Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I got back to Bandung last night and am having a great time catching up with all my old friends. I hope all of you are having a great Christmas with friends and family.

 
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Its almost Christmas!

After much strenious effort, I have successfully made Christmas sneak up on me. Its hard to believe in only two days it will be Christmas. Not only that but tomorrow I will be flying back to my former life in Bandung, using my old bike (two bikes ago) and living in my old house (several houses ago). It will be cool to see my old friends again and I need a break from my job. It has been quite stressful the last few weeks but still lots of fun. Can't wait to see Bandung and all my friends again.

 
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Christmas Party

Tonight we had our SP Banda Aceh Christmas Party. After we ate we sang songs. That was pretty interesting being the only non-indonesian there. They all knew the main parts of a song like Jingle Bells but after that they just kind of hummed so it was just me singing until the chorus came along again and then everyone would join in again. Either that or it was in Indonesian and I didn't know it. Good times. Good times.

 
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The War Truck

So we needed a new big truck to transport goods around from the warehouse the the work sites and down in Meulaboh they happened to have one they weren't using because it was too big. I volunteered to take it but I had to transport it. I also gave a pickup truck to the Nias project since they needed one. There was one more vehicle that needed to be transported from Medan to Meulaboh so we decided to do a round robin swap using one driver. It worked out that I would use my driver since one in Meulaboh fell throught.

 
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Black Hands Again

Yesterday I had to go apply for my third visa extension on my current visa. The first time it is 2 months with the possibility of 4 one months extensions after that. For the third extension though you have to go and get finger printed. This basically is you go down and they put both your hands in black oily ink and then smear them across several pieces of paper and then each finger one at a time. This leaves you with very black, very messy hands afterwards. What do they do with the papers you may ask? Put them in a file and never look at them again. Ah, the fun of living in Indonesia.

 
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A Day of Adventures

I had a great day yesterday. I decided to go exploring in the morning to find a new beach and spring up in the mountains. I got on a bike and drove out following the vague directions of: drive out towards the cement factory and turn right, then go up into the mountains following a little trail till you can't drive anymore and then walk. I did this and ended up quite far up in the middle of nowhere but never found the spring. I went back and found my bike but the back tire was flat. Since I was up the side of a mountain I didn't have a lot of choice but to ride it back down.

 
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Best Excuse So Far

One of the parts of my job is paying suppliers after construction materials are delivered. We only pay by check since doing otherwise would require carrying huge amounts of cash around, something I don't want to have liability for. Checks also leave trail that is much easier to follow.

 
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A Little Bit of Christmas

Its hard to believe it is already December 14th. Here in Aceh they don't celebrate Christmas so it is kind of sneaking up on me. I had a great suprise yesterday though. I came back from a long road trip to inspect some flooded houses and found a package from another SP base had arrive. Inside was a miniature Christmas tree complete with lights and tinsel! I have set it up in the office and now I'm reminded it is nearly Christmas. Before that the only sign was when I was in Medan a couple weeks ago and they were playing Christmas music in the mall.

 
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New Motorcycle!

I bought a new motorcycle! That is clue number two to my plans after my contract is up. I'll fill you in more later.

 
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Newsletter 19 out!

I've just sent out newsletter # 19. Enjoy! I also finally added # 18 to the list

 
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Google Earth for Mac

As some of you know, I bought a laptop about 4 months ago and I decided to go with a Mac. I've absolutely loved it but the one thing that was missing was Google Earth. For those of you who haven't yet used it yet. It is one of the most stunning and useful tools you will come across on computers today. I've been planning another motorcycle trip with a friend and was wanting to use Google Earth to help map out the trip but couldn't because it doesn't run on a Mac! A couple of days ago, a Beta of Google Earth became available.

 
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House building supplies

I'd like to give you guys an idea of what is going on at my current job. I'm now mainly shelter manager in Banda Aceh and am in charge of building 450 houses for tsunami victims. The project is already underway with a village of 36 complete. We are now working on a village of 224, most of which are partially started. One of the hardest things right now is getting supplies, especially wood. This is encouraging though because it means that construction is going on a full pace.

 
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Airport hotspot

I'm waiting in the airport for my flight back up to Banda Aceh. I flew in for a meeting on Wednesday and stayed thursday and friday since I had to work through the thanksgiving holiday. I've had hot showers and a sink to shave in for the first time in a long time. If you have never gone without such niceties, you really can't fully appreciate that last statement. It makes it all the harder to be going back to cold bucket showers.

 
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Place in Nashville

Does anyone know of a place in Nashville that my sister could stay for the Passion 06 concert? It is January 3-5. If anyone knows of someone who is renting a hotel room and has room or has a friend or family member that would be willing to let my sister stay there, let me know. You can either e-mail me or just reply to this post. Thanks!

 
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Translation anomaly

I was translating a friends letter the other day when I came across the word "berikan." It stumped me at first because I thought it was based on the root word "ikan" which means fish and the prefix "ber" which means to make or wear. So, the translation would be either to wear fish (doesn't make sense) or to make fish (as in like a chicken laying eggs). I was stumped for a while until I realised the root word was actually "beri" which means to give and it has the suffix "kan" which transfers the object of a verb to something else. So it should have actually meant "to give something."

 
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