Thursday, June 25, 2009


Richard's cousin Jennifer owns a salon in Ozamis. When we got back from Cebu we spent the day with her and her family. We all got treatments at the salon. Sophia got a protein treatment and it straightened....doesn't she look gorgeous!
I got a facial and a foot spa....
Nate got a spiffy haircut.
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Here is Mommy and I after our visit to the salon. Isn't she pretty! Wouldn't guess that she is almost 72!
Here are the stylist at the salon. Mario and Alexis. They are both males. In the Philippines there are many transvestites. And it was common to see teenage boys wearing girls clothes. No hiding....very open about their choice of wardrobe. They call themselves "she-males". Nate was a little confused(he should have been!) and kept asking me "is that a boy or a girl" and "WHY is he wearing make-up!". "
Not sure Nate, not sure. There were 2 "she-males" manning(no pun intended) this souvenir stand we liked to shop at and that is how we classified the place. "I will be at the shop with the she-males"....the one next to McDonald's". :)
That evening "Alexis" was competing in the Ms. Gay pagent and we got to watch her transformation. Doesn't she look convincing??
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another souvenir from our trip...

We brought our laptop on our trip so we could unload our pictures and hopefully post a few on our blog/facebook. Well....while we were there we connected to the internet a couple of times and apparently our anti-virus software didn't have a passport because we came home with a doozy of a virus! I can't find my quikbook program nor will our music player work(where I have all my RPM music) among other issues! *sigh*

RIchard has already spent 5+ hours trying to fix maybe with about 10 more on the phone with technical support it will be fixed.

Our next computer will be a Mac.

Culture tidbit

When we visit with our elders here in the USA(like grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc)....what do you do to greet them? Hug, right. Well in the Philippines you "bless". The younger person takes the hand of the elder and touches it to their a man would take a lady's hand and kiss it... only bring it to your forehead. I did it sometimes but didnt' find it very enduring. Not sure if that is the right word...and I mean no disrespect to this part of Filipino culture! I prefer to give hugs....they seem more personal. Rarely was there eye contact while the younger was "bless"ing their elder which I thought was odd. ...It is just a formality I am sure....a way to show respect to those older and wiser than you. I felt a little uncomfortable when the children were told to bless me....after they obediently took my hand and pulled it to their forehead I would grab them and give them a big hug and kiss. I even tried to hug some of RIchard's "tita"s and "tito"s...they didn't know what I was doing:) I think hugs are given only when leaving.

I sure loved learning and observing all these culture tidbits!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And they're off!

We left our house around 945am. Dropped Obie off at Joanne’s and then headed to meet Boyd. We rearranged our luggage and then sped down the interstate. We had to make a couple stops along the way to fix our tarp(it was raining) to prevent it from blowing away. This made us a little later than we wanted. “Oh well”, we thought. We got in the long, long international check-in line and waited. As we got towards the front, there were Delta workers trying to get people on their international flights on time. We got overlooked because we were flying to San Francisco first. There were others flying straight to an international destination….but as the time kept ticking away we told another worker that we were indeed an international ticket holder and she got us right through. We had 2 minutes to get our luggage checked in. The ticket guy typed so fast but only got 6 of our 7 bags checked in…which was OK because the smallest was a carry-on size. WHEW! This was 1:15pm. Our flight is at 1:55. So the race began to get through security and then to our gate. Thank goodness the plane was late arriving so we got there with about 10 minutes to spare! I prayed so hard while waiting in line that we would make it. We figured if we missed this one hopefully we could find another flight and still make it onto our Philippine Airline flight later that night….but we didn’t have to do that thankfully!
here we are getting ready to take off in Atlanta! we are excited to finally be on our way!

this is the PAL-Philippines Airline plane. we each had personal TV's! and that is a can of their "diet coke"....and we got to have to whole can! Not just a cup....there was so much food on this was so nice! and we didn't have to pay extra for it!

So Nate just asked what time it was “here”. I have no idea where we are or the time. We are cruising at a very high altitude somewhere between San Francisco and Guam. The flight takes 11 hours and when we get to Guam it will be around 2:30 am and noon-ish in Manilla. We get “gasoline” and then head back out for Manila which will take another 3 hours. The clock on the computer says it is 720am so if we got on the plane 130am we have only been flying….sigh….6 out of 11 hours. I hope I can go back to sleep!
So anyway….when we got off the flight my lower back was aching!! The seats on the ATL flight didn’t recline much so my lower back was pretty tight from sitting upright for 4 hours. Oh and we were right against the toilet so it smelled like a nursing home 76% of the time!

waiting in San Fransisco airport...about 10pm. we are all pretty tired!

Lola came in about 7pm(she flew in from South Carolina) and then we headed over to the Philipine Airline ticket counter. It was funny to see all the Filipinos there. All the boxes(you are allowed 2 per ticketed passenger)…people just like us taking over gifts or whatever to their families. It was fun to just sit and watch the different people. There were 2 American men waiting to get tickets. I wonder if they were on their way to get their “pen pal” bride.

Since we were a connecting flight we didn’t have to wait long to get our boarding passes-we already had waited in a horrifically long line in ATL! Whew. Anyway….then we made our way to our gate and waited. To kill time (we had 6.5 hours to kill) the kids and i rode the escalators. Also the running treadmill-like things. They were getting pretty good at going in the wrong direction. If Trudy was here we could have recreated part of the baseball scene from Twilight.. .where Victoria and James and that other guy come sauntering in from the woods…love that scene!! Anyway….the time is almost 10pm…which is 1am to us. The kids are starting to show signs of fatigue. Sophia is the first to go. Nate seems like he could play for another hour and I marvel at how well they have done with little sleep…they have done SO well today.

(Richard and Lola waiting in the Manila airport for the shuttle to take us to our next flight....this is where the police dogs sniffed our luggage and they asked a bunch of questions about what we had....and to speed up the process we had to bribe them with chocolate....but that didn't work so Lola gave them some money...which is common in the Philippines)
We finally get to board the HUMONGOUS airplane that has like a million seats. There is even a second level! We are pretty excited about this plane because each seat has its own movie screen where you can watch movies(Twilight is one choice!) or TV or listen to radio or play video games. It is RADICAL! So we get situated and I test out the reclining-ability of these seats….it is better…but I can tell I am going to have a very hard time falling asleep. My legs got restless and I couldn’t find a comfortable position…did not realize how hard it would be to sleep vertical! The kids were able to ball up in the seat but I tossed and turned as much as you could in a very small seat. I finally dozed off and feel pretty rested now(i believe it must have been 6 hours into our flight when i wrote this)….but would love to take another nap before whatever lies ahead. Sophia has slept the most which is good. She has the lowest tolerance for fatigue. Well that is all for now. I am going to watch a movie and hopefully get a nap in before we land again.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

No Big Bad Wolf here...

How would you like to visit this awesome place for FREE? My friend Shanna recently played at this resort and is hosting a contest on her blog for a free 1- night stay.

Yes...that is an indoor water park! Doesn't it look RADICAL?!?!?! Just pop over to her blog and enter to win! Or....maybe not...then I will have a better chance to win:)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We are back!

Well...we have made it back home safe and sound! The flight home was twice as easy but it has been harder to get acclimated to our time zone. It was easy while we were there because we were so busy all the time. THere were cousins for the kids to play with so that kept them up. There were adults to talk to so that kept me and Richard up. Well....we are just kind of recovering alone in peace and quiet here so it isn't hard to take 5-7 hour naps! That is what happened today....not what we planned but it just happened. So it is 11pm and the kids are wide awake. I could go back to sleep but will wait for another hour or so.

The trip was very memorable. We met some awesome people that will always have a place in our hearts. The hard part about leaving the Philippines is that we will not see these wonderful people again unless we travel there. I just wish I could repay their hospitality by cooking dinner for them or something. Filipinos are a very unique people...very giving and loving. I have learned a lot from being around so many and seeing the culture firsthand. I am grateful to have such wonderful in-laws....even if there is a language barrier.

I hope to get some pictures up soon but our laptop needed to get some updates and such when we hooked it back to the internet and that is taking longer than we expected. Richard took 1800 pictures...but only about 200 could tell the whole story! THe joy of a digital camera!

Can't wait to share a few of those!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A few cultural observations...

1. I believe I have said this already but toilet seats and toilet paper are considered luxuries here. I was warned that TP was not offered in all public places but the non-existant toilet seats was a suprise....i would like to know the reasoning behind that one. I learned to carry TP in my bag at all times and often wonder what the women do that come out of the stalls with no bag to carry TP. Do they just not wipe? Beverly(Richard's sis-in-law) said they might just wear a panty liner? And then I wonder what happens to those no-TP-women when they go to the sink and their is no soap??? or no water like in one mall bathroom? OK...enough of that mental image. Compared to here the US is a pretty sanitary place. Oh....and today Sophia went to a "public" CR-comfort room, aka restroom, bathroom- and we had to pay 3 pesos to urinate and 5 to "move bowel"which she didn't need to do thankfully...i was going to make her pay the extra if she did...hardy har har When we were leaving SOphia asked about "moving the bowl":). Oh....and you have to pour water into the toilet to flush. But since we paid to use this one we didn't bother with that. I figured that is what our money would go for!

The other day we were playing in an arcade. The games spit out tickets that could be redeemed for prizes. They had the normal toys and candy and trinkets but they also had rice cookers and portable-plastic toilet seats. Yep. You could play all day in the arcade and take home a pink or blue toilet seat. Nate said he wouldn't trade his tickets for one. No allowance for him!

2. Food. Food. ANd more Food. Everything is about the food. We eat all.the.time. I can't wait to get home and just have a bowl of oatmeal or cereal for every meal if I want! I look forward to feeling the growl in my tummy:) But I don't want to go home though....just not use to all this food! And if you don't eat you make the old people uncomfortable. The other day we were at a baby- baptism- party. My stomach was not feeling well. I did not want to eat anything just yet. But after 4 people asked me why I was not eating I decided to just get a plate of food because I was obviously making them uncomfortable. Plus I didn't want to tell anyone else that I was having cramps and diarrhea.,..or LBM as they call it here. I will let you try and figure that out!

So my picky Nate is having a hard time with all the different food.....which is causing great concern with our hostesses. I tell them not to worry about him. There is food here that he could eat but he chooses not to for various reasons. Granted that some of the food does taste a LITTLE different but come on! Just eat already! So they bend over backwards and then jump through hoops to make food he likes....but then they make that same food for evey meal. ONe evening Lola Nita made him a plate of spaghetti. Just noodles and butter...just like he likes. But he fell asleep just as we were getting ready to eat. I felt SO bad. She was so excited to present him with his food. I even prepped him on how to be gracious(something he isn't good at...yet) and say thank you... and to eat some even if he doesn't want noodles. I even tried to wake him up....but I knew that would make the situation worse...but I was going to try. Lola was OK and kept saying it was OK but I so wanted her to feel successful in feeding her guest....something that is very important to her. Something that is very important to most grandmothers! So I ate some of the noodles so her work wouldn't have been in vain. Then I figured they would wrap them up for the next day. Well wouldn't you know that Nate woke up and wanted those noodles....but Lola ate them so they wouldn't go to waste....and then when she found out that Nate wanted them she made sure he had them for breakfast this morning! They are so sweet and caring.

3. The sun is up at 5:30am. Not rising. UP. And the roosters start crowing at 3:30am. There are none here in CEbu(a very large city) but in Tangub(where the family home is) some roosters live right next door...spitting distance! Someone should inform the roosters that the sun will not be up until 5am!

4. Traffic. it is bad. Drivers. They are worse. No stop signs. Very few traffic lights. You have to be VERY aggresive to get anywhere. Big city buses(this Greyhound bus) pass small cars and motorcycles within inches of hitting them and even when another yellow bus is coming in the other lane. No seatbelts or speed limits....well there are but no one enforces them. I am not nervous while driving because our drivers all seem very confident....but I don't think I would be able to master this system!

I am writing down these observations as I realize them and want to post them to remember this wonderful cultural experience. Seeing RIchard's family in action does explain some of his quirky behavior...just what makes Richard...well Richard. He is one-of-a-kind and I sure love him!