Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pineapple & stuff

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Yep, look closely, that is pineapple growing right along the road! 

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Hmmmm, so strange but I just wanted to blog. I am “stuck” so to speak. I feel like if I do not keep up the habit of posting regularly, I will totally lose momentum. So, bear with me a I try to collect my thoughts. At this moment and most days, I am missing Niger. Fantastic kids and people that I would meet at CURE Niger as well as Sahel Academy and the familiar. All my pictures of African elicit such emotion.

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There was so much fun to make……so many bubbles to blow. Dancing, laughing, and even a bit of crying.  What a terrific experience. I know that I will have many kids and families to love here, but at the moment we are starting all over.

It has been two months since relocating.

Everything is different. I love just watching the world all around me. I think I will go through my pictures and highlight some random things. Yeah, I think that is the way to go, should be amusing.

Language, most people know a bit of English but when we are in public, most of what we hear is not. Tagalog, Cebuano and well many many more.

“Space fruit” as I refer to it… rambutan, mangosteen and abnormally large grapefruit to name a few

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It is a country of EXTREMES. I am astounded….such wealth and poverty all mixed together.

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I do not think I have seen one stop sign.  Lots of aggressive driving but yet such patience as I drive aggressively and have to throw so many “things I learned in Driver’s Ed” out the window!

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There is soooo much green and the horses are beautiful! Like Niger, I can still see livestock roadside and occasionally in traffic. The difference, most of it is usually tied up, even the roosters.

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From the edge of the desert to a tropical island. The laundry is different…from red sand stains..dust ….. more dust…. hardly any rain to black volcanic mud stains & black dust and lots of rain. My laundry hardly has a chance to dry some days…in Niger it took only a few short hours!

I live on one of about 7,000 islands. Lots of palm trees, coconuts and mangoes.

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 Samal 114

I can see mountains from my neighborhood!

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Corn as  DESSERT??

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Cock Fighting. Televised as well as in local arenas.

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Sushi….and so much seafood….oh and LOTS of pork too. That is quite different!

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I have to admit, last week, I was having a hard time loving it here. I had my wallet stolen. As you can imagine, I felt quite violated. I went between beating myself up over it and hating all things Pinoy. Well, that is not fair. The people here are so kind and helpful! You’d think I would be more vigilant (it was only one bad egg). Quite honestly though, I was feeling pretty comfortable and safe here. That is good, but I am a newcomer, no expert. I stick out. Really though, after my experience in Niger, I was not an expert there even, NOT even close. After living in Africa, you think I would just accept that I am a bit of a target….a foreigner. I often get frustrated being treated differently because of where I am from and how I look.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being an American (as one of the Kindergarteners said today….it is her favorite country). Our overseas experience has allowed us to know what it feels like to be  the minority.  Sure changes your perspective. That is the theme of my life again CHANGE! So, as a really smart and good friend used to remind me…I can chose to be bitter or better. I chose to forgive and be better. I am out of my funk and my outlook is different than last week. I came here to love and help and well, I am not going to let anything derail that (not even a lost wallet). I am going to embrace this wonderful journey, allowing God to help me even if that means more change. I am thrilled to see how things shape up here. Both my personal life and anything else I get to do.  It is pretty much a blank page, the sky is the limit.

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Here is the new hospital as of a week ago….sorry about the dirty windshield (been A LOT of rain since getting here). Expectantly waiting, learning and living in the NOW. Adventures in the new  things and embracing the change/resettlement. Experiences no matter how small. ROADSIDE PINEAPPLE! So there you have it. That is what is happening now. May not seem all that significant  but it is all part of my journey now……I think it is quite wonderful…the good the bad and the truly different.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chicken Towers & Goliath Burgers

  Goliath burger 002

This evening we went to the Outback Grille. It is very close to our house and has a great atmosphere. It has an airplane sticking out the top as if it  had crashed through the roof. The view from t he inside is the nose of the plane and the survivor from the plane. Since it was a weeknight, there were no fire dancers, we really enjoyed that last time. They only dance on the weekend. There was live music.  It is an open air tree house (haus) structure and the breeze was quite nice.

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We decided to try the chicken tower  this time. I love that many of the restaurants serve family style meals. The chicken tower fed 4 people. So it fed Leron, Andy, Becca and I. We also had the option of having unlimited rice too. The tower was quite yummy & tall.

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The boys decided to get burgers. BUT as we were finishing up there was a Food Challenge…Man Verses Food, if you will. It was the Goliath Burger. 2.2 kilograms in total!

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Wow…..they made a big deal and announced it to the entire restaurant. Not only did the guy have to eat the burger but also a large soda & a large basket of fries.

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We did not stay to see the outcome. We will  have to check the ‘Wall of Fame” next time we go.  There will definitely be a return trip, it was quite an enjoyable & wonderful experience.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


OK, been a little behind on the posts. I will do my best to catch up! I thought a great way would be to talk about our Saturdays thus far. Weird to think that we have already been here a month. We all love a good Saturday! Time to  kick back & enjoy ourselves or to catch up on things to be done. They have all been quite different. I will not bore you with the details but will just pick one thing we did each weekend. Sound like a plan??

Our first Saturday here in Davao was spent shopping shopping shopping for all types of  things. It is amazing the things that can be had here. I know that many of you probably like to shop…unfortunately, I really just do not. I am however very thankful that we have the selection that we do. Our house is starting to look and feel like our own!

Weekend number 2, we went to the bike “grave yard” or used bike lot. The kids sold their bikes before leaving Niger. Becca, in particular, really wanted a bike. Our neighborhood is perfect for one. So, we started to search and found that buying them used would be about 250 USD for the basic. Well, that would be times three or even five. So, we started to ask around & found out where we could buy them used. Bok, the owner, imports bicycle parts & partial parts from Japan. He even buys them on Ebay. You go & look through what he has, pick one out and even take it for a test. When you decide you are ready to deal, you find Bok and bargain with him. Bok’s guys get them ready for you  to buy….adding parts…seats, handle bars, rust removal etc. Was quite an experience.

The next weekend was just spent here. Just being here as a family. Love the lay low types of days. It was much needed.

Last weekend we took a ferry to The Island Garden City of Samal. Our plans for the day were to find Haglimit Falls and that we did. We did not swim this time and did get a discount because of the muddy water. It was pretty rural and the road was not great. We even had to be aware of livestock. It was nice to drive around and explore this lush little island. We will definitely be going back to climb the mountain, explore the bat cave and hopefully to enjoy a beach or two.

That brings us to today. Becca had to be at school early for a soccer clinic and Ben had his first basketball game. Drew enjoyed a very quiet morning home alone. Ben’s game was against some boys about his age from a local church. Leron & I enjoyed watching one of the kids from the opposing team. He was quite small. We did not even know that he was part of the team. He was wearing brown & I am sorry but a few pictures are blurry,  I was trying to show his height. His feet did not even touch the floor when he was sitting in his chair! He said he was 10, but as you will see from the pictures, he was pretty small. We enjoyed watching him because he was amazingly fast & a really good ball handler. I don’t think the boys on Ben’s team knew what to do. He was half their size but he stole the ball quite a few times! You may want to pay attention because in a few years he may be the 1st Filipino in the NBA!

So, all that to say…I think Saturday is quite WONDERFUL! We also  just finished unpacking a few of our things that we sent from Africa. Now just to get our big container from Manila to Davao. Been another fun Saturday & it is not even over….think we will swim & then grill up some burgers. Wonderful Saturday!