Today, Friday Oct. 15, we are three weeks away from our departure to Timor-Leste. A ticket has been discussed and is being purchased for arrival on Nov. 9 in Dili. That decision, to fly DIRECTLY into Dili from Singapore as opposed to flying into Jakarta, then West Timor, and then overland with a 10-hour bus journey, brings great relief to the “we-are-too-old for-too-much-hassle” Hoipkemiers. We were prepared to pay the extra $100 ourselves to save us the grief of that last leg of the trip, most likely without air-conditioning and involving many stops at Asian toilets. (Anticipating the upcoming toilet realities is really more my thing than David’s, which I share unapologetically with the female gender worldwide.) However, the Canossians have blessed us with payment in full. Hurray!
In the meantime, we stop to see Mark and Naomi (and growing babies) in Jerusalem. We may be spending a day or two painting their future abode, a soon-to-be-beautiful apartment, in a building recently purchased by Opus Dei and presently under repair for mechanical problems. Our prayers (and yours) were indeed answered for them as the location is perfect for school and very close to the Catholic Church and community, and the price is a steal for Jerusalem. There has also been a wonderfully welcoming birthing group, doctor possibilities, and other new friends to whom they have been able to offer assistance, much to their joy! (Weren’t they totally lost two weeks ago?) God is good!
I had a two day visit with my sister and her family in Lichtenau, Germany, a small hamlet near an Army post (base is Navy). Highlights included a first visit to an Army commissary (they eat like real Americans) and the first Mass ever requiring a passport. This travel was bracketed by some travel stories I won’t recount here for the sake of interested parties whom I love and my own stupidity, which I choose not to expose.
We continue with our formation as Canossian volunteers and are ever impressed with the joy and life of the sisters whom we continue to meet. Today was a lunch with over 25 of them from around the world, and they really liked my banana cake (or else they were faking it.)
I have been leaving the thoughtful, reflective portion of this blog to David, who seems much more capable of lofty meanderings than me at this time. I have been advised that culture shock, transition shock, language shock and other such shocks have knocked the reflections right out of me. (I think that is a bad paraphrase.) I think my friend said I was just adapting and that reflection would return when I was in shock again in Timor-Leste. I can’t wait! [posted by Rory]