So if you wanted to know what you might encounter if you stopped by our corner of the world, our friend Dan did us a huge favor and wrote a snippet about his 4 days here. We figured it might bring something fresh to the mix! Dan was a great guest. He tried every food we put in front of him and never once complained, even though I think riding around on the back of Payton’s motorbike in classic Asian traffic was a little intense! We were so encouraged by his visit and glad he got to look into our lives!
Here’s what Dan had to say…
“Wow! What a blessing. What a hoot. Some disjointed thoughts from my visit:
Stepping off the plane, one is engulfed in a line of people pushing their way through a funnel to reach the freedom-side of immigration. A scenic drive through green hills and valleys, is an easy price to pay to reach the Downing’s temporary abode in a nearby city. And yes, there is little Finn; inquisitive, happy, sweet and fussy. Everything a six month old should be. Payton and Grace have made unmistakable strides in shaping Finn’s world view; one of a beloved child of two nurturing, loving, adoring, doting parents.
A typical Downing-day during my visit might unfold with mornings finding Payton scrambling some eggs, while Grace feeds Finn. Ibu Puji, the Downing’s cook arrives shortly after breakfast with fresh vegetables for the day’s meals. Her cheerful presence is a godsend, giving Payton and Grace ample time to prepare for their regular language lessons. Perhaps even more important, Ibu Puji serves as an ever-present companion to Grace and a readily available source of culture, conversation and grammar consultation. Some days, scheduled tutors drop in to give lessons, other days the three Downings motor over on their bikes to the language school for a small classroom lesson. This week, the five students present for class discussed a significant milestone test of some type looming in next month’s calendar. I don’t know how Payton and Grace will do on their test, but they sure impressed me running around town conversing with all the locals.
I suspect bad food does not exist in Asia-Pacific. We failed in our attempts to find some at three different restaurants; each was truly a treat of blended spices. Very enjoyable fish, duck, chicken, and vegetable dishes all took back seat to an amazingly savory beef-rib broth. By nature I’m not a regular soup-slurper, but this dish was out of this world.
The main streets of their home, a bustling city of about 200,000 are filled with cars, fuming diesel trucks, an occasional rickshaw going against traffic, and hordes of ever-present motorcycles; their helmeted drivers aggressively pushing forward, fearlessly squeezing their way between cars or trucks, or each other. Off the main streets, clusters of brightly uniformed school children may ebb and flow through various narrow neighborhood streets.”