Monday, May 31, 2010










Sunday night we went to the pier to watch the sunset. We've decided to turn it into a family tradition. It was so beautiful...and those clouds? Almost edible.

I love exploring with Cree.

photos taken by Cree + Amanda (we don't remember who took what)

Kids love to ask me to buy peanuts.
Good thing I never carry money. They are all so cute.

We made some new friends. They asked us our names. Told Cree he was "guapo" and that his wife was beautiful. Gee thanks. They then continued to follow us for the next hour down the pier while serenading us with 80's loves songs like Carrie. Where do they learn these things?!?

Sunday, May 30, 2010




New favorite discovery. Walk on Water Ball.

The basic gist of the game is to crawl into a deflated, plastic ball (apparently it is ok to cover your head with plastic here), sit patiently (appx. 5 minutes) while a man in army cargos blows air into your ball and then pushes you into the mini pool. It is too wobbly for any of the children to stand or move really, so they just sort of sit. Our favorite kid was the one in the white tank in the top photo. He sat like that (legs crossed and arms folded) for the whole ride...that is until he got bored and laid down for a bit. I just giggled and giggled. Still makes me giggle to look at the photographs. Much more fun for the people watching. Practically made our week.

Cree took these photos.
We had a full moon Friday night. It was beautiful! Imagine it minus the lens flare. I saw it and asked Cree to take a photo of it for me. He is better with night photography. It took us about ten tries to get the camera still enough. He is so patient.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just read this article in The New York Times. Being that we are in the stationary business, I found it very interesting. I grew up in a house hold where you always wrote thank you notes. My mama is the queen of thank you notes. I take her example and try to remember as best as I can. I've even sometimes come to the event with thank you card in hand...I realize this is a bit over zealous, but I just wanted to make sure I don't forget. I've also found that when you give someone a thank you card, sometimes they act irritable with a look like, "What I did doesn't constitute a silly card." That said, I'd rather be safe than sorry and opt to send a lovely hand written thank you note.
So in order to be helpful while we've been in Sorsogon, I've been helping Cree with data entry. In the beginning, my eyes started to cross...my palms would get sweaty...so many numbers! Above is an example of what I've been imputing for the past couple weeks. It used to bore me to tears, but now I've started to make a game of it....I try and get faster and faster. Not to brag or anything...but I'm pretty fast.

Somedays it feels weird going to work when your in a tropical climate with a volcano just a couple miles away.

Today, they've been having a Celine Dion marathon at work. It was fun for about three songs, but then I started to realize that every one of her songs is about the same...lots of belting. Yesterday we had lots of Backstreet Boys. Maybe one day they will let Cree and I pick the music...then again, they probably wouldn't like any of it. We aren't sappy enough.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cree and I downloaded the latest episodes of Glee and Lost this weekend. We needed a break from Gilmore Girls (the only TV on DVD we brought to the Philippines—what was I thinking?!?). Ice Ice Baby came on.....guess who knows every word to that song? Cree. Every single word. My jaw dropped. He even informed me that the Glee version was missing a verse. He says everyone knows all the words to that song. I beg to differ. Who would want to?

I love learning new things about Cree.


We don't have a television here in Sorsogon, so we've been filling our time with books, games and DVD's. So far I've read Little Bee and The Ladies of Missalonghi by the author of The Thornbirds. Little Bee was entirely depressing and The Ladies of Missalonghi was like watching a Mandy Moore movie. Didn't just love either one, but now I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love and adoring it. We'll see if I still love it by the end. Cree just finished the biography of RFK and moved onto Moby Dick. I don't think he understands the point of a "beach book". He goes from one heavy duty to the next. His next book of choice? Anna Karenina.



Do you see why I screamed?
If these aren't good enough, check these videos out.

It was a big weekend here in the Philippines. We had to travel to Legaspi to renew our passports and decided to make a vacation of it. In Legaspi, we were able to eat at McDonalds. Now, normally, I'm not a huge fan....but this weekend, I was in heaven. It was the best hamburger I've ever had. I can't wait until next month when we have to renew our passports again...maybe we'll get lunch and dinner.

After Legaspi, we headed to Donsol. Beautiful Donsol. We took a firefly tour on the water at night and then the next morning we decided to SWIM WITH WHALE SHARKS!!!!! It was amazing. I'm not gonna lie...I was scared to death at first. In fact the first two dives, I was so scared/couldn't figure out my snorkel mask that I missed it. Apparently as I was fumbling with my face mask, I was completely oblivious to the fact that a shark the size of a small bus was swimming just feet below me. Third time was the charm. When I saw the shark, I immediately started screaming which resulted in a large amount of salt water in my mouth, yet after I realized the shark didn't really want to eat me, I could relax and enjoy the experience. I loved it and I'm so glad we did it.



getting ready.


all ready.


We shared the boat with two dutchmen. Both 21 and both not very chatty. We also shared with a couple from the Netherlands. Their story is a unique one. They met three years ago, fell in love within two weeks time. They then decided to move to France together, lived there for two years and then moved to Spain for another year. They've been traveling through Asia for 8 months and they have three months left of travel. They were a pretty interesting couple. We enjoyed getting to know them until I accidentally jumped on the girl's flipper during one of our dives.

She and her thick accent got all sorts of irritated with me.

We found it floating next to the boat a couple minutes later (thank goodness). I tried to make friendly conversation after the fact...but she merely pointed to her ear plugs with a look that said, "Don't talk to me." People are funny.

Our adorable guide. He was so quick!


Cree looks cute even when he's wearing a face mask and snorkel.
Me on the other hand....


For such a short trip, we only needed one backpack. Lucky Amanda didn't have to carry one. That's my kinda travelin.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Three things to love about the Philippines:

1) So many cheap mangos. (We had some for breakfast.)

2) They love music here....really cheesy music. (I recognize most of it from my giant chick flick collection) Karaoke is huge here, so late at night you can always hear the locals wailing their hearts out. Usually the selections are pretty great. A couple nights ago I heard "I believe I Can Fly," Starships "Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now," and all day at work I've heard Glee on repeat with no shame. (and since I adore Glee, today's been a good day)

3) They love to eat. At work we have a mid-morning snack break around 10, then at 3 we have another snack break, which is more like a second lunch. Today it consisted of 2 pizzas and a 9x13 pan of pasta. The theory here in the Philippines is that if it doesn't contain rice....it is considered a snack. They get such a kick out of our sack lunches...usually a sandwich. They don't understand how we make it through the day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I found this tucked away in a cement alcove normally restricted for statues of the virgin mary. So funny.







This day was a tough day for Amanda in the Philippines. The missionaries invited me to go with them on a trip up in the mountains to explore the "wildlife" with the youth. The wildlife consisted of butterflies and deer. They had them imported from America and call them usa for U.S.A. Oh it was so funny. They were all so tickled. We took a jeep up and on the way back I asked how much it costs for each of of us to take the jeep. They all whispered among themselves and then told me 2,200 pesos which is about 50 dollars...which I did not have. They asked how much I did have which was 200 pesos and took that from me. I knew they were trying to trick me into paying for everyone because a normal jeep ride usually costs 50 pesos for Cree and I. I didn't know the tagolog words so argue. I felt foolish and duped as I walked home. I think they have a unrealistic perception of Americans...that we are all very rich. So far from the truth. I think I will learn a little more tagolog before I venture off on my own again. I've been in a little bit of a funk ever since.

This big guy live with us. The photos don't do him justice. He is about a foot long and very scary. He makes me jump every time I catch him out of the corner of my eye. He moves so fast...yet so sneakily. He does eat the bugs, so I'm willing to let him stay. BUT the minute he gets into the bedroom...he's a goner. We kind of want to name him...




These girls wanted their photo taken so badly,
but every time we tried to take one,
they'd start to giggle or look away.

Another Saturday afternoon at the beach.
This one had tons of jellyfish.