I know we’re just pilgrims here on this earth, but it’s been wild to enjoy a whole other part of the world. We can’t help but take it all in in hearty gulps! Payton got the chance to dive right in when a whole group of language students decided to climb a nearby mountain/old volcano! It wasn’t something I could waddle up, so I just enjoyed the pictures after the guys returned shaky-legged and wiped out from hiking all night.
We got a tiny glimpse of the diversity here when we visited a cultural fair at a university. Each ethnic group had a different booth and highlighted their history and traditions. Students from different some groups actually blended their different dances in a performance to highlight unity in their cultural diversity.
I’m sure we could have learned so much more, but it rained from lunch until partway through the night, which kind of made it hard to see, hard to hear, and hard to focus.
You might say we’re in transition season now, somewhere between wet and dry. It’s been raining for almost 5 days. Our laundry does not want to dry and our previously “dry” clothes seem to be damp. Clothes kind of get a hint of stinky from not getting all of the moisture out. But the rain has cooled things off, so we’ve actually had to use a blanket at night! 73 F Brrrr!!!
But, our studies must go on, even in the rain! We learned the name of this creature pretty quick (it’s “kalajengking” if you were curious). We found a tiny brown one in the house, but this one was quite the tank in comparison! It was looking for somewhere dry since the rain was flooding it out.
During this week our language helpers took us out to show us around town. We took advantage of their presence by asking questions and taking tons of pictures and getting commentary in English. Their help is invaluable! Besides the insiders view into our new world, we needed help with some essentials, like finding a public bathroom downtown. On a usual trip, by the time 3 hours of shopping or exploring go by, including a bumpy ride on the minibus back to the house, I’m ready to explode. Finding a bathroom seemed like a necessity especially as Baby Downing only gets heavier! (“Donde esta el baño?” doesn’t work here, even though that’s what I keep wanting to ask!). I was never more happy to drop a coin in a box for a toilet!
Trying out food from different vendors was also on my subconscious agenda as the smell of doughnuts wafted past my nose when we went to see the giant city pool. It costs less than 20 cents to swim here.
Back to the doughnut smell…it turns out I was wrong about the doughnuts, instead, we found something just as delicious! Banana chocolate crepes!
Happily smacking our lips, we all walked down the road and around the corner to visit a neighborhood tofu factory.
The tofu process reminded me a bit of cheese. It seemed to have similar stages later on with heating, straining, pressing, and setting.
Most of our morning was spent at an agricultural school where students from all of the islands could come, live, learn, and work the farm. They can then take their skills back to their regions to use new techniques to help their communities grow food.
They even teach about biofuel! That was one area I didn’t feel like exploring very thoroughly though. It looked pretty icky. Especially since the cows weren’t that far away. And it didn’t look like much had changed from the original form.
And they even sold the milk from the cows. Yes, milk comes in bags here, as to many surprising things! It was a neat little farm, indeed.
Speaking of liquid in bags, here’s a favorite photo from another exploratory event last week. We tried Bakso, which is a dumpling soup. Payton returned with a grocery bag full of bags that we put together to make the meal. It’s pretty tricky to pour hot soup and meatballs out of a bag!
Our world might be a little more tame this next week as we start our daily language sessions learning nouns galore! Lots of pointing and listening.