In the land of rice and lava

I recently made a stressful international trip with an ulcer, and actually survived. I couldn’t eat any of the airplane or airport food, but I’d found one brand of apple cereal bars that I could eat without excruciating pain, so I brought enough for the entire trip.

On the ulcer front: I’ve started treatment for h. pylori. Day three, and I’m not sure yet whether or not it’s helping. Also not sure what I’ll do if it doesn’t help. It’s been almost six weeks since I was able to eat much. I’ve probably lost close to twenty pounds.

Enough whining. Let’s talk about Indonesia, specifically the island of Java. I love the people, the food (it’s hard not being able to eat it at the moment), and the landscape with its towering volcanos and terraced rice fields. Due to my illness, I haven’t gotten a chance to get out and take a lot of photos yet. Here are a few from around the house.

ImageBanana tree, complete with giant blossom. Bananas in the tropics taste amazing.

ImageCicak, a kind of small gecko. They are cute, and useful, since they
eat bugs. There’s also an adorable children’s song about them.

Traditional hand broom.

It’s not a coincidence that Lili, the main character in my first novel, has a mother who’s Javanese (Lili’s father, like me, is a white Texan). I’ll be living here in Java for four months, learning and absorbing everything I can. I believe this experience will be greatly helpful when it comes to writing a character who is half-Javanese.

Speaking of the novel, it’s coming along. Still much longer than I had planned–30,000 words through 6 chapters. There are 21 chapters in my outline, which puts me on pace for 105,000 words. Yikes. Something tells me I’ll have to do plenty of cutting in the editing phase. Still, I’m pleased I’ve been able to keep up the pace, despite illness and travel.