The European patent office has more than 5,000 listed inventions relating to traffic lights, but I know for a fact that no one in Asia cares. Here, a traffic light has no more significance to most motorists than a palm tree. Nothing proves this more clearly than our daily commute to language school.
Here, drivers obey only one traffic law: no driver may ever be behind any other driver. Every conceivable car and cart and teetering, billowing contraption aggressively vies for the same space. Motorcycles shuffle through intersections like a deck of cards. For our first few days here, Emma would beg, “Honey, please don’t drive up on the sidewalk!”
“Ot-bunyaha,” I’d reply, which roughly translates to, “No problem. Cover your eyes!” Now I think she likes it.
I’m so proud of Emma for how earnestly she is pouring herself into language study. On top of full-time language school, she is constantly reviewing her notes and drilling herself with flashcards. She peppers me with questions about words late into the night, as long as she thinks I might still be awake. After the first few days, she felt overwhelmed to the point of tears. I told her she should take a break, but she refused. She just needed to cry. We can’t wait to be done with this period of intense language learning so we can move out of the city and into the territory of the Great River people where there are no traffic lights at all.
We have had so many wonderful experiences already. We have attended baptisms and a school dedication at the Pnong Project. We have visited blossoming home groups of Muslim-background Great River people. And some dear friends, Marley and Derek Vida, are raising funds to come and be our partners!
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