Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come with us on our first outing in Jakarta

Our first outing in Jakarta began by climbing into one of these babies. I can't even remember the name of it (some Indo-buddy, help me out!) but they are pretty interesting. Loud, stinky, sticky, held together by cardboard (at least the roof is) but CHEAP! It seems to us that most people in this city do not walk. The sidewalks are small and crowded with vendors and shops, so most people have motorcycles, cars, ride in these things or take a taxi. I prefer the taxi's. The are pretty cheap and very nice. They even have air conditioning. There is also a blue version of this thing, and those are pretty nice, too. They are faster, not loud and stinky, but I'm not sure if they are as cheap as the orange ones.
This is Joe's reaction to our first ride around the city. He did NOT want to get into this thing! Now, he always says, "I wanna get in a car," but he will get in these things now with out crying, at least.

These are some sights you might see out the window. We only took a 5 min ride to a nearby mall/grocery store.

People walking VERY closely to the traffic. It may seem completely crazy at first, but we've had several people tell us the drivers here are better than western drivers. This is because there are less guidelines, so people have to pay attention all the time, with every move they make. Sometimes, people in America (or other places) think if they just stay between the white lines and go somewhere around the speed limit, they don't have to think about anything else (I know that's how I am most of the time!) Anyway, I thought that this made sense after thinking of it that way.

Parking anyone??
Apparently there was a law recently passed to require helmets while riding motorcycles. I was surprised to see that almost everyone does! I guess this is one law that is enforced. And, they just stick their helmet on their handlebars or line then up on a nearby fence. I wonder if they always get their own helmet back??
This is us going through an intersection while all these people wait at a red light. Notice Starbucks coffee and Burger King in the background!

Lots of tall buildings scattered everywhere.

The kids checking out the ice cream selection at a grocery store. We were at a big mall with lots of shopping, and this grocery store was on the basement floor. We were told that if you find a mall, which there are a lot of, there is always a grocery store on the bottom.

More grocery store.

Hanging out.

Of course, no Saturday would be complete with out ice cream from Granddad. Okay, so he wasn't really here, but we made sure the kids knew they were getting it because he wanted them to have it! (Since we've lived in Houston, we always went out to eat on Saturday night with my parents and my dad always got them ice cream afterwards!)

On our way home.
And that concludes our little tour. Our lack of language is definitely noticeable and we do get a lot of stares, but the people are really friendly here and they are always nice stares!
We've enjoyed seeing a little piece of Jakarta, but we are glad that we get to go to our home in Salatiga tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Looking for the blessings-our trip in Indonesia!

A few days before we departed for Indonesia, our small group had a prayer time dedicated to our trip, our transition here in Indonesia and our ministry here. I think it might have been Jennifer who prayed that we would look for the blessings in the trip instead of focusing on the negatives. I was really challenged by this! I really expected there to be a lot of negatives, but I decided to focus on the blessings, and I was surprised that there were so many! I'll share with you a few...

It began Wednesday morning as we finished our packing. You can't really tell by this picture, but we checked TEN bags and had eight carry-ons, plus Joe's car seat. We were only planning on checking 9 plus Daniel's guitar, but right before our flight, we just couldn't fit all our last minute items into our bags. So, instead of unpacking and sorting through some things to leave behind, we decided to leave Daniel's guitar and just take another bag.

This is Daniel's family waving goodbye as we had just made it through security.

We had been praying a lot for the baggage check-in people to be gracious to us! God blessed us SO much by helping us get into the right line so that we could get the most gracious check-in person! We had several bags that were 1-2 pounds overweight, but he let them all slide through! I heard the ladies on either side of him charging other passengers the $160 it cost to have overweight bags. Also, he didn't make us weigh any of our carry-on bags, which I know some of them were very over the 15 lb weight limit. I also saw the other check-in people weighing other passengers’ carry-ons. But, the BEST blessing of all was when Daniel went to pay for the extra bags, they only charged us for one! This was really amazing because we were planning on having to pay $100 per extra bag, but it was actually $160 per extra bag.
Getting through security went pretty smoothly. They weren't using the full body scanners, and there didn't seem to be any drama about it. Picture above is us re-grouping after security.

Reece with her travel companion, Uni.

We got to the airport about 3 hours early for our 4:30pm flight, so we stopped for one last American meal. It was a really yummy meal of burgers and fries! Some man offered to take our picture :-)

Okay, so I've never been on a big airplane like this before, so thought I would take a picture for those of you who have never been on one either! I'm sure the other passengers thought I was crazy, though! This plane had 3 aisles of 3 seats. We were on the left. Reece and I sat together with one empty seat in our row and Daniel and Joe sat together right behind us with one empty seat in their row. So, that worked out really nicely for our first 11 hour flight to Moscow.

I'm really not sure what Joe did the whole time we were flying! I think he mostly slept and just sat with cowie. He did come up to sit with Reece and a I couple times, color, eat, play with the little toys I got him and I think he only fussed once before falling asleep. A couple times I walked with him up and down the aisles and we took visits to the bathroom for a change of scenery. He was such a good boy! We couldn't have asked for any better!

Reece and I had fun doing all kind things. We colored, played games, watched movies and ate a lot! She was so content to sit in her chair. I think she only got up to use the bathroom. It seemed like she only had to go on take-off and right when our meals came!

Reece loved all her new airplane surprises. We didn't even get to open most of them! They will keep us entertained for a lot longer here as we get settled.

Singapore airlines is amazing!! They were always bringing us something to make us feel better. And, this dessert right outside of Texas really made Daniel happy!! They were always bringing us hot towels, lots of meals and snacks, toys for the kids and they were always checking on the kids. If any of you come and visit, you have to take Singapore Air! They are wonderful!!

Reece making herself comfy! The kids went to sleep at about 8pm on Wednesday, and I think they would have kept sleeping except they turned on all the lights and started serving breakfast at 2am! Joe slept through most of it, so he got a good 7 hours, but Reece only got about 5. Daniel and I found it much more difficult to sleep since we couldn't stretch out. If Reece wasn't taking up most of our 3 seats during the night, then she was sleeping in the middle seat so I only had one seat to sleep in. But, the blessing was that the more tired we were, the easier it was to sleep in any position!

This is Joe coloring at the Singapore Airport, which is super fancy. But, I'll back up first to our first stop in Moscow. We had to get off the plane so they could clean it and take all our carry-on bags even though we were getting right back on the same plane. We only had about one hour in the airport, which was spent navigating our way through the smokey Russian airport. I guess it was really my first time to be a foreigner, and I really felt it! I felt like most people were giving me crazy looks, and maybe that was just because we had so many random carry on bags that we were lugging around, plus Joe’s car seat! But, after getting through the Russian security, we were able to get back on the airplane. I think the most difficult part of the trip was making our way through the different airports with two tired and distracted children, 6 carry-on bags and Joe’s car seat!

Our flight from Moscow to Singapore was about 10 hours, and it was much fuller, so we didn’t have our empty seat. But, that flight went well and we all slept more since we were so tired! I felt like we ate so many meals, including about 3 breakfasts!, but it was a good distraction. And, they made the kids meals special, so it was fun for the kids to eat.

We were so happy when we got to the Singapore airport because they had free luggage carts so we didn’t have to lug all our bags around! Another blessing! We were able to enjoy their beautiful gardens, have a Starbucks coffee, and all use the restroom before our short 1.5 hour flight to Jakarta. I did notice in the bathroom one stall that had a sign on it that said “squatting pan.” But, they also had a stall that had a child’s seat toilet, so it was just a very accommodating bathroom! :-)

On our first two flights, we sat in front of a mom with her one-year-old daughter and three-year-old, energetic son going to Cambodia! That poor mom! Her baby had a hard time sleeping, and I don’t think mom got any sleep! I was so thankful that I didn’t have to do that by myself!

Both the kids slept from take-off to landing on our last flight.

Reece had big plans to color and watch a movie, but she couldn’t keep her eyes open!

We got into Jakarta in the morning (Indonesian time) but it was just about our kids bed-time Houston time! We expected the airport to be crazy there in Jakarta, but it was fairly empty. Our line through immigration was very short (about 10 minutes) and ALL our bags were waiting for us at baggage claim. Some men loaded them all up on carts for us and we were on our way to find our ride. Once we found him, he said that he had never heard of anyone getting through the Jakarta airport that fast! What a blessing!

We got through the Jakarta traffic and arrived at our room in the guest house. There is a bed in the middle of the room for Daniel and I and another set of bunk beds to the left where Reece is sleeping. There is and air conditioner, which is nice, and a big common living/dining room area.

This was Reece and I right before our first outing into Jakarta! I will post more on that later. We have had a relaxing weekend trying to get over jet-lag (harder than we thought!) and we’re looking forward to getting to our house sometime later this week.

Now, hopefully I can get this posted if the internet will let me!

We are here!

From Houston to Jakarta-we made it!! We had a great, uneventful trip with two pretty happy and content children. I really don't think it could have gone any better! (Unless we got bumped to first class! :)

We are now in a guest house in Jakarta until Thursday. This city is HUGE, but we haven't really seen much yet. Right now it is 3:30 in the morning and we are trying our best to be quiet in the common living room as our kids run around and play! :) We arrived here yesterday morning (about the time our kids would normally be going to bed!) and were warmly greeted by the Koens family. They are a MAF family of 7, so our kids got to play together and we all had Pizza Hut together. It was pretty good pizza, too :) I think mine had soy sauce or something instead of pizza sauce.

Anyway, after the Koens family left, we all passed out. We were only supposed to take a nap, but about 7 hours later I woke up at 9pm! The kids were still sleeping soundly, so we decided to just stay asleep as long as we could. The kids woke up at about 12 or 1am and we have been up ever since then! I think we will try to nap until breakfast and then check out the town.

I kind of left out the whole story of our trip, but I will upload the pictures later and share more of that experience.

We are all really doing well so far. Things are fairly "normal" here in the guest house, so we are excited to see and experience some of Jakarta in the morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Big Day!

Tomorrow is the day that we move across the world!! We have prepared for this for SO long, and many of you have been helping us in SO many ways along the way, so we know you've been waiting for this day, too!!
Wow, I'm kind of speechless as I try to gather the words I need to describe how I'm feeling right now. There are SO many emotions going through my brain and heart, and yet is still seems surreal.
We have had a crazy day of getting last minute details figured out and saying many hard goodbyes. I will miss my family and friends so much!! There are so many exciting things about moving and being right in the middle of God's will for us right now, but it seems the sadness and fatigue of the day are setting in now.
But, before I close my last post from this side of the world for awhile, there are some prayer requests we have. We would be so grateful if you would pray for us tomorrow.
-Pray for grace at the baggage check-in. Some of our bags are a tad overweight, and we are hoping they will overlook this for us.
-Pray for content and sleeping children as we fly.
-Pray for our hearts to be joyful and excited about what the Lord is doing in our lives and in the world.
-Pray for our families and close friends as they will be missing us (mostly our children, I think!)
-Pray for us to lean on the Lord and seek Him as we enter into a new culture.
Thank you all so much for support, prayers, encouragement, gifts and your presence to us during this crazy last week. We love you all and will miss you!
We praise the Lord for His power and we want His name to be known in ALL the earth!!

A Glimpse into the lives of a family on a journey to serve God through aviation in Indonesia!