Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rockin' M Ranch

There is a tradition here at MICA (the high school we teach at) call the Staff Serving Students Banquet (SSS Banquet). This year's SSS banquet was this past Saturday. We had a cowboy theme for the banquet we called Rockin M Ranch! The students really got into it! They all came dressed up in their cowboy gear! We even had some students dress up as indians (you can't have cowboys without indians! The students had a great time. I even taught them some line dances, which I think they really liked! There were some students who were really into the line dancing! It was great! Here are some pictures of our night:

Here I am teaching the students a line dance. Do you see Rob to the left of me! We even got him up there line dancing!

These are the teachers here at MICA (and some of their spouses).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Look, Americano...

We often here the word "Americano" these days. As we are just walking through the mall, down the road, on a jeepney. Anywhere. People are always talking about us. Not nesecerally talking to us (although they do that too) but About us. Look Americano!!! Yeah almost everyday I see a little kid pull on his mother's clothes and point towards us.
On Saturday we were taken to the Bankerohan Market where it was no different. Talk about a fish out of water. Yeah, we were definatelty the only Americans at the market! Although the surrounding were so new and so foreign, I absolutely loved it! We get talked about all the time, stared at, and pointed at, but we are also smiled at! The people here are so nice! That is one of the things I realized on Saturday at the market! I really love the people here! First of all there were these two little boys who found us at the very beginning of our trip through the market (pictured above)! They were trying to sell us calamansi which is what they use instead of lemon or lime. Well, of course I had my camera out the whole time taking pictures and they wanted me to take pictures of them! I have a digital camera so I would show them the picture afterwards and they just loved it! They followed us around the entire time we were at the market. They were so cute! Well, we were not planning on buying calamasi at the market, but after these two boys followed us the entire time, I could not help myself. We came home with a big bag of calamansi!
These little boys were not the only ones that wanted me to take their picture. There were several people calling out to me to take their picture, like these lovely ladies! They stopped me as I was walking past! So nice! Although it is still a little weird to be stared at all the time, I love the people here! They are so friendly!

So, since we went to the market of course I have to tell you about it! It was so much fun (and cheap!) There was fruit and vegetables EVERYWHERE! Not to meantion pork, chicken, fish, spices, baskets, and just about anything else you could imagine! Yeah, there was a whole meat section and let me tell you, not a drop of ice! It smelled so bad. I don't think I will be buying meat at the market. In fact, I think I am going to avoid that section altogether. Oh the smell. I'm sure you could just imagine.
So, as you know, we are in Asia! And what do Asians LOVE to eat! Yep, you guessed it rice! Tons and tons of rice. There is hardly a day that goes by where we don't have rice. If you eat out at any restaurant you better believe you will have rice! And yes folks, even McDonalds serves rice here. You know you are in Asia when... So, can you guess what all those piles of white stuff is?? So smart! Rice! I bet you never knew there were so many different kinds of rice! Oh no, it's not just white rice and brown rice here, in fact there really isn't a lot of brown rice here, it's just tons of different varieties of white rice. Amazing.
Well, that's all for now. Sometimes I wish that I could just pull all of you through the computer and have you right here with me so that you could experience all this too. It's one thing to blog about it, but it is a whole other thing to experience it. It's so hard to put an experience into words. I'm trying...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Student Council Advisor

Well, one of the duties I took on here at MICA is the Student Council Advisor. It's one of the many things God has set before me that I have no experience in. I was never even in Student Council in high school. I think I was maybe in elementary, I think... But I was really involved in our youth group. There are about 39 students that go to MICA, so it is definately youth group size (at least the youth group I am use to!) And the group does feel similar to the youth group I knew back in high school. They really are a great group of kids! So, I want you to meet our 2007-2008 Student Council here at MICA. From left to right: Tieg (Secretary), Andrea (Chapel coordinator), Michael (President), Susi (Freshman Class Rep), Ethan (Tresurer), Joyce (Student Store Manager), and Tomoko (Social Coordinator).
Well, about two weeks ago, we went on a Student Council retreat to a ropes course that is here in Davao, Philippines! Rob and I were the two leaders on the trip so it really gave us the opportunity to get to know these kids a little better. They truly are a really neat group of kids whose hearts are in the right place. Not only do they love God, but they love their fellow students. They have planned so many events for the student body this year. I have never seen a student council plan so many events. I think there is something every other weekend through out the entire school year. Yeah, these kids are going to keep me really busy! Well, if you ever think about it, we would appreciate your prayers for the MICA Student Council. That they would learn to love God more and that they would learn what it truly means to serve God through serving people.
Well, I thought you all might enjoy some pictures of our retreat:

Monday, September 10, 2007


One of the funnest things about living here is all the interesting foods we get to try. One of the things I was looking forward to trying was all of the different fruits they have here. We came right in the middle of the "harvest" season where some of their fruits are particularly plentiful and very good. Although there are some fruits that we have truly enjoyed, there have been some that we haven't really liked.... at all!!! One of those fruits is called durian. Durian is native to Davao, Philippines. All of the locals always ask foreigners if they have tasted durian, and it usually takes foreigners quite awhile before they will taste it. In fact, there are people who have lived here for years and have never even tasted durian. And here's why: You can smell durian from a mile away. It smells kind-of like dirty feet. It's truly one of the nastiest smells. And it being "durian season" here, it smells like durian everywhere! But, they have this saying here "Durian: It smells like hell, but tastes like heaven." Rob and I want to experience as much of the culture as we can, so, of course, the first time someone offered us durian, we accepted the invitation.

First of all, it kind-of looks like a fruit from another planet. As you can see it is green with this huge spikes all around it. When you open it, it kind-of looks like chicken. But there are these "pods" where the "meat" is. The meat is around each of the seeds. (I think there are about 6 or so seeds.) Well, here we are, with the awful smell surrounding us about to try this "fruit." Of course I make Rob go first, because I want to capture every moment with our camera. And, as you can see, he did not have a very pleasant look on his face.
Then comes my turn to try durian. Oh, can I tell you, that was one of the nastiest things I have ever tasted in my entire life. First of all, whoever calls it a "fruit" is crazy. Durian is so far from a fruit it's ridiculous. I guess it should be called a vegetable. Well, really, it should just be in a category of it's own. It tastes like garlic and dirty feet. The worst part is the texture. It's like this mushy slimy stringy texture. Oh, I am making a face as I even think about it. (Kind-of like the one in the picture) Yeah, I can really react pretty dramatically and let me tell you I was pretty dramatic. I could not get that look off of my face for hours! Everyone we were with was laughing at me. I would have tried to restrain my dramatic faces if we were with locals. Fortunately we were with other Americans who just thought I was funny. Oh yeah, and you taste it for the rest of the day. It's like this garlic after taste. Oh it was bad. Well, we were with this one missionary who loves it! And she said that you have to have it 3 times before you start to love it. It's like an acquired taste. My question is who would want to acquire that taste?? Yeah, so durian is VERY popular here. You can get durian flavored milk, you can get durian ice cream. There is even durian flavored cheesecake! So, family, you might want to look out for some of the candy we send home! Since we can't send a whole durian to you, we might want to share this whole experience with you through candy flavored durian!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Our solution...

Here's our solution to the whole "Mary in the middle of out living room" problem:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You won't believe what's in our living room...

So, a few weeks ago we found a place to live. It is a 3 bedroom (well, 2 bedrooms are extremely small) 2 CR (yeah, bathrooms are called CRs here. It stands for "comfort room." Pretty funny huh?) apartment. It is not a huge place, but it is the perfect size for the 2 of us. Well, we love the place. It has a great location (only 2 blocks from the school!!!), it is right on a jeepney route (their public transportation, I will post pictures later), and it is on a very safe lot (there have been quite a few problems with theift around here). Anyway, the place is perfect for us, excpet for one small, well... actually huge thing. Let's see if I can explain this. Ummm... We have this wall in our living room that has rocks running down the wall, and it is enclosed in this glass case with sliding glass doors. Well, the top of this rock stucture (where the ceiling is, it is open to the sky, and there is only a screen. So, when it rains, it rains into our house, well kind-of. It rains down on the rocks and then falls into this pool at the bottom, so it's kind-of this natural waterfall effect. Well, there are two problems with this. One is that there is no drain or pump to get the water out. So, the water collects in this pool in the living room with no way to get it out except for a person using a bucket. I'm just a little worried about having a huge storm in the middle of the night and it starts overflowing into our living room. That would be quite interesting. Well, I know this all sounds strange and well, it's about to get a little stranger. Ya see, not only is there this weird fountain thing in our living room, but the centerpeice of this fountain is this huge statue of Mary. Yes, you read that right. There is a huge fountain in our living room with a big statue of Mary. It's kind-of like we have a third person living with us! Well, I couldn't just blog about this and not show you pictures! So, here goes....

Yeah, can you see how Rob is studying right in front of Mary. Ok, there is no denying it, we are definately living in another country! Well, despite my brother's encouragement that our house just be a little "retro," we have decided to cover up Mary. Last night we bought some plants and black garbage bags. With a little creativity, our Mary shrine has now been replaced with a fountain full of plants. I will try to take pictures tonight of our new creation so you can see the difference!!! Anyway, just thought you could all use a little humor in your life! Stay tuned... you never know what's going to happen next! We love you all and miss you a lot!