Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bali

 Before my parents left Indonesia, we all flew to Bali, a cheap flight away from Java. Bali is a beautiful island and attracts tourists from all over the world. Most of the people we saw were from Australia or Europe. As Americans we still felt like we were in the minority. It was funny to see the surprise on the locals face when we spoke Indonesian to them because they are used to tourists who don't know the language. It was a great way to spend quality time with my parents before they left.

The island of Bali is primarily Hindu, as opposed to the Islamic majority where we live. It felt like a different world in that sense. We didn't hear one mosque while we were there and there were sacrificial offerings everywhere you looked, composed of flowers, incense, and sometimes food or candy in a basket. They were even in the taxi cabs and grocery stores....I mean everywhere.We even saw one beach that was lined with offerings.

Here are some pictures from the trip:






 Making friends everywhere they go

 This is Blake's first time down the waterslide. As you can see he wasn't thrilled.

 Still not happy

 Callie LOVED the waterslide. She went over and over again with us.





We went to a Mexican restaurant one night and it was amazing....oh how I have missed Mexican food!

 Date night! This is a rarity when my parents are not around.



Not many people get to see this side of Matt....so I just had to post it :)


On a walk one day I saw this awesome door, leading through a tall brick wall

Monday, March 24, 2014

Visit from Ellie's Parents

 Last month my parents stepped onto their first overseas flight....destination....Indonesia. The flight was pretty uneventful until they arrived in Singapore. While they were waiting out their layover, Mt. Kelud erupted, spewing volcanic ash for hundreds of miles and covering many of the surrounding cities. Mt. Kelud is in East Java, about 150 kilometers from Salatiga where we live. That morning we noticed the house seemed extra dark. When we looked outside there was a blanket of ash over everything, and the world was silent. It was very similar to snow in a lot of ways, except that snow is clean and you don't have to worry about breathing it in. Several stores shut down and most schools closed. Unfortunately several airports also closed due to the ash in the air and my parents were stranded in Singapore for three nights. They actually enjoyed their time there however and were able to catch up on some sleep.

 Our car and yard covered in a layer of ash on the morning of the eruption. It looked worse a little later that morning.

Here we are at school (ours was the only school still open)

 Mt. Kelud, elevation around 5,679ft
When grandma and grandpa did finally arrive, the kids could hardly contain themselves. This is Blake the morning after arriving outside their bedroom door. He planted himself right there early in the morning, just waiting for them to get up.


A couple of weeks later Matt and I rented three scooters (for only $3.50 each per day!) and took my parents to the rice fields and up Mt. Merbabu, one of the volcanoes here (it is inactive, I might add)



 One of the rice workers. He was such a sweet man and kept trying to tell us about a nearby restaurant that was good

Dad on his scooter

 We saw this durian tree and my dad hiked down to it to get a picture. These are the HUGEST durian I have ever seen!

 This was the entrance to a village on the side of the volcano. I couldn't believe how steep it was here, yet people built their houses right into the mountainside. It was beautiful.




Another thing we did while my parents were here was visit Borobudur, a Buddhist temple that was previously one of the seven wonders of the world. It is only about two hours away from where we live.


 These guys were dancing a traditional dance in the yard of the temple. You can't tell from the picture but it was a HOT day! I don't know how they did it.

 It's crazy to think that this temple was buried by volcanic ash and jungle, and was eventually discovered by some villagers!









Before my parents left Indonesia we all took a trip to Bali together. The next post will include pictures from our trip to Bali.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Update and Pictures

It's rather incredible how quickly time gets away from us when we're busy.  We can't believe it's been 2 1/2 months since our last blog post!  Much has happened since then, so in the interest of not boring you I'll just do the cliff-notes version with lots of pictures.

First off, I have to mention how excited we are that the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl!!!  I have missed not being able to watch the games this season.  Even Ellie who doesn't follow football is missing the camaraderie surrounding the big games.  There are rumors floating around that there is going to be a Super Bowl party for all of the football fans here in Salatiga (there are actually quite a few Seahawks fans here).  We sure hope we can watch the big game, though to watch it live we will have to get up early on Monday morning!

For Thanksgiving Ellie transformed our living room into a cozy Fall oasis as we hosted the whole MAF team for Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone brought their favorite Fall foods and it really was a wonderful time.  Nobody else wanted to take home the 2 turkey carcasses to make broth with, so we did it all ourselves and we still have gallons of frozen turkey broth in our freezer! 


Christmas was unique and lots of fun.  Blake was able to understand the birth of Christ this year and was really excited about that.  On Christmas morning I (Matt) went to the town square at 4 am for a city-wide interdenominational worship service.  What an amazing thing it was!  There were thousands of people packed into the square...sitting or standing on the grass...praising the name of Jesus.  It was a fun and unique experience for me.  I made it home at 6am in time to see the kids wake up and run out to see the presents under the tree!


This year Ellie and I started Unit 6 (out of 9) of language school.  Hard to believe that we are nearing the end of language study. 

Ellie's parents are coming to visit in mid-February and you can sense the excitement at our house!  Her parents are also putting the final touches on our crates (that have been sitting in their garage for these last 7 months) and those will begin their long slow journey to Tarakan next month. 

We had some wonderful Indonesian friends over for a nice long visit last weekend.  He invited me to begin playing badminton with him and a group of his friends at 6am every Sunday morning.  I happen to love badminton, but haven't played in years.  I'm nervous because this isn't an ordinary backyard badminton game...they take badminton very seriously in this country!  Indonesia is regularly one of the top competitors in the world in this sport, so I'm expecting a tough, but fun, experience. 

Below are some fun pictures of what we have been up to.  Enjoy!


For a dollar you can ride these fun electric 4-wheelers once around the town square.  The kids loved it (and so did we)!
 
We had the privilege of watching a friend's daughter get baptized recently.


We got to go out to dinner with Pak Bangbang, Ibu Agnes and their 3 girls.  Ibu Agnes watches Callie and Eva while Ellie and I are at school.  She's incredible and we couldn't survive language school without her!


Beautiful children watching us ride the 4-wheeler around the town square.


The International School here has a large playground that the kids call "the park."  It's a great place to get some energy out and meet with friends.


Eva is always an instant celebrity. 


Waiting for our order of "sate" at our favorite sate place.  Sate is barbequed beef or chicken skewers served with rice and a delicious sweet peanut sauce.  It's cheap, fast, and oh so delicious.  This place has become a regular stop for us on the weekends.


Gee, Matt and Ellie sure have lost a lot of weight living in Indonesia...

"This is what God the Lord says - he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:5-7