Living with volcanoes
Over the last few days, I have been trying to sell off goods that we cannot or don't want to take home with us. Various people have paraded through and looked at things and today I had to take my beloved scooter, Daisy, for a spin on very wet streets to find a guy who is interested in buying my washing machine. So off we went, Daisy and I, just as if we had been doing it all of our lives. It made me smile.
Our staff is benefiting from this relocation too. Goods are being given to them and they will use them to furnish their own homes. I enjoy the thought of our refrigerator cooling soto ayam at our house keepers home, our gardener and his wife watching the TV that we gave them and our driver going to and from his new job on the Ninja that my amazingly generous husband gave to him. Other goodies have made it in to the jagas hands as well. A chess set, guitar, small refrigerator, water cooler, two burner cook top and various clothes will be put to good use.
Tomorrow, I will take clothes to the trash pickers and hand over shoes, socks, underwear, slacks, shirts, blouses, tee shirts and capri pants that will provide something new for them to wear. I see the men pulling the carts with no shoes. Wearing shirts and pants that we would relegate to the rag pile. They will have "new to them" clothes that I hope will be comfortable and practical. I have seen such a different type of life here.
It still amazes me when on a clear day you can see the volcanoes that are all around us. The golf course we have played on the last couple of weeks has stunning views of Gunung Salak which lies South of Jakarta. I love that volcanoes create their own weather. The clouds hover around the top and you play peek-a-boo. The weather moves up and down the flanks of it as if the volcano were the center of its universe.
Volcanoes are strange and powerful things. Most of the time they just sit there and don't do a lot. Then all of a sudden they unleash their fury and transform the landscape and lives of the people nearby. They show their power but also their ability to create new land and provide fertile soil to grow crops which sustains the people who live so close to the danger. It is risky business to live close by.
Perhaps you don't have to have a actual volcano erupt to be transformed. A theoretical one will do the same thing. Our volcano was the move and transition here. The eruption of emotions, fears, dangers real and perceived, trying to figure out a new culture, struggling to learn a new language, finding your way. These are transforming things and many times you don't see the transformation in yourself.
I began writing this post yesterday, and today I did in fact go to the trash pickers area near our home. The back of the car was loaded with goods and we were there early in the morning, so many of the workers were still about. I got out of the car and my driver and I opened the back hatch. Several of the men wandered up curious what we wanted. When they spied the shoes, they got excited. Sepatu was the word I heard first (it is one of the Portuguese based words in this language and means shoe). These men who either had no shoes or just flip flops got really excited. Then we started to hand out bags of clothing. There was a cute man's hat sitting on top of one of the bags and that got scooped up and put on top of a head all which generated a huge smile from the wearer and from me. Yes, that was a moment of transformation.
The other thing that happened today was that I took my maid and gardener over to their new employer's apartment. This very nice couple who are new to Indonesia have hired them. We feel fortunate that they have come in to our lives and in to our staffs. But as I visited today you could tell it is all a bit overwhelming. Learning how things work here is a challenge and the language issue is a huge barrier. I can see it in my new friend's eyes and her actions. She is trying so hard to do it right. She has limited language skills and even though mine aren't great, I can get the job done. She was so amazed how I got the staff at least familiarized with her apartment and some of the things inside and out and how to navigate. It really was not that impressive, but I realized I was comfortable with my limitations yet handled it with confidence apparently. I so remember being in her position four and a half years ago. It is so nice to not be quite so new. But I smile thinking of all the new and wonderful things they will discover as their time here grows. More transformation, perhaps not as obvious as the example before but perhaps longer lasting.
Through this non-geologic volcanic eruption, we have grown. We have changed. Some scars have been acquired, but hopefully much more fertile ground has been laid to grow new thoughts and new experiences.