A Slow Drive Along Village Roads

This country really is beautiful if I ever just stop and take a good look. All too often I get lost in the daily things that I do here, like going to language school, working on newsletters, reading, going to restaurants, etc. A lot of things can quickly take up my time if I’m not careful- and it does!

But yesterday Kim and I went for a little motor bike ride up and around one of the nearby mountains, just outside of town. Although our city is not that big compared to others, leaving the “city limits” brings you to a much more rural, more village like atmosphere. As we drove by people looked at us differently than they do in the city, probably because they don’t expect to see bule (white people) up that far. But the scenery along the road quickly transforms into a much more beautiful scene. We drove past a bunch of kids playing soccer at dusk, we weaved along several beautifully terraced fields- like a waterfall of soil. We passed many local farmers carrying their day’s harvest on their shoulders back into town or wherever. And the mountains loomed large off in front of us. Going around in the evening, like we did, was a lot fresher (cooler) and the sun set bursting over the mountain was quite stunning.

All these things we had to take in while driving slowly along the narrow road. We stopped a couple times and looked around, but for the most part it was a drive by. I hope that my experience here is not just a “drive by”. I want to be a part of what I see. I want to live IN it, not just look AT it. There are so many beautiful moments and memories just waiting for me if I take the time to enjoy them. They are so totally here!

A Retreat with Kim’s Parents

It was so wonderful having Kim’s parents visit us here in country. I think the most exciting part for me was when they first came out the terminal doors, fatigued and tired, yet smiling nonetheless. It meant so much that they would travel so far just to be with us. I know how long and grueling of a trip it is to fly halfway around the world. It’s definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

But they did it. They made it safely here. Our time in Mtown was a little rushed. We only had five days or so to show them as much of our life here as possible. We built into our schedule down-time, but for whatever reason it always seemed we were busy doing something.

Bali was very different. It was incredibly relaxing and slow. Our resort/condo was in the middle of nowhere. Well, to be exact, it was in the middle of a bunch of villages, in the middle of the jungle, just a ten minute walk from the empty beach. Needless to say, it was VERY quiet at our place. There were only 7 or 8 other cottages and so we became very acquainted with the staff. Talk about personalized service!

Because it was so empty, quiet, and isolated we had plenty of time to slow down, talk and make it more fun for each other. In this case, the lack of options was really quite refreshing. Sometimes choices overwhelm me. Last time we were in Bali Kim and I stayed in a different town. We never ate at the same restaurant twice and had plenty of activities to choose from. I think after this vacation I’ve concluded that I like fewer options and less to do than more. That is the point of a vacation, right? To get away. And get away we did.

We’re back home now. It seems more dull to us than before. But we have a computer full of good pictures, and lots of great memories to carry us until we see them again.

What I Want for my Birthday

My birthday is coming up and I have a few modest wishes. I don’t really want to go anywhere, or throw a huge party. Afterall, I’m living overseas and I’m kind of limited in what I can do. But living within my means, it would be great if I could sleep overnight at a really nice hotel, take a hot bath, watch American movies on HBO in the hotel room, and watch CNN or Fox. Then, I’d like to wake up the next morning, have a really good breakfast (sausage, eggs, coffee), and then hang out at the Starbucks for a few hours and read. I don’t ever get to do these things and that’s why they seem so special to me. But I’ve been living overseas for over six months now and my idea of ‘fun’ has drastically changed. Right now, whatever seems least stressful, relaxing, and reminds me of home sounds the best.

 

The Hand is Mightier than the Blinker

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So I have this new motorbike now and it is awesome! It’s a Honda SupraX 125 for those who care. We’ve been living in this city for about four months now and have been relying on public transportation ever since day one. By now we’ve pretty much figured out the mini bus routes to the places we like to go. But even then we’ve been limited by where we can go and what we can do. It’s really great having our own transportation. It opens up our life and the possibilities in many new ways.

But besides all that, it’s just really fun to drive. Driving a motorbike is so much more of a sensory experience than a car. You can feel the wind on your face as you accelerate. You can lean to the left and right and the bike responds. Balance plays a part of it. It’s just a whole lot of fun. And here in Asia there are other perks too, like always going to the front of the line at stop lights. That never ceases to amuse me. Parking is easy too. Half the time you can pull over alongside the road, buy something from a street vendor, and not even leave your seat. Awesome.

There are more motorbikes on the street than cars so people expect you. They look out for you. And if you’re not sure, all you have to do is wave your hand a little to the left or right to signal your intentions. That or a tap to the horn perhaps. There’s a whole unwritten motorbike ‘language’ that I’m just starting to pick up on. Kim is getting her license tomorrow. I’m a little nervous about her driving honestly, but she wants so take a month or so and just learn from me before she tries herself. It’s a great resource for the two of us, but a little scary too. Please pray for our safety!