Friday, April 11, 2003

April 5th - April 6th: Weekend #2, Shopping galore

Saturday: April 5th: Shoppers Day at the World Trade Center. See how it all gives the impression of being Americanized? It’s a twice yearly affair put on by the Embassy Council of something or another.

A big warehouse type room filled with vendors of local crafts, children’s clothes, jewelry, food stuffs (including an entire spitted calf, yes, head and all), raffle stage and an entire row of handmade quilts. While we did our duty of buying a booklet of raffle tickets, I also picked up a small wooden tray of local wood inlayed with mother of pearl while Ian bought a marble chess set. The kids were able to use some molding material to make bugs and other objects that were then fired and turned into erasers. They thought that was pretty cool. Honestly, we’ll have a much better idea of what we’d like for our home and what we’d like in general from the local crafts in November when the next Shoppers Day occurs. Until then, we spent our time looking and making notes.
Afterwards we went to yet another mall, called Greenhills. What a change from Powerplant. It’s a local mall, huge with many different wings, and packed to the gills with items and people alike. It’s indoors without the nicety of air conditioning and we ended up in the software/hardware section where Ian swears 90% of the inventory was pirated. Every 3rd person was asking Ian if he wanted to buy some DVDs, and in general the place made us hot, uncomfortable and exhausted. We attempted to get a post-paid phone for me but decided it was too much of a hassle, so attempted a prepaid but the folks were so disorganized we just left. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have better luck. But on the way home we decided maybe PriceSmart had a phone section so we swung by. No luck, but we did restock our fruit bins. By the end of it all, both Ian and I had headaches and decided it was a combination of too many things to count.
A short while later, Wendy Trott came down the street bearing goodies. Apparently, of the 15 raffle tickets we’d bought, 3 of them were winners. The package of ladies clothes was interesting as it was no where near my size, but it also came with a very lovely hand fan. Something I’d been looking at during Shoppers Day, but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle keeping away from the kids. Another package had a dinner for 2 at a local restaurant, a free game of pool, and a lovely necklace. And the third package was a set of Christmas decorations! A gold wreath, a set of nativity figures and a gold embroidered stocking. I guess it was worth it, especially as all the proceeds from the raffles went towards charities like Operation Smile. We’d bought one book of tickets, and 3 books paid for a child’s operation.
After dinner, all the kids piled into our room for a movie night with popcorn and sodas. After Jonathon knocked the 3rd cup of soda over, we put him to bed, then called up grandma and grandpa at home to talk to everyone. I was falling asleep around 6, but when we called I woke up enough to chat for a good long while. Thank goodness for IVG lines! One of our favorite jokes seems to be telling my parents what they’ll be doing that day. After all it’s already Saturday night here, so the day is done.
Sunday, April 6th: Went to church this morning at the San Antonio church just outside the barangay walls. It looks like something right out of the southwest and inside it’s very classical and simply gorgeous. There’s even an organ, though we didn’t see it but it sounded electric. Well, it’s better than last week where there was no music at all at the chapel. The Mass was interesting. The entrance and recessional were not sung, but all the other parts were. The Holy, Holy was even straight from home, while the Our Father was sung in Tagalog in a simple yet almost haunting melody. All the spoken sections and the homily were in English, as was the Communion Hymn, but many parts were sung in Tagalog and certainly added a refreshing feel to the Mass. The churches here print up a new mass program each week with everything (but the homily) that is said during the service. It’s a big help for Katherine to follow along, but the songs that are sung were on an overhead projector. Unfortunately that takes away from some of the beauty of the altar, but it would seem that they will be moving to a powerpoint presentation in the near future. Welcome to the new millennium! Jonathon really enjoyed the music, singing along whenever he could, and even when he shouldn’t. Each time the music ended he’d put up his hands like Where did it go? and say Gone? (or is it Done? I can’t tell). Nicholas was tired and sat on daddy’s lap most of the time. The girls were very well-behaved and as the recessional was ending Katherine was in awe over the little priests that were girls and around 8 years old! No dear, those were altar girls. She says she wants to be an altar girl too. That doesn’t surprise me one bit as both girls have already said they want to be everything. In Katherine’s case, I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled it off. We did discover via the bulletin that we have 2 options for Easter. There’s the Vigil Mass on Saturday night that begins at 9 p.m. I can only assume it’s supposed to continue through midnight in order to officially ring in Easter. Or there’s the 5 a.m. Mass on Easter Sunday. Yes, that would be daybreak. Ian has already nixed that one and says we can go to a regular Sunday service but I really don’t want to miss it. I’ve never been to a sunrise service, all we need now is the beach.
Right across the street is a mini shopping center with a pharmacy, meat/specialty store, grocery, Starbucks, hair salon, florist, engraver, nursery school and video rental store. It’s a smidgen too far to walk in the summer heat (which runs from end of March to mid-September) but it seems a good all in one place to go, unless you need tools.
Went to Glorietta Mall with the Trotts. It appears to be right across the street and a nice middle ground between the overpriced Powerplant Mall and the grungy GreenHills Mall.
At 4 p.m., Casey Graham came by to us up for the pool party/BBQ at her house. She and her family used to live in the house we’re in now but they have 5 kids and this place really only has 3 functional bedrooms as the one downstairs is right by the front door and has the guest bathroom in it. In other words, it needs to be neat all the time and her older kids are all teens. The two don’t mix. They’d had 2 kids in one room, 2 kids in another room and the last one housed in the dressing room in the master bedroom. OK, they needed some more space. But WOW. They’re new home is simply amazing. Not only does it have a small yard and pool, but the house is stunning. There’s a semi-circle driveway to the front door, and when you walk in, you’re in an entrance way. Not just a little place to drop your shoes, but a long, wide hallway with openings on all sides to a variety of other rooms. To the right is a small hallway to a bathroom and a small den. Further up on the right is a side hallway (much like a side street) that has the stairs (both up and down, downstairs was a TV room/den and a pool table, upstairs were all the bedrooms), a doorway to another small room that was used to house toys and at the end of the side hall was an entrance to the kitchen. Straight ahead from the entrance hall was a double door entry to the dining room which was the size of a large living room (which opened to the right to the kitchen, also the size of a large living room as it had 2 full walls of counter space but also an island, an eat-in table and plenty of additional room to walk around everything). And to the left in the front entrance way, was the double doors to the living room. With ceilings 2 stories high and enough room for a full set of living room furniture, a large round circular table and chairs and room for more furniture around the corner. All the windows were bordered with dark wood and I tell you, the house was stunning.
We weren’t the only ones invited. The Trotts were there, as well as a few other couples, one who had just arrived on Thursday. Not surprisingly, they were totally wiped out before they arrived and only stayed a short while. The kids were able to swim and the food was excellent and we all had a great time. One of the Graham children was adopted from India and another is in the process of being adopted from here. The older one is in 1st grade at IS, so Katherine sees her at the playground.

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