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28 January 2014

Life in the slow lane

As if the delay of my passport release was not enough, the office of Academic Affairs emailed to remind me that my work license was expiring. So much for being happily stuck at home, sweet home. I should probably start pleading for a miracle. There had to be something to make up for this black cloud over my holidaying head. I tried looking around and it's wonderful to find joys and faves despite all this trouble.

Ever tried going around looking for something you fancy eating in a downpour? Life in the slow lane. You can afford time to do what you want the way you want it. It was like stepping back into a world where deadlines don't exist. No alarm clocks. No meetings. Just friendly vendors selling fruits under trees in front of their houses.


Tuesday I sorted out a couple of beneficiary issues on my health insurance. If you are familiar with how paperwork is done in the Philippines, you would consider yourself lucky if you got things done in one go. This time I did and to celebrate I took Ma and Cj to Barrio Otso (Village 8) to spend a lovely afternoon eating a yummy dessert.


A friend said that my passport issue could be a sign that I should not go back to Bangkok, at least not just yet. Political unrest is happening there right now anyway. I thought it could be. I'm falling fast for the mountains around. They give the country girl in me a rather better view of the world out there.


Then Wednesday I rang DFA and was told my passport was on its way to Gensan from Manila. Things are looking up. My heart leapt to my throat. I am thankful and excited.

So this is what I fancied eating. Through the rain. Wish granted.

27 January 2014

Camp Mariano

Camp Mariano is a summer camp along the Pan-Philippine Highway to Koronadal in South Cotabato.


Next to the camp entrance is where locals or visitors to the province spend lovely afternoons -


enjoying a dessert called buko salad


Buko is a Filipino word for young coconut. There are variations among ingredients. This one includes ube ice cream and jam, sweet banana and leche flan.


Around Camp Mariano are little huts selling coconut vinegar and salted fish; root crops like camote (sweet potato) and turnip.


The sign on the tree house says "Live Christ, Share Christ." Having lived in a Buddhist country for 16 years now, I felt a bit strange but cheerful reading that. And then I knew something: I was reconnecting with Christian culture. I was home.

21 January 2014

More laughter than tears

It has been raining a lot in my part of the world. There have been storm signals again. We are crossing our fingers. I take a walk around the neighborhood.

i. Everything smells fresh
 
ii. Sunshine bathes the plants


iii. In the afternoon, grey skies appear again. But as a pluviophile I have fun thinking, "ta-ta it looks like rain..."


The next day I sort out a little problem with my passport. Having it replaced takes time. I re-book my return flight to Bangkok twice. This 'glitch' is causing issues at my job though I choose to be optimistic. Whatever happens I hope I am ready.

iv. So here comes Mr. Helpful of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He appeals my case in the Manila office and apologizes profusely for the delay although it's not his fault. That is enough for me. I am grateful for the positive attitude, and I celebrate that with a choco harmony treat.

(Aunt Ludi, Robinson Gensan)

v. I'd like to share these words, and a picture that my inner world relates with.

"As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears.


Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child.


Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them forget, at least momentarily, the unpleasantness in their lives, 

and in my final moment, may I hear You whisper:

"'When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.'" ~ Unknown


20 January 2014

Boracay

Boracay is a resort island in the Philippines, administered by the Philippine Tourism Authority and the province where it belongs - Aklan. The island is approximately 196 miles south of Manila. I visited it on a whim in 2013, a year after it was awarded, among several other awards, the best island  in the world by Travel + Leisure, an international travel magazine.
"Apart from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also famous for being one of the world's top destinations for relaxation. It is also emerging among the top destinations for tranquility and nightlife." (Wikipedia)
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