Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chinese New Year Today ~ 2565!

Yes ~ today is Chinese New Year and so Elisha & Beppie our friends from Kawan Kitchen invited us over for a buffet dinner with friends!  How very nice - thank you!  We look forward to it!

This morning as we woke up we decided it was time to get some walking in!  So we had our good ole' oatmeal breakfast, dressed and off we went for a good walk!  We walked for 4 hours today!  From our Kapung Dukuh all the way to downtown area and then back again!  It was a good walk indeed!

But we were not in a hurry - and when you walk, you see so much more.  If we go into the downtown area we go on one motorbike so we can do some shopping (and I hold the shopping bag between us on the motorbike)  - and it is hard to look around you when you are keeping an eye on the traffic on a motorbike.  So Nick thought it would be a good idea to just walk into to have a better look at the shops here and there.  Great idea Nico...let's do it!

We took a stop at one of our favorite places kafeole'
to have a cup of coffee.  Another good idea!
We enjoy the surroundings there - a pretty restaurant in a garden-like setting!

We then continued to walk to Jl Sudiriman the main shopping street.  We strolled through the pasar's and Nick found a t-shirt he liked.

 He also found these darling little tug boats that as a boy he had played with!  Made of tin - you light it up with candle wax and it makes a real tug boat motor sound - so' cute.  And what a chuckle that they were made here in Salatiga where he had lived as a boy!
We have some little friends that come to visit here!

We shopped in a shoe store too - I was looking for some shoes for the motorbike - something easy to slip on - instead of the big Keens I use for walking.  But guess what?  My feet are too BIG here....they don't have a size 10/41 here!  Most people are smaller here - and so this mama with her big feet - well I just can't find a shoe to fit!  I will most likely need to go to a larger town - where there are more foreigners maybe?
Nick & I enjoy reading the sign's, & often we see Dutch words & some English...can you figure it out?
Hey there is Nico's first name on the was a Christian/Catholic book store.

A large sign was erected for Chinese New Year in the park!
Gosh - just look at that enormous Banyan tree...wonder how old that might be????

We strolled back to our area and after 4 hours of walking - well we felt good & enjoyed our walk - and then the rain came!!!!

We saw this Pharmacy store Apotek Salatiga and Nick wanted a picture of it...and look how cute a dokar just past by! 

Oh how I love to see the color along the way!  Just look at this plant - with the bright red leaves!!!!  Deep red and so LARGE - just growing along the path! 

We got home and relaxed for a while and then Kasum came by to deliver the cookies I had asked her to make (she has a little shop at her house) & so she brought the roti kacang/peanut cookies and we sat down to do a little Behasa
Do you see Nico's new shirt?  Yes with a "dokar" on it.... a horse drawn carriage!
Indonesia language!  Oh she is so helpful and again - so very patient with Nick & I.  "Nico dan saya pergi jalan jalan tadi hari ke Jl Sudiriman ke toko sepatu" Nick and I go walking this morning to Jalan Street Sudiriman to shoe store. 

Sounds good eh?  Well it is hard - but she is ever so patient with us!  We both like the language and it seems like a easy language to learn...yeah once you begin to learn it, that is...ha! It is really fun - we just need to be patient with ourselves & know it is OK to learn it slowly -

Well at 6 pm we planned to go to Kawan Kitchen to celebrate Chinese New Year! Elisha & Beppie had their day off, so the restaurant was closed for the public - but nevertheless busy preparing for their guests!
 Susie, one of the staff was chopping onions.....

....and Anita was getting all the dishes out -

Peace! Yes Anita!

                        Peace & Victory!

 Friends started coming in - gosh Elisha & Beppie are something else...they had invited many friends to come to celebrate Chinese New Year! 

 Beppie & Elisha are such wonderful host & hostess - they welcomed everyone!   Here it is their day off and then they invite people to come and celebrate and of course he spent many hours in the kitchen to provide a lovely dinner for all of us!
 My we were all so spoiled! 

Friends chatting & also making new acquaintances.

  Some we knew - others we didn't.  But before you know it - with a little chatting here and there - well you are friends! 
 There is Kristian & Lianne our Dutch friends!  They are heading to Singapore on Thursday to renew their passport/visa's...oh they will have fun seeing Singapore for the first time!  We told them ALL about it!  Try the MRT (underground trains) take the boat tour through the harbor of Singapore, see the crazy hotel with the BIG boat on the top, go to that beautiful park that has pretty much all the shrubs & plants from all over the world - they say!  So much to see and do there!  you guys will have a blast!

 Andreaz YOU are taking a picture and I am taking a picture of YOU!

 Beppie give this little guy a BIG FIVE!

I think he thought that was pretty cool!
Here is Ruben, Elisha & Beppies younger son, with his girlfriend Jeanie!

The kids had fun eating at their own table.....

 ....while the grown-ups enjoyed chatting at their tables!

This is B.J. and his wife Tri (pronounced tree) - they are newlyweds... aren't they adorable?!  B.J. works at Kawan Kitchen as a cook and also comes to the English class Nick & I teach twice a week - and he is such fun! 

Well after a lovely evening - we got things cleaned up and everyone left - and we sat with Elisha &  Beppie for a little while longer having a nice hot cup of tea!  Gezellig!  So nice to sit and chat just the four of us!

We had both taken our motorbikes to the restaurant and now it was time to head home!  Gosh I tell you family and it is 10 pm and I am following Nick down the road on a motorcycle - on the streets of Salatiga Java Indonesia - Nick up ahead and I am behind him...following  him - going through these fun streets and little avenue's....quiet out there...hardly anyone on the road....oh gosh...a soft evening breeze - I am thinking "oh my just look at us go!...Will we remember these special moments...a great day, a great evening with sweet friends, and now zipping through town on a motorcycle" ...I just have to pinch myself! What fun Nico - I just love this!  Nick just laughs....he knows his wife....yes her own kayak, her own motorbike....well gosh Nick...such fun...just love all this know I do!  Yes...Nick smiles..
                                ......I KNOW YOU DO Ellen! 

                      Happy Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Enjoying our Neighbors!

 Our neighbors Pak Jono and his wife Kasum and their daughter came over for dinner last Saturday evening.  Kasum said she would bring the rice, sate' (chicken on a bamboo stick BBQ'd) and also the peanut sauce.  I would saute the vegetables and have dessert. ....OK that's a deal!

The family arrived and I was still working on the veggies....Kasum took over the wok - while I finished the cutting of the veggies!
 Broccoli carrots onions cauliflower green beans ......
 .....a little spice here and a little spice there...some kecap manis to give it that special taste and.....

Kasum kept stirring and laughing!
 Such a sweety, she is my Behasa Indonesia teacher too you know!  We enjoy our neighbors and had a nice evening!  I forgot to take a picture of us at the table...we even had candlelight!  But trust me - it was a delicious dinner!  Surprisingly - we communicate as we can - and always have a nice time together!  Thank you Kasum and Pak Jona! 

This is Endah, our friend & her family who are here from Kalimantan.  We wanted to meet them and so she brought them over today for a visit!  We were so pleased that they did because Endah's brothers and sister-in-law's and family will be leaving back to Kalimantan on Thursday (Kamis)
                               It was a week ago today that their mother passed away. 
                                                       The cousins had a special time together!

 Endah came visiting with family and brought us dinner....tumeric rice, a very nice sauce with hard boiled eggs and a peanut crunch dish that was also very good indeed!  So nice NOT to have to cook dinner tonight! 
It was delicious - Thank you Endah and Djarwono Family for your visit today!  We were so pleased to meet all the family!  And THANK You for dinner! 
Enak Sekali!  Very tasty! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Linaaw Student Center ~

What fun we had this morning helping out at the Student Center close to the 2 Universities here in town. Students were invited to come to the opening of the new Student Center to meet friends, be able to study, do wifi  and have a place to "hang-out" after class.  Today & next week there would be English classes offered, and we were asked to come and help and facilitate - which we gladly did!

Through our friend Novee, we were invited to come and meet Jay & Jennie who opened the center.  Jennie is a English instructor.  They had a really good program - well prepared. 

So Nick & I got a "refreshment" course (and I mean REFRESHED!!!!) on verbs, nouns, prefixes, suffixes, propositions etc! Some of these descriptive words I have NOT heard in ages!!! I was never too great in English grammar! Spelling maybe but not the breaking down of what each word is in a sentence!

First, we did a fun "ice breaker" they call it.....are you familiar with it? 
 We started with filling many cups with mixed colored M&M candy...and the jest of the game was to decide on a color you would like to collect and stick with it...say ...RED - Okay - then you go around the room and ask people questions...doesn't matter what - but ask them something about themselves....and when they answered your question you receive 1 Red M&M from their cup and then in turn they ask you a question too...and they tell you what

color they are collecting...once you give them the
color of their choice - then you both go
to another person to ask a question and
collect "your" color and then before you know it..
you have asked many questions to many

people - you end up with hopefully the same color
 in your you can see in my case...I did not ask enough questions to the people who chose "brown" because I was so preoccupied & focused on getting my Red color - yes ... I asked 7 people QUESTIONS but forgot to go to someone who was collecting brown ones to get rid of them ...ha!  Anyway - Exciting right?  

Well it was definitely an ice breaker... and of course all these questions were spoken in English - so it forced everyone to speak a language that they only had learned in class!  

 Jennie is a really good English instructor - she and her husband Jay are from the Philippians and have lived in Indonesia with their 3 children already 3 years.

We had a snack break and heard that Yefkris sings so we all encouraged him to share his voice with us.....

Yefkris - (pronounced Jeff Chris)   

Wow - did he have a good voice! We heard him sing a very beautiful melody in Indonesian.

 The next thing we did was making sentences!  In an envelope there were many words that you would lay out on the table and form good sentences.  Jennie told us that you can make many sentences but that all the words did together form one sentence - she encouraged us to find it....!!!!

                What...with all those words????

 The group decided to try to figure out what that sentence might be....Joy, Yefkris and Bowo - Nick & I straining the brain to form sentences from all the words out of the envelope....little by little doing a lot of shuffling - we all at once saw it...!
                                                         Oh we were all so' pleased!
Oh my...wasn't that hard - you guys???? Yes it was - but each time we formed sentences - we all at once saw the beginning word "As" and then the ending word "ballpark" because of the period a the end...we had an
"ah hah" moment!  Our group won a prize because the one sentence was figured out! Way to go you guys! 

 The other couple that helped was a wonderful family from Brazil - traveling with their sons Alex & Andre for  a few months to Myanmar (previously called Burma) and here in Indonesia!  How exciting to share it with their sons - both college students!  Nick & I just love meeting and making new friends...and to hear the stories of their travels!
 But listen to this one.......They told us a story about the town they live in Brazil called "Americana" and would you believe it.... they shared a story about it that I had NEVER heard!!!!!! - both Nick & I  can't recall learning this at school from our history about you????

The story is like this  : during the civil war days,  when the Confederates (the South) had lost the war to the North - well 5000 southern families left America to settle elsewhere!  They choose Brazil and started a new life there!!! Bringing with them their American traditions & dance, and food etc. 
  Americans in Brazil - Americana, Brazil   please click on this link to read up on it!  I DID!  Pretty interesting to read! I don't recall this American history at all from my school years...did you????

Anyway - just a tidbit of information from the above story and the link about a town called Americana!  

So the whole morning was all about - having conversation - all of us have learned a foreign language in our school days...but "conversation" is the gotta be out there talking "the talk!" to learn to speak it correctly and clearly!  

We finished up the morning, the students left and we - the gang all went out to lunch together!  

          It was a great morning and we really look forward to meeting again next week!

Doing conversational English makes a difference all right!  The students felt more confident when they finished the 4 hour session.  

Oh  - Nick & I KNOW that feeling all right and experience it everyday....we HAVE to go to the stores and shops and we have to speak the language to connect...and the more we do it - well it helps & gets a wee bit easier!  At times it is overwhelming when you need something and with hand signals - some Dutch words/(ha!) picking at words we think we know in Indonesian...we struggle...we laugh....we somehow do what we can...each get our thought across...oh my!!!!

I "forced myself" the other day to go alone next door to our neighbor (who had invited me to come) and sit down in their house and try to communicate with them.  Because of the foreigners staying here in the kampung, Pak Jono & Kasum have picked up 'some' English words here and there.  I tried very hard to connect with them...and tried to listen well...and pronounce the sounds & expressions correctly! Oh my....I got so hot trying...I was forced sitting there in the room with a situation like that...and this girl was "chicken woman" by that understand?  But after an hour with them...(they were so very patient with me...sweethearts...truly!) I felt a little more confident walking home.....and very thankful for their kindness to help this American! ha! 

At times I have to chuckle and just laugh....hand signals, trying to sound out some really hard to pronounce words with sounds I have not made or spoken before.  Nick, on the other hand surprises me - he speaks those sounds out really well...he heard his mother speaking Javanese when he was growing up! He has a "knack' for the language I think! 

Well my lesson with my neighbors went something like this:

Selamat Sore!   Good afternoon!
Bagaimana Kabar    How are you?
Baik   Good!
Anda tinggal di mana Ellen? You live where Ellen?
Saya tinggal di Jl Antasena nomer duapuluh tiga A. 
I live on Street Antasena number 23A
Anda berasal dari mana? You originally from where?
Saya berasal di Blanda.  I originally from Holland.
Ke mana pergi hari pagi Ellen? Where are you going this morning E?

Hari pagi saya di Toko Buku Kasum. This morning I go to Store Book (book store), Kasum. 
Bagaimana banyak anak-anak punya anda Ellen? How many children have you Ellen?
Saya punya dua laki-laki Kasum.  I have 2 sons Kasum. 

Very very simple Indonesian - as you can tell...but still...little by little trying to form sentences. 

Oh well - a Day at a time!  Tomorrow is a new Day!
Good night - sleep tight dear family and friends!
God Bless You!
Tuhan Memberkati!

2 Funerals in Kampung Dukah ~

Today we went to a funeral service of a dear friend of ours.  Her mother had been ailing.  Oh it was a very moving day today!  She had died yesterday afternoon.  The service was at 10 am this morning,   in front of their house.  The tent had been erected possibly this morning and chairs were brought in - and all the neighbors had come to be with the family & share their condolences & care!

Our friend is very dear to us and so it was a very moving morning for us!  We know that it was so hard on the family! 
There was so many people there...all showing their concern.  Words & prayers were spoken - with much respect and honor and then her mother was brought outside by the men of the family. 

She was carried to the cemetery and many people from this community followed behind with the family.  She was buried in a very peaceful place.

Nick & I agreed that it was a very special ceremony where the community come around you, support you, help & prepare everything. and spend time with the family.  Such "community" - very very sweet and caring.  We liked the simplicity of it - and also the timing - the funeral ceremony usually takes place within 24 hours, and that is because of the weather and the person being home - plus we hear it is also a custom to bury the dead right away within a short time.  

Our neighbor across the street also had a death in the family. Their elderly mother who was always full of smiles and friendly, greetings us as she did her daily sweeping the roadway in front of their house, suddenly became sick and passed away within a few days.  So there was a lot going on right here in Kampung Dukuh all around us!

We were thankful to be here and to support our neighbors as we could! 
And of course it was a different experience for us as well!  To see the community come together and be so supportive to one another was a real blessing to see! 

For three days the tent stays up so that people can come to comfort and commune with the family.  There was a church service held for the family across the street
and that too was a blessing to attend...even though we did not understand - we did recognize some words and scriptures given.  We were all handed a box after the evening service - to take with us - it was dinner.  Chicken, rice, sambal, a pudding- a piece of cabbage & cucumber and a risoles.  The service was during dinner time - so everyone was handed this box.  The wording on the box says blessings & enjoy!
Nick & I thankfully saw our friend a few days later - she has been a wonderful daughter helping her mother through a very very tough time.  As I said, her mother had been ailing a long time - so it was a tough time for all the family there in the home! 

  We pray now for peace for the family.  Many Blessings of Peace. 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh My Goodness....I am finally getting the Hang of it!!! Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Oh I just got home with Nico - riding around on the scooters for a couple of hours here and there and everywhere....and I must admit it helps a WHOLE lot to criss-cross through town among the cars, busy traffic, lots of motorbikes going left, right, and around this 'mama' and still feeling OK about it! YEAH!!!!! 

We stopped for a coffee break at Cafe Lotus (where we had lunch once before) and the staff was so' friendly!  How we love to sit and just chat - and they love to practice their English (Inggris) and we throw a whole lot of Behasa (language) Indonesian in there too!  
By the way among themselves they speak Javanese (on this island of Java) their own language and dialect and then there is this formal language called Behasa Indonesian which they speak in the shops or in town or going to other areas(islands) but again among themselves the people speak their maiden languages/dialects.  Cute because at times Nick & I can hear the switch.  Because all at once we do not recognize words! 
Eko, Wisna, Windi and Erwin wanted to have some pictures taken of us together with them...which they did with their smart phones  and then, of course, my camera too comes out of the purse!  
With it being Monday today, it was really quiet at the restaurant so we received full attention and service!

Nick is helping someone learn the art of painting - so he stopped off at the art shop and I waited outside with the bikes!  

 OK so I took a picture of myself waiting outside on the bike...I just had to...can still not believe I am actually riding my own motorcyle!!!! 
 Look at that face....a face proud & thankful I can still do these fun things...yeah at 63 - I must admit!                                Still got it in me!!!!!

  Oh my what fun to let the wind blow in my always makes me think of my sis Maralin and how many years she has already enjoyed riding her bike...way to go Sis...and now finally 'Big' sis is catching up with you in that!  I do love the freedom of the ride...surely we should have a couple of these 'toys' when we get back to the States...yes?  Maybe just to ride around town with!  Can't imagine not doing so!

Coming around the corner comes a dokar (horse drawn carriage)  - always so' cute to see - and the driver & I nodded - and he gave me a big smile!  This is their livelihood.  He was coming from the market area - probably just dropped someone off - or heading to lunch! 

 Cute huh?  And the little bag under the tail collect the 'you know what' from dropping on the ground.  The horse has a tassle on his chest and then his eyes are covered on the sides to keep him from seeing all the distractions (are there are many!!!!)
I am sure it was lunch time!  People stop their daily jobs to eat, nap and relax a bit ~

 While waiting for Nick who was in the shop - this lady too was coming down the street from the market place.  Oh my, such a big bundle to carry!  She might have her own 'warung" ((stall) in front of her house and is heading home with her goods!  Such a big load to carry!

 So much to carry! Oh my! Does she do this everyday you wonder? 
 OK - here is my first OFFICIAL motorbike picture with the girl feeling more and more assured all the time!

 Gosh! We finished running around - but gosh never get enough of this riding....oh well - time to head home I guess?????? Yes Nick says!  We did a good 2 hour ride...go home and have a bite to eat!