February 22, 2012

In Photos...

If it doesn't rain here by early afternoon, there's a chance that you might get some pretty neat cloud formations as the sun gets close to setting. A few times I was kicking myself for not having my camera, as I think it is so neat to see big ol' cumulus nimbus clouds reach up into the sky to be lit up on the side, and sometimes underneath by the sun.

I purposely did not mess with the colour in the picture above, as one evening everything started glowing an orange / red right around sunset. At least that is what it looked like to my colour blind eyes :)

Even chickens like to watch soccer in Indonesia.

Si and Helena bright and early with a couple of their teachers at the pre-school.

The little dirt road to the pre-school with Mt. Merbabu over looking in the back ground. This was the 2nd clearest day for viewing Mt. Merbabu that I have seen. It is usually either cloudy and raining, or else hazy with smoke (as all the burning is obviously done during the shorts periods of no rain).

Mt. Merbabu is 10318ft high, making it 456ft shorter than Mt. Sir Donald for all you Revelstokians...Or about 6000ft (plus) higher than Grouse Mountain for all you Lower Mainlanders.

February 14, 2012

Candi Gedong Songo

It's always nice to get out of the house as a family, so last weekend we decided to check out Candi Gedong Songo. They are a series of Hindu temples ('candi' is pronounced 'chandi' and means 'temple') around a one hour trip from our town. These temples were built in the 8th or 9th century, as during that time period Central Java was home to a predominately Hindu & Buddhist kingdom. A century or two later, the centre of this kingdom moved east and away from Central Java, maybe due to the threat of other people groups, or maybe because of a volcanic eruption...The latter I can believe as you can see numerous volcanoes from just about any high point around here.

So now that you have a short, vague, and possibly incorrect (I cite the internet as my infallible source of knowledge) understanding of the history of first millennium Central Java, maybe I should share a few pictures...

At the start of the walking path, there is a large stable with a whack load of saddled horses and their guides. At first, we had no plan on hiring a horse, but then we figured maybe we'll acquire just one horse, and the kids can share. Well...the guys with the horses were smarter than us, because two of them followed behind us at a safe distance with two more horses, just waiting for the reality to hit Simon and Helena that Luke was on a horse and they weren't.

Parental pleas of "Just wait, you'll get your turn" just didn't cut it. So, before you knew it, Luke, Si, & Helena were each on a horse of their own, and Amy and I were huffing away trying to keep up.

As it turned out, it was the highlight of our trip as all three kids loved it!  There were lots of loud exclamations of excitement such as:
"Look at me!!!"         
"Giddee up horsthy!"     
"My horse just pooped!"
"Mine is having a snack!"      

When thinking of the natural flora of a tropical country such as Indonesia, I can't say pine trees are the first thing to come to my mind. Yet, go up in elevation a bit, and there they are! You could even get a faint aroma of that pine forest smell, and for a moment I thought I was back home in BC.

(Some of these photos are washed out a bit as it is so extremely bright when the sun is out...and I wasn't paying attention.)

Ruins of some structures that were too far gone to ever rebuild in any likeness of the original.

As good Canadians, it was very much a surprise that you could walk right up to, and even walk right inside 1100 year old temples.  It was surprising to have no ropes, fences, or big signs surrounding each site talking about the great lengths each and everyone of us should all aspire to ensure the gentle preservation of a special piece of human history. That said, the sites were all very clean, and there was no graffiti that we noticed. Except I did notice some very old Arabic looking writing, which could have translated "So-and-So wuz here" or "Grad 1432".

The above picture is another temple which is across a small valley from where we made it to. It was very beautiful to be up on the mountain side. It felt familiar with the mountains and the pine trees, and yet it held different type of natural beauty I was unfamiliar with, as it was my first outing away from roads and cars in Indonesia. There was also the knowledge that many generations of people called this place home many years ago, and toiled and slaved to build what they did.

I am so thankful to know the Creator of this beauty, as the knowledge of Him is a gift He chose to give to me, something I definitely have not earned. To be up in a place like this and to know and love Him who made the pine trees and formed the hills, is almost overwhelming. Natural creation just resounds with the character of God.

Have you not known? 
Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He does not faint or grow weary; 
his understanding is unsearchable.

Isaiah 40:28  (esv) 

February 12, 2012

In Photos

Here are a few photos of a sunny morning in our town...

I can't remember the name of this Elephant-ish deity, but I do know this is a Hindu statue. As it is marking the beginning of a street, there would be a bit of irony involved if you were to crash into such a statue and hurt your head...considering it has skulls all over it.

This man uses the cart he is pushing to collect garbage. Kind of like the 'Garbage Truck' back home but minus the truck. As far as the shirt goes, he may not know what is actually written on it, as many Indonesians tend to wear clothing with all types of 'colourful' sayings, seemingly oblivious to the English meaning. But then again, maybe this guy does know what it says! Either way, pretty neat.

This older fellow (but probably quite fit) is pushing a "Becak" or pedal bike taxi contraption. They're quite common here. Amy has rode on one but I have not. I can't say it would feel right to have a guy old enough to be my Dad pedalling me around as I put my feet up. Unless of course, it was actually my Dad :)

The tower on a rather large "Masjid" or Mosque near the down town square. There are many many Mosques even just in Salatiga. But the majority of them are smaller, some not much bigger than the average house. We are fortunate not to have one right next door to our home because of the noise factor, but we can hear up to 5 or 6 of them at one time at any given call to prayer. After a while, it thankfully becomes more of a back ground noise that you sub-conciously tune out. And, I also find it is a kind of clock, as it can remind one roughly what time it is! If you wake up to it, you know it is roughly 4:30am...too early.

February 9, 2012

Our Triple Play....

As Charlotte turned 9 months old earlier this week, it made for an interesting milestone in her life, as her family was not exactly in the middle of a 'normal' routine when God brought her along.

Charlotte was born last year on May 7th in Prince George, Canada. In the 3rd week of July Charlotte moved to Southern Idaho. She stayed there approximately 3 months and then came back up to Canada for about 3 more weeks. She then made the big move to Indonesia and now have been here around 3 months.

That makes roughly 3 months in 3 different countries! Considering I (Dad) had never spent more than 3 months outside of Canada (at one time) until now, we're really proud of each one of our kids, including our multi-cultured baby girl!

A little cryin' during Charlotte's first bath in the Prince George Hospital.

A little droolin' outside our home at MAF Headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.

Thinking about walking...but thankfully just thinking about it so far.

February 5, 2012

Random Pictures of a Saturday

On top of school and such, this last week we were excited to help welcome the arrival of three new MAF families who will begin language school next unit. 

So......After a full week, why not a few shots of our Saturday:

Hard at work at another master piece, Luke told me today he wants to be an illustrator for books. Although, some of his books aren't exactly main stream...He just read me one where some pigs were arrested for stealing (and eating) ham.

Mmmmm...homemade granola bars!

Yes, another delicious looking picture that makes it look like we live inside one of those house & home magazines. Pictures can portray almost whatever you want. But to be completely honest, the granola bars were/are tasty as they look, so maybe I do kind of live in one of them magazines :)

For some reason it just seems longer to do stuff over hear, and think that is because in actual fact, it does take longer to do stuff here. I grabbed a few random Saturday pictures of daily tasks that require a different procedure here than back home...

 Amy is washing chicken poop & feathers off of eggs. Although farm fresh, this is not something you normally do in Canada unless of course you live on a farm.

Here, Amy is sifting flour..."Why" you may ask? Well, to get the little bugs out. Actually, we don't often have to sift flour to get bugs out, this was a first. We'll be sure to check for that "protein added" small print on the flour next time we're out shopping.

Flour bug caught in action.

Now, being from the West Coast, here's a little something Amy and I both love...making coffee that is. But as for boiling water, this happens multiple times a day as we use it for cooking, coffee, dishes, cleaning, brushing teeth, etc. We do have bottled water for drinking though, and the propane gas used in the stove is relatively cheep. Amy says it gives our home a "camping feel". Personally, I kind of like it! Plus, when the power goes out, your stove still works.

Speaking of power outages, the last few weeks has had plenty of them. Whether it is a tree branch falling on our main electrical supply cable in the lot beside us, or just a random neighbourhood black out, for a few weeks we seemed to get them almost daily. But that said, the power is never off for more than 5 or 6 hrs at a time (knock on wood).

This french press came on the airplane with us. But, I'll let you in on a little secret, that is actually Starbucks coffee being so carefully poured into our press. When we take trips to the bigger city of Semarang, we are sure to visit the Starbucks there and load up on coffee for the following month. This most likely will not be an option once we move to Papua, at that point any coffee will be joyfully welcomed!

You can take Amy out of Starbucks, but you can't take Starbucks out of Amy!