Sunday, January 31, 2010

Second week in Manila

Monday, 25 January 2010
We’re starting our second work week at APRC, and continuing to get a handle on our duties and expectations. It was Judy’s turn to lead devotions so Bibles and hymnals were distributed around the large table in the conference room and we sang 2 familiar hymns. Judy did an excellent job of leading the music, the discussion, and the prayer requests. Filipinos know how important it is to spend time with each other and caring about each other’s needs!

Later in the afternoon, Dan and I headed out early to get some medical help for his ongoing cough. We were beginning to suspect pneumonia (and I had secretly sent e-mails to Greg and to Terri, asking them to help me urge Dan to get some treatment). So we took Greg’s directions and headed west on Ortigas, the main street that goes past our subdivision. We missed a turn and spent some time in afternoon traffic (and texting much of that time with Greg!) before arriving at The Medical City, a hospital. After parking underground, we were given “Visitor” stickers to take the elevator up to the Emergency department. (Before you get too concerned, this is the equivalent of going to Urgent Care in the US.) Dan gave lots of personal information, then we waited for the consultation with a doctor. Soon we were called and met with Dr Marie Therese Doctor - Dr Doctor! A very nice lady, she asked lots of pertinent questions and examined his throat, then ordered a nebulization, blood tests, and a chest x-ray, all of which were handled by efficient hospital professionals. To make a long story short, four hours and P5323 ($114 )later, we left with a diagnosis of acute bronchitis and 3 prescriptions to be taken over the next 2-4 weeks (but think how much all that would have cost in the US!)! Greg had continued to keep tabs on us by texting to Dan’s cell phone and knew we would be starving by now, so he advised us to go next door to the hospital to Café Mediterranean. After receiving his congratulations on climbing one more “rung of the missionary ladder” by obtaining medical help by ourselves, we did just that, sharing a delicious plate of moussaka and pita bread and a mango shake before going home and going right to bed!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Celia (our house helper) arrived just before we left for work, so she’ll do our laundry at the Kims’ home today! We’ve been told that a gardener will also come every other week on Tuesdays, so she’ll deal with him; he’s a regular! At lunch time, we’re able to spend more time getting to know other workers and students in the offices of this campus. What fun it was hearing about how Mitch (Old Testament professor from US) came to APNTS, met (Filipina) Marnie and married her about 7 months ago! And Jarrett, graduate student from US, told of an interesting escapade with an undercover (and crooked) Manila policeman last year - and he returned here to school anyway!

I spent most of the day making editorial changes, highlighted, to the accounting software manual and e-mailing it back to the guys responsible for it - one in Singapore, one in Kansas City. I should know this program pretty well after this, even though I’ve only used it a little!

Dan and I decided to continue stocking our pantry since we really needed milk and juice, so we went to Santa Lucia shopping mall where Terri had brought me the week before. I think it was good for Dan to see the variety of goods too, so we both know what’s available there. We got home after dark, unloaded the groceries after scaring a couple of little geckos out of the kitchen and had some microwaved leftover penne and sauce, along with P10 (about $.25) of Baguio beans from the store (just like our green beans fresh out of our garden).

Just an observation, it feels strange that it gets dark so early; the sun has just about a twelve-hour day here (year-round) while, in the States when the weather is warm, the days are much longer.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010
There’s a medical mission team here from Korea! They’re holding medical clinics today, along with a film showing on the campus this evening. We’ve met one of the gentlemen on the team before - he escorted us on one of the Bible Quiz training days with the An Jung Church in October 2009! So the canteen is much busier this week and serving more Korean dishes to treat our guests!

When we left work, there was quite a crowd on the campus for the movie and kids events sponsored by APNTS and ICF and the Korean W&W team. This is a busy place! On Saturday, there will be a large athletic event including students from 4 seminaries held here.

At home, we heated up some dinner, then Dan actually plugged in our borrowed TV. Lots of channels, but not much that we’d watch on a regular basis. I ended up knitting while watching part of a Martha Stewart show on the Lifestyle channel before working remotely on my JoyFM computer.

Thursday and Friday, 28-29 January 2010
Thursday was non-eventful really, more study of the NOAh software for me and Dan is continuing to use a new software to design the remodeling/expansion of the IT department in Owens Hall as soon as they’re able to knock down a couple of walls from adjoining classrooms. He has included the current office cubbies and worker carrels for now (where the IT guys work and the night shift guys man the phones of the Call Center). By the time he’s finished, he will have designed the inclusion of the offices of all us ladies in the mezzanine of Nelson Center, the building next door, and we’ll move up there. I don’t know if it will be accomplished before we go back to the States in April…

Thursday night, however, I was proud of myself - used a borrowed rice cooker for the first time and experimented with a squash (microwaved, peeled, cubed, then cooked in a pan with butter, onion, and garlic) and with very thin, breaded pork cutlets. It turned out very well, if I do say so myself, and, Friday morning, I proudly produced a breakfast fritatta from some of the leftover rice (with sautéed onion and garlic and bell pepper)! So far, it’s actually fun making the most of the limited cooking tools and different variety of foods. (One day soon, probably, the same situation may seem pretty frustrating and I’ll just want to be in my own kitchen in the States!)

Dan has been measuring the work spaces for the 5 of us in Nelson, so he can include the right amount of space in his new floor plan in Owens Hall, second floor. And the girls helped me try new things for coffee break this morning - Milo (a malted hot chocolate drink) and Bravo Biscuits (crackers) - good stuff!

After work, we gathered on the veranda of the dining hall until we were all together, ready to go out for the evening. DJ drove his car and Dan drove ours, with Danny as our backseat navigator. We traveled to Eastwood SM, along with lots of other folks going out for a Friday evening of fun. After parking in the right area, near the bowling alley and movie theaters, we walked inside. This was a busy place with almost all 20 lanes full of bowlers (there were also probably a dozen or more billiards tables. Danny’s wife Weng met us there - she had come from work on 2 different jeepnie rides. We went through the processes or getting our shoes and Ernalyn entered our names on the electronic scorekeeper between lanes 19 and 20 for us. There were 7 on each team, so it took a while to play just one game, but it was SO much fun! We all cheered for those who did well and consoled those throwing gutter balls! Dan did very well, with the high score of 127 (after starting out with 2 gutter balls). I was happy to have made a strike and a couple of spares and score over 80! When we finished up, paying and turning in our shoes we caught sight of Greg & Terri Taylor going to see “Blind Side” at the movies. (I want to see that one too, especially since they’re less expensive than in the US.)

Back in the cars, we drove to Ortigas Center, a huge area of shops, restaurants, and office buildings - the land still being owned by the Ortigas family. This was to be another adventure - we followed our friends to an open block of outdoor restaurant seating and the Ortigas Wet Market. Danny and Weng knew we’d want to see how dinner is done here, so we followed them into the wet market - a huge market of fresh seafood vendors - while the others got settled on some long tables outside. A “waitress” went with us as Danny & Weng and Dan & I looked at every variety of seafood and shellfish you could imagine. I didn’t even catch them actually telling the waitress which things we wanted to have cooked for our group, but she ended up taking several plastic bags filled with different items and I snapped one photo of some of the variety before we went back to our table. Danny & Weng disappeared for a few minutes, returning with rolls from a nearby bakery (this is their favorite Panutuan [“we cook it” restaurant], so they know the area well) to hold us over while we were waiting (it was already 9 p.m.!). 

 We all got plates and utensils, glasses and small bowls which, we learned, were for preparing a sauce for our food. Following the rest, we squeezed several calamansis (round, 1-inch citrus fruit, green outside, orange outside; makes delicious flavored tea too!) and combined the juice with soy sauce. It wasn’t too long before a waiter brought out the first dish - whole cooked shrimps and huge bowls of rice. Arlene prayed for the meal and we ‘dug in!’ Then, soon came big tureens of a thin but cheesy soup that included fish chunks, followed by more rice and batter-fried squid with a wonderful sweet sauce. And, after that, we received platters of green-lipped mussels with melted cheese on them - heaven on a half-shell!! And we all just kept eating until it was gone!

After we “waddled” back to our cars and drove our friends back to campus for their transportation to their homes, we drove back to our home and slept soundly until the sun woke us on Saturday morning.

Saturday, 30 January 2010
This is a first - a day without definite plans; didn‘t even set an alarm. Oh, we have our lists, but nothing truly necessary. Another first, I tried out a boxed pancake mix I’d found at the grocery - Pillsbury creamy vanilla flavor - on my borrowed griddle (SO glad I have one of these!). They’re delicious, especially with cubed mango! We caught up on Facebook and e-mail, then I started on those lace curtains from Naomi. I’d gotten permission to do anything I liked with them, so I removed some stitching to change a double rod-pocket to a single, then cut off an attached, ruffled valance and Dan helped me gather them onto the bamboo rod over the dining room windows -- perfect! Just what they needed! In the meantime, Dan spent some time working on the driveway gate, which really need some adjusting so it didn’t scrape the driveway!

Still feeling creative, I had some ideas for lunch. I decide to make tuna burgers (like crab cakes) using leftover rice (there’s always leftover rice, I think) and minced onion, garlic, and bell pepper, with a couple of spoonfuls of flour and an egg for binding. While they were frying in butter, I cut up an avocado and added canned diced tomato, leftover corn and diced onion for a guacamole of sorts. Anyway, I thought our lunch was delicious with tortilla chips, except we wished we had some Filipino sweet chili sauce for the burgers! As Dan wrote on Facebook, “What’s wrong with this picture?” since we were wishing for something that we had at our house in the States, but certainly should have had here, where the stuff is made!

It was really getting to be a hot day, so we had delayed our planned walk around the subdivision for later in the afternoon. Changing into tennis shoes, we put pesos in our pockets along with a grocery list, and headed out. We walked a lot further than I thought we would, but kept going, in search of produce at one of the many tiny home-based businesses called Sari Sari stores. Anyone can have a Sari Sari store in the front of their house - there don’t seem to be any zoning rules about businesses. Some sell snacks, some refill 5-gallon water jugs (everyone drinks purified water here), some grill kebabs, some are bakeries, some will load minutes on your cell phone…

We ended up quite near the entrance (I think it must have been a mile from Camden) at a shop where we bought 2 kinds of mangos, red onion, 8 calamansi (for 5 pesos!), and banana catsup! Then we had to walk back! (We could have taken one of many trikes trolling the streets, but we were still shopping.) We stopped in at Tatskie’s since we’ve been told it was a great little store with a good variety of things we might need. I intended to simply look and become acquainted with the stock (everything from shampoo to ice cream treats), but the store owner was interested in a conversation since she knew some people in the US, we stayed to talk and saw sweet chili sauce on the shelf -- had to get some!

Sunday, 31 January 2010
Dan had suggested breakfast out this morning before maybe attending the Antipolo Nazarene Church, but we couldn’t get enough information on the location or service time yet - maybe next week! We ended up at Max’s Restaurant (reminded us of a Filipino version of Denny’s) and both enjoyed different omelets, which are always served with rice unless you specify toast. We also had a choice of brewed or instant coffee - you know which we requested! It was all quite good and we headed for Taytay First Church of the Nazarene, as we knew the service time there. What a good service, with familiar worship music and a great sermon by Pastora Luz on the qualities of a servant, honoring the lay workers of the church.

Pastor Orlando arrived early afternoon to prepare for the youth group meeting in the Camden backyard. We had decided to go to SM Taytay for a couple of hours to acquaint ourselves with what‘s there, so we left him to get ready. Unlike in the US, there is an “anchor“ supermarket at all the shopping malls and they have lots more than groceries! We wandered around the Hypermarket, picking up several things. The adorable Customer Service girls were all dressed alike - same shirts with khaki shorts and high-heeled sandals, and wearing a sash like a beauty pageant that read “Customer Service“. Some were stocking or arranging shelves; all were willing to drop what they were doing to, for example, take us straight to the vanilla flavoring that I’ll need to bake oatmeal cookies next week. We stopped in National Bookstore, very well stocked with current books, office supplies, gifts. There’s a great variety of stores, food kiosks, restaurants. We even tried a new kind of blizzard at the DQ - double chocolate almond - very good!

Back at Camden House, 11 teens attended the youth meeting led by Pastor Orlando and Pastor Brian. They had some Bible study and a memory quiz on some verses, writing their team’s answers in chalk on cardboard blackboards. We joined them for a while, singing worship songs with them in English and Tagalog (gotta love large song sheets!). When they were finished, some of the kids climbed the large mango tree and tossed green mangos down to the rest! We got some plastic bags for them to take them home! We kept a couple, but they’ll take some time to ripen! While Orlando cleaned up, it was nice to have a little conversation to get to know Brian better and answer his questions about our grown children.

I fixed poached fish in curry-coconut milk sauce for dinner, something I‘d been wanting to try (after checking out a few recipes online); I think it turned out pretty well!

We spent some time on the Internet, catching up with e-mail and Facebook. It’s great to stay so well in contact electronically! But, time for bed, our work week starts 14 hours before our friends in the US!

No comments:

Post a Comment