Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Marcella

Dear Marcella, 
Hello dear!  I wonder when you'll finally read this!  I may have to drop a hint, we'll see... I wanted to post all about you and share with the world all the things you've taught the Wigtons about Indonesia, life and God since you joined us through the IVEP program and I figured I'd just make it a letter to you.  

Ben and I really didn't know anything at all about Indonesia before you arrived.  We read a little pamphlet that told us some things I didn't understand at the time, like how your culture is more indirect rather than direct and will more readily tell others how they feel about you rather than tell you to your face and that I may have to ask you three times before trusting that a "no" answer really means no, when offering you food or other things to be nice.  

We also learned that Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world (by population) and that there are six major religions that it hosts, with Muslim being the greatest by 85%, then Christianity by 12%.  Also though we knew Indonesia had several islands, we had no idea that there were 17,508 of them!  Nor that they stretched across almost 5 billion square miles (only 1 billion square miles smaller than the US in total land mass).  I'm in awe that there are 2-3 hundred ethnic groups in Indonesia and each one has it's own language, traditional clothing and practices.  I love all the Indonesian traditional clothes that I've seen:
Now that you've been with us for four months we've learned so much about your culture and you, though we have lots to learn still.  We really mean it when we tell you that you are a gifted musician, the fact that you can play piano and guitar so well by ear and not had lessons means you have a gift.  We're so impressed by you!  We had a funny moment when you first got here and I gave you the job of shredding the carrot skins off with something like this: 
You said to me, "What do I do with this?"  It dawned on me at that moment that we might as well be from different planets.  Wow.  Of course, it turned out that what you use in Indonesia isn't all that different, and we happened to have one on hand, thanks to a recent gift from my Grandma: 
Now you like the American kind of peeler and I like the kind you were used to.  So funny.  It still blows me away to know that in Indonesia most people wash their laundry by hand and only keep 3-4 changes of clothes.  I've learned from you that since you're closer to the equator you have the same hours of light and darkness every day, all year around: 6-6.  How strange to us it would be to have darkness in the evening all year around.  Since it's about 83 degrees Fahrenheit all year you have little need for running hot water and so don't mind not having such in your house, though it would not be fun here in Ohio!  We do need more changes of clothes here with all the changes in weather, but probably not as many as most of us Americans keep, but you're finding this out.  

I love that your culture is a blend of Chinese, Dutch and Portugese cultures.  Your language reflects it, I find it fascinating.  
Here's my list that is hanging in the kitchen, so I never lose it: 
How do you say ___?  = Bagaimana kamu mengatakan __?
Excuse me. =  Permisi
Where is ________? = Di mana _______?
Good morning! = Selamat Pagi! 
How are you? = Apakabar?
Please eat! = Silahkan Makan (my favorite)
Thank you = Terima Kasih
You're welcome = Sama Sama
We love you = Kami cinta kau.

I especially like how in Indonesian language when you make something plural you say it twice (unless it's an English word you use there) and I won't ever forget that "tooth" is "gigi" and that "teeth" is "gigi gigi".   I still don't completely understand why your middle name, which we thought was your last name, sounds so Italian, or all the rules for men and women regarding taking on different family names, like you and your brother do.  But, I suppose we still have time to learn.  Thankfully, we get to keep you all the way through July 2011.  
You are such a hard worker, I wonder if you worked this hard in Indonesia.  You work nearly a full time job at our church doing secretarial and pastoral work and still work twenty hours a week at the coffee shop ministry too.  I love that you have found some foods that you love to eat here like quesadillas, chili and hash browns.  You're so nice, I don't know if you genuinely like all the foods I make you or if you'd just never tell me.  It's ok, in our culture, to say you don't like something.  Maybe it is in yours too, but you've been sweet as sugar and I wouldn't know if it was.  We have really loved all the foods you've made us, the Singaporean coconut chicken rice, the fried rice, the beef with red chilis, and my favorite, the chicken and rice porridge.  I hope we can find more of the sweet soy sauce some day, it's dreamy over that porridge!  Thanks for bringing some for us to try!  

Maybe someday we can translate your books, "Radical for Jesus," and "Matters of the heart" into English together.  Seems like a fun family project, does it not?  

We're making lots of fun memories together, day by day.  We're so very thankful to have you as part of our WigLives for one whole year.  Thank you for all you've taught us and will teach us.  You're a wonderful addition to our family.  Kami cinta kau!  

-Your Ohio Family

1 comment:

mattmarie said...

What a lovely letter to Marcella!! I enjoyed hearing more of the cultural differences. You have opened your home and heart to a wonderful Christian girl. I wish too I could read her books !-)