Sunday, January 12, 2014

January in the Philippines is really nice!  It has been dry, cool and sunny.  WE are still using our A/C, of course, during the day.  But the people here think it is cold.  All the little ones are dressed for the cooler weather:
Those of us who want to knit or crochet now understand why yarn is so hard to find and comes so small.  The only thing they use it for is baby caps!  See the mothers, all still in warm weather clothes? But the thinking is that babies get sick if their heads are cold.  

I haven't given you a recipe for a while, so here is a new one.  I was asked to bring Macaroni Salad to the Birthday Party in Sampaloc, but it turns out I don't make it the way they do.  So, here it is:




2 Cups Macaroni, cooked and drained and cooled
¾  cup mayonnaise
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk 
1- 1 1/2  Cup Heavy All-Purpose Cream (over here, it is very heavy)
1 medium-sized can Del Monte Fruit Cocktail  (Try to get tropical)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, diced or shredded  (Optional)
1/4 cup Raisins(optional)
1-1/2 cups Nata de Coco(coconut gel), drained(optional)  find this in Asian markets 
1 bottle Kaong(Red), drained(optional)
1 bottle Kaong(Green), drained(optional)
Part 1
1. Cook macaroni noodles according to package cooking instructions. Set aside and let it cool down for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the cream, mayonnaise, and milk together to make a smooth sauce.  I did not drain the fruit cocktail, and the juice makes it better, I think.
Part 2
1. In a large mixing bowl, transfer the macaroni and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
2. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Serve cold. Enjoy!

The Nata de Coco is a coconut gel that is very easy to find here.  Don’t know about the states, though.  Kaong red and green are the same thing—coconut gels.

The birthday party was for Sister Eva and Sister Rowena, best friends and exactly 10 years apart.  When we arrived, Judith and AJ were just removing the Biko from the fire.  It is rice and cream and brown sugar and cooked into almost a fudge and served in squares.  See the banana leaf?
This party was held at the Senior Aguilar home, down the hill from the other family.  They "caretake" a large piece of land, for a family member, I think.  

 They had it all set up for the party, with a serving table and see the curtains all around the "patio' area?  Sister Rowena looks a little grumpy, but she wasn't really.  We brought the birthday cakes from one of the good bakeries.  There isn't one in Sampaloc.
Lots of good food.  Lots of Pancit, and spaghetti, as that is birthday food, here.  Also, coconut salad, called buko pandan, of course, and macaroni salad, and sticky rice, made with chocolate.  
Two of the elders, and my "Elderly".  This is Elder Pincock and Elder Jones.  We only have one Filipino serving up there, right now.  Elder Cubbage is from Alaska.  Here is your funny story:   On the way up the mountain, he tells us that he ate his first Iguana the day before, at the Aguilar home.  They trapped it.  They do that because they are big, and eat the chickens.  But they cooked it adobo style and he says it was very good.  "Just like chicken"  WE have all heard that one before!  He got three of the feet and part of the neck.  
The pancit was very good, and on the way home I said to the guys, "If that was iguana in the pancit, just don't tell me!"  But Elder Puficacion, from Mindinao, told me they wouldn't put Iguana in pancit (or feed it to  me!)   Apparently, that would be a waste.  He says, Iguana has it's own recipes!

As I mentioned last week, we will be moving this week.  It necessitates a lot of work and planning, and we also have to welcome a new couple on Wed and begin training them.  So, here is the balance sheet so far:

The wins:

NO mud!  No Caribou!  No baby things to step on!  This is directly across the street from our building.  We will be living on the 15th floor in Tower 3 of Olympic Heights, in a condominium.   Frankly, we were a little apprehensive, as we have become fond of our  house, and some of the sisters in the city have been just a tiny bit "whiny".  dissatisfied.  Not the Horsleys though.  I would fight to be in her wagon train.  She is a valiant and wonderful woman.

It is quite nice, with two bedrooms, both with built in closets and storage.  Two baths, so I can have my own counter! and Mirror!  Warm water in the sinks as well as the showers.  Wow! Well, still no warm water in the kitchen. Isn't that INTERESTING??  And, there is a room for the Househelp, which is another very small bedroom and bathroom, but the washing machine is in there and the drying rack.  I have no idea where she dries her sheets and towels.  There is a small back porch off the kitchen, but it scared me to death.  15th floor!  Don't think I will use  it!

Elder and Sister Horsley, while preparing themselves for the move to Mindoro, have been very generous and kind to spend lots of time with us, helping us learn our new job and preparing us.  On Sat, they invited us to come and see the  apartment, and took us to lunch there.  
Learning the ins and outs of apartment management.

Our new kitchen.  Oven works, bigger refrigerator..    
Two nice pools and an exercise room.  

 View from the bedroom window.
They took us to Johnny Rocket's, an American style hamburger joint in the 50's diner style.  YUMMY!  Way too much temptation to have across the street!
See the Jukebox?  And they break out and dance and sing for you every few minutes.  I got some really darling video.
Finally, President has decided to not assign us to Binangonan Ward, where the Horsleys attend, but to allow us to keep attending, full time in Malaya, as they have no other senior couple and we have a lot of relationships there.  This is a Win, because beginning today, I felt like I had a Home Ward again.  No longer just an occasional visitor in three places.

But, this is also a WOE for us.  It means we will not be seeing our friends in Sampaloc and Tanay as often. 
The woes:

          There is no office space in the apartment, so we will have to make a spot in the living room or bedroom.  The costs are quite a bit higher. Rent, from $385 to $715, plus $75/mo parking.  Internet from p1000 to p4000.  Water from p300 to p1300.  And that doesn't even consider what it will cost us to eat at Johnny Rocket's every night!

                 We may lose our "househelp", Marivic.  She is willing to travel into the city each week and continue to clean and work for us, but it is a very long trip and difficult for her, and it may not be practical.  The travel costs are also part of the equation.  The big trouble is, she has spoiled me, but completely ruined Elder.  Now, he thinks his shirts need to be IRONED, something I had managed to break him of in 40 years.  I DO NOT want to iron 7 white shirts every week!  As my sister once said, "IRON?  Oh, you mean that heavy thing?  I got rid of that years ago.  It scared my children."

            We never got Philippine Drivers Licenses.  We got international ones from AAA in the states, and so far they have been fine.  Interestingly, no one even asked us when we arrived.  Just gave us a car and let us go.  When we were stopped, they didn't like it much, but we were still very new and under the “30 days” law, and they were really only interested in getting a bribe because we are white.  We have been told conflicting information about needing to get a Philippines license.  Now, though, we will be driving in the city all the time and Elder feels like we should do that.  So, we set out to get it done.  Nothing is easy in the Philippines.  You have to go to a transportation office  in Manila, and have a medical test first.  The young missionaries say there is nothing to it, but the seniors are more realistic about the difference between 19 and 65+.  Then, you have to have your passport and visa.  Well, we thought that was in order, but when we went to the PAO travel office to get them, turns out, the visa is expiring AGAIN.   Right now, the Immigration office will only renew them for 60 days.  Ours were renewed in Nov, and now will have to be done again before we can apply for the driver’s license.

The church has thousands of people here on visas, so the office people are over there every day, getting them renewed as they pass their dates.  We were told today that 30% of the immigrants in the country are here as missionaries for the church.  And things are such a mess at the immigration office, that it is a real challenge to stay ahead of the problems.  Plus, this week was the “FEAST of the BLACK Madonna,” or something, so all the offices were closed in Manila.  I guess we will try again next week.  

We will no longer be going out to teach with the Elders.  We are going to miss that a LOT!  The experiences we have had are absolutely unique to our former lives, and we have learned so much. Now, we will be almost exclusively working with the missionaries and the President, and making sure they have everything they need to do the work they do. 

It is a country of contrasts, and we are feeling quite grateful that we will now have many new experiences and opportunities to learn and grow and serve.  We are loving life!

No comments:

Post a Comment