Tuesday, April 15, 2003

April 16th: Just getting into the groove

Wednesday, April 16th: We’re getting into the groove around here. Of course, now we’re expecting our first typhoon. Who knows if it’ll hit metro Manila, but it’s the earliest in the season a typhoon has hit here in a long time.

And we’re supposed to experience El Nino this year too (isn’t that every year? Sure seems like it). The rainy season is supposed to begin in June, but apparently our arrival has reset the power of nature. Oh well, what can I do? It is cloudy out, but that just means an earlier visit to the playground this afternoon.
Naptime and bedtime with Jonathon had been going really well, until today’s nap of course. He decided today that he didn’t want to lie down. BUT. The past 2 days have been like a miracle. I could put him down and tell him to stay and he would. I’d say I needed to put the girls down the bed, and he’d be in his bed (ok, he was sitting up flipping through a book, but would splat on the pillow the instant I walked in “No, mom, I wasn’t up!”) when I got back. I knew there’d be some trouble spots and today he’s in the crib for his nap, fussing loudly, but we’ll get through it. He’s also rather insistent on going to the potty a dozen times a day. It’s a lot for a little guy to work through. Add to that the new tooth that popped in last week (finally, an incisor!) and sometimes I’m amazed he knows which end is up.
In the past week I’ve had 2 people mention how one thought that I was the kids’ older sister, and another thought I wasn’t old enough to have kids.. or as many as I do. She seemed disbelieving when I told her I was almost 30. Ack. I’m almost 30. OK, I’m almost 29, but that’s almost 30!
We’ve been playing a lot of school this week. Spelling, reading, math, recess, lunch, it’s all part of our day with Katherine home for Easter week. It’s been good to have a schedule of sorts, seems like whenever I turn around, our day is being reconstructed. We have a lot of people coming in and out of the house too. Finally we have a working doorbell and now we have a spare cooking gas tank. We also had the gate for the top of the stairs installed a couple days ago and some techs came and added an antenna to our Embassy radio. Of course, now that we have a doorbell, no one will come to the house.
Did I mention that everything is delivered here? On Sunday, Ian called up a dry cleaner and they came to the door, picked up his 4 suit pants and delivered them back to the house on Tuesday. Total cost? P332. OK ok… About $6.50. This economy seems to survive on customer service. They’ll pick up and deliver anything. There are guards at every entrance to every building and every store within those buildings. They act as doormen too. Fast food places have real china, there’s someone to bring your food to you and someone else to clean up. Tips are not expected. We ordered pizza early on and it came to something like $8 for everything, including the spaghetti, drinks and garlic bread. Ian tipped the delivery guy P50 (About $1). You’d have thought it was a fortune. Sad thing is, here, that can very well be.
Ian was telling me a story last night about a co-worker of his. When his co-worker was new to the area, he had to get somewhere, but didn’t know how far it was. So he hailed a sidecar (a motorbike powered, but often bicycle powered, mode of transportation) that happened to be a bike. The co-worked is not skinny man, and thankfully the address was only 3 blocks away. But the driver was wiped out from the exertion of going those three blocks. Total cost? P50. The co-worker tipped him P100. Once the driver quit saying thank you, he added that the next day was one of his children’s second birthday. Now they could afford a cake.
So, on to our adventures. Yesterday the kids and I had the car, so we went to Glorietta Mall to meander around, look for a shoe store I’d seen once before that had perfect shoes for the boys, have a bite of lunch and let the kids play at the playground. We did all that as well as having some ice cream before we left. The cart was the same one as last time, but he had all different flavors. Cool! The girls got chocolate, Jonathon and I shared strawberry, and Nicholas had ube, the local purple yam ice cream. We’d had it at home from the Filipino store and even brought it to Katherine’s classroom at King for her going away party, and believe it or not, it’s excellent. And really really purple.
We had a new driver since ours was on holiday for Easter, and Ramon was a slightly more understandable person even with the heavy Filipino accent. Cesar is very soft-spoken, so it’s difficult to gather what’s he’s saying without having him repeat. Anyhow, Ramon was a little louder which made it that much easier. He also interacted more with me, asking me which area of Glorietta I wanted to go to, asking where he should park, giving me his cell number and asking me to call him when I was ready to get going. It was nice to have a bit more feedback. Cesar is a smooth driver, but it’s too easy to forget he’s there as he’s so quiet.
Anyhow, all was going well until we figured it was time to get going. I had a cell phone in Atlanta for a short time, but since then somehow I’ve managed to live without one. Well, now I own one again, for security measures more than anything. But you do need to recharge it periodically and mine had been sitting in my purse for a week. We left the mall and walked to the front of Rustans next door, across the street from the parking lot. I noticed the battery was really low as I was dialing, and I managed to say hello a couple times before the phone went dead. All right, think. We headed to the parking lot and figured we’d see him as we walked to the car. No dice. We found the car and waited. It was hot. Really hot. The kids sat down on the ground under some shade, but I wanted to be visible in case he was coming back to the car. Twenty minutes later, no driver, no phone and melting, I decided we’d go back inside the mall and use the pay phone to call him. As we’re heading to the door, I hear Ramon calling from behind. He’d heard me on the phone and had gone to the door to wait for us. Here I was thinking he’d thought he’d gotten a crank call and was off with his buddies. Oops. Teach me to go sit in the sun and fume, it was all my own fault.
Oh, we had lunch at Burger King. Katherine had a ham and cheese sandwich. Well, it’s what she wanted! The portions here are considerably smaller than what we have at home, we’ve noticed. The fries are the same though. You have to ask for lids on your cups. And someone carries your tray to your table for you. But we did have regular fast food wrappers.
And we never did find the shoe store.
One small note. I sure hope Ian decided to put up a few posts of his own about what he’s doing at IV. He tells me some great stories over dinner, but they just aren’t the same being repeated second hand.

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