With the never ending list of "Things to Do" in order to move half way around the world, I get the feeling that we're not doing to poorly. So far we have...
Gotten our passports
Gotten our plane reservations
Gotten our hotel reservations in DC and Hawaii
Received our Manila housing assignment
Gotten our HepA and Typhoid shots along with our yellow immunization cards
Applied for all the advances/per diems
Scheduled our packouts, had the walk-throughs
Scheduled the INS consultations
Sent Katherine's school application to ISManila and scheduled her testing
Been clearing out the house
Today I need to call around about insurances and schedule a carpet cleaner, a chimney sweep and Merry Maids to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, all after the packers are gone and the house is empty.
Of course, we haven't done a thing about the car yet because Geico won't cover us overseas so we need a new insurance company, and our Property Manager forms are in a holding pattern until we can get landlord insurance for the house. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that we'll have a renter in March. It would just make things that much easier.
Oh, some particulars. We'll be flying out March 24th from DC and arriving in Manila the evening of March 28th, after spending a couple days in Hawaii. Yeah, this tour is starting our rough :)
On a more personal note, we decided against having a going-away party. After all, what fun is it throwing a party for ourselves? And along with that, we realized that so few people have expressed an interest in our departure, and so few people have kept in contact with us the past couple years, that it would feel more like work and strain than a fun gathering of the folks who did bother to show. Do I sound bitter? Yeah, well, I'm not apologetic.
On the other hand, we are doing special stuff for the kids. Down the road we have a Filipino grocery store so we've stopped in there and picked up regional foods. Most have not been well received, but we figure it's a matter of time before we get used to things like Fish Chips.. made from real bits of fish. We had a full hot meal from there a few weeks back and while there were some good parts, the fishy clear noodles were not loved, no one really cared for the sour pork soup and the barely boiled whole squids had Rebecca in tears and Katherine earning an adventurous gold star with her ability to choke a bite down.
Oh, but back to the girls. Since we're pulling Katherine out of school, on the 7th of February I'll be going to her class with some story books, a big picutre book, a CD of The Mabuhay (Welcome) Singers, and a tub of purple ice cream and cookies. The purple ice cream is a favorite in the Philippines, and it gets it's color and flavor from the purple yam that grown there. I found a distinctly mild yam taste to it (very good by the way) and Ian liked it too, though he said it didn't taste like yams at all. There is another favorite in the Philippines of Cheese ice cream, but we haven't quite taken that step in tasting yet. The halo halo ice cream that we have in our freezer is coconut flavored with bits of tropical fruit in it and it's very good too. Ok ok.. we're readily delving into the sweeter side of Filipino food. We'll get around to the rest of it again later :) Back to the visit to Katherine's class, I'm trying to come up with a quick and easy craft for the kids to do and so far I've come up with them making their own flags. On the backs of the base sheets I was going to put our snailmail and e-mail address so that if any of her classmates wanted to write to her, they could. Well, we'll see if that actually materializes! Also I'm going to see if her principal will make an appearance. Mr. Shaw knows every kid in the school by name and even recalls a lot of their siblings, and recognizes every parent at least by sight. In a school of over 500 kids, that's no small feat and he has always been loved by Katherine. He sits down with her and her friends often at lunch, and when I brought Rebecca to school for Bec's birthday, he stood her on the lunch table and had the whole cafeteria sing Happy birthday to her. How cool was that?
Anyway, more to come later, when I don't have Jonathon climbing on my lap, so hopefully this afternoon during nap time after I've finished my phone calls.