Because they counted the day of our arrival in Indonesia – Wednesday February 9 – as our first day of quarantine even though we spent most of that day in the air – today is our last day of quarantine. The quarantine hotel informed us yesterday that sometime after 8am today we would be tested in our room for Covid again. Today at 7:30am they arrived 🙂 Very friendly people, and at least one of them spoke very good English. He inquired about where we were going and indicated he had grown up in Jakarta and never been to Medan. At first that sounded strange to me. Then as I thought about it, it would be roughly the same thing as someone in California or Phoenix saying they’d never traveled to St. Louis. Sure, it’s the same country, but it’s a long ways away and if you didn’t have a real reason to go, you wouldn’t go. Some things are the same all over the world!
Breakfast this morning was once again a mixture of Western and Eastern options. The western option included a small bologna sandwich (first time we’ve seen something resembling Western-style bread!), a fried egg with two small sausages, hash browns, juice, yogurt and freshly sliced honeydew, watermelon and papaya. Eastern option included a chicken drumstick, stir-fried rice, rice chips, yogurt, juice and fruit.
Rice is typical with every Indonesian meal, whether white rice or stir-fried. Chicken is the most common meat thus far, though we’ve had duck (I think) a couple of times as well. None of us are very hungry as our bodies reluctantly adjust to living on an opposite time-schedule. But we eat enough and the meals are always exciting just in terms of seeing what we get!
Today we’ll make sure we’re packed up and ready to leave tomorrow morning. I’ll arrange with the front desk for taxis to get us to the airport. It only took 20 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel at 2:00am in the morning – I’m expecting it will take a little longer on a weekend morning! Once there we’ll need to register our mobile phones since we didn’t buy them in Indonesia, pay any associated taxes for bringing them in, and purchase SIM cards that will allow them to work on the Indonesian mobile networks – considerably cheaper than our American Verizon international data rates!
We’re already working on trying to learn the language, something that is going to take quite a while to say the least. Fortunately there are lots of resources available online and in print to assist us.
We’re excited to begin. Excited to meet people, building a network of friends and acquaintances. Of course this is helpful to us personally as we try to settle in a new city, country, culture, and language. But also it provides opportunities for the Holy Spirit to do what He wants in those relationships and we look forward to seeing that and sharing with you all.
We weren’t able to study last night as our brains tend to die about 5pm here. It’s a battle to stay awake until 9:30pm or so! But we’re still getting good sleep, and excited that tomorrow we actually begin our adventure more directly. Not that it hasn’t been an adventure just getting to this point! But our initial time in Indonesia is in this very small bubble with very limited contact with, well, anything or anyone! Tomorrow though, we have to really start surviving on our own. I have no doubt that will expedite both our absorption of the language as well as our motivation to really study hard.
Please pray our Covid tests come back negative and we are cleared to leave as expected tomorrow. Pray that when we get to the airport we’ll be able to figure out how to register our mobile phones and get them up and working on the Indonesian network. Pray for a safe flight from Jakarta to Medan, a safe walk from the train station to our apartment in Medan, and that our luggage continues to make it’s way safely over land and reach us on Wednesday!