In roughly chronological order, here are the top 10 highlights from our 2016:
1) Visiting the US for the first time in (almost for Sarah, over for David) two years
We were blessed to make it home twice in 2016, both for the Christmas holidays (2015-2016) and over our summer break. We loved introducing Clementine to her extended family and reuniting with old friends. Other than time with family and friends, we probably enjoyed food the most.
2) Continuing on a minimalism journey
I wrote about this one extensively in the last post, so I won’t say much about it here. I’ll just share a quote that pretty much sums up our feelings toward this pursuit: “Owning less is merely a means to an end, it is not the end itself. Minimalism removes the physical distractions so my greatest priorities can be elevated. It allows my life to be defined by eternal, lasting pursuits, not the temporal possessions contained in my home.” – Joshua Becker
3) Participating in Bible Study Fellowship
In the fall of 2015 I (Sarah) joined the Jakarta chapter of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). We studied the book of Revelation, and while the reading and homework commitment was significant, I was glad to have an outside the home outlet for community and spiritual growth. I carpooled with our pastor’s wife and usually ate lunch with her and a few friends afterwards. My small group consisted of women from Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, India, Venezuela, Norway, and the US. What a privilege it was to study Scripture alongside these women, knowing that many others were studying the same book all over the world.
4) Teaching Sunday school and hosting a small group
David and I have taught youth Sunday school for almost three years now, but Clementine’s birth has certainly changed the way that works. As she’s gotten older and more active/vocal, David has taken the lead in teaching, while I care for Clementine. We miss teaching together but know this is only for a season. We also began hosting a small group in our home that thankfully allows us to study together without the distraction of childcare. (We meet just after C’s bedtime.)
5) JD’s visit and subsequent move to Jakarta
Over the Chinese New Year holiday my cousin, who was teaching in Taiwan at the time, came to visit us. We were able to visit a small island just north of Java, and we tried to convince JD to come teach in Jakarta the next year. He wasn’t really interested at first until our small group friends came over for dinner and made a more convincing argument, apparently. 😉
6) David turning 30
He finally made it! Considering I turned 30 two days before we got married, I’ve been waiting the entire span of our marriage for him to catch up. We had a great day celebrating all the things that make him wonderful, complete with 30 letters from family and friends and 30 reasons I was glad he was born.
7) Clementine learning to walk
Or better yet, Clementine’s development in general. She turned one and then nine days later took her first steps. While we had heard some “mamamama” and “dadadada” babbling for the past few months, her official first word coincided with our summer visit to David’s parents house. Upon meeting Cato, Clementine excitedly exclaimed, “Dawg, dawg, dawg, dawg!” It’s still her favorite animal, although her vocabulary has expanded to include a few more (thanks to Dear Zoo).
8) Sarah returning to work
When we made the decision for me to stay home after Clementine’s birth, we committed to at least one year and would discuss future plans as the time came. As the 2016-2017 school year approached, we decided that I would again stay home for at least one more year. However, one of the principals approached David late in the spring asking if we’d be willing to consider my coming back to work part time (teaching two English classes, grades 11 and 12). Our initial thought was no, but after praying and discussing with the school further what that might look like practically, we felt confident moving forward. This year has very much been the best of both worlds for me. I love that I still get to spend so much time with Clementine and yet also have an outlet for creative work. We were able to extend the arrangement for another year, so our family is looking forward to our time here in 2017 and beyond.
9) Sarah (re)learning to drive a manual transmission … in Jakarta traffic
We got our car just before Clementine was born, and while most people in Jakarta hire drivers to tote them around in Jakarta traffic, we’ve been lucky that David is willing to brave it himself. However, my returning to work has necessitated that I take on a bit of that responsibility as well. My first car was a standard (that lacked reverse, but that’s a story for another day), so I wasn’t learning from square one. It had been many years, however, and driving here can just be scary, y’all. It’s worked well for us, and I am fairly comfortable/confident with the 1-2 km stretch I drive each day.
10) Book Club and #DaSHbookdates
I would split this in two, but I’m a sucker for top 10 lists. A friend started a book club at the end of last spring, and it has been such a blast to read and discuss alongside some really smart women. In 2016 we read All the Light We Cannot See, State of Wonder, The Alchemist, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, and Call the Midwife. This November marked three years of book dates for David and me. These continue to be such a nourishment to our marriage; I only wish we’d been doing them from the start! 2016’s books were Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Princess Bride, The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Bell Jar, Bleak House, The World According to Garp (A couple friend book date … a first for us!), No Country for Old Men, Persepolis, Ethan Frome, It, East of Eden, and Anna Karenina (still working on this one …).
We have richly experienced the goodness of God in 2016 and hope and pray the same for your 2017!