Saying goodbye to Kupang

Here come some pictures from our last days in Kupang. Saying goodbye is never a nice thing. Because of the distance it is unlikely that we will ever come back, and that makes it even sadder to say goodbye to our friends and our life here. The children say that they will come back when they become adults and can afford their own tickets :)

Our last days were spent packing, cleaning and saying our goodbyes. We sold the car backjuni 2013 003 to the man we bought it from, and in whose name the car was registered as we are not allowed to legally own it ourselves. He was going to Jakarta right before we left, so he came a week before we left to pick up the car. ( He came in and talked to us a bit, gave us the agreed cash without even looking at the car and then  drove off. ) Not having a car at the end was actually a real relief to us. Taking bemos  to and from the school went surprisingly well.

last day on the bemo

last day on the bemo

We had told the woman who bought our house the date we were leaving many times. This woman already lives in the same neighbourhood. She came over to talk to us on the day we were leaving and told us that she was going to Jakarta. (The phrase ” I am going to Jakarta” is one that we have heard numerous times here…) We said that we were leaving at 11. She said that she wanted to talk to us one more time before we left, so she would be back at 9 or 10. Seeing that it was quarter to 9 at the time we didn’t completely understand but she said then that she would be back at 10. She never came, we picked up the children and left for the airport without her having come back. Then when we board the plane we see that she gets on the same plane and sits only 2 rows in front of us! We didn’t understand why she was so surprised to see us…So she told us that she thought we were leaving on the 11th of june, and that she had meant that she was coming back the 9th or 10th of june…What a misunderstanding :)

Here are some pictures of last goodbyes with some of the people who have helped make our time here in Kupang very special. People who we will always remember.

Our very good chinese friends who made our life in Kupang possible

Our very good chinese friends who made our life in Kupang possible

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Daniel is very happy to have his best friend from kindergarten visit.  They are a very nice family who we have gotten to know and they came  on our last evening with nice batik shirts for the whole family.

a last conversation with the security guard at school

a last conversation with the security guard at school

          

The luggage is in the car, the driver is ready and the neighbours have come to say good bye

The luggage is in the car, the driver is ready and the neighbours have come to say good bye

              

Enjoying doghnuts from the newly opened moccofactory that one of our neighbours gave us as we were leaving

Enjoying doghnuts from the newly opened moccofactory that one of our neighbours gave us as we were leaving

  

Joakim met a classmate on the plane, sat next to her the whole flight and was having a great time chatting away in Inodesian.

Joakim met a classmate on the plane, sat next to her the whole flight and was having a great time chatting away in Inodesian.

  

We have arrived in heathrow, and so has all our luggage

We have arrived in heathrow, and so has all our luggage

                                                                                                                                                                                                            So now we are in England and are trying to find our feet here.

We have for sure been enjoying life here, and the boys have really enjoyed all the impressive playgrounds and parks here in Ipswich.

What a feast to be able to have bread, cheese, salami and fresh milk for breakfast!

What a feast to be able to have bread, cheese, salami and fresh milk for breakfast!

I think we can say that we are quite overwhelmed at the things God has done. We came on a Saturday. On the Sunday we found a car that we reserved. On the Monday we got insurance, paid for the car and got the car. An hour after we got the car we went for our first (and last appointment) to see a house, and were also miraculously allowed to open a bank account without proof of address. On Tuesday we put in a bid for the house, came to an agreement about the price, reserved it and started that whole process. It feels like a time of great breakthrough, but also a time of great challenges. There has been a lot of stress with practical details. Also for the first time in my life I ( Monica) am experiencing jet lag.  I am writing this blog at 0340 in the morning…It also doesn’t help that the girls who stay in the apartment above us live their lives ( and wash their clothes…) in the night…All in all we are amazed at what God has done, and are very thankfull…Thank you once again for all of you who have been praying for us :)

Tired boys...

Tired boys…

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THANKFULNESS

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Our time here in West Timor is coming to an end. On friday after the children are finished at school we will fly to Bali, from there to Kuala Lumpur, and then to London.

When we think back we can surely say that this has been a very DIFFERENT year for us as a family. We have experienced a culture and a life style that is  far removed from anything we have experienced before. We have had a year with practical challenges, and we have for sure learnt to appreciate the things that we take so for granted in our western world. But first of all when we look back at this year we are filled with THANKFULNESS. We are so amazed at how God has taken care of us here. He has helped us and blessed us so much, kept us happy and given us good days. We have really appreciated this time to focus more on God. We are amazed and so thankful for how God has shown us so many things and is leading us into something new.

We are also very thankful for the good friends God has given us here.  It is no exaggeration to say that we could not have been here without their help. We are also very thankful for the way God has taken such good care of our children. They have had to adapt to very different environments, and have shown an amazing positivity. God has given them very good friends at school, and very good friends in this little housing complex. Every afternoon they have been out playing with their friends. There have for sure been some tears, bruises, conflicts and even fights ( play fights) but mostly they have had hours of good play times. They are for sure going to miss these times, and all the friends they have made. We too will miss the peaceful atmosphere and comfortable temperature outside as the sun starts to go down. Probably this little neighbourhood is one of the things we are going to miss the most as we leave Kupang. It is going to be strange and sad to leave the life we have had here. We will miss all the nice and friendly people we have gotten to know. ( We were very happy today when we got to see our next door neighbour’s newborn baby boy. He was supposed to be born in the middle of June, but came early and was born on Joakim’s birthday! )

There are other things that we will not miss at all, and that we are quite happy to leave behind. Top of our list at the moment is probably the rat in the kitchen, but we will not go into any detail about that now…….( the reason that we all have this old  UB40 song on our minds nowadays…”there’s a rat in the kitchen what am I going to do with it……..” )

Also we are very thankful to all of you who have followed us on the blog, all the comments and for those of you who have been praying for us. We are extremely thankful for that. And for those of you who want to pray some more we will be needing God even more now as we go to England. Our first prayer requests is for a house in England. We will firstly be looking in the Ipswich area. One thing is that we need somewhere to stay, another thing is that in order for everything else to be worked out in England like school, job, bank account, insurance etc we need an address…

This will be the last post we write on our blog from Indonesia. Maybe we will write a post or two once we get to England, we will see…But otherwise the blog will be finished now. Thank you again for all of you who have taken the time to read our updates:)

Otherwise we also have to say that we will be in Norway the whole of August, and are looking forwards to  seeing  as many as possible of our friends and family then!

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CELEBRATING JOAKIM!

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Celebrating Joakim’s birthday was one of the last things we did before we left Norway, and now it is one of the last things we do before we leave Indonesia. So this whole weekend we have celebrated Joakim turning 6 years!

Firstly his day was celebrated in the two reception classes on Friday. The Ben 10 cake had been ordered a while before, and Joakim had been counting down the days for quite a while. On the day itself we had a party for the children in the street. Joakim really wanted to invite all his friends from reception too to the party at home. He was quite disappointed when we said that our house was too small to invite all the extra 40 children plus teachers,parents, maids,siblings and so on…He had obviously been thinking about this for a while and asked if we couldn’t just buy some more chairs…

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some of the boys in the street

some of the boys in the street

 

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SCIENCE FAIR

The last two days of last week the school arranged a science fair. The first day the parents were specially invited, the last day some classes from nearby schools were invited. The children had a performance that they had been practising on for a long time. Daniel’s class had a presentation of the life cycle of a butterfly. Joakim’s class sang the rainbow song and a song about recycling and taking care of the earth. Erik’s class had a presentation of all the things you find in a garden, in the jungle and in the zoo. Otherwise there were stands with different activities, competitions and a quiz. The children enjoyed themselves and we got to take lots of pictures!

Daniels best friend enjoying speaking in the microphone!

Daniels best friend enjoying speaking in the microphone!

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Some of the teachers at the kindergarten

Some of the teachers at the kindergarten

Joakim and miss Yuni

Joakim and miss Yuni

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A written competition for the older children

A written competition for the older children

Since we are talking about scientific things we have to include a little weather report here. By now we should be getting close to the winter season. June, July and August are the winter months here. In this time the temperature in the night will go below 25 degrees, and sometimes even below 20 although we have not yet experienced that. The temperature in the day will still be above 30, but because of a much reduced humidity it will still feel a lot more comfortable. It also gets very windy at this time of year, with cold winds coming in from Australia. Since this is also the dry season there is a lot of dust and sand blowing around. But as we have mentioned before things here are often quite unpredictable, and things don’t always follow the book. So the reality is that this month has been the warmest for us so far, with temperatures close to 38 degrees and a very high humidity. The last days we have even had some heavy rain again…The heavy rain stopped 2 months ago, and the last month we have had no rain at all, but now the dark clouds are rolling back in and we are wondering what is happening…Even the Indonesians who are very good at taking things as they come seem to be a bit puzzled…

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EXTENDED EXTENSION

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It is now just  3 weeks until we depart from West Timor for England. We have now received our final visa extension, which means we can be here for the remainder of our time, not having to worry about the visa situation. When we left Norway, we had a 60 day tourist visa which we could extend for a total of 4 times 30 days meaning we could be in Indonesia for a total of 180 days. After this time we had to leave Indonesia, and headed for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Whilst there we successfully applied for a new 60 day extendable tourist visa for each member of our little clan. So after the 60 days were up, we got an extension of another 30 days through the local immigration office here in Kupang. This we did 2 more times.

Each time we have been to the immigration office, there has been something which has happened that didn’t happen before (including the time the whole immigration staff were playing volleyball in the car park, which meant I, Peter, had to park on the road). The one but last time, we almost accidentally drove into the midst of an official motorcade. I don’t mean crashing, but driving where they didn’t want us to be. It could have been the Governor, or some other high-ranking official, who was coming to visit the immigration office, just as we drove out of the car park to leave (on our normal route which we had done countless times before). But a smartly dressed soldier, turned us back into the car park, and then waved us out-of-the-way of the official’s car.

So, because of it being our very last time to apply for an extension to our visas, and being aware that there could be some little surprises along the way, we decided to apply a bit earlier than we had done for our previous applications. Monica and I drove up to the immigration office, but it looked closed. This was strange as we were there in opening hours. We had to meet our sponsor for signatures for the required sponsor letter afterwards, so decided to meet her first and then return to the immigration office later. This we did, but it still looked like it was shut up. We saw a random man, who had stopped on his moped near the office. He then walked into the parking area, so I decided to try to speak with him. Luckily, he spoke a bit of english, and said that the immigration office had moved! I asked him where, and he said that it was near the airport, which is on the other side of the city virtually.

We thanked God for the random man, and headed off towards the direction of the airport. Random man had not given us an exact description of where we should go, but we drove to where we thought it could be. Once we had driven past the place of our thoughts, we decided to stop at a little shop and ask some people if they knew where the ‘Kantor Imigrasi’ was.  They didn’t speak english, but got a nearby woman to come and translate who amazingly spoke english. This seemed so random, even more than random man at the original immigration office. Anyway, one of the two men phoned a friend (‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ style), and they got the info as to where the office was, and said that we could follow one of the men on his moped, as we drove.

So, he then drove as if he was trying to win the Superbikes championship, but we managed to keep him in sight. After a while we realised that it must be near one of the hotels we stayed in when we first came to Kupang. And indeed, it was quite close to the Timore Hotel. Soon we were at the newly built ‘Kantor Imigrasi’, which happened to be right next door to the children’s prison (don’t ask!).

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We were quite impressed with the new building…it was bigger, brighter, had a feeling of niceness about it, and even had air-conditioning. We handed in our applications and were told to come back in a week to pay. Seven days later we returned, but they told us that more time was needed to process the applications. They told us to come back 3 days later.  We went back after 3 days  to find out what was going on.

On arrival, they told us that Daniel’s application had been accepted, but only his. This was strange as we had never had a problem before, or experienced that one or more had been accepted before the other members in our family. They told us that more time was needed, as there seemed to be a problem ‘with the system’. We assumed their internet connection was giving them problems, as our applications had to be sent to Jakarta. We said that we would come back the next day, a Friday. Our visas expired on the Sunday, and the office was not open in the weekend. Early Friday morning we returned keen to see that everything was okay. However, it was not, and they didn’t know when the problem would be corrected. There was a man at the office who spoke good english, who we had spoken to a lot, but he was not there. One of the ladies who spoke a little english phoned him, and he said to return in 3 hours or so. Monica and I went home. Throughout the whole process we had been praying for God to help us. We had a peace that He would sort it out, as the thought of us having to leave Indonesia at very short notice was not good. Where would we go?…East Timor (10 hours drive and anyway we would have needed to apply 3 days before for a visa…), Singapore for 2 days, Kuala Lumpur again, Australia, or just go back to London now?

Some hours later we returned (with the children who were a little curious to see the new building-and the children’s prison). Still nothing had been sorted out. The lady said that everything would be okay in an hour. How did she know this? We decided that we couldn’t sit there for an hour with the boys, so drove home. Right after we got back to our house we got a phone call saying that we could come back as everything was okay… So I returned and paid for the applications. On the Monday we returned to pick up our passports, which had the correct visa extensions. So even though we started very early with the process this last time, it had taken around 2 weeks to get everything processed. The immigration staff have been helpful, and have given us no problems, even though we have had a few surprises along the way. In some ways, we have got to know the staff a little,  and we have very much appreciated  their help.  We must admit though that we are very happy  not to have to apply for any more visa extensions. :)

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GETTING AROUND KUPANG

december 2012 019It has been such a long time since we have been able to write here. Apologies for that, but I, Peter, will try to explain. You may have heard that wordpress was attacked by botnets, and that it has not functioned properly as a result of this. However, when this happened, our internet connection was so poor anyway, that we could hardly do anything on the internet…let alone upload photos onto the blog, as we couldn’t even open wordpress. For a few days even, we had internet access for maybe a few minutes each day, then nothing at all. So we went to talk to our internet provider, and they (to cut a long story short) informed us that we actually have access to a much better and faster internet network than what we have been using (we now use that). Why they didn’t tell us this months ago, will forever be a mystery, like with what happened to the Marie Celeste, what came first, the chicken or the egg, and where do all the flies go to in winter (in the northern hemisphere)? But enough on this blog about our blog.

Family 5 travel...count the legs. Plus a little girl on the front.

Family 5 travel…count the legs. Plus a little girl on the front.

We have mentioned before that driving in Kupang is a challenge at the best of times. God has blessed us with a car, which you need to get around here. It is not safe to walk on the pavements…actually there are no pavements where we live. For us as a family of 5, we need a car. However, the local population seem to get around the city using differing modes of transport without too much problem. There are the bemos, a kind of public transport. The well off people will have a car (and usually a driver, and a maid for each child, and a maid to clean the house, and maybe a gardener too-but I’m getting off the point a little). Yet the most common form of transport you will see in Kupang is the moped, or motorbike. And the humble moped can actually be used in so many varying ways. It can be a people carrier, poultry deliverer, hardware carrier; be used to carry bottles of water, bags of cement, ladders, long poles, timber, and many other things. Please take a good look at the photos I have put on here. But don’t worry, we don’t have a moped. Most drivers of mopeds will use a crash helmet…even if it is just to hang on the handlebars, in case they see a policeman. But the passengers very often do not have a helmet, and the children very rarely do. Of course this is very dangerous, and we have seen people fall off or have minor crashes. The only positive here with the traffic is that you very rarley go faster than 40 kmh (around 25 mph).

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Bob the builder?

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Mysterious Jedi knight?

Wet season?...no problem.

Wet season?…no problem.

Chicken run

Chicken run

Cow on truck

Cow on truck

Men on truck

Men on truck

Waiting at the petrol station

Waiting at the petrol station

Could take a while

Could take a while

Our post!

Our post!

Daniel chilling in the heat

Daniel chilling in the heat

 

 

 

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Some weeks ago we got to celebrate christmas again.We knew of some post that had been posted to us from Norway. Well, we finally received it a few weeks ago. This was only after a trip to the post office here, and being quite persistent with them, as they denied that anything had come for us from Europe. Eventually, they found 4 packages to us. Some of those had been posted long before Christmas, way back in September or October. Each thing was very much appreciated. Thank you to those who sent these things.

Bike race

Bike race

As you may see from one of the photos, all 3 of our boys are now biking without stabilisers (støttehjul). Daniel being the youngest was the last to achieve this. It was quite amazing, as he asked us to take off his stabilisers. Then maybe half an hour later, he was biking with no problems. It’s opened up his biking world so much, and he really enjoys biking with his brothers and the rest of the gang in our street. We are very blessed to have a street that is maybe 100 m long which has a gate at the end. This is watched over by security guards, who at times will join in the football matches with the boys.

Playing at the new kindergarten

Playing at the new kindergarten

After Easter, the boys moved to a new building with their school/reception/kindergarten. It is not far from the previous buildings that they went to. And now, Erik is in the same building as Joakim and Daniel, which makes it more convenient for us in dropping them off (even though they’re still finishing at different times).

Now it is only a month until we begin our long journey to England, via Kuala Lumpur. The timing of us getting better internet is very good, as we need it more than ever now to do things in preparation for moving to England. God is with us in all this preparation. Thank you to those who are praying for us in all of our travelling from one side of the planet to the other, and back again (almost).

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THREE WAY CONFERENCE

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Last semester the children had a “student led conference” that we wrote about in a previous post. This semester they had a “three way conference” right before easter. This time the teacher also participated, but other than that it was very much the same as last time. The children show a lot of the work they have done in school. It is very nice for us as parents to see what they have done and the developement they have had. Our boys were really looking forwards to this day, and so were we.

looking at pictures

looking at pictures

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walking from the school to the kindergarten

walking from the school to the kindergarten

When we came here none of our boys were reading. Now Erik is reading very well in both Indonesian, English and Norwegian. Joakim has lately started to read too. Even Daniel can read some simple words and sentences. When we came here we were quite surprised to see how much was expected of the children at such a young age. We almost felt a bit sorry for our youngest boys who had little chance to play and instead started learning letters and numbers.

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The children though have really enjoyed it, and have had a very good time in the school and kindergarten. There are two teachers and maximum 20 children in each class, and the teachers have very good relationships with the children. Our boys have also made some very good friends here. They are looking forwards to going to England and Norway, but are sad that we are not going to come back here. They are sad that they will not see their friends again. And they have already started praying that they will get new friends in England.

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