Tuesday, October 1, 2013


A few weeks ago Pete left Cade and I to fend for ourselves in Salatiga while he took a quick trip to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.  We had a great time of mother-son bonding while Pete was away, but missed him as well. 

The purpose of his trip?  To take mandatory flight and maintenance tests required by the Indonesian government so that he can do just that - fly and maintain aircraft once we are done with language school.  A week after his return home we learned that he had passed both flight exams and his maintenance exam!  What a relief to be one step closer to the work we've been preparing for all this time!  It's amazing to see God's hand on each step and to know He is going before us and preparing our way.  

In a matter of weeks we will pack up our belongings and move to our new city here in Indonesia where Pete will pilot medical evacuation flights and help teach high-schoolers basic maintenance knowledge.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hari Jum'at

Hari Jum'at (Friday) was a big day in Salatiga!  After years of preparation, long flights around the world, a pit-stop in Jakarta, and a long drive from Semarang, two new families joined our team in Salatiga.  We've been anticipating their arrival for quite some time and had preparations ourselves to do to make their Salatiga homes a soft landing.  It was so good to see faces in person and hug necks with are new families!

We are so excited to have these families with us here and look forward to welcoming a couple more families in the months to come!

Cade playing outside while we were setting up the house one afternoon!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The House Nextdoor

Driving up that night, in the rain, coming into a new environment, taking in the sights and sounds of our new community, walking into our first Indonesian house, trying to calm a restless and exhausted child, I didn't even realize there was a house next door.
My memory of that day of travel and first night in Salatiga is a bit foggy, clouded by sleeplessness and jet lag, a cranky toddler, the long travel day and the buckets of rain pouring down on us as we were driven from Semarang to Salatiga - a one and a half hour drive that turned into three hours that day due to traffic and weather.  As we drove up to our house I remember thinking that it was dark (due to rain) and very... jungle-y.  Well yes, we do live in the jungle.  But one thing I remember not recognizing - the house next door.
The house next door has become many things to us and I hate to admit that those first few days, especially that first afternoon moving into our home, I had no clue it even existed.  It's a place of play for our child - multiple times a day he is over playing with our neighbors.  It's a place of answers as our neighbors slowly and with simple terms we can understand explain culture and life in Indonesia.  It's a place of family, as Cade has become one of theirs and we have too - they have taken us under their wing, invited us into their family and opened their hearts to us.  It's a place for our goat, Cade's first Indonesian pet and a way to help our neighbor pursue his dream.  It's a place of laughter, love, learning, and yummy food.
Looking back now, I can't believe there was ever even a moment that didn't notice the house next door.  One thing is for certain, I will never forget the house next door nor the people who make it a home, and make this place our home.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Becoming Tourists

From the time we arrived in Indonesia we have been avoiding one main thing - being tourists.  In fact, during one of our first weeks of language school we learned an important phrase, "Saya bukan turis."  Translated, "I am not a tourist."  It's important to make sure those we encounter understand that we are not tourists, that we are here to learn and that we desire relationships with those around us, and to understand the culture and language (which, let's just be honest, many tourists do not.)  So it's been vital in our culture and language acquisition to not be tourists, but to truly dive in and make sure that those around us know our intentions are for community.

After our first month of language school, Pete and I celebrated with a trip to a pool here in town where we could relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun with the cool of the water.  It was a nice afternoon followed by an extended weekend of playing with Cade, enjoying our little town better, and feeling somewhat accomplished.

A week ago, we completed Unit 2 (our second month) of language school.  It, too, was followed by a trip to the pool, but this time we had a whole week off, with no homework, questions to ask neighbors, texts to translate, or crazy amounts of new words to juggle in our brains.  What a precious and restful time it has been!  Not only did we enjoy a bit of brain rest, but we also dared to try a few "local experiences" (insert tourist-y outings).

On Monday, Pete and I rode our motorbike out to some sawah (rice fields) here in town and followed it up with a coffee date at a western coffee shop and restaurant here in town.  It was fun to see petani (farmers) working on the sawah and to greet locals in their own language.

Tuesday brought about another trip to the pool, this time a fun family day (along with some friends who live here in Salatiga) of splashing and swimming and eating and cuddling in towels on the lounge chairs.  Cade loves the pool and beams every time we announce that it is pool day!

Another motorbike ride was set up for Wednesday and we ventured to the top of a local mountain, Telemoyo.  The ride provided great views of the landscape of Salatiga and many photo ops!  While rough at times, we enjoyed it and were all proud to arrive at the top and then back down at the base again.

During our ride up Telemoyo.

On Thursday, we bummed around this cute little jungle/farm town of ours and took a leisurely, yet very productive trip to downtown for some shopping.

Then, Friday happened.  We woke up early, got dressed and packed our cameras for our biggest touristic venture since arriving here in Salatiga.  At 8am, we set out for Candi Borobudur - The Buddhist Temple, Borobudur.  After a brief stop for some coffee and donuts on the way, we arrived at Borobudur and opted for a tour guide so we could truly make the most of our time at the temple.  Our guide explained the history of the temple, its restorations, and the reason behind some of the design and architecture of the temple.  It was fascinating, heartbreaking, and beautiful.  I left more grateful for Jesus.

Our view from Candi Borobudur.

Pete and Ash in front of Candi Borobudur.

There are many carvings such as this around the temple that depict important aspects of Buddhism.

On Monday we will be back in class and will continue to learn more about grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, culture, etc.  There will be homework, questions for the neighbors, text drills, and more.  I am glad that we had this little break to focus on becoming tourists and to learn a little bit more about the beautiful land where we reside.  And while this week has been wonderful, I am grateful that "Saya bukan turis."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

His and Hers Helmets

By the end of the month, we will have a new addition in our family: a motorbike.  So, in an effort to stay safe on our bike, we purchased these bad boys!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Perkenalan - Introductions

Nama saya Ashley.
Saya berasal dari Amerika Serikat.
Saya sudah menikah.
Nama suami saya Pete.
Kami sudah punya satu anak, laki-laki.
Nama anak kami Cade.

My name is Ashley.
I am from the United States.
I am already married.
My husband's name is Pete.
We have one child, a male/son.
His name is Cade.

Our brains are full... FULL!  We attend class for four hours each morning and come home to a delicious home-cooked meal and a boy who is eager to see his mommy and daddy!  Life is good, days are both long and short, and we are already enjoying the company of our local neighbors and expat friends.

It's amazing how much we picked up during the couple of weeks we were here prior to beginning language school, but I know we have A TON to learn.  Each day at language school, I am reminded even more that there is much to be learned.  About the culture, about our neighbors, about our pembantus, about the language, and mostly about our Lord.

We are grateful for this season of intense learning.  We are blessed to have neighbors who are more than willing to let us blunder our way through conversations, awkward interactions, and attempts at communication.  We are more blessed by a loving and merciful God who equips and directs us daily, while lavishing His love upon us.

Life in Salatiga is good and we are figuring it out pelan-pelan (slowly).

Did I mention we live IN the jungle?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Warm Welcomes

We arrived safely in Jakarta, after 36 hours of flying/layovers with an almost two year old who HATES seat belts, and much to our surprise saw a friendly, familiar face upon leaving customs.  I beamed when Wally appeared at the end of the long hallway and welcomed us to Indonesia.  His is a face that offers kindness and a sense of warmth and familiarity.  And with his knowledge of Indonesia and the process we were (and still are) going through to transition here, he was a sight for sore eyes.

From the moment we got off the plane, during which 5 Egyptian Imams helped with our bags/Cade - another story for another day, we have been welcomed with open arms and incredible hospitality.  The MAF crew currently in Salatiga for language school has been more than willing to help in many ways.  Between meals, tours of the town, and a precious little Christmas tree set up in our home, we have truly been blessed by each family and are excited about being a part of the warm welcomes for future arrivals!  

Since we arrived, it's been a whirlwind of excitement.  Meeting our landlord and community leader, buying fruit from the pasar (open fruit and veggie market), hiring two pembantus (house and child care workers), enjoying meals with friends new and old, and celebrating Christmas have been just the tip of the iceberg of activities and fun.  And while we missed celebrating with family, we enjoyed this special Christmas God gave us - our first in Indonesia!

In the days ahead we will continue to make this house our home, venture to "town" without tour guides - eek!, and begin language school.  We are excited to see all the Lord has for us in 2013 as we learn about this place He has brought us!