There is a lot I can say and I will say about the events of our first days here in Jakarta, but for now, some reflections.
It has been just over one week since our family left the comfort and security of our Niagara community. In some ways, this week feels like a lifetime and in some ways, just a moment. We have been carried along through the prayers of many friends and family. You carried us along as our life hit a big roadblock, as this opportunity was presented to us, as we made our decision, and as we prepared to move. Now that we are here, it feels like we have just been passed from one hand to another as we have a new community who has also carried us along and helped us through the many challenges we’ve faced in a foreign place. Although I’m still exhausted and it all still seems surreal, I know that this carrying has been by the hand of God. When he calls we must answer and where he calls us to, we must follow. For many years that following was, for us, right where we were planted in Niagara and that calling had its own challenges. Here now, in Jakarta, I pray that we will continue to have our eyes fixed on him, not letting the differences and challenges distract us from why we are here.
Overall I think we’ve had a successful first week. The kids have enjoyed having other kids to play with and the pool to jump in every day is a great distraction. Yet there have been tears of missing home and people. The first few days N kept saying she wanted to go home-home. And who can blame her?
The first day here, as I know M was excited to begin this new chapter in his career, he thanked me for coming along. I reminded him that I didn’t come along, but we made this choice together. It’s the kids we have to thank for coming along. They weren’t given much choice in this matter, although we’ve encouraged them to express their thoughts and feelings along the way, if they had the choice, they would have stayed in Niagara. I think we’re all like that to some extent. We like to stay with what we know, where it’s comfortable.
The beginning of the week the kids did great as we took them along shopping for many different things. They’re old enough that a little whining and irritating each other was as far as their shopping tantrums went. As day one of school neared, the anxiousness appeared in stubbornness, in refusing to cooperate, in bad moods, short tempers, and arguments.
I wish I could say that was all from the kids, but my patience has been tested severely. I’m not someone who feels confident in new situations and I certainly don’t like not knowing what I’m doing, which is all the time here. Throw in kids who are asking questions and depending on me, a husband who is at work, jet lag, a foreign culture and language that is exhausting to try to understand and much more and my stress level has been quite high. But you don’t always notice a climbing stress level until it’s at boiling point. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the challenges and have been excited to push our boundaries here. All week, I’ve felt really great despite it all. But everyone has their breaking point and I knew mine would come.
It hit me at dinner time yesterday. It wasn’t one particular thing that set me off, but more like I hit a wall and had no more emotional strength left in me. I was mentally exhausted. The kids and I ate dinner, then they went off to read and I closed myself in my room and let it all go. Sometimes you just need a good cry (well, sometimes I need one). All that pent up energy and emotion was let loose and I felt a lot better afterward. Sleep and a new day means we can start fresh.
Psalm 34:4-9 ‘I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.”
Our apartment is slowly beginning to feel less like a hotel and more like home. Putting our personal touch on things will make it feel even better.
Smells. Nothing smells the same. Sometimes it is not pleasant, and sometimes it’s just different. I’m hoping that a trip to Ikea where I can find the candles I use at home will help make our home smell more familiar. We walked through a grocery store the other day and N kept saying how bad it smelled. The next day, we smelled Durian ice cream and J declared “it smells like Grand Lucky!” Aha! That’s why this city stinks sometimes. It may be the garbage or just the durian. It also may be why many people wear surgical masks out on the street.
There is a lot to be thankful for and a lot to take in and enjoy. As I sit here I am able to look out our balcony at the city (shrouded in smog) in the distance and various green trees just below. There are many beautiful flowers and so many unfamiliar bird songs in the morning. We are supplied with all we need and much of what we want. I have someone to clean and do my laundry and even cook if I want. The air is warm and the pool is refreshing. M is so happy and satisfied in his work and the community is a blessing. There is much we will miss about Niagara, but we have been transplanted and will strive to make the best of it.