Thursday, April 10th: This morning while hanging out the clothes to dry (it’s therapeutic… really!), a woman’s head popped over the wall between our house and the one behind. Yes, it was attached to a body and she introduced herself as Breanda, the landlord of our house. Apparently, our landlord lives next door. This house was a wedding gift to her, and now that all the kids are grown, they moved to a smaller home.
We chatted for a bit about how hot it was and how it’ll just get hotter and then the rains will start in June, and she asked how we liked the house and if there was anything that needed to be done. I brought up the doorbell again and we’ll see if that actually gets fixed now. She also offered to have her gardener come over to plant some grass and get things growing. That would be nice. Apparently there used to be an avocado plant in the yard and all sorts of flowering bushes, but it seems that no one has done anything in this yard for a good long while. I should water but it just doesn’t seem right when there’s so little clean water here, to use it to water dirt.
So around 10:30 we got in the car and Cezar drove us over to Glorietta Mall for a change of scenery. We wandered and found the children’s clothing section (the malls here like to do themes for different areas), and we popped into a toy store where I finally found little individual sized inflatable pools for the boys to use in the shower as bathtubs. I think they’ll be perfect. I also picked up another blue bouncy ball for Nicholas. After all, you can never have too many balls and this way we can return the one we’ve borrowed. There’s an indoor playground in the mall that the kids enjoyed but it really was teeming and much too small for the 40 or so kids there. The slide was great though and Jonathon enjoyed climbing the ladder then zooming down the slide. We picked up some ice cream (3 single cones, for ~$1.25) and ate it outside. Melon ice cream for Rebecca (it was orange, what else did you expect?), mocha for me, and rocky road for Nicholas. It was really good and while we were sitting and sweltering, Henrietta (a woman we’d met at our playground) stopped by to say hello. It was odd since we really had nothing to say. I know she’s Czech, married to an Australian who works for a French pharmaceutical company, but that’s about it. We shared some minor pleasantries then she left. We found the car in the lot and headed home, stopping by the little Rustans to pick up some milk.
Jonathon couldn’t keep his eyes open in the car, but when I went to lay him down for a nap, he’d have nothing to do with it and screamed for a good 45 minutes. What is up with that? He was literally passing out in the car.
The playground was an interesting time today. But first, a little background. We do not receive mail at home. All our mail is routed through the Embassy, where everything is x-rayed and checked over before being picked up in the mailroom. Receiving packages at home is a no-no, especially packages we aren’t expecting and packages with nothing written on them.
OK, so while we’re at the playground, I saw the rental van leave the house and figured Ian was home, so I sent Katherine back to say hello. She made it to the door (which was locked) at the same time a small pick-up truck was at the house. One man, of several, wanted to give her a package and have her sign for it. Smart thing that she is, she tells them that she’s not old enough to sign and her dad isn’t home yet and the rest of us are at the playground. Then she came back to tell me the tale. I became concerned, I mean, who asks a 7 year old to sign for a package? I’d seen the truck moving slowly down the street and it had Dasmarinas Village on the doors, and there were other guys carrying other packages and it was all very odd. I reminded Katherine that unless one of us is with her, she’s still not to speak to strangers, even though the Filipino people are extremely friendly and talk to every child they see.
A few minutes later, Ian came over to the playground. He hadn’t heard the folks with the truck and hadn’t heard Katherine knocking in the door (with a house this size and no functioning doorbell, it’s an easy thing to miss) but he became concerned when I told him the story. Unexpected packages are not something to mess around with. When we returned back to the house, the package that Katherine had been expected to sign for… was lying by the front door. OK, this made both of us a little nervous. Ian picked it up and moved it to the grass and poked at it a bit, commenting it was squishy. Just a note… NEVER do this. He took a chance that he shouldn’t have. After staring at it a few more minutes, he decided to call the Embassy and see what he should do about it. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is all overkill, just throw it away, or goodness why not open it. Well, I shouldn’t have to explain the reasons, so there. So, he called and was told it didn’t sound like too much of a concern. He grew bolder, and brought a knife to open it up. (Again… bad idea). A minute later, he came into the kitchen and produced….
Plastic garbage bags. A whole lot of plastic garbage bags with a bunch of rubber bands to tie them. It would seem that part of living in this neighborhood is that they provide waste collecting materials. Interesting. Next time we’ll know not to bring out the bomb-sniffing dogs.
OK, so back to the playground. Before we left for our garbage bags escapade, Ian and I were chatting while the kids played, and a woman approached us with a pad of paper and pen and asked us for Katherine’s name. Say what? We prodded a little more. Why? So she can be invited to a birthday party. Um…. OK. For who? *mumble mumble* Who? *mumble* I’m sorry, who?? *mumble Brendan Macapagal* Uh… OK. Who’s that? She pointed to a boy playing the playground who looked a few years older than Katherine. What’s going through our head… We don’t know you, we don’t know this kid and you’re inviting our daughter to a birthday party? So we ask… will it be held here in Dasmarinas? No, in Forbes Park (the next neighborhood over and the only swankier one than this one) OK, last question, when is it? May 14th. Not a clue as to what we’re doing that day, but we ask if it’s a Saturday.. and she doesn’t know! Alrighty then… this is a secretary of some sort. Social secretary? Multi-functional yaya? Odd, to say the least. Ian gives her our address for an invite and our phone number (the wrong number I might add, he still doesn’t know what ours is, but that’s just fine in this instance. He swears it was intentional, I’m not so sure, but it’s the same thing I would have done).
Need a little more weirdness to this? The President’s name is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.