Monday, October 27, 2014

Good with the bad: Ikea and Puncak

Last week somehow stretched on and on. Usually the days fly by but not last week for whatever reason. So I very much looked forward to the weekend I think I went to sleep at around 8pm on friday night... I am such a party animal.

On saturday Jackie and I went to the new Ikea in Alam Sutra Jakarta. A friend let us use their car and driver which made the trip a lot easier. I couldn't believe how crowded it was... packed to the gills with people using common Indonesian "courtesy" so it became very uncomfortable. The food court was so over crowded and the lines so long Jackie and I pushed past our extreme hunger and finished shopping to eat afterwards. We found all sorts of great plants and things and had a great day although I became frustrated when I reached the checkout only to find empty aisles. The vast majority of shoppers were there only to look around and to eat.

Yesterday Jackie and I still had use of the driver and car so we decided to go to Puncak again. We set off in the morning to head into the mountains to go for a hike amongst the mountains and fresh air. However after stopping for lunch we were faced with the reality that the road had reversed... You see in Puncak the main road going up and down the mountain only allows one flow of traffic at a time. On normal occasions the traffic reverses every 1-2 hours. Yesterday, they decided to reverse flow every 5 hours. So for 5 hours you could not go up the mountain... only down. Then for the next 5 hours you can only go up. We drove all the way to Puncak, had lunch, then had to return home... we then spent 2 1/2 hours stuck in traffic so all told we drove for 5-6 hours for lunch. Once again we were forced to take the good with the bad in regards to life in Indonesia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wed-nes-day

I had to give the morning devotion today but the rest of the day should be less stressful. I have to consult some teachers and give a short performance review as well... but I think I will have lunch outside of school just to take a break. I have to give the devotion tomorrow as well... Not a lot to say about this week so far. Just work work work. I also have an amazing fiancé.. just saying.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is It Christmas yet?

I've just discovered that the planned fall break was canceled... I am doing okay right now but mercy what a difference an extra day off would do.

Last week was a tough one, I had meeting after meeting on top of my usual work schedule so I did little more than rest all weekend. My meetings all went well and there was some progress made in regards to my position at the school.

Jackie and I said goodbye to Bagheera as well this past week which was very sad. He was too feral and began attacking the other cat to the point that we had considerable fear for her life. I gave Bagheera back to the family that had originally given him to me where he can play with 6 other cats. The new kitten is much better suited to a small apartment and makes little fuss. She is calm, quiet, and friendly.

This week is also a pay week so I am very much looking forward to that. I will begin planning a trip for Jackie and I over Christmas. We are looking at a couple different options.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Feels like Friday

I had a long meeting last night that lasted well past my normal bedtime so waking up this morning took some extra effort. For the first time this year I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep. I slept in an extra hour and arrived at work with 1 minute to spare... Maybe I've been going to work too early...

Today is an office day and it is going by painfully slow. For some reason today feels like it should be friday. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Waiting to end

I very much am looking forward to this day ending. I didn't sleep well last night which made 5am seem extra early... I led the morning devotion when I arrived at work then taught a few classes. I am now working on a presentation I will present before the board about my work up to date. The meeting is later this evening but its right when traffic is at its worst so I have to leave very early in order to be on time. It will be stressful yet hopefully fruitful. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

1 year anniversary

Today is a very special day.

Its the one year anniversary of the best decision I ever made. One year ago today I asked Jackie to go to the Nashville zoo with me. We had spent a lot of time together the previous weeks and months sometimes in groups sometimes alone. But I was very hesitant, I had just returned from Indonesia and planned to go back. I had also ended a toxic relationship months previous and had no intension of starting a new one. However, I couldn't shake this beautiful blond girl who was so intelligent and kind.

We went to the zoo and then out to dinner at a local Ethiopian restaurant. I was smitten... something was special about this girl. I could tell from very very early on that she was different from any other girl I had ever met.

Now here we are one year later... engaged, living in Jakarta, and happier than ever.

We have faced some difficulties and struggle at times living in the third world. Yet every day I fall more in love with her.

Last night we celebrated by going to a romantic dinner at Pepenero Italian restaurant then exchanging gifts.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Good get away

Over the weekend I went off to Singapore to deal with my visa, and at first I was annoyed that I had to go... eventually though I saw it as a free short vacation and treated it as such.

I left early saturday morning and arrived a few hours later in a hotel near the airport. It was right by the beach and the hotel gave me a voucher for a bike rental so I took a bike around the beach and relaxed in the clean Singaporean air. Across the street from the hotel was a hawkers stand which is one of my favourite things about Singapore. I had subway, then an authentic proper Turkish kebob, Indian curry, then more kebob. I also had some good wine for the first time in months.

I came home refreshed and relaxed..



Friday, October 3, 2014

Long and short weekend to come

This week has flown by as has the month of September. I can't believe it is October already... 

Slowly but surely I have begun to make influence at the school. Over the last few days I have made some major changes to the way we hold meetings and the attitude surrounding them. For the 3 years I was here previous meetings were an intolerable bore of philosophy and theoretical speeches. They were little more than sermons of advice and basic wisdoms. Efficiency was thrown out the window long ago. After a few meetings and our first trial run things are running much more efficient and effective as well. 

I leave for Singapore tomorrow until Sunday so even though its just a short trip I will sneak in some good food and enough bacon to clog a blue whales arteries. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Great getaway

This last weekend Jackie and I set out from Jakarta to Bogor which is about an hour south into the mountains to go to one of the best zoos on earth. A friend let us use their car and driver so we were able to sit back and enjoy the clean air, tropical forests, and amazing animals. Afterwards we went to a local plant market and bought some amazing bonsai trees for less than 20$! Then we walked around a local tea plantation. It was a beautiful day and much needed. When living in a polluted and bustling city like Jakarta its necessary to get out now and again to be reminded of what Indonesia really is.

Also over the weekend I adopted another kitten... Poor little guy was dying on the side of the road. I don't know if I will keep it or give it to a shelter. I may also give my other cat over to the shelter... I haven't decided yet what to do but for now am enjoying having a small zoo of my own. So for now I have a Bagheera and a Mowgli.











Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day of rest

Two nights ago Jackie and I made a leftovers meal. Thrown together veggies and meat from my refrigerator as the Chicken I had planned to use had gone bad. Well apparently something else in the mix had gone bad too because I felt a rumble in my stomach and didn't feel well all night. I took the day off as I had no classes and I was able to get some much needed rest. Sometimes the body just breaks down and needs rest.

Today is a pay day so its a good day regardless of the meetings I have and the lessons I have to prepare. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Never enough rest

Sometimes the weekends just go too quickly... On occasion I feel like I've rested well and even though 5am monday morning is no welcome sight I can still rise quickly to tackle the day. At the moment though I just feel like the weekends hardly exist.

Jackie and I had a frustrating mall experience on saturday night. We rarely go to one of the big malls and even more rarely on the weekend. Foolishly we decided to do so on Saturday... after sitting in traffic for 45 minutes (usually 5-10) we arrived to a massively overcrowded mall. After dinner we attempted to return home but were thwarted again by crowds. The lines for taxis were incredibly long so we strolled down the street to grab a taxi before it arrived. However taxi after taxi rebuffed us only to pick someone else moments later. It can be very frustrating being white here sometimes. They just don't want to deal with a white person who more often than not doesn't speak bahasa Indonesian though sometimes I think they just don't like white people. We tried over and over to get a taxi before finally walking back to the taxi line where we waited another 45 minutes to finally get a taxi. We both felt annoyed and fed up with taxis. More often than not they take advantage of the fact that most westerners do not speak Indonesian or know directions or even have a complete understanding of the currency. Nearly half of all taxis will attempt to cheat you in some small way by taking you a longer way, "not having enough change" or speeding up their meter. It can be awfully frustrating when you are already having a bad day.

Jackie and I treated ourselves to some Outback steakhouse yesterday which I think was enjoyed as much for the food as it was not having to cook and clean up afterwards.

I'm struggling to be motivated right now and just might be procrastinating...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Middle of the week doldrums

Its the middle of the week and I'm stuck behind my desk daydreaming of a vacation.. I still haven't been able to take Jackie out of Jakarta yet and I can tell I need too. Living in a loud dirty overpopulated city gets old for people who grew up around nature. Its also tough knowing that there are beautiful mountains all around yet unseen due to the pollution. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lovely day

Upon arriving to work this morning I was informed that due to rolling blackouts in the area school will finish at 10am. In short time I will be back at my apartment and watching football highlights... I couldn't be happier.

Over the weekend I went with Jackie to a Scandinavian furniture store called Jysk. Its the best place shy of Ikea in these parts and I was able to find all sorts of cool stuff from lamps to canvas pictures all at a reasonable price... a very rare thing in Jakarta when it comes to furniture.

Jackie and I also celebrated our 11 month anniversary by going to Sushi Tei and catching a movie. Next month will be 1 year since I first worked up the courage and asked her to go to the Nashville  Zoo with me.. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like a boss

On Sunday evening Jackie came over to help me make a veritable feast. I had been craving Mexican food for days and while I sat complaining Jackie rose to the occasion and said well why don't we just make it? After a bit of research I came to realise that making tortillas is incredibly easy. So on Sunday evening I began making tortillas and guacamole while Jackie made the black beans and steak. We mixed it all together with plenty of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro. We had quite a few tortillas left over so I will probably make some more tonight which I am really looking forward to.

Jackie had to go to Singapore to finally pick up her Kitas but I was a bit worried because I wasn't going with her so even though she is a smart girl and can take care of herself the language barrier can be quite troubling. Unfortunately she did face some problems... The Taxi driver took her to the wrong terminal so she tried to take another taxi to get to the correct terminal but took an unlicensed taxi driver who took her a long way and expected and unbelievable rate. She ended up arriving 20 minutes before her flight was due to depart.. The airport only allows you to enter if you arrive 30 minutes before the flight... The result was that she missed her flight forcing her to purchase a new flight. The problem being that she had a noon appointment at the embassy to get her kitas started and all of the morning flights were booked. Not only was she forced to purchase a new ticket but since it would now take an extra day she would be forced to purchase a new return ticket and an extra day at her hotel as well as missing a runway show that she had already booked back in Jakarta. She ended up arriving in Singapore and paying an extra few hundred dollars to have her kitas expedited. Pay a few hundred extra so as not to have to spend a few hundred more. It was a nightmare and I feel so awful... She returns tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait to have her back.

 I miss her already

Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekend

I am very excited for today... Its weekend, Jackie and I are making homemade tacos, and I don't have to go to Singapore. Much needed relaxation begins now.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stop. take a breath. stand amazed

Yesterday was a rough day for me. It all started off well enough but due to some miscommunication and a foolish employee I was thrust into a difficult situation where my character was called into question. I came home from work very angry and with a very short fuse. My Fiancé came over to have dinner and I couldn't even be in the same room with her. I was too angry... I knew that I would say something rude or snap at her even though she had done nothing wrong. She cooked a nice dinner while I emailed and communicated with those involved in the situation until it came to a resolution. I emerged from my cloud of anger and frustration to a beautiful dinner and an even more beautiful fiancé. She had even gone to the store earlier in the day and bought me a pair of jeans that I had been looking at the last few weeks. Suddenly my anger seemed trivial and pointless. I calmed down, took a deep breath, and stood back in awe of what God has been doing in my life. I have found the most perfect woman in the whole world for me. And starting next summer I will be spending the rest of my life with her.

After a few more emails and a couple phone calls I was able to sort everything out and the issue became moot. Jackie and I sat back after dinner and watched the Hobbit and ate popcorn. I look back on yesterday as a glowing example of mans foolish nature. It is so easy to get caught up in our own problems and shortsightedness... God has been doing many amazing things in my life and I am beginning to see the fruits. I am a lucky man. Blessed indeed. Oh and she just did a photo shoot for Cosmo magazine... Amazing



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flu

I've been having bad allergies or a cold for the last 2 days now. Its not that much fun and it makes work all the more difficult.

As of last night I have finally confirmed my status at work which will take effect next semester. My Kitas will be sorted shortly in conjunction with a business visa. Also I should have a car sometime next week. I am very ready to have a car again and am also very ready to have confirmation as to the terms of my contract which as until last night was still up in the air.

I am ready to move on to the next step and whatever comes after that.

Update: Once again my kitas has been a point of contention and my character was called into question. I am beyond furious, I am being blamed for someone else's incompetency. Indonesia....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No rest for the weary

I have the same schedule most days now. Wake at 5am, arrive at work just after 6am, leave no later than 4pm, return home to cook/do laundry/clean, prepare lessons/grade quizzes, then sleep by 10pm. Every now and again I sneak in a trip to the grocery store or go out for dinner but for the most part that is my weekly schedule. I hardly have time to spend with my fiancé and I have hardly any down time. My only free time comes on the weekends but unfortunately Jackie usually has to work those days so we are not seeing each other as much as we would like...

Still I am enjoying many aspects of my time over here. I usually get a few hours in the weekend sitting by my pool in the tropical sun which really recharges my batteries and allows me to take stock of how many blessings I have in my life right now.

I am still facing many difficulties at work and am constantly frustrated by the realities of a third world country but hopefully that should be changing and at least moving forward within the next few weeks. Always wait wait wait.... We shall see

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lice

Last night I got frantic calls from my fiancé asking me about lice. She had found a little bug in her hair and was freaking out. As it was late I was already asleep I didn't really think much about it and assumed some bug had just found its way into her huge mop of hair. She then called me again today and explained that she had found larvae and had spent all night combing her hair free of the bugs...

Most likely she had her hair brushed by a stylist that was already infested with the larvae.. As far as I know I don't have any as I haven't seen Jackie since before she found out. I'm freaked out that I might. I've never had lice before and am really grossed out about the possiblilty of little bugs growing and crawling around on my head! As soon as I get home I will buy some lice shampoo. This is some serious 3rd world problems....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dragging along

Its been a long drawn out day. I have been in the office all day working on grading, preparing for a presentation, and researching my lectures for tomorrow. I'm trying to think of anything interesting to say but I can't really. Its a slow boring day, such is life.