Thursday, February 14, 2013


I realize that I haven’t posted much about Manila.

It’s probably because I’m not very happy here. Honestly, Manila isn’t bad. It’s not really Manila’s fault that I’m not happy. The annoyances here are things that I should be able to live with, with less complaining. What’s bothering me most is that I’m not working yet. I expected to be working about six months ago. I should just enjoy being a lady of leisure while I can, but it gets boring (and expensive!).

I’m lucky to have friends that I spend time with. I’m very happy with the relationships I’m building. I hope that my part-time status at work will help me to maintain their friendships.

Manila really has a lot to offer. It’s a very big city, with a metro population of 11,855,975 (source: Wikipedia), and many city skylines. Since space in Manila is limited a lot of buildings go up. The architecture here is creative, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. Unfortunately we don’t see much of that from our one-story house, but when we drive around, or end up in a high-rise it’s so much fun to look at. The view at night on New Year’s Eve from the helipad of a 57-story building was breathtaking (figuratively and literally – especially for someone as afraid of heights as me).

Food! There is very good food here. Unfortunately I haven’t found a lot of Filipino food that I like. I do, however, enjoy Chicken Adobo and Lumpia (their version of the Spring Roll). The funny thing is that the best Filipino food I had was in San Jose, Costa Rica from a Filipino friend that we knew there. There’s so much other cuisine to enjoy here. We’ve found great Thai, Chinese, American, and Tex-Mex (this is a new discovery, and is actually about an hour and a half out of Manila near Angeles. And only John has had it, and he just had it today. He said we will be going back to that place. Most American expats (especially those from Texas) will tell you that legit Tex-Mex outside of the US doesn’t really exist). We’ve eaten lots of places, and I couldn’t think of them all. This is one thing that Costa Rica can’t hold a candle to versus Manila. And I wouldn’t say that about much.

Filipinos. The Filipinos are so nice, and very helpful. Sometimes Americans are overwhelmed by the helpfulness. While American customer service is generally pretty good (minus all American airlines (except Sun Country – they’re always awesome)), it pales in comparison to Filipino customer service. And it ALWAYS comes with a smile and a “mam-sir.”

Non-Filipinos. I truly have some great friends here. This is usually the case with expats. We know that even though our in-person friendships may be short, it’s worth it to put yourself out there. I’m very lucky here to know some awesome people. It’s a very interesting group of people. I’m able to be as mature or immature as I want to be.

Sunshine. I love the sun. It gets cloudy and it rains a lot during monsoon season, but the sun is bright and warm (and hot!) in Manila. If you like sunshine you’d be happy here.

Singing. There’s lots of singing here. I love that I can sing in the grocery isles and no one looks at me (well, they look at me because I’m white, but that’s different, and belongs in a different blog post where I complain).

I’m realizing that I could spend a lot of time writing about why I like/love/enjoy Manila. But y’all don’t need a novella on it.

If you’re gonna be in Asia – or you just can’t stay away from us please stop by. We love visitors, and I think you’d love Manila.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dreaming Big

The kids are used to everything being done for them. It’s not the way we imagined raising our children. When we joined the Foreign Service, we said that even though we had help we would still make our kids do stuff.

Most times, though, things are done for them. Especially in the Philippines where work days are Monday through Saturday and the only day without a helper at the house is Sunday.

It wasn’t working though. Not only will Malachi have more respect for our home if he helps keep it up, but he’ll learn independence. He’ll gain confidence in himself when he masters a task. He’ll feel so much better about himself and he’ll be able to have control over how he completes his tasks (as long as it’s finished correctly, I care not how it’s done…truly!).

So a decision was made over the week to have Malachi help with more stuff around the house. No longer will picking his wet towel and dirty clothes off the floor be a “sometimes” chore.


Tonight, I taught him how to rinse dishes. Though one plate was dropped a short distance, nothing was broken. I even let him rinse the glass and stoneware against my original objections.


I remember being taught how to do the dishes. I may have been older than Malachi. I don’t know. But I remember enjoying it at first. I felt so grown up. I wonder how long Malachi will enjoy it.

I wanted him to do well and gain confidence. And I knew since it was his first lesson I had to be pretty calm about it all. So even though the plates aren’t laid out the way I’d like, I let it go. They’re drying, and they’re all in one piece. I’d say that’s a win.


As I stood next to my oldest child and did dishes with him, I didn’t mourn the loss of his childhood. I rejoiced in the knowledge that soon, I’d have a free laborer who would be doing them all on his own while I was sitting and relaxing.

And now it occurs to me that I, eventually, will have three free laborers who will do everything for me. Unless I’m dreaming. If you’re going to dream, dream big. Right?