Selamat Siang! (Good late afternoon)
WE ARE NOT HOMELESS ANYMORE! We finally moved into an apartment yesterday. For us it is amazing news. We feel we have been homeless for so long, but today my clothes came from a closet, not a suitcase.
It is so much fun to do business when you have to play charades to let the other person know what you are talking about. But, I must say it would have been impossible without Ari, the young Indonesian who works for the mission home. He finally brokered the deal. We live in a “high rise”. The only one in Solo. It is a hotel/residence called the Paragon. We actually live in relative luxury, because we have A.C. and windows, and sinks and a toilet. We do not have hot water, (we will have, just in the shower, soon), an oven, or a washer (no one has a dryer).
Yesterday we went to the Hyper-mart which is the local grocery store to get the necessary things to outfit our home. Everyone must have a large teapot to boil water for their large water dispenser so that you have boiled water to use for cooking and washing your produce. We use the tepid water with soap and a titch of Clorox to wash our dishes, etc. Anyway, we filled two carts and when we went to check –out we actually became the store attraction. People came and watched us, checked out our nametags, tried to speak to your Dad, it was so funny. But just like America, they have a Hyper-mart card and we didn’t have one. So this man, who had asked us where we came from, had them swipe his card which produced a savings for us and we gave him the gadzillion bonus stamps that came shooting out of the cash register. His family helped us out of the store, which is in the basement of the Grand Mall, up the escalator ramp (yes it is an escalator where the stairs just do not form) and out of the Mall to get our taxi. We loaded that poor taxi, and then with the help of the doorman, the guard, and the taxi driver, unloaded the whole thing onto a hotel luggage cart and up to 109, our home.
Today we went to church to watch the Sunday sessions of Conference. I know you have already digested the amazing talks. I was so impressed with the call to press forward, be patient, and have faith. As usual it seemed every talk was for me. We watched it in the R.S /Font room with the Grover’s, the Elders, and a couple of Indonesians wanting to improve their English. Everyone else was in the chapel.
It is amazing in Solo. SLC must be getting ready for a burst of growth here, because there are four branches and there are two nice buildings with two branches each. The Church has invested a lot in its infrastructure in Indonesia. It is as though they want things in place before the growth happens. It will be wonderful to work hard so those blessings can happen.
After conference we attended a baptism at the Soeporno building. Many from the congregation had stayed to see a young man about 17 be baptized. The youth, about 25 in all from both branches, sang two songs. These people LOVE to sing.
We were introduced to the District President who invited us to correlation meeting next week. It is also one of the branch conferences that week. We will also be following the Grovers around for the week. They have done tremendous good here and we need to do some learning before they leave next month. So, finally we are getting started. As you all know, missions teach patience.
Well, I am going to go fix spaghetti for Elder Greenway. Yes! The Indonesians love “macaroni” in every shape, and we also found some spaghetti sauce. Wish me luck! Yesterday when I opened my flour a big bug crawled out. I thought perhaps that was something I would just have to get used to, but Sis. Grover said “No!” So I’ll dump it out. I now wait for things to crawl out of our food. Oh! Speaking of crawly things, we have two (at least) little Cicuks (pronounced Cheechuks) living with us. They are tiny lizards that are very common here. They eat the bad stuff so you leave them alone. One is hiding under our clothes drying rack, and the other is tucked down in the large decorative headboard of our bed. We have named them Winston and Andrew (our family will get this); we hope they should not have been named Winston and Tess!
Well, now I will add my two cents (or 2000 rupiah). While your Mom, Sister Greenway, was writing, I was trying to read. If you remember, we were told to buy Kindles and to get the lighted covers because the lighting was so dim here. Well, that is so true! We are in a new, modern apartment and the lighting consists of bare CFC bulbs of about 60 watt equivalents in ceiling fixtures in our 10-12 ft. ceilings. Because we are at the equator, the days and nights are equal so sunrise is about 6 am and sunset is about 6 pm. It is 6:09 pm and it is dark outside (it was cloudy today so it is a little darker a little sooner). Therefore, we need the lights on fairly early - so we notice the dimness of the lighting as opposed to the brightness of daylight coming through the windows. Also above the sink/stove area are two LED lights which are very much like flashlights! Enough about lights.
In spite of assurances, keeping in mind the language challenges, we do not have the internet in our apartment, yet. We were told that we would have WEFE (Wi-Fi), but apparently the WeFe is only for the hotel guests not her residents. The Grovers will help me with that, too. We’ll let you know when it is up and running – hopefully, tomorrow.
Your Mom mentioned the HyperMart. I got an application for a HyperMart card and it asked for: name, address, email, religion, and blood-type, and if I would be willing to donate my blood. No thanks, I’ll just use my VISA!
Everything else seems to be falling into place little by little. We are still real greenie’s. But like your Mom wrote – most people are very friendly and willing to be helpful with the language and otherwise. Mom told you about the family that helped us at HyperMart. She didn’t tell you about the family at the shoe store.
Sister Greenway needed a pair of sandals so we were shopping around the Grand Mall (HyperMart is in the basement) and this fellow noted my name tag. He pointed and in fair bahasa Englis called me elder and then showed me a picture of himself with the two sister missionaries in Solo. “These are my good friends,” he said. He then introduced us to his wife and daughter and granddaughter! Oh, the Indonesians love to have their pictures taken with the “bulais” (bulays). So we should be able to get some members’ pictures as we become more familiar.
Another interesting cultural anomaly. Table knives are not used. We have yet to see any except at the mission home. They eat with a soup spoon in the right hand and a fork in the left. Stuff is torn apart using the two and then eaten with the spoon. I’ve been trying it with limited but increasing success. Every dish contains either fried noodles or rice so you can see the practicality. Also, most meals are served with a scoop of rice (it looks like it was put in a cup and then the cup inverted so the rice is in a formed shape) with the other meal ingredients placed around the rice.
And finally, the love of coklat (chocolate)! They have two basic cold breakfast cereals – corn flakes and coklat. One corn flake and at least ten coklat cereals! They even pour coklat milk on their coklat cereal! I thought that that might be approaching semi-sweet status, but Sister Greenway says NO! They also have whole wheat, white and coklat chip bread.
And finally, Sister Greenway may be going completely bulai! It was a big duh for her to realize that you can only buy dark hair color here in Indonesia. You do not see any extreme hair colors, like a blond Indonesian. Nada Zip Zero. So unless someone can get your Mom’s color up in Jakarta, white she will be.
Well, this is all for now. We love and pray for you and love to see or at least hear from you on Skype. We are grateful for your love of the Gospel and for your prayers of support.
Love Elder & Sister Greenway