Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I’m actually writing this on Thursday morning because Wednesday got pretty busy!

6:00am – Up early again, we ate breakfast, Chris got ready.

7:00am – Chris left for another long day of flying.  I got ready for the day and out the door to head to tutoring.

8:00am – Arrived at tutoring with my second tutor.  My first tutor is who comes to our house to work with me on Mondays and Tuesdays.  My second tutor works on the staff of one of the local churches, so I drive over to meet with her at the church office before she starts work for the day.  I like working with her EXCEPT that she loves to make me sing Indonesian songs solo in front of the other people that work in the church office, which is more than a little embarrassing.  I am stumbling through these lyrics in Indonesian with a new tune in the company of several native speakers.  They always act like I do a great job; I think they’re just being nice.  It’s fairly mortifying really.

10:00am – Finish tutoring and head to the grocery store for a few items and to the bakery.  

The bakery I usually get bread from, and sadly no, they don't sell blueberries : (

The front of the bakery.  It is one of the few places I know of in town where wheat bread, as opposed to white bread, is made regularly.  Since whole wheat flour is not available in Tarakan, buying wheat bread at Blueberry Bakery is the only alternative to the Wonder-bread-like options available at other local stores/bakeries

Inside the bakery
At the bakery they sell these yummy little packets wrapped in banana leaves-I don’t remember what they are called in Indonesian, but my friend calls them rice sandwiches, and I think that’s a great description.  When the banana leaf is unwrapped there is lemony steamed rice inside filled with something like dried, sweetened chicken.  I know that probably sounds really gross, but it is actually yummy.  

The "rice sandwich" opened up

I bought one for lunch along with a chocolate-filled croissant.  A word about Indonesian baked goods-they generally look quite pretty and don’t taste very good at all.  They are often bland or filled with weird fruit stuff.  However, I heated the croissant in the microwave when I got home, and it was probably the best bakery item I have had since arriving in Indonesia.  With my fun Indonesian Starbucks mug of cappuccino (from a grocery store packet...but that's okay) it was just right. 

The surprisingly good croissant and the "rice sandwich" before I opened it
11:00am – Ate the early lunch described (and pictured) above.  Did morning work that I didn’t have time to do before tutoring and finished taking stuff out of the guest room to get ready for the furniture to be delivered.  I started laundry, as I do every Wednesday.  Laundry is pretty much an all-day venture here with each load taking about 45 minutes to wash and 1 1/2 to 2 hours to day.  I don't mind doing it though.  I am one of those strange people who actually kind of enjoy doing laundry-there's a confession for you!  

I spent awhile writing emails and making calls trying to get arrangements pinned down for some upcoming events with the MAF team-I am realizing through writing down my day-to-day schedule that I spend a LOT of time on the computer, especially lately!  All the while I was anxiously waiting for the furniture to come-we ordered it about 2 months ago and I expected it to come last week, so I am excited about getting it!

2:00pm – The gentleman who takes care of our yard came-we talked a little bit, mostly about how windy it’s been lately and how many giant leaves have been blowing down from the trees by our house.  Chris sent me a text message wondering if the furniture was here yet-nope-and let me know his flight day would be longer because he had to take a body back to one of the villages.  Those are usually sad flights, the ones to take a person’s body back to his or her home village for burial.

3:00pm – The furniture arrived!  The furniture-maker and his workers carried the bed up in pieces along with the other items we ordered, and then assembled them.  Everything turned out good overall, although the side table is quite a bit bigger than I pictured, but it will do.  It reminds me of the part in Alice in Wonderland where everything is huge and she is tiny!  The hours slipped by as I organized our papers into the desks and put things away.  It’s so great to finally be able to bring some order to the chaos.

5:15pm – Chris came home and I gleefully showed him the new furniture.  He liked everything, of course, since he is much less picky than I am.  We hopped on his motorcycle to go buy a mattress, a desk chair, and a couple pillows for the bed.  We got everything at one store and their delivery guys followed us home and brought in the new purchases. 

6:00pm - Chris and I ate dinner and he told me about his flight day.  Flying the body back to the village was a sad situation.  The woman who died had just been released from the hospital with a terminal diagnosis, and she was hoping to return to her village to spend time with family and friends before passing.  Sadly, she didn't get the chance.  Chris said her son and several other men brought her body and flew back to the village with it, and they were all quite somber.  A large procession of people met the plane at the airstrip to mourn with her family. 

Not only is taking a body interior sad, the reality is, it can come with a pretty unpleasant odor.  The Cessna 206 plane that Chris flies is very small without a lot of ventilation, and the weather here is very hot and humid, so it can get kind of rough.  Chris said the people who went with the body on the flight today all had handkerchiefs over their noses, and Chris was struggling to bear the scent.  Sorry if that is really yucky to hear about, I just want to be honest about the realities Chris faces flying here day-to-day.

We spent the rest of the evening organizing things and putting them away.  We both were actually in bed by around 9:30pm, although we didn’t go to sleep quite that early.  We were tired after a busy day!

More later!


  1. Tell Chris my sympathies are with him. I too have had to deal with dead bodies, literally handling them, though not for abt two years, thank God. I always wonder if they knew the Lord and am quick to say a prayer for them and their families.

  2. Btw, it is good and pleases God to appreciate what our spouses do, even if what we do is equally valuable or by some people's standards, more.