Thursday, October 14, 2010

This and That

Good Morning!  Well, morning for me, probably evening yesterday for many of you.  It's strange to be living in the future compared to my friends and family in the States.  It makes me start thinking about how time is so arbitrary, really it's just something we humans made up so we could satisfy our need for boundaries.  I'm starting out quite philosophical this morning, apparently!

It's a sunny, beautiful morning and I'm sitting in the living room listening to the birds twitter and the melodic sound of sawing and hammering.  The team of guys that have been working on finishing our house have dwindled to one guy, and he is working on putting up the porch roof and then the house will be completed as far as structural work goes.  It will be so great to be able to clean up the dust and dirt that is constantly on everything from the construction work and also not to have workers in and out of the house all the time.  I'm a little worried that we are making a bad impression on our Indonesian neighbors.  So, Chris leaves for work and soon after he leaves a young Indonesian guy comes over and stays until before Chris gets home (sometimes he leaves after Chris get home) can see how that does not look very good, especially in a culture that is so sensitive to the interactions between men and women.  I am hoping they see that he is working, if not, we may have some explaining to do!  The only thing we will need the workers to come back to do is install the cabinet and sink in the bathroom.  The cabinet/sink was delivered a couple days ago and I was excited for about 10 seconds, then I realized that there was something very strange about the sink...

It was tiny!!!  As you can see it is about the width of my hand, the whole thing is about the size of a small shoebox.  I call it the 'Barbie Sink'.  It is also set so far back in the cabinet that you would have to lean WAY over to do anything-I can't even imagine how Chris would be able to shave in it...actually I can imagine it and it would be messy!  Chris and I decided that, although we try to roll with most things and not complain too much, we were going to have to send the cabinet back with a request for a larger sink.  We actually went out yesterday and found a sink that will be more functional.  We were cracking up at this mini sink-who uses something like that, and for what?!  When the sink & cabinet are completed they will need to be installed by the workers, I am hoping that happens next week-that is being really optimistic!

Grocery shopping-I promised pictures, and here they are...

This is one of the four-five main stores that we stop at to get groceries-one of the other ones is right next door and it is called Golden.  You have to visit both stores because they have different things at each store.  There are many other stores too, but you have to limit yourself to getting most of your things at a few, otherwise it would take literally all day to grocery shop.  

The inside of Galaxy-not all that different from an American grocery store...except for the products, which are really different!  I like to try and buy something new, often I'm not even sure what it is exactly,  just to discover new Indonesian products and hopefully find some new favorite foods.  So far I haven't hit upon anything spectacular enough to share about.

Here's another grocery store, Setia Budi II (I'm not sure where Setia Budi I is...I should figure that out)  that is decidedly more Indonesian than Western-style.  It is smaller, not as clean, and more crowded.  It seems like more Indonesian people go here than either Galaxy or Golden, the parking lot is always crowded with car and motorcycles.  They were selling goldfish in bags outside of the store, so I had to get a picture of reminded me of a carnival in the States, except I'm not sure if the fish were for pets or for eating.  I hope for pets because they don't look like very good eating!

Here is one of the guys that regulates parking in the grocery store lot, you have to pay about 10 cents (1000 rupiah Indonesian) and he arranges your bike in the lot and sometimes attempts to stop traffic so you can get out of the parking lot.  He only stops traffic for cars though.  I find it really funny how they stop traffic here.  Basically they give kind of a limp-wristed wave and walk out in front of cars.  People like to do the limp-wristed wave when they are driving too-it basically means "Hey, I'm about to do something that is at the best rude and at the worst dangerous that defies any framework of driving rules that may be established in your mind, and you are going to let me do it with no questions, complaints or retaliatory hand gestures."  It's actually pretty funny, and I'm sure once I start driving I may employ it as needed!

You may be wondering where the pictures of the mounds of beautiful fruits and vegetables, chickens (dead and alive) and other meats are.  Those things are sold at the Pasar, which is best traversed by someone who speaks good Indonesian and knows how it works.  I have only walked through it, and let me add, saw the biggest cockroach I have ever laid eyes on trotting along in broad daylight over some unsuspecting was DISGUSTING!!!  I am definitely not ready to try to shop there myself. This week one of the sweet MAF ladies sent her house helper to go for me.  Next week our house helper starts work two days a week, and one day will be going to the Pasar and then cleaning the meat and vegetables that she buys there.  So, no pretty pictures of veggies or fruit...or cockroaches.  Maybe some other time when I gather my courage to go to the Pasar again.

I wrote about people carrying crazy things with them on their motorcycles, and I have been waiting to get a picture of one of these to share, and in the last few day I have caught two.  We were driving both times I saw them, so the pictures aren't great

These guys are amazing, they carry an entire store on the back of their motorcycle.  Both of these men have food and spices, but others have kids toys, trinkets and balloons.  It's really funny to see them driving down the street weighed down by all that stuff, I don't know how they do it without losing anything.

As I have been settling into the house I have taken a couple of pictures of animal friends, or soon-to-be animals friends.  The other day I looked out our side door and guess what I saw...

Yes, those are cows (steers?) grazing on our neighbors lawn.  They wander around from time to time.  They were quite shy to have their pictures taken though, and actually started lumbering away stampede-style-I'm sure the neighbors were less than pleased-oops!  I was telling the bovines to please find their friends that produce milk and bring them around...milk that doesn't sit on a shelf, cheese, fresh butter...all beautiful dreams that could come true with a milk cow in attendance!

The workers moved some plywood from one side or our garage area to the other and I found these behind it

After consulting one of the MAF kids, who is pretty much a jungle animal expert, I found out that they are gecko eggs and the more geckos you have, the less I left them there.  Geckos don't bother me, but roaches are another matter.  I haven't seen any action with the eggs yet, although I did see a tiny gecko running around yesterday, so maybe they are beginning to hatch. 

I have been feeling just a little sad the last few days.  I think as things are less busy and I have more free time I feel more lonely and out of sorts in this foreign place.  I will start with my language tutor 3-4 days a week either next week or the week after, and our house helper starts on Mondays and Thursdays next week, so I will be busy trying to communicate with her-she speaks little to no English, so that will be an interesting challenge!  As I get more of a schedule it will probably be easier to chase the blues away.  All and all I am still liking it here-it's so beautiful and warm and different.  I wish you could all experience it first hand-come and visit anytime, I promise we will clear the junk out of our guest room and even get a bed for you!

So long for now!



  1. Love the motorcycle photos and your cow friend!

  2. You have a gift of communicating these things in an engaging and very humorous manner. Heather and I love to read your entries! You guys are in our prayers. Ricky

  3. Geckos, yay! That would be so cool to have gecko eggs and geckos around. I think I would enjoy that quite a bit.