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Indonesia

Things I Did Not Know About Indonesia

Indonesia

I recently was given a great gift through the opportunity to serve on a project in the country of Indonesia, specifically the Provence of Papua.  The opportunity came up very fast and aside from a few minor logistical items, most of which were taken care of for me by the sponsoring organization, I was on my way in a matter of a few weeks.

I knew little or nothing about this island nation on the other side of the planet.  I barely knew how to get there.  (head to Australia and stop short….).  As I made preparations to leave, there were many questions, but I knew from past travels there are just a few essentials one needs to have and know in order to go.  The sponsoring organization has many years in this location, so I trusted they would take care of me.

Needful Preparations
On the other hand, I wanted to be prepared so as not to be a burden.  I wanted to arrive as part of the team.  Fortunately, I am married to the consummate researcher.  My husband would rather research anything over almost any other activity in life.  I am not exaggerating….!
So, as I took care of the practical aspects of my departure such as what:
  • clothes to take (hot, humid, tropical)?
  • laundry facilities would there be?
  • medicines to carry with me (malaria and dengue fever – gulp)
  • would access to connectivity be? Computer, iPhone needed?

as well as,

  • Paying bills
  • stocking the pantry ahead
  • and scheduling BLOG and Facebook posts through the end of the year.
 We also took time to do our annual legacy file review:  wills, power of attorneys and monthly budget procedures.  We do this every year and this trip seemed a prudent time to get it done.
Useful Indonesia Information
In the midst of this, Hubby was glued to his computer looking up facts, information and curious tidbits about my destination.  At the moment, these bits of information were the last thing on my mind, but I have come to learn after 40 years of marriage, that however out of time, his research comes in handy – eventually.
Here are some things I did not know about this fourth populous nation of the earth:
  • It is the largest island nation on earth with over 13,000 islands forming the archipelago.  Most are uninhabited.  By the way, most island nations are the tops of volcanoes, both dead and alive, and the remains of ocean floors pushed up from volcanic activity.  Earthquakes and tremors were normal.
  • It’s land mass is 1/5th of the United States, however, when overlay-ed the USA, it stretches on the diagonal from Oregon to Florida.
  • The Republic of Indonesia is also the Spice Islands.  Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Star anise, turmeric to name a few, have been sought after and traded for since ships and caravans found their way from Europe.  Remember the brand of spices your mother used to buy:  Spice Islands!
  • They drive on the left side of the road, right hand drive.  This goes back to the Dutch Colonial days when they also drove on the “other” side of the road.  The Dutch changed in the early 1900’s but Indonesia remained Right hand drive to conform with much of their region including Australia and Southeast Asia.  I had to resurrect my London days of “Look right” before crossing roads to avoid angry beeps from the herds of scooters!
  • The Sumatra and Java Coffee I drink at Starbucks come from Indonesia.
A Personal Connection

My father-in-law was stationed at Morotai on the Island of Maluku during WWII.  He flew P-38 reconnaissance at the end of the war and was all over the Pacific Theater in his career.  It was not until this trip that his time in Morotai came alive.  I did not visit there – it would have been like visiting Idaho while in Kansas, but still I am the one family member to get this close.

A Small Part of Indonesia
My exposure to Indonesia was very limited given its size.  The airport at Jakarta on the Island of Java and Sentani-Jayapura on the Indonesian side of the Island of Papua. I discovered the huge part this region played in the Pacific aspects of WWII.  I read several books during my trip (25 hours in the air each way gives one a lot of uninterrupted reading time).
While there, I was loaned a copy of Lost in Shangri-la by  Mitchell Zuckoff .  While telling the remarkable story of the discovery of the lost Dani tribe, it also provided a wealth of information on the role this strategic spot played during this time, the region’s history and the history of its people.
  • The Sentani Airport was built by the Japanese, then taken over by the US and allied forces.
  • General MacArthur was headquartered there and today remains an Indonesian military compound that contain artifacts of his time there.
  • There are virtually no roads to the interior of this island.  Wamena, is the world’s largest city is supplied only by aviation.
  • There are over 800 languages on the island of Papua alone.  The national language, Bahasa Indonesian, was adopted in the 1930s.   Its’ written form came into being over the previous 100 or so years during the Dutch colonial days.  In 1945 it was adopted as the national language in the constitution.  Most Indonesians are fluent in one or more of the other languages and speak a different language in the home.
Learning How Much There Is to Learn
All of this served as a humble reminder of how self-centric we are naturally.  I felt the sting, more than once, of my own ignorance of such a significant region as I learned more and more about the context in which my service would take place.  Yet, I did not scratch the surface of this remarkable place:  Bali, Kalimatran, Sumatra, Java, and much much more.
In the coming weeks, I will be sharing aspects of faith, family, and flight which  converged  into this unexpected assignment.   As we identify, build, shore-up and realize the stones in our unique Stonebridge of life, the history, back-story and context serve to add color, depth, hue, shades and over-all meaning to what appears on the surface.  Here’s to digging deep in 2018.
Name one event or experience that helped define your Stonebridge in 2017?  Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!  I love hearing from you!

Flaps – A Cullen Cat at Maison Steinbuchel

A man is like a cat; chase him and he will run – sit still and ignore him and he’ll come purring at your feet. – Helen Rowland

We are cat people.  This was not always the case with me.  Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs.  The attachment fell far short of what I know today.  This had to do with the fact that:

  • We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm;
  • Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached;

If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.

Married To A Cat Person

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.

Aviation Cats

cat

The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fifth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder.  They are gone now, but Flaps, now six-teen years old, remains.

We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats.

Continue reading Flaps – A Cullen Cat at Maison Steinbuchel

picnic

A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

This weekend I will be joining my mother, her brother and members of three of the seven branches of my maternal grandfather’s siblings for a family picnic near Boise Idaho.  Sometime in the 40s or 50s three of  my grandfather’s six siblings moved from Kansas to this area so I only knew them by name.  A large reunion of the Rightmeier clan in Kansas in 2005 and the advent of Facebook reinstated relationships  geography had eroded.

This picnic gathering has me thinking about this branch of my family tree’s German roots.  It centers around a small village in the northern District of Lippe Germany:   Varenholtz.

A Castle

When my husband and I had an opportunity to visit Varenholtz in 1998, we found a landmark never mentioned in any of the family stories:  Schloss (Castle) Varenholz.  The castle location was the seat of a family of Knights , under Heinrich the Lion. Built to its current size in 1596 by Simon VI, the son of a staunch Catholic Count, who ruled the region and fiercely resisted the Protestant movements in the area.

When the elder Count died, the care of Simon VI, his son, was left to Phillip of Hessen.  Although the Count gave strict orders that his son be educated in the Catholic faith, Phillip did not adhere to this request and Simon was educated as a Lutheran, and later studied “at a reformed school in Strasbourg” where he became a follower of John Calvin (1503 – 1564).  It was in this way that Lippe became a mix of Lutheran and Calvinistic influence.

Regetmeir to Rightmeier

My maternal great great  grand-father, Frederic Regetmeier,  immigrated to the United States in 1864 at the age of 14. During this period, a long-term drought, along with political and religious unrest made living conditions in Lippe quite desperate.  In other words the feudal system was breaking down.

The life they knew was disappearing.  Word of the opportunities in America sparked by desperation, drove young Frederic and his brother August  to make the voyage.   In reality the brothers were stowaways on a ship to New York.  It is said they jumped ship in New York harbor and swam ashore.

Continue reading A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

hospitalityHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,  Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1
The concept of hospitality has a much higher meaning than is commonly thought of today, at least in my part of the world.  Although the everyday application remains valid, it lacks the depth of its’ original intent.
True hospitality is personal.  Its requires effort and energy, commitment, an awareness of other’s needs, preferences and desires – even unspoken ones.  This goes well past the hospitality industry, e.g. hotels, restaurants and other home away from home establishments.  Although once staying in a hotel adept at hospitality or eaten in a truly hospitable restaurant  you do not forget the experience.
Hospitality Is An Action
I have had such opportunities and it is nourishment for the soul and body – and generally a bit of a shock to the wallet!  Still, there is something special about feeling, well, special. Here is a description of  what I am talking about from a review of Hotel Dina in Greece:

“In the evenings, if she saw us sitting outside, she’d pull out an unlabeled bottle of local white wine, pour us each a glass and leave the bottle or grill us up some octopus. A little pat on the shoulder for me in the afternoon, a fresh towel at night, a cup of Greek coffee in the morning. Everything Dina did seemed to be touched with a sense of grace and humor. She was as warm as the sun on our yet-to-be-burned shoulders. The words she spoke to me weren’t necessarily understood, but her meaning was always clear. “You are most welcome.”

The Greeks have a word for it, but don’t they seem to have a word for everything? In this case, the word is philoxenia. Philos= love, xeno= stranger. Essentially, the word means “hospitality” but that definition is too facile. One enters a Greek household and one is immediately offered a drink and something to eat. Taking care of a guest’s wants and needs is deeply ingrained into the culture. There is a sense of generosity that seems completely unstrained. As a guest of Dina’s, even though this was ultimately (and I do not mean this cynically) to be. a moneyed transaction, I found her kindness was not something that was paid for. My stay with her completely refreshing in every sense of the word. I felt restored. And I am most grateful.”

Continue reading Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

Hello Summer! Simplicity and Stones.

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”  ―Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

summerWhen one is retired from working as an employee, you would think that the seasons, including summer, would all blend together.  I have found that while my time is more flexible, it is not entirely disconnected from the rhythm of the of the seasons

We are not big vacation takers, but prefer to do mini-trips.  Some of this has to do with the amount of travel I did with my work before retiring.  It was great.  But even then, we road warriors reluctantly tolerated the non-frequent flyers at the airports headed off for their summer adventure.

In addition, since I flew, literally, around the world for my vocation, a hop in the car for a couple of nights at a quiet Kansas B &B is so much less complicated.  I have been blessed to see a lot of places, and although there are places I would still like to visit, a good book, my journal and quiet are my version of vacation for the moment.

Summer Service

I have one trip planned for August.  To return to Mission Aviation Fellowship in Idaho.  I get to volunteer at MAF headquarters for a few days.  This is a desire I have had in my heart for many years.  It happens to coincide with an extended family picnic on my mother’s side of the family.  This trip touches several of the stones in my bridge.

Other than that, we are hitting the house renovation hard, another stone:  foundations.  Several projects are gaining traction with some summer help.  Hallelujah!

What are your plans for the summer?  Please share how you enjoy this season of the year in the comments below. 

 

A Solo Flight – Celebrating Milestones

milestones

I enjoy being a pilot, aircraft and hanger owner, but these joys are accompanied by a fair amount of responsibility.  Even as a private pilot, periodic flight reviews (BFR) and medicals come with the privilege.  This was the month for both of those activities.  Since I inherited my Dad’s 1961 Forney Aircoupe, I have flown my BFRs in that craft, but this year I decided to have it done in a Cessna 150, the airplane in which I learned to fly, solo and certify in as a pilot in 1992.
I was able to find one to rent at Westport Airport, a wonderful place in the heart of Wichita, KS.  I have a long history with 71K, aka Dead Cow International, where the Jayhawk Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is based, so I was pleased for this occasion.  Westport should be on your list of places to visit if you come to Wichita.  A quaint oasis of the past meets the present if there ever was a place.  If you are really fortunate  you will meet Earl Long and many other aviators that make up the back-drop of the aviation fabric of the Air Capitol.
Milestones By Comparrison
The Forney Aircoupe  and Cessna 150 are very close in performance, but after flying, almost exclusively, my Coupe for 20+ years, I felt quite out of place.  There are differences that change how one interacts with the plane:
  • The Coupe is a low wing, the Cessna a high wing, thus visibility is quite different.
  • Although my Coupe has rudder pedals (early models do not) they are less critical than in the Cessna, because….
  • The Coupe’s engine is mounted to compensate for the “P” factor, pulling the aircraft to the left, where as one must use rudder to compensate in the Cessna
  • The Coupe uses a hand brake, the Cessna, toe brakes integrated into the rudder pedals
  • The Coupe is about 300 pounds lighter than the Cessna and has a much lighter touch in the controls
  • The trim on the Coupe has less impact on how the aircraft flies than on the Cessna
The best comparison I can give is the difference you feel when getting into a rental car versus your own, it just feels foreign – times ten!
My BFR instructor gave me ample time with the Cessna to get reacquainted, going over checklists, locations of various instruments and gages, etc.  on my own.  I  was as ready as I would be, but still felt a fish out of water for most of the flight.  On top of that, it was less than smooth and I had to fight thermals the entire flight.  It was less than a stellar performance, but my instructor was kind and decided I was not a hazard to myself or others, signing me off for two more years.

Continue reading A Solo Flight – Celebrating Milestones

Dreamers – An Airport Story in Three Parts

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”   ― Wilferd Peterson

“I turned left onto a half-mile final for a south landing.  There it was, five thousand feet of new concrete; an airport thirty years in the making, carved out of farmland in rural Kansas.  My Kansas.   My roots.  My spirit welled up as I made my final traffic call, “Rooks County Regional Airport traffic, Aircoupe three zero five two golf, on short final for runway one-eight. “  The little red coupe seemed to perk up as I trimmed her to follow the visual glide path to a flawless, slightly cross-wind landing.  I could almost hear Daddy smile from that great cloud of witnesses as we taxied off the runway onto the ramp toward the waiting crowd.

dreamersI had been following the progress of the new Rooks County Regional Airport (KRKS) since I learned, during a 23 year high school class reunion in 2006, that plans were back underway for an all weather airport near my hometown.  So when I was invited to the dedication by a former classmate, I knew I had to fly the     Aircoupe back “home”. Continue reading Dreamers – An Airport Story in Three Parts

The Joyland Carousel – Exposing Hidden Connections

 Joyland
I have never been to the Joyland Amusement Park founded by the Ottoways in 1949.  Although still active until 2004, I simply never had a reason to check it out.  As a child, my amusement park exposure was limited to school playgrounds,  county fairs and carnivals, but I loved the carousels.
I also love seeing lost things found and restored.  So when the Joyland carousel was donated to Botanica, my ears perked up.  As a member of Botanica, I have been following the plans to relocate and restore this wonderful icon.  It seems her new life will be as close to heaven for a carousel as it can get:  In the midst of well tended gardens in a secure protected structure.  Bravo!
Hidden Connections
Even though any direct personal experience with this carousel and Joyland is non-existent to date, I feel a connection on several levels.  Levels that, to the non-discerning eye, are not even there.
First, as as I said, I love seeing things of value restored.  Value, not just in monetary terms, but value at a deeper more visceral level.  Thus our passion for restoring our historic home, Maison Steinbuchel.
Second, as written about in a previous post, the land Botanica sits on was originally a part of the Stackman-Steinbuchel-Hahn homestead, the family for whom our Kansas Historic home is named.
Third, the the connection to the Chance family.  This family is behind the Chance manufacturing company.  It was the Joyland train that sparked the emergence of this Wichita based enterprise.
Aviation, Flight and Air Traffic Control
This connection too, is more visceral than direct, but it is special.  You see, I knew Mary Chance Van Scyoc, but not in the way you might think.  It was not through the amusement park connection but rather through air traffic control.
I met Mary in the 1990s through my local Kansas 99s chapter, a global women’s pilot organization founded by Amelia Erhart.  Mary was an accomplished private pilot and quite a personality.  It was later I discovered she had been the first woman air traffic controller at Denver Airways Control Center, the predecessor to the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center where I began my air traffic career.  She was also the first woman controller at the Wichita Airport Traffic Control Tower, where I later worked on staff and in supervision.  Mary paved the way for me.  She was an inspiration not only as an air traffic controller, but as an early woman pilot, even learning to fly helicopters in her late 60s!  The last time I spoke with her, she was still active and overflowing with life.

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The Abstract – Maison Steinbuchel’s Personal History

abstractWe have the original abstract of our Kansas Historic Landmark home dating back to the land grant of 160 acres from the Osage Land Trust.  In past BLOG posts, I have told how three individual lives, immigrants from France and Germany, converged in Wichita, Kansas.  How through love, hope, taking risks and even tragedy ended up as three blood lines merged into a family for which the Steinbuchel house is named. It took eight-teen years from the time the land was acquired via land grant, divided, plated and developed until 1905 Park Place was built in 1888.  It was another nine-teen years before the blended Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel family made it their home in 1907.  

Land Treading and Transfers
The land grant was to Mr. George Sharp in 1869 with the final document signed By President Ulysses S. Grant on April 15, 1873.  Over a period of 18 years the land was divided, sold and eventually plated into the city of Wichita.  Imagine, 160 acres less than two miles north of downtown Wichita!  In those 18 years, the land sales and transfer went something like this:
  • 1870 – Land designated for grant from the Osage Trust Lands which were bought in 1820 via treaty
  • 1873 – 160 acres, which included the land our house is on, was granted to Mr. George Sharpe
  • 1871 – 40 Acres of the original grant was sold to Mr. William Polk
  • 1872 – A portion of the land was sold to to Doc Lewellen – the same Lewellen who had the trading post a few blocks south.

Continue reading The Abstract – Maison Steinbuchel’s Personal History