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Missing Christmas

The spirit of Christmas in my country officially commences every September of the year, that being the first month with the suffix –ber. It is in this month when FM Radio stations start playing Christmas melodies and jingles; small and big stores display colorful ornaments, assorted sized series lights and various toys for all ages; bungalows and nipa huts glow in the dark with Christmas lights and parols (Christmas lanterns); young and old sing Christmas carols from one house to another; schools, companies and churches organize parties; and kris-kringle (exchanging of gifts) is likely to happen.

While my experience of a white Christmas here is something I would cherish, I miss celebrating Christmas in the Philippines- with my family and friends. Christmas in our family is not anticipating Christmas eve with opening of gifts under a big gorgeous tree. It isn’t about shopping or putting up a Christmas tree with glamorous ornaments. It is simply being together.

As kids, we are usually asked to go to bed early while Mamang prepares a special dinner. My favorite is her own recipe of hamonada (ham). She and Papang will wake us up between 10:30- 11PM for dinner. I remember one time, after hugs and kisses to the kids, Papang carried Mamang to our balcony and shouted Merry Christmas from there. It was funny! We then sit on the table to eat then wait for 12AM to chance on the actual Christmas day. Hugs and kisses again and back to bed.

As boring as it may sound, I miss those times… I miss Christmas with my family.

Anyhow, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Busy but fun Saturday

I swear, I intended to spare half of Saturday for studying. Now my alibi is- something unexpected came up to which I can’t say no.

I got up late then decided to go with hubby to the Boulware’s house. Sister Bridget needed him to install her new DVD-rom while we needed Brother Raymond to fix our rotors. I knew I would do nothing there but it's too late to regret. I have already wasted my time. When all was said and done, it was time for us to grab our lunch then fetch Kareen.

Kareen is a schoolmate in college. I and hubby are years older than her so we never really knew each other back then. She came here for work-related training but since our schedules were never the same, we never had time to go out together except last Saturday. Hubby and I have already set our schedule to help Brother Thomas feed the homeless and when she learned about it, she gladly volunteered to help. We got her busy and she seemed to have enjoyed doing it.

We went to Golden Buffet for dinner where good Asian food was served. We chat about almost everything, laughed a lot and had a good time. We just drove her around town since it was already dark and very cold. We took pictures of the Christmas lights wherever and whenever we can. Time to drop her back at the hotel came and so we wished her safe trip to the Philippines.

I was already very sleepy by the time we arrived home. I had fun! But now, I also need to cram for my finals this Saturday... Wohoo!

Random busy-ness

All in all, our Iowa trip for thanksgiving was fun and heartwarming. I was glad to get to see my church family once again and for hubby to have finally met them. Hopefully, we’ll be back on June 2010 for my graduation.

Needless to say, the days following our arrival home were busy. Besides our normal routine of eat-sleep-work-church-home cycle, our to-do list required priority. I’m enumerating (not necessarily in order) them here to help me regulate my time management (ahem!).

  1. Unpacking- almost done. White teddies from Nay Linda are happily sitting in our living room couch. Plants are settled to give life to our little abode. One of the two boxes is now empty. The other one is still sitting in the living room with some stuff that I still need to sort out.

  1. Laundry- done! Many thanks to my great hubby who patiently did them all and organized clothes accordingly. Hugs to my wonderful tanin>:D<…

  1. General house cleaning- not even started. This needs time and a much serious work. Looking to get this done over the weekend.

  1. General car cleaning- seems impossible. Neither hubby nor I would risk our lives, freezing in the cold of winter just to clean the car. This may have to be postponed until Spring. We’ll see…

  1. Front car rotors fix- scheduled to be worked on this weekend. I really appreciate Bro. Boulware for being very helpful with any car issues we have. Hopefully, this gets done this weekend.

  1. Course assignments and lessons- in the process. I am working on this, I promise!

  1. Biko for office potluck- done! I bake sweet rice for our department party. Only about a one-third of it vanished after the party. I am not sure if office people did not like it or because there was just too much food. Anyway, I brought the left over to Brandenburg, to which Ate Doll said it tasted really good.

  1. Visit Ate Doll and Kuya James- done! We drove to Brandenburg after work last Friday. It was one busy weekend. We made a slideshow for Kuya Buboy and Ate Millette’s wedding in Texas. I regret not being able to take a picture of the final output though. My energy was all consumed, I totally forgot!

  1. Christmas cards and gifts- needs to get started with this tonight… I want to make sure we have enough for everybody.

  1. Scrapbook- pending. I want to get started with this before the year ends because when 2010 is here, there will be a lot more memories waiting to be documented.

  1. Sewing projects- was started and needs to be continued. I have many more sweaters and skirts to resize. I’ll get back to this after my final exam.

By the way, I noticed how boring my blog have been especially without pictures. But hey, I am busy. I can’t put off my thoughts and take pictures first before blogging. I promise to post pictures though as soon as I find time…


I can’t believe it already is!

I can’t help feeling sad as I drove to work this morning.

I miss home.

I wish I could spend Christmas with my family this year.

Thanksgiving 2009

It is not our first thanksgiving together but it is our first time to actually celebrate it.

Last year’s was only hubby’s third week in this country so we just decided to spend quality time. We drove around town hunting for Black Friday bargains and devoured a lunch buffet at Golden Coral. Nothing much happened the weekend after that except for another amazing Sunday service.

Unlike the previous though, this year is a busy one. I received a text message on a weekend before Thanksgiving asking me about our tentative plan of visiting Iowa for the long weekend. I confronted hubby with a little hesitation but without much ado, we made an impulsive decision of spending this year’s Thanksgiving with our church family there.

We braved the busy interstate highways, narrow motorways, light rain and the wispy snowfall on a cold Wednesday winter night. It was a smooth 10-hour drive until we reached Fairfield when our GPS misbehaved for a little bit. It was twilight when we toured around the campus vicinity. The cold winter breeze caused me to miss the days I spent there and built friendship with crazy but wonderful people. They are the good friends that made it easy for me to fight homesickness.

After introducing hubby to the little university, we headed our way to Agency. It was sort of melancholic driving on the country bounded by vast lands of arid cornfields and some portions of bald sleeping trees. My body was tired but my mind was wide awake, active enough to remember the all those days gone by. My heart was overflowing with gratitude and praise as I thought of where the Lord has brought me from. He is soooo good to me!

Hubby finally met Nay Linda. After the hugs and stories, we went to Crystal’s place for the Thanksgiving dinner. We had a sumptuous turkey banquet and spent the rest of the day with more stories from everyone. Then I finally felt sleepy, I longed to go back to Nay Linda’s place so I can dive to bed.

We went to a Mexican restaurant on Friday and had lunch there. I learned that I don’t like enchilada but loved the hot cheese and salsa mixture for my chips. It was hubby’s first time but I think he was a-okay with the food. The rest of the afternoon through the night was spent at Crystal’s place, decorating her giant Christmas tree.

Saturday was shopping day. We met with Crystal’s friends and ate breakfast at McDonalds. As soon as we got to Des Moines, we hopped from one shop to another and I did my little share of reasonable and affordable shopping. Great bargains in every corner of the shops are too inviting but I was firm enough to avoid swiping. Lunch was at Old Country Buffet which was good food too. We went to a Filipino store to grab some ingredients for our dinner recipes. I and hubby cooked them rice, pancit and chicken curry, to which Patrick and Crystal said were good.

I prepared our stuff early on Sunday. Nay Linda had me choose which of her plants and her white teddy bear collection I want to bring with me. Needless to say, the wagon was stuffed with everything. Then we brought Nay Linda at Riverside Restaurant for breakfast before going to church for the service. I was so happy that Nell finally got to meet most everybody. A little bit of talking after service came the time to leave. It was another 10-hour drive and rain poured more than half of the time. I was a bit worried (as always) but the Lord kept us safe.

We got home past 10PM that night and our apartment is all messy up to now. We’re both still too tired to get anything done….Hohum