This has been a year of adapting and flexibility, a year where we learned not to hold on too closely to our own plans.
Like you, we had an idea of how we thought this year would play out and didn’t realize how far off we would be.
February started with a visit from my mom. Intended to be a visit, plus babysitting while Mark and I travelled to Taiwan for a conference. When our trip was cancelled we relished in the extra time with her. Soon after she left, the world seemed to change 100 times within a day as world leaders tried to understand this virus. The question of what we should do, as expats lingered.
Unfortunately, by the end of March, we had to say goodbye to many friends whose plan to return to North America in June, quickly changed to March. School went online and we adjusted to everything at home. Some of the things we continue to be grateful for are cheap, fast delivery services in Jakarta. Almost anything you want can be delivered inexpensively.
On March 1st, I (A) took on a role in the Children’s Ministry at our church. Needless to say, this role changed drastically within the first two weeks and throughout the next number of months, my partner and I learned to adjust and made a new plan for what this ministry would look like while not meeting in person.
Since March, all schools in Indonesia have been closed. M, along with the leadership from the SPH system has had to attempt to make the best decisions possible in this difficult circumstance. The teachers and administrators have made massive adjustments and we are so proud of the way they have handled and adapted. Since the beginning of this school year, we have been using a structure similar to the in person day, with the kids in live classes with their teachers and peers.
This hasn’t always been easy. We are at the mercy of technology and motivation can be difficult to find, some days. Other days, I marvel at how normal it feels and am so grateful for the dedication of our teachers. The kids have enjoyed the extra time at home and with their friends in our complex, (a blessing that we don’t take for granted) but miss school friends. N likes to have lunch zoom dates with some of her classmates.
I marvel at the resiliency of our children and the ways that they have matured. N is so tender and caring with the younger kids and is quickly catching up to me in height. J is learning balance between reading and time outdoors. The heat is not either of their favourite parts of living here, but it’s growing on them.
M has had to alternate periods of working from home and working from his office, but thankfully, there has been more working from the office than from home.
As travel restrictions eased in May, we were able to make some hopeful plans to return to Canada for a time. Our previous plans of traveling through Europe to Canada were put on hold. We waited until only a week before we left to tell the kids, since flights were so commonly cancelled. But we made it!! Niagara gave us a refreshing welcome of cool, fresh air and loving familiar faces. This visit was far from what we had hoped it would look like, and we didn’t see many of the people we would have liked to, but the return to our home after two years was well worth the challenges and restrictions.
The days and weeks fly by as the always do. My days are a blur of addressing home learning related issues and moods, ministry work, consulting for the school on child safety planning, Bible studies, baking and friendships. I often reflect on how grateful I am for our circumstances in this time. It sounds like life as usual with some minor changes, but it does often hit us how different and difficult it can be.
Last year I began a journey of making our own bread. I had the time and I enjoy baking. Mark handed over his hobby of sourdough bread to me and as I experimented with it, had to share the surplus with our neighbours. This fall I’ve increased my bread production to 3 times a week and have started experimenting with more styles and dreaming of more kitchen tools. My stay sane hobby.
This December our family was able to move from our apartment to a townhouse in the same complex. Our excitement for a larger home with outdoor space was tempered by a number of issues, the largest being the need to remove the kitchen cabinets because of mold. It has made our December look much different than what we envisioned. Coming back again to that need for flexibility and adaptability, a lesson I seem to be slow to learn.
Looking back through my photos, trying to decide what to share, I realize this year was so very full. There were still birthday celebrations, many good memories in Canada, a few days outside the city in October, lots and lots and lots of baking, city skyline views, a broken arm, a hospital stay, a Canadian Thanksgiving feast, family games nights, facetime, WhatsApp and zoom video chats, academic milestones, and more.
We have one more trip planned to another Indonesian island ending this year on a hopeful high note. Out of all that has happened during this year, our family has many reasons to praise God look to him for hope and redemption in the craziness that has been 2020.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.