Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm back! With lots to say!

I have been internet-less for way too many days, now. It gave me a good opportunity to see how this little website is keeping me from getting too homesick, because I might have had just a few pangs.

Guess what? We found a place!!! Who would have thought that renting a house would have been so tough? We searched for days and weeks and things kept not working out. It turns out that "rental" has many different meanings: 1. rental villas: for rich vacationers who can pay anything from $1500/month to $1500/week; but they're ready to move in to, and have EVERYTHING you need or 2. house rental: very cheap ($2,000/year and up), but requiring long-term commitment and maybe some slight remodeling. We really wanted option number two, but don't have a few months to wait around while things are fixed up, nor do we have a lot of cash and time to be finding furniture/arranging telephone and internet hookups/buying all appliances, etc.

So after a number of days chasing down every rental we could find, we had a family meeting, revamped our budget and our plans, and decided to go for the VERY low end of the rental villa spectrum. I would just like to say that things take longer here. We found three rentals that worked for us and that Charlie talked down to a great price. Three separate times we thought we would be moving out of our hotel the next day, and three separate times we were wrong. Finally we saw an add for a hotel that had two bedroom suites with kitchens. We drove over there, checked it out, and the next day we moved in. Charlie got us a great price and we have two pools, a playground, kid's club, a full gym, a shuttle to the beach and grocery store, and housekeeping all at our fingertips. This was all a huge selling point for us as I don't have my international driver's license yet, so when Charlie is out working I am kind of rooted to our place. Staying at the hotel is giving me and the boys more options when Daddy is at work!

Whew! What a crazy time. In the midst of that we were very blessed to meet a great couple that is heading up a YWAM campus here, and they graciously let us stay on the base while we were looking for a spot. We got to know the base staff and our new friends better, and the boys had fun with all the new people fussing over them.

On another note, we now have a kitchen, so I have been faced with the challenge of cooking in another country. My homesickness might have manifested itself during our trip to the grocery store. I found myself near tears more than once as I wandered up and down the aisles wondering what things were. "Here is a spice packet for 'nasi goreng'. I know that is fried rice. But is it spicy or regular? I don't know. What does 'bumbu' mean? Does it mean 'spicy'? I don't know." I gazed longingly at the boxes of western cereals - $7, I remembered how much the boys like Quaker granola bars - $10, I nearly fainted when I saw a box of Annie's Macaroni and Cheese for $8...and so I bought some local stuff and western stuff that apparantly has factories on this side of the world. I can buy Ritz crackers from the States at $8/box, or buy a smaller box with Arabic writing on it for $1.50.

We are all learning. I have made two meals here. Each consisting of fresh salad and an Indonesian dish. Yesterday I did make nasi goreng, and the other day I did some other rice dish. We bought a rice cooker, and I think I will be using it a lot. Thankfully, the boys LOVE rice and noodles, two things in plentitude here. (Nasi goreng and Mie Goreng -fried rice and fried noodles - are the main dishes around here - I daresay the "National Dishes")


Lacey said...

How exciting! Congratulations on finding a place, sounds like a great option for all of you. A gym, play place, bus, pool, and housekeeping? Can't beat that!

Your story about the grocery store made me laugh (though not that you were near tears). I totally understand what its like trying to eck a meal out of limited or very foreign ingredients. And trying to figure out new ways of cooking is always difficult. It sounds rougher having a family to please though! Sounds like you are doing a great job though, perhaps you will learn lots of interesting Indonesian recipes to share with us.

Anyway glad all is well, and praise God you found friends and housing!

mom said...

Praise the Lord!!! You're back!!! I know we all missed you and your tales of Indonesia. It's interesting to hear how things are going. I can't imagine trying to figure dinners out, but you're doing it! I'm glad you found a place where you all feel comfortable. Before you know it you will have friends there too.
We love you and miss you.

alisha said...

Yeah, it is so good to know that you guys are doing good. We have missed your stories and adventures. And how wonderful that you found such an awesome place to stay. Housekeeping a definite plus. :) I know you will continue doing good at finding stuff to eat and being creative in the kitchen. We miss you guys and are glad to know you have a place to sleep and met some new friends and are doing good. Love you all!

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