I’m making it official- I collect odd holiday celebrations.
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…and when I consider that my family has done a year of Chinese food for Christmas dinner, Christmas dinner at Azteca while driving home on Christmas Day, and basically converted Thanksgiving into a Friday holiday, I can see the truth in that saying.
One Thanksgiving in Arizona, we played horseshoes and putt-putt golf after Thanksgiving dinner. Today, I finished doing reading assessments for my class and enjoyed a swim in the rain after work. I’m grateful for all three experiences! Now, it’s time to head out the door to a Thanksgiving feast with friends
So from Thanksgiving a day earlier than most of you, have a great day! It’s started well on this side of the world!
Meet Dori, my new-to-me (not new-to-this-world)
car vehicle. I am soooo not an SUV person, but the whole flooding deal around here helped me in that direction. (SIdenote: it does seem like the most obnoxiously American, supersize everything decision I’ve made since I arrived to get a car that seats 10 for me. However, it was partially filled after church this afternoon with 6 friends. I plan to have company often!)
On Friday, Rich, Marla, and I went to pick her up. (Sidenote: They are basically amazing. Everyone should get a Rich and Marla but you can’t have mine unless you live around here. :P) When I got home, a miracle had occurred:
Now I know this looks rather ordinary to you. But notice that there is NO JEEPNEY IN THIS PHOTO!!! The only problem with getting a car was parking. The street above us has open spaces most of the time, so it wasn’t a major issue. But the fact that several parking spaces right across from our house have been occupied by dead (tires-flat, obviously-not-moving) jeepneys since we moved in…and probably a few decades before that.
And miraculously, on the same day we needed another parking space, one opened up.
The other adventure Dori and I had this weekend was the product of my foolishness. I left my lights on when I got to church this morning (30 minutes quicker than taking public!), so it became a church/neighborhood project to get her going again.
Many thanks to everyone who helped! What a blessing to be part of a community!
So I didn’t make it home any earlier than I would normally, but I did stop for groceries on the way home and take advantage of the lower price of diesel. Dori now has a functional battery and a full fuel tank, ready for the adventures ahead!
You know-the non-S.M.A.R.T. ones. I may have grown more as a person as a result of my dumb goals more than my S.M.A.R.T. ones.
I’m not anti-S.M.A.R.T. goals. (No, I don’t have a S.M.A.R.T. goal to avoid double-negatives in my writing.) Specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, time-bound goals are great. The meanings behind each letter may vary according to the source, but the idea behind S.M.A.R.T. goals is that you set a goal and know when you reach it. That’s all well and good and quite helpful in many settings.
But the most meaningful, life-changing goals I have set have been rather dumb, if I can say so. They have been general hopes, unmeasureable because achievement came in different ways than I expected, unrealistic if they depended on me, and with an open timeline. Somehow, the re-writing of these goals into S.M.A.R.T. goals removes the hope, the poetry, the beautiful audacity of expecting more than seems possible.
So instead, I pray them. I write them and re-write them. I share them, usually spilled out almost-on-accident in the middle of conversation with a friend. I look for graces along the way, God making ways (sometimes literally!) in the desert.
I have this niggling thought at the back of my mind that the accomplishment of most of my S.M.A.R.T. goals will be long-forgotten except for the ways they made my dumb goals happen. That’s ok with me.
(I’d like to post a video of Sara Groves’ song “Legacy,” but my internet is *surprise* acting up. Feel free to check YouTube yourself and enjoy!)
“It’s more fun in the Philippines!”
Filipiniana Week is a Faith Academy tradition, and it is a great chance for students (ok, and staff!) to learn about the Philippines! Fun Friday was scheduled for last Friday, but Typhoon Yolanda brought storm signal #2 in Manila and a school cancellation. So we pushed through today. I’m so glad we did!
This morning, our head of school, principal, and curriculum director kicked things off by eating balut- and my roommate Kelsie got in on the fun, too! We presented baskets filled with food to the some of the filipino staff who work with our kids. In the afternoon, the kids got to experience 10 different activities around our (stolen) theme: “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” Parents and staff helped out by hosting these experiences. Check out a few photos of our Fun Friday!
Flying kites (made last week in Tagalog class)
One friend’s kite: “I like Philippines because it is fun.”
Tumbang Preso- hit the can with your shoes, then retrieve them before the “it” person tags you!
We had several more stations, including one from a fourth-generation missionary mom, karaoke (complete with “Jingle Bells”), and several other traditional games. The kids had a great time, and so did I!
The Philippines is a nation made up of 7,107 islands. It is located on the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean, and typhoons come through several times a year.
But super typhoons don’t get their names lightly. And they don’t tread lightly.
Many are dead and many others are starting the process of recovering. Please pray that relief will come quickly amidst destroyed airports and damage that blocks roads. Pray that those who need medical care will get it and that supplies will get to hospitals.
For reports from those on the ground, check out an interactive map here.
Thank you to everyone who has checked in on me. Manila was sunny this morning; yesterday; yesterday afternoon, the sky had puffy white clouds on a blue sky. School was canceled on Friday due to the unknown nature of the typhoon and the storm signal over Metro Manila. It’s impossible to see that a super typhoon came through this country just 48 hours ago, and yet the sadness is almost palpable. Reports have been slow to come out because of the damage to phone lines and cell towers.
“Buko. Coconut.” (hands miming the shape and size of a young coconut.)
Apparently, no one in the market near my house (nor in the fruit and vegetable stalls across the ~6 lane road and down a ways) has a young coconut. No. one. Not the people under the orange house nor around the corner nor across the street. Maybe I came at the wrong time of day? Regardless, our Bico cooking experience for Filipiniana Week will not be quite the same.
Fast forward an hour to our kitchen, where my roommates and I are discussing the rice we planned to eat with our curry for dinner.
“Are they baby cockroaches?”
“They’re hard to kill like cockroaches.”
“Maybe there are just a few.”
“The longer the rice sits here, the more of them crawl out.”
“Maybe they’re attracted to the light.”
“How many bugs is too many to eat the rice anyway- I mean, if we pick them out?”
(commence attempts to remove the bugs and put just rice into the rice cooker)
“Um…I don’t think this is working.”
“Maybe there are fewer down there…I’ll dig down deeper.”
“I’ll go buy some rice from the sari-sari store.”
Life is definitely more fun in the Philippines!
Chat with dad + delicious birthday breakfast from my roommates
Chat with my birthday buddy before school
(School was great- photos and a video of my class singing “Happy Birthday” to me in English and Korean are not included to respect the privacy wishes of parents.)
Surprise birthday card from Heather
Birthday dinner with friends- the view behind us is the lights of Manila
Birthday buddy’s birthday breakfast call- we played the “guess what’s in your present game.” I thought we were just chatting, but he announced to his mama that we were playing a game. I’ll take it!
And we can’t forget this little monkey!
Finishing the family birthday dinner with a cake