* Our Last Week of 2009 (SK)

December 27, 2009

Sunday morning. Haven’t had my shower yet. It takes a while to work up to those cold showers. Brrrr. We have the hot water heater box for the shower now, but Daniel still needs some parts. So it will be a couple days yet before it is installed. We did get the washer going and I did my first load last night. It worked!

Friday morning (Christmas day) Tricia and Katie and I were going to go shopping. But Tricia couldn’t get out of her house to pick us up. They had 100s of people in their road waiting for handouts from the neighbor. I think Smit's neighbor had advertised that they would hand out free rice that day. The people must have heard about it and walked in from outside our subdivision. By 10:30 or so Tricia made it out even though there were a few people there still. Worked out okay, because the big stores were not open until noon anyway. I got a bunch more things for the house - odds and ends. And we had lunch together at Macs. We had fun together. Tricia just had her three girls along.

Got home about 2:30 and had time to clean the tops of the walls. Feels good to be rid of the last of the lizard droppings, although I’m sure there is more to come. We had a lizard running around the house last night. Went into our bedroom. Yikes. Not sure I like this. I’ve also seen one in the laundry and one in the extra bathroom.

The Smits and Baatenburgs came about 6 for games that night. The guys played chess with some of the boys. We girls played fast scrabble. The other kids played with the dominoes, building lines and towers.

So that was how our Christmas day was spent.

Saturday morning, Daniel left about 8 for the consistory meeting. I got the whole house mopped. Trish texted me to go swimming at Faith so we left for that about noonish. By that time a swim sounded great. The guys finished their consistory meeting and joined us at the pool afterwards. It was very refreshing to swim and soak in some sunshine. The lifeguard and grounds keeper caught a big lizard at the pool. With his tail he was probably 2 feet long. They said that kind can get up to 7 feet! They will eat chickens, but they won’t bite people. They got a rope and tied him to the fence. Not sure what they were going to do with him from there. They asked Tricia if she wanted it as a pet, but she graciously declined. :-)

December 28, 2009

Sunday morning Rev. Smit preached in Bulacan, so we picked up Tricia and the kids. We made it to church with only one wrong turn, but a u-turn sorted that out. Rev. Smit and the elders came straight to church from Bulacan and got there just before we started. Daniel preached the morning (we always still call it the morning even though it starts at 1 - old habits die hard, I guess) sermon and Rev. Smit the second one.

Well, we accomplished a lot again today. I did three loads of wash. We got my wash line hung up, so the laundry is drying there in the spare room with the help of a fan. I think I'm learning already that it's best to do the laundry right away in the morning, so it has the heat of the day in which to dry. An interesting side note about laundry here. You see people’s laundry hanging out to dry just anywhere, along the busy highways and wherever, and you wonder how they keep it clean. I think I have learned one of their tricks. It looks like they hang it up inside out, so if it does get dirty while drying, at least it’s the inside.

At 10 (when our car's license plates were off restriction) we headed off to Mega Mall and a few other places. We found everything okay with Daniel’s sense of direction and my (very) slight ability at reading the map. We bought a desk and chair for Daniel’s office, a paper shredder, and a saw and violin bow (which we were not necessarily looking for, but found anyway). Daniel didn't bring his from the states, since they were too big to fit in the case and we didn't think they would allow it as hand luggage! We made it out of the city in time (3:00) for our plate restrictions. When we got home we got everything set up and the water heater installed. No more cold showers – YAY!!!


December 29, 2009

Had a warm shower this morning. What luxury!

Well, I just had a fun experience. I was pouring some water down the kitchen sink and out popped a lizard. I guess I got to contribute my share to the noise level in the Beverly Hills subdivision. I screamed. The neighbors probably heard it three doors down. What really worries me is when you go back and it is not there. WHERE DID IT GO? I was a little tentative by the kitchen sink for a while.

At night I stayed at the Smit’s to babysit the kids while the rest went to Bible Study. It was Tricia's first chance to go to Bible study here, since usually she stays home with the kids. They watched Rev. Stewart’s lecture on justification from the Calvin conference (which I had heard already) and had a discussion afterwards for about an hour.

December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve. Looks like we will have a quiet day. I don’t think there has been a day yet that we haven’t been out, so a day at home doesn’t sound too bad. We do have to run to the bank to get the money to pay our rent for next month.

Well, we had another fun experience. We went into Antipolo to go to the bank. Daniel ran across the street to the bank while I waited to park the car in Shopwise (I guess we decided we needed to buy a few groceries too). There was a line of about 6 cars waiting to park. Daniel got back from the bank across the street before I was parked, so he went into Shopwise to get water and a couple other things. I eventually got parked and went to join him. I don’t think it was worth it. For the few items we got we stood in line for 50 minutes. We had been warned not to go to the stores on the holidays. Well, now we know why. The traffic was horrendous too. On the way back we saw the remains of an accident – a smashed car and a motorcycle lying in the street. Didn’t see any injured people though, so maybe they were okay.

Jeff and Katie had asked us to come over after supper. We were wondering if we should go out or not. When Daniel talked to our landlady she advised us to stay home. Others have said that too, just because of the amount of firecrackers going off, and because people let off their guns, and sometime throw crackers at your car. We did decide to go. Got there before 9 and stayed a couple hours. Had a nice time visiting with them. We could see some fireworks from their apartment window. Overlooking Manila we could see flashing lights everywhere and some big ones getting let off and people were setting off some smaller ones below us, near the pool.

Old Year's Night at Jeff & Katie's

We left around 11 just in case things got too crazy. I was a little bit on edge coming home because of what people had said. Also because there were bottles set up all over along the streets – people getting ready to shoot stuff off. But we made it home without incident. For about an hour around midnight there was a barrage of fireworks all around us and as close as across the street. And these are major fireworks, not just little ones. Wow! Daniel tried to record it on his phone, but it doesn’t really give the idea. The New Year came in with a bang – or more like a whole bunch of bangs! It was like a lifetime of July 4s all in one night. We stood outside for a while and watched some of it. It started to slow down after 12:30 or so, but went late into the night and is still going sporadically today. I think tonight and the weekend will still be noisy, but then maybe things will settle down a bit.

We have since learned that some people do it for good luck. The more noise you make the more bad spirits you scare away, and the better year you will have. Someone at church told me that many Filipinos are very superstitious.

This morning I cut labels off a bunch of our boxes and brought them out to the curb. They were all gone within an hour or so. That has happened several times already. Local people come by and pick them up and recycle them for a bit of money. We try to keep the things people might want (plastics, metals, cardboard) separate, so that they can get it without digging through all the trash. So that is our recycle service, and it's free. :-)

Yesterday (December 30) was the youth camp. A long day, but a good one. We left here about 7:30, picked up three of the Smits and then headed to Bongats where we picked up 7 more people from Gabaldon. So I think we can say we were riding true Philipino style with 12 of us packed into our vehicle.

They started the day with a get to know you activity where everyone was supposed to meet someone new and get some facts about them. They also had an activity where everyone had to go to the mike and introduce himself/herself. Each person was given a word and then had to say something about himself using the word. It was all in Tagalog, so it took me some time to figure out what they were doing. When they said their name, they had to do some funny action with it and then everyone would imitate them. There was a lot of laughing at people and embarassment, but everyone took part and seemed to have fun. They encouraged and helped the ones who were more shy, which was nice.

The ladies "supervising" :-)

Another game was to divide into teams and to build towers out of straws and straight pins. Daniel’s team was the first one done and had the tallest, but they were disqualified because they tied it to the light to hold it up. They had fun building it anyway. :-)

Tower - (supported by the light!)

The theme of the day was "Walking as Children of Light" from I Thessalonians 5. There were two speeches that Daniel did. The first one was on "The Identity of the Children of Light" and the second on "The Activity of the Children of Light." After the second speech there was a question time. There were probably six to eight questions. A lot of good ones. A couple about movies - are we allowed to watch them, which ones may we watch, why or why not.

In addition to the speeches, Rev. Smit led two discussion groups.  The first one was on "The Children of Light and Technology," and the second on "The Children of Light and Entertainment."  There was good participation and the young people seemed attentive.

All in all it was a good day and I think they all enjoyed themselves. It was good for them to meet other Christian young people. The general consensus was that we will have to do these things more often.

The Winning Team for Games

We cleaned up a bit and left about 5. We dropped off all the Gabaldon people at the Bongats again and got home ourselves around 6:15. I think the Gabaldon people were heading back home on a bus at about 6 this morning. They had come in Tuesday night on the bus and were all at Bible study.


  1. This has been enjoyable to read and educational too. Thanks for keeping us informed! We love the pictures too.

  2. Sounds exciting. I love to read what is going on. The lizards remind me of Jamaica. You get used to them after a while. I like the pictures. Glad to hear you made it safely.

  3. Now we just need to see a picture of your car with 12 people piled in!!


  4. I can only imagine the shock of the lizard coming out of the sink! Yikes! Thanks for the continued updates! Love to read them and hear how and what you are doing.