Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well, with some effort we managed to get through Christmas despite feelings of sadness and being homesick. It was just the four of us. We were invited to go to a couple's house that we have met once. But, I thought it would make matters worse being with strangers. It was a thoughtful gesture on their part though. It was quite strange...all the stores were open Christmas Day! Doug picked up Krisy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast, the boys opened a few presents, played some video games, we went out to eat for Christmas dinner and then went grocery shopping. When we got home we watched Transformers and messed around on our computers. We do not have internet yet so we have to keep checking to see if we can pick up a neighbor's and then we all jump on and try to get a connection. We are all healthy and hanging in there. Please pray for us. We are each having our own individual struggles with different aspects of this adventure. As always, send me your prayer requests and I will pray for you too! Hope you all had a blessed CHRISTmas! 

Friday, December 12, 2008

3 Bombs go off in Manila

Roach bombs that is! Doug and the boys set off 3 roach bombs today...big exitement! This was a new experience for the boys and me. We left for a few hours and came home to the carnage. Most of the roaches were in the 'maid's room'. What does that say about the maid who lived here previously??? (no, we don't have a maid. We are using the room to store our suitcases. I'm the maid and I get to stay in the master bedroom with my master. Ha Ha) I want everyone to know that I picked up most of the dead roaches. Doug picked up a few because he did not want me to say I picked up ALL  of them and he didn't pick up any. But, let me reiterate, I picked up the majority of them!! Sorry, we didn't get any photos of the event! The best part of having to be out of the apartment was we got to eat out. We found a Wendy's! Our first Wendy's meal since being in the Philippines. It's  funny how things we took for granted and never thought twice about in the States are now big treats here!!  


Moving Day

The day before the move Doug called the moving company to ask if they had blankets to put around the furniture. The woman who answered the phone said yes. On moving day the movers showed up a 1/2 hour early, 2:30 a.m., Wednesday. The reason for getting such an early start is to try to avoid the horrific traffic. Doug had just stepped out of the shower. I couldn't sleep at all that night, so thankfully, I was already showered. There was an 18 ft. truck and 3 guys. The truck was empty, as in no blankets or anything to protect the furniture and appliances. The owner was a sturdy, built looking Marine. The other two guys were small but mighty. The owner stayed in the street and supervised the loading of the truck while the other 2  bulldozed through. Just visualize 2 Tazmanian Devils spinning through our apartment and you'll get the picture.  It wasn't pretty, but it sure was fast. They were not careful at all with our stuff! In spite of being totally stressed and shocked, Doug did an incredible job of trying to move quick enough to keep a step ahead of them. He still had the shower heater  and the 2 bedroom air-conditioning units (which leaked a good amount of water as the 2 T.D.'s whisked them downstairs) to un-install. Within 1 hour they had everything loaded.

When all was loaded up Doug tried to communicate that he was going to pull around the block and meet them at the end of the narrow one way street. Sounded simple. Except after we pulled around the block there was no truck in sight. Doug circled around again in hope of a sighting. None! Now, of course a brief, fleeting panicked thought entered my mind...they have left with all our stuff. Doug tried to call the Marine on his cell but was out of  pre-paid text (called 'load'- a very common term I quickly learned here) as was Douglas' phone. My phone was in my purse which was had gotten buried in the car during the hasty packing hour. Dustin didn't know where his phone was. So, we had no way of contacting the moving guys! I started thinking about what I would miss the most and remind myself that life is not about our earthly possessions. Doug decided to start driving out of town in the hopes that they had just gone on ahead without waiting for us. Meanwhile, Dustin dug through his back pack and found his cell phone. Doug called the Marine and thankfully, he had just decided to go on ahead. I said a prayer of thanks.  We met up with them and were on our way. Traffic wasn't too bad and we made good time. By the way, the 40 mile trip from San Pablo City to Manila usually takes about 2 hours because of traffic! We arrived to our condo at 6:30 a.m. only to discover that we could not move in until 8:00. We came upstairs and slept on the couches that the owners had left.

8:00 a.m.....Round 2 with the Tazmanian Devils!! I stayed in the condo  as all the guys started bringing stuff in. Our 3 month old wooden furniture was pretty trashed and the fridge and stove each had a dent! But other than that everything made it! Before Doug paid the Marine, he attempted to discuss the issue of our furniture getting damaged.  I heard Doug telling him about and showing him everything that had damage. Each time Doug would show him something he would laugh. In American culture this would be a totally unacceptable response, but in Philippino culture they don't like confrontation and laugh because they are embarrassed. The Marine said, "Sir there is nothing we can do to avoid damage. We are not responsible". The conversation continued for a few minutes. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to any of us, the moving truck was getting towed for being illegally parked! When the Marine found out he was so upset he growled, "Oh, If I had my gun..." Doug decided it would be best to let the issue go regarding our damaged furniture.  The total cost of the truck and movers was $140.00. I touched up some of the wooden furniture scratches with brown and black permanent sharpies. The coffee table, which had the biggest gouge, I just put a cloth over.

Around 2:30 in the afternoon we finally were unpacked. We got cleaned up and went out for our first meal of the day. The only thing we had eaten all day was licorice from the care package mom and dad had sent!

Usually it's hard to sleep in a strange new place but we each had no trouble sleeping our first night in the condo. The boys are lovin having their own rooms again. We each agreed that we  feel 'at home' already. Dustin thought that looking out the windows and seeing the city lit up at night was very cool! We still hear some traffic and dog's barking like we did at our old place but these sounds are more distant and muffled since we are on the 10th floor. We don't hear any vendors passing by hollering out what they're selling in the early morning hours like we did at the old place. Also, at our previous residence people would ring our doorbell as they passed by and be gone by the time we got there. So, even though we are in 'the big city' it is more peaceful.

Upon arriving at the condo we were greeted by a few of the HUGE cockroaches and several smaller ones. A good sign is that some were already on their backs taking their last dying breathes. We are going to 'bomb' the place this afternoon. But the condo, overall, was left very clean and did not have to do any scurbbing with  bleach like I did at the old place.

We are so thankful to be hear. Thank you for your prayers.

The damaged coffee table...
Dustin in his room. The walls are a soft butterscotch color. He did a great job of setting up his room. As you can see the windows go half way around the room providing an incredible view at night!

Monday, December 8, 2008


2 more days until the 'big move' to 'the big city'. The boys will do one more day of home schooling then it's packing and wrapping up loose ends around here. The movers will be here at 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday. I'm hanging my laundry in the sun (although it's not too sunny now) for the last time. Once in the condo it's back to using a dryer. The guys are responsible for eating all the food in the fridge so we don't have to pack much in our little styrofoam cooler. If it doesn't rain, Doug and I will have 2 more walks around the lake (as you know, one of my favorite things to do). There are quite a number of little stalls at the lake selling chicken blood chunks on a stick, chicken intestines on a stick, and chicken feet. I finally asked a Filipino, "Where's the rest of the chicken? What if I just want a BBQ chicken leg?" He said that this lake is known for its 'delicacies' (yes, those mentioned above on the stick!).
I have tried the chicken foot (not much meat) but, that's as brave as I have gotten!

Nights here now are cool!! Awesome change!! Our windows are always open so we hear throughout the evening groups of children singing Christmas carols. We are hoping to find a Christmas tree once we get settled in the condo.