Monday, February 8, 2010

It's February already...

Monday, 1 February 2010
It’s February already?!
After a few days of trying to coordinate schedules, Olive and Faith and I finally found a time after lunch to just begin recreating the October financial records, but were stopped shortly into the process since all the basic lists are not ready for us to complete even 1 transaction. But it’s OK, really. Olive must now coordinate the necessary information so it can be loaded into our program. Now that we’re ready to begin is truly the right time to clarify this. We’ll try again in a few days once the developers know which things we need.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Work is slow for both Dan and me today. He’s finished his initial floor plans and I’m waiting for filled-in information in the Accounting program. We did, however, have a good meeting with Olive and Faith this afternoon about their needs and wants in a payroll processing program.

Maybe the day went slowly too, because I was anticipating Dan’s Valentine’s Day gift to me starting tonight -- six weeks of Ballroom Dancing lessons at Faith Academy with Greg & Terri - and Zach came too! We left right at 5 p.m. and decided that, since fast food was all we’d have time for, we’d stop at the Jollibee on our way home for burgers & fries. Jollibees are very much like McDonald’s, even though you see those here too. After a quick stop at home to change into shoes that would work better than sandals, we drove to the school to join the class at 6:30. Right away we met Maria Bell, one of the instructors. The other one is Dennis, a Korean man who has taught and coached award-winning dancers! For 90 minutes (with 7 or 8 couples, some we recognized as being rugby parents), they walked us through a box-step waltz (learned both clockwise and counter-clockwise, so we don’t get dizzy) and the American foxtrot, which was easier. It was fun, if a little frustrating, as we tried to coordinate our efforts! Afterwards, when we asked the Taylors where we should all go for ice cream, they led us to Ice Monster, a tiny place with wonderful shakes of all kinds of tropical flavors - a great treat! (Filipino shakes are based on finely-shaved ice, not ice cream, so they’re not as thick and heavy as we’re used to; but that‘s good, they’re more refreshing!)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010
There’s a funny saying here that Danny M keeps using when things are getting too complicated! Instead of saying something like, “That’s giving me a headache,” they laugh and say, “I’m getting a nose-bleed” or “My nose is bleeding!” And you may see on Facebook where Dan is called ‘Kuya Dan’ or I’m called ‘Ate Janet.’ Kuya (say KOO-yah) and Ate (AH-teh) are just respectful and affectionate terms for (older) Brother and (older) Sister.

Missionary prayer meeting at Taylors’ this evening was a gratifying experience, at least for me. While I didn’t have specific concerns to share, it was so heartwarming to belong to this group of caring people! Terry & Greg are such comfortable hosts, it’s a pleasure to spend time in their home. And it’s comforting to know that they’re praying for us, in our work and adjustments here.

Thursday, 4 February 2010
My female co-workers are so sweet! Olive brought in some pandesal (freshly baked rolls) to share at coffee break time.

Dan & I each had a fun experience today! With a large group of Korean students on campus for a month of communications classes, Dan and I were each asked to be interviewed - a class requirement. When I accepted the request for an interview, it was so cute to see the genuine excitement behind the glasses and long bangs of Ji Hae Cha, the young woman who approached me. Later in the afternoon, we met in the lobby of my building, where she had 10 questions for me. She asked my name (and it was easier for me to write it down for her), my job (accounting), and what my favorite Filipino food is (I chose pancit, although lumpia is close!). She said that, when she first saw me, my husband and I were holding hands - we were, on our way to the canteen for lunch. So she asked if we loved each other and why I would marry him again if I were re-born! How fun! At the end of the questions, she presented me with a small gift of a cell-phone charm.

On our way home from work, I just needed a few things from Tropical Hut grocery before I would spend the evening in the kitchen! I cooked up the butterfly pork chops with garlic and soy sauce, with rice (of course!) and we cleaned that up before starting the cookies that we’ll share tomorrow.

My favorite oatmeal cookie recipe is under the lid on the Quaker oatmeal container, so I didn’t have to rely on an internet recipe (I love that option though; it’s already come in handy several times!). I have a borrowed hand mixer, but decided to split the recipe between 2 larger salad bowls since I don’t have a large mixing bowl. (Interesting: the brown sugar here is finer and drier than in the States.) That worked just fine and Dan helped me make sure the oven was preheating. But the dial gives numbers 1 - 8, no temperatures! So we tried 6 and I’ll watch the hanging thermometer inside… During the first panful, the temperature kept rising, so I turned it down to 4. That was a good place to leave it! Since I have just 1 cookie pan, it took 5 times to bake all the dough. Dan was working on his computer at the dining table and eventually the smell drove him to make us some decaf to enjoy with a fresh cookie before we went to bed!

Friday, 5 February 2010
We stopped by one of the water-purifying businesses in Brookside Hills Subdivision on our way out this morning. For P25 each (about $.54), they’ll refill and deliver our 5-gallon jugs to us tomorrow morning!

What fun it was to share the cookies we brought in for our co-workers! Dan’s guys kept saying “Sarap!!” (“Delicious!) and my girls said the same and said, “You can stay!” (especially if I’ll keep bringing in treats)! I got a treat this morning too! Since we’d been talking with all our friends at lunch yesterday about different places to go the beach, Faith brought me 2 packages of “Peanut Kisses” from Bohol, one of the places we‘d like to go!

Dan's group of co-workers from IT have a Friday afternoon devotions time, usually at 1 p.m. But this week, it's Fatima's birthday (30!), so they've moved the get-together to 4 p.m., because Fatima has brought food! Her brother had prepared pancit and she brought rice-flour rolls and a chocolate cake roll. I joined them after they started their devotional discussion about worry and attitude. Everyone was encouraging; they're so good for each other! We only had a sample of pancit before we left; we've got a potluck to attend tonight!

First Friday at Papes’ home included 9 of us serving in this part of the world. We each brought a main dish and 3 of us brought cookies! With some coffee after the meal, cookies were just what we needed. We stayed around the table for a while, chatting and getting better acquainted, while Melissa herded the kids through showers and bedtime. After a while, though, the guys kept talking about more technical things, so we ladies moved to the living room to talk about movies and food. We're planning a day of shopping next week!

Saturday, 6 February 2010
There are two events going on at our house today – and we're not involved in either one, except to provide the location! After the water was delivered, Judy (a co-worker) and some of her church ladies arrived for a day of Sunday School training! They got themselves organized in our sunroom and lanai, while Metro Manila district NYI council members arrived through the back gate and assembled under the awning in the back yard. Both groups had lots of business to take care of and provided meals for themselves and their participants! We stayed out of the way, but available if they needed something.

Late in the afternoon, David & Naomi Phillips arrived, as we had made plans to go to “Blind Side,” a movie we'd all been wanting to see. After making arrangements for locking up, we left for Eastwood Mall. Arriving with plenty of time, we purchased our reserved-seat tickets (P402 each, about $9 US) and wandered the 4-story mall for a while, then got coffee at Starbuck's before going into the movie theater. Now, this is a treat – we found our seats, lounge chairs! As soon as our row was occupied, we all pushed the buttons on the sides and raised the footrests – this was so fun! A young woman came by with a “menu” showing our popcorn flavors and drink choices, which she brought to us during the previews! The movie is excellent, and I think we might have appreciated it more than the rest of the audience, as it's a true story about American football. In our earlier wanderings, we had located quite a few restaurants that we'd be willing to try, but settled on a barbecue place called The Flying Pig for a meal afterward. We learned so much with our friends, the Phillips, who have a rich ministry history and have lived in “the Phils” for a number of years. They know the culture and the warm people here and we are learning much from their friendship. It was a enjoyable and refreshing evening! Praise God.

Sunday, 7 February 2010
We'll be able to attend a new church this week, Antipolo First Church of the Nazarene, where DJ attends. Our GPS was of some help, but DJ helped us with the final details. We arrived just before the service started and had lots of hands to shake! It's a good-sized church of over 200 members, built about 12 years ago with Alabaster funds! Their adorable children's choir, called Little Lights, started the service. We knew the praise music and enjoyed the sermon, based on Joel 1:1-6, interspersed with English words, although not directly translated. We met DJ's parents and sister.  We also got to see our friend Joel Arro and wife and children! We hadn't seen Joel since he drove us around Manila – to see how it was recovering from Ondoy - last September! We promised to get together with them again soon!

The youth group met in our backyard again this week. We heard their singing and reciting of Bible verses before they decided to climb the mango tree and shake down more green ones. After they cleaned up and Pastor Orlando left, Dan checked the back gate, put out the trash for morning pickup and I cooked dinner. I made a shepherd's pie, just like in the States, except I only had 3 tiny potatoes to make the top layer. Guess how I made them stretch to cover all of it – leftover rice, of course! It was really good too! I might just do it again, on purpose next time!
I cut up a fresh pineapple after we did the dishes. Later, it was a delicious end-of-the-day treat with vanilla ice cream...

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