Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Beach

Living in Alaska in the wintertime creates a severe longing for the sun. This can manifest its self in many ways. Most Alaskans wing their way to sunny Hawaii at least once during the winter. It is the closest and warmest place to escape. Many conversations turn to the number of daylight hours we are loosing or gaining, the warmth of the sun, the lack of sunshine, and dreaming of warm places. It really isn't that we don't love living in Alaska, the beautiful mountains, or the snow. We do love a beautiful new snow as much as a sunny warm day. We just feel the need for sun more when we don't have it.

So this winter I began planning my sunny escape. This included some very dear friends across the Pacific. Zach and Jane Keller and their 3 kids have been living in the Philippines for 8 months now. Zach is a pilot who will be flying a helicopter to support missionaries in hard to reach tribal locations. Since they arrived they have been living in Manila and working hard to learn Tagalog.

It has been wonderful to see a little piece of their life here. They have been so generous to spend their time taking us around Manila, talking to us about the people and culture, and doing special things just for us. It is fun to watch them share the things that they have learned to love.

We were the perfect excuse to go exploring. Jane found a Filipino resort on a beach a couple hours away. Armed with a map, the new-to-them van, and our beach gear, we headed south. Winding our way through small villages we arrived at a beautiful beach. It was the perfect place to escape the city... the warm ocean, cool breezes, snorkeling, massages, beaches to comb, and the sun. We felt so spoiled by such an amazing place. The only downside was the sun burn and water-logged iphone. Other than that, it was a perfect vacation.

Check my facebook for a few photos...

On Wednesday we will hop on another plane to fly over to Cambodia to visit another amazing person. But more on that later.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

Sunday we went to the Mall of Asia. Think of the Mall of America only bigger and partially open air. It was materialism at it's finest. Just a few miles down the road we passed shocking living conditions clinging to the side of the road. It is hard to reconcile such poverty and wealth living side by side. So many living with so little. I never quite know what to do with sights like these. I know it exists, but how does this change how I live? But aside from these sobering sights, we had a great time walking along Manila bay enjoying the breezes and learning a little more about this culturally complex place.

This morning was more about day to day life. Jane took us to a local market for some fruits, vegetables and shrimp. My favorite thing was watching Jane asking questions, learning new words and enjoying the people she met. Our walk to the market gave a pedestrian view of the crazy traffic. Hundreds of busses, jeepneys, and cars clogging the road. Yesterday's journey was in the family's new van that they are enjoying. The passenger view is just as crazy, by the way.

Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Journey

One of my favorite things about my life is that I get to travel. Another wondeful thing is the amazing friends I have honor of knowing. This month I get to savor both of these wonderful things. For the next three weeks I will be traveling to the Philipines and Cambodia. Both are new countries for me and I am excited to learn a little more about them and their cultures. Then there are the fantastic people that I get to be with while there. Amazing people called to serve across the Pacific. But I will tell you more about them another day. Today it is about the journey.

21 hours of flight, 11 hours of layover, 4 flights, the international dateline, sleep in a kiddie playground, and many naps sitting in an airplane seat. It seemed as if we saw midnight at least 3 times. It was a long day. The flights were easy and nearly all on time. We left the dark cold arctic on a Wednesday night and walked off the plane near the equator engulfed by the warm moist air on a Friday night. International travel can be a whirlwind and as we often commented, quite surreal. I love it!

Watch my Facebook for photos... Unless I can figure out how to upload from my iPhone.