How others see us can be surprising


A friend of ours married a lovely young lady from Vietnam; they have a beautiful young daughter who took many years to conceive and is therefore something of a miracle child, and much loved.  An’s parents have come over to Australia, from their home in Ho Chi Minh City, for a year to spend time with the little one and to help out while her parents go to work.  Peter was keen for them to see ‘Euphoria’, the house we built on 9.3 acres that has been written about elsewhere in this blog, to get a sense of our lifestyle in the forest and the values underpinning it.  Peter’s father-in-law, Nghia Chanh Tran, is a retired reporter and still submits lifestyle pieces to  This is how we came to be written about for the ‘family’ section of this website.

Online Translation can be tricky, and sometimes garbled, but we were still taken with the lyrical quality of his writing (especially the expression, ‘holy and wide-open love’)  and heartened that, despite the language difficulties and the need for An as intermediary, he clearly understood and appreciated what things in life are important to us.  Sustainability, positive relationships, a loving marriage, and well cared-for and happy pets. The two published articles, with photos and video, are below in pdf form, with text translations from Google Translate underneath.

Safari – 20 Aug 2018 at 8:45 am

FULL TRANSLATION, published 14/8/2018
A strange love story in the house between the forests of the Australian couple
05:30 | 8/8/2018
Tens of kilometers of highways crossing the jungles of our new home. The house is not large, not luxurious, but we found here the holy love and a wide open love …
Being ex-wife humiliated at the wedding, the wife responded to make everyone respect
The truth about the husband embraces billion bill escape on the wedding night
The house in the middle of the forest
The house of Kim Dwayne Downs (65) and Liz Hall (57) in Greenbank (Brisbane, Australia). The house is lonely in the middle of the forest, but not too hard for us to find.
You pick us up the stairs lead up to the house. The house is not wide, only about 100m2 is simply decorated. With light materials, Kim built himself.

The house is quite airy. The guest room is located outside overlooking the dense jungle. Inside is the dining room and the kitchen. The bedroom of the couple is behind.
One can not fail to mention the details of the house are three bird cages placed outside the stairs up. 4 birds singing in 3 cymbals when they see us …
They welcome us very sincere and warm. Tall man The bearded and hairy little artist is bleeding. Your smile is so fresh.
Next to him, Liz prepared tea to invite guests. Her face is gentle. Her blond hair is tied up high. You and I sit together beautifully and honestly …
“We have been married for 26 years …”, she opened the conversation. “Previously, I was a medical school student. Not yet out of school I have a disease that is very dangerous.

I can not do anything myself. The limbs are almost paralyzed, unable to work, must be placed in place thanks to the care of relatives.
I was given a government subsidy so I did not have any economic difficulties but I got depressed. I am depressed, sad sometimes add a little inferiority, self-esteem … “.
She goes on to say, “One day, Kim went to the house, seeing me, he was very upset, and through a few exchanges, he and I had little attachment.
He helps me a lot of delicate things – things that only a husband can do for his wife. In free time, he played the guitar for me. I also feel the heart of him should have the same singing with him … “.
A few years later, during a follow-up visit, the treating physician assigned her to use a drug made using the new formula. Luckily, my legs and legs are back to normal operation.
Then, they get married, sticking with the ball. Once he expressed his intention to find a place to stay. She agreed with him to buy the land in the deep forest to take up the house.

“You do not have a certain job but what you can do.” He sheltered a hut for two dozen and he started building.

Every day a little, he hard-working and patient. In addition to the difficult to hire more people, the rest he himself made. Wherever we go, we stay right there and keep going. It’s been 18 years but I still do not think it’s perfect, continue to do … “, she continued.
4 ‘good boy’
She continued the story, he sat next to the occasional smile. To him, it seemed that she was everything. She told me all my life I owed him a debt. This debt can not be calculated in money because it is invaluable, debt grace.
He gave up his young age, the future wide open to her side to go all the way. Try to get someone like that?

Currently they live together very warm and happy. They told us they did not have children but raised four children. When we were surprised, she took my hand and led me to the outside near the stairs.
Standing in front of a bird cage, she opened the cage door and said, “How are you?”. Inside a pink and white bird nodded, “How are you?” Liz smiled brightly: “Fine, thanks,” and put his shoulder to the door. The bird slowly stepped on her shoulder as she went out.
We go from surprise to surprise. Not to wonder, she explained: “This bird is a Galah bird, but it is not a bug, it is not a bug, I learned it from a young age so it can speak. repeat.
He and Lorikeet are very cute. As birds but I do not confine that drop them in the house. They wrap me around. Every morning when we wake up, we both go to bed, give our feet.
Both me and Kim Dwayne Downs had to put his hands on his feet as if shaking hands in the morning it was new. We love them like children. ”

She led me to see all 3 bird cages. Two cages in her words – these two are “gay” because they released so much damage should be locked. In her 4 “children”, only 1 is a girl.
She has raised two “gay” children to date has been 23 years, Lorikeet 18 years and Galah for 4 years. Looking at his 4 “children” dear sister calm her voice: “Do not know if I live to the lifetime of it?

Galah is on her shoulder. She brought mine to touch her face like kissing … mother. She reached for her feather. It’s like soft people nụu. I put my shoulder near her shoulder. He walked over my shoulder. “Hello,” he heard a little, and said, “Hi.” It’s just a bird that speaks the language, I say it says it.
He stood nearby. Looking at us joking with his “children”, he just smile. His smile was a little contented. He said to me: “I do not have children to get the birds do not have any children?”

Safari – 20 Aug 2018 at 8:53 am

TRANSLATION, published 18/8/2018

“Life between the forests of the couple Kim – Liz is romantic.  They are happy together with a very holy love.
Liz watched lovingly at her children. They are running around in the house. Only when the call of his sister or he is they parked right on the shoulder.
At your feet now is Galah. It’s going up but not looking up to look … mother to wait for a call.

Sister Liz called, jumping on her shoulder. According to her, it seems that she has a little charm with her. Four years ago, an elementary school teacher brought it to her. He was small at the time.
The teacher said, her student – a boy picked up it while roaming the park. It is lost mother. The boy put it in the hat and gave it to the teacher.
The teacher was able to keep it for a few months, so she gave it to her. So it became the fourth child in the family. She is big, she teaches, she teaches her how to live. It lives with you …
Life between the forests of the couple Kim – Liz is romantic and romantic. They are happy together with a very holy love.
The material, wealth and status to them are fleeting. They come together with sincerity and always get back with sweet words …

Her health is recovering, but she can not do her job. At present, she is entitled to a living allowance and paid to her caregiver.
Caring for her now is no better than Kim, her husband. So, he took on this role with the salary paid by the government enough to survive the day.
Around the house, Kim farming, breeding. He used to have a pack of ducks and now, the duckweed is empty waiting for conditions to continue to feed.
We walked around the house. He said the area of ​​his land up to 3.6 ha but only the forest.
It is this space that gives you peace in your soul and in life. By the love you have left behind the edge of the forest more than calculated.
Sister Liz continued, Kim previously had tripled all over the job. What work to earn income is he do. When he met her, he reduced to have time to worry for her.
The free time he wrote novels. He has published a book and is pregnant with many other works. She wrote poetry. Many poems about their romantic love poems have also been born.
In addition, he is also a musician, a virtuoso, a vocalist. She also sang and sang with him.
He and she occasionally went to perform at some venues. According to her, the main reason is still fun, not heavy income …
Duets …
Both of us invited us to the living room. The guitar is available there. He sat in the chair with the piano. She entered the room to hug one another. The lute is very strange, many strings.
She explained, the influence of her disease before her hand is not normal should use this herd. This is called Autoharp, made of wood and handmade by artisans.

She sat down on the chair beside him holding the guitar firmly in her lap. She said this is one of the American folk instruments. In 2013, a brother bought for $ 2.400 donated to her.
He started walking. The sound of the song. She was in harmony with him. Then both sing together. Outside, the dense forest is deposited.
Singing at the time, at the time of pregnancy. We look at you. Both are immersed in the lyrics.
It seems that there is no one but the remaining levels, the subsistence as human life …

Finished one, he stopped. She still wants to sing more. He walked a different song. She was with me. Two hours mixed with two hours of singing to create a tone into the heart.
We listen to you sing. 4 “child” seems to like to stand still. The man put his head on the wing. The limpid limb. The chorus of the chorus echoed and we were quiet to enjoy and contemplate.
They stopped singing the song. He said the last 2 songs were written by others. Now it will be his composition, conveyed by the classical guitar called Banjo with four strings from 1930.

He raised the singing, the language. The song is more subdued and deposited as if to convey the heart of the writer.
We suddenly thought of the moonlit night, here is deserted. Your singing and singing will make mountains and forests wake up. The animals, grass will listen to you sing together high singing love …
We apologize. You brought us out. Across the car suddenly looked up the glass, the duo singing alongside 4 birds. Her smiling face said, “That’s our family.”


After 18 years on the property, and with the house finally finished, we have sold up and will soon be moving closer to the ocean, ‘retiring’ to the Bay Islands.

This meeting with Nghia Chanh Tran and his family occurred during our final weekend living at ‘Euphoria’, and seemed a fitting end to a long and happy period in our lives.  Oddly enough, he and Kim physically resemble each other – both lean and tall, both long-haired, and close in age –  so now we refer to them as ‘brothers’.  ❤️

Our countries’ histories have at times been ugly, but I maintain that people, no matter their background and culture, have more in common than not, and this meeting of kindred spirits separated by culture and language, is a prime example of this principle.





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