Every Friday evening at 7pm (7am ET in the US – the start of my workday), they shoot off fireworks over the water by the Mall of Asia to commence the beginning of the weekend. They only last about 4 minutes and I try and step away to get some pictures off our balcony. Last week I walked to the corner and watched them with a different perspective. Lots of people out on a Friday night! Brian said they refer to the weekend as “SatSun” at his work. Needless to say, I’m always happy to see the fireworks when they appear.
I’m nearing the end of my third trip here to Manila and am more familiar with our apartment and the local surroundings. For those of you that know I love to do dishes, it has taken a bit getting used to doing dishes in lukewarm water (only hot water is in the shower…for which I’m thankful.) We also have this washer/dryer combo….sounds like a great idea – other than a “normal” cycle is 3 ½ hours and the clothes come out pretty wrinkled! That being said we started taking Brian’s dress shirts to the “Suds Laundry & Dry Cleaning” in our building (very affordable) and only doing a quick wash for 30 minutes for the other items (and hanging them all over the house to let them dry.) Security called immediately when I tried hanging clothes on the balcony to let me know that was not permitted. Oh there’s no oven – guess they figured it’s too hot there (which it is) to heat up a big appliance. Now one thing that is great where we live is the air conditioning – they have room only units that do cool the place nicely. With temps in the 90’s and 100’s with humidity almost as high it is a must-have.
We are in a great location (Shell Residences) – Mall of Asia is a quick walk and they have just about everything (food store, department stores, restaurants, currency exchange, etc.) Traffic in general in Manila is pretty insane…I am thankful we have access to a driver and that Brian’s office is within walking distance (he walks home on occasion in the morning.) The airport is only 15-20 minutes away now that they’ve built a new “skyway” that lifts the airport traffic above the normally congested roads.
Life is very quiet for us here – truly no responsibilities outside of work. I am learning to appreciate the down time…reading, working out, watching Netflix and HGTV, even playing solitaire with a deck of cards Erica gave me. I don’t mind traveling back and forth to the U.S. – typically a 24 hour commute – but Brian is not quite as fond and has been here since the beginning of March. He works long days Monday thru Friday, and weekends are spent catching up on sleep and sitting by the pool.
While Brian has had some interesting challenges at work, God is definitely at work. The office has small clubs of all kinds for the employees…sports, travel , drama, Christian life, among other groups. Brian has had the opportunity to preach on several Saturday mornings at the Life Group. They have a large gathering the beginning of every month and July 1 there was over a hundred people there! We are confident that God has a much bigger plan for our scheduled time here.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my trips back to the U.S. to see friends & family in California, Ohio, and Mississippi. Jonae and Jus were able to get away a few times which left me as grandma on call – Juliet and I had lots of fun. She’s a true joy and is a pleasure to be with. I learned all her favorite movies and foods, her daily routine and fun ways to keep us both entertained. Naomi the pup was happy to see me, but she clearly has settled into a nice routine with Juliet.
The area where we live is near the water, but it meets the land by way of a sea wall and docks. I felt the ocean calling and when I arrived back here in June we took a flight to Cebu here in the Philippines. It was so nice to put our feet in the sand for the weekend. We were up early Sunday and caught a beautiful sunrise while my son Mitch caught the sunset on the other side of the world. Stunning!
Now that U.S.to Tokyo to Manila is my new commute, I’m finding that this is all pretty surreal. My eyes are open and my breath prayer remains “Almighty God, show me.” I want to be found faithful and not miss an opportunity to share God’s love with those I know and those I’ve yet to meet. Thanks for reading ~ have a blessed summer!