wheels would be a prudent purchase or not.  Couple of the exciting things that help make our discussion is well Julie can drive now fairly well and to go anywhere as a family is two trips.  Also I’m finishing up unit 3 now in language school and typically from what we’ve heard unit 4 is in the afternoon which means I could no longer pick the kids up from school.  And know that we have one set of wheels the thought of going back to walking just was going to be a hard pill to swallow.  Well maybe not that bad but any way I started to look at some other new bikes as I was wanting something with bigger tires and more clearance as I’ve heard that the roads in Papua are more suited for an off road style of bike.  That is probably my only complaint with “Buzz” is the low clearance.  When we are fully loaded with 3-4 of us on the back of “Buzz” I usually have to almost stop and stand up and walk over speed bumps to keep from dragging bottom.  Opps I digressed again anyway to shorten the story, a friend of ours here in Salatiga that helped us with our first purchase “Buzz” had a family member selling a used bike.  It wasn’t what I was originally wanting because it was on the small side only 125CC but after we saw it and heard the price we felt that I could learn to live with less power.  We haven’t name this one yet but probably will, as we had fun naming “Buzz”.

This pass weekend was also filled with some fun adventure mainly for just me.  Saturday morning I had the hankering for an explorational bike ride.  So I start out towards Solo from home and made it about 30kms down the road to about Boyolali I think.  It’s hard to tell here when one town stops and the next starts.  Its was here the the thought came to me to try and find the geocache that Isaac and I tried to find a while back.  So I turned around and head back to the place where Isaac and I had abandoned our search.  So about 30-45 mins later I arrived close to the spot.  Traffic is slow here and when there is no traffic the roads or streets are small and full of speed bumps so 50km/hr is fast here.  The streets were getting very narrow at this point and very steep.  So it was time to park “Buzz” and set out on foot.  I started by just pulling of the side of the road and parking but some locals that were working on a roof of a mosque nearby insisted that I park closer to where they were working so I did, which is a good thing but I’ll get to why later.  The Javanese people are very social people they like to visit, which means that they really appreciate if you briefly stop and greet them, they usually ask where your going.  In this case I was just out for a walk. probably about 20 mins into the hike during one of these brief conversations I thought maybe I should ask the name of the mountain I was hiking up. It seemed that this hike to the top of the mountain was taking longer than the description for the geocache.  And low and behold I was on the wrong mountain.  The mountain with the geocache was the next one over.  Things were starting to make sense now why I was getting conflicting info from my GPS.  Well I’m already a good ways up the mountain I mite as well keep going. It wasn’t to far after that I came across a road again.  I’d been hiking on a trail/street for a while by this time.  As I’m hiking up the road I pass a few people working along side the road and a few caring their work on their backs up/or down the hill.  I eventually caught up to 3 men walking the same direction so I walked with them for a while and visited sort of.  They talked fast and so I didn’t catch a lot of what was said oh well.  Eventually a truck came along and they all jumped in.  I could have too but I was already a long ways away from “Buzz” and I had no idea how far they were going.  Then after a quick call home to see how things were  Julie express her desire for me to return so she could have a turn driving “Buzz”.  So down the mountain I went.  Things look different going down.  I was doing pretty good up until the just before the house I made the discovery of being on the wrong mountain.  Things didn’t look quite right so I went a little further taking the slightly wider path to the left.  Rounding the next corner I knew I had made a wrong turn but where, Ahh!!  And as usual the people standing outside their house asked where I was going.  But this time okay I know I’m a little lost how am I going to ask for directions.  So in my broken Indonesian I was able to describe that I wanted to go to a mosque nearby that was getting a new roof.  I’m so glad I parked there now, made for a great point of reference.  So then the gentlemen kindly walked me back up the hill maybe 200 yards or less to where I had made my wrong turn, wah now things looked familiar again.  I made back to “Buzz” and headed for home.  It was a lot fun.  Then yesterday on the new bike I went back to find the road that I hiked on because according to the Google maps the road circles through and around  both mountains.  This time I didn’t have to ask for directions but I did stop and pull my phone out once in a while to see how lost I was getting myself this time.  It was a beautiful ride I would love to take Julie or one of the kids along but I’m scared with the sharp corners and the incredibly steep grades that it might not be a good idea for a while.  To illustrate the some of the steepness of the grades.  It was after stopping briefly to take some pictures I was able to start the bike back up letting roll a few feet down the hill in 1st gear and it started.  Typically a start like that you need to be in the 5th or 4th gear.  Maybe next weekend I’ll try getting lost somewhere else or maybe try and find the road from the other direction.

Another news note worthy item probably, one that is old news already but I think we have failed to communicate to most people is we have had a house guest now for just about 2 months.  Her name is Stephanie, she is a retired school teacher that has come to Indonesia to teach English and music at a school in Papua that helps tribal kids transition from the bush to life in the classroom and then on to higher learning.  She will be staying for us for another month yet while she completes one more unit of language.  She is hoping to finish the first 3 units before heading to her assignment for the start of January’s semester.  We have enjoyed having an adopted grand-mom for the kids.  They have enjoyed having Aunt Stephanie live with us.  It has also allowed Julie and I to slip away for time together and running errands around town.  Our family has grown in away since coming here, but it’s soon to shrink again with Stephanie moving to Papua next month and us moving across town leaving Tina (dog) behind as the owners return to claim their house and dog back.  Speaking of which this up and coming move has been a dark burden on me not sure why really.  I ask for prayer in this matter that my heart is softened to the move, it has also driven a wedge between Julie and I a bit.  I should maybe close out this blog post here as it is starting to get long.

Blessings
Greg

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