Although we have been trying not to get "trunky",
we HAVE begun thinking about going home. So, we have purchased some things for gifts and some things for us:
We had this quilt made, with blocks to represent all of our favorite things. (Well, except for our missionaries!) I had this ring made for me with one of the nice Southsea pearls I bought. It had to be big to be more attention-grabbing than my age spots. I edited them out of the picture, but I can't edit them off my hand!
We packed up a box of keepsakes, and shipped it home to Missouri. Here is Elder at the DHL office, arranging for it. YES, it cost more than we paid for the things we shipped. He sees that as a negative. I, on the other hand, think it just proves how brilliant I was to purchase these things so cheaply!
And, of course, we had our plane tickets and plans for going home.
Another Change for us.
We have decided, for several reasons, to extend our mission for another 10 weeks. Our February release has been officially changed to Mid May. We feel really good about it, and President and Sister Revillo are glad, too, I think. (Well, honestly, what COULD they say? Thanks, but we are really hoping for somebody better?) Anyway, at present no one is coming to replace us. We have GOT to be better than nobody, right?And guess what? Elder Ferrin tells us that he can extend us a week at a time up to 6 months. After that, you have to talk to a lawyer, as it becomes a problem in the US to be out of the country for 2 years. (Not so much for our young missionaries, but for those of us who own homes, are receiving Social Security, etc.)
We do plan, though, to come home in May. At least we won't be coming from pretty hot to really cold. More like, really hot to pretty hot. That might be a good thing. Especially since all my warm clothing is locked up in a storage unit.
And, in the meantime, life goes on for us here. Working, playing, resting and learning.
back to work! Here I am at a "working lunch" with Sister Revillo, Sister Johnson, Sister Sheffer, our STLs and the APs and TAs. We were planning for the upcoming Zone Conference and for THE FIRST EVER IN QC HISTORY SISTER'S CONFERENCE, as Sister Revillo is calling it.
The Elders said to me, "What are you doing?"
"A conference for all the Sisters in the Mission"
"Oh. What will you be doing"?
"Workshops, training, and a movie"
"Oh. What will WE be doing?"
Note Sister Revillo here, like a gunfighter in the old west with a six-shooter in each hand, she has a phone in each hand! Probably talking to one of her missionaries and the hospital or President at the same time. All while ordering the birthday cake and singing happy birthday!
As two of them were celebrating birthdays, we had a birthday cake, full of bananas, covered with cream, and decorated with Chocolate Ganache. Because we are women, and we COULD!
The Sisters told us what they wanted and needed. There will be a workshop on how to exercise, which they are supposed to do every day for 30 minutes, but mostly, don't. (None of us can relate to that, right?)
Another workshop about Dress and Grooming, with emphasis on looking professional after a cold bucket shower, with crocs on your feet, and your makeup running down your face in the heat.
Sister Sheffer will be doing a class on cooking: I told her we need menus that cost P10 per serving and can be prepared in a frying pan over a gas burner and served with rice.
They do the same thing all the time. Like really bad corned beef, in a pan, stirred up with eggs.
Sister Johnson will be teaching them organizational skills, personal and work-related.
Interesting, because they use planners, and literally every minute of their time IS planned, but some are still really struggling with keeping themselves together.
I have been asked to address "Self-Esteem". Apparently, these incredible women often battle with self-doubt, and thinking they are not good enough or doing it well enough. (Also, I think, something many LDS women can relate to.) After all, a 16 hour day, packed every minute with work, could not possibly be good enough, right?
Sister Johnson and I are working on a small trinket for them to take home. More about that later.
Here is another
Filipino Dish for you. It is Bicol Express, and the missionaries always ask us if we like it, because it is made with HOT peppers and can be pretty spicy. I had not tried to make it before. Basically, it is pork, cooked with shrimp paste or shrimp, in coconut milk, with peppers. You serve it, of course, with rice. I got the heat about right, first time. What I forgot was how careful you need to be with peppers. So, I burned my hands more than my tongue! (There is actually a blister on my thumb from the capsaicin.)
You can try it yourself, there are recipes all over the internet for it. STAY AWAY from the "pork belly", though. I never use it. It is just the fresh bacon, but as you will imagine, far too fatty for us. I always use nice, lean pork loin for the dishes I make. It is cheap and lovely, here.
And, I decided to try a cake from Facebook. Thank you, Niece. I used to make something like this when all the kids were at home. It is made with fresh apples, and really yummy. Although I am very lucky to have had an oven all the time, I rarely bake. Here, except for a semi-successful bout with Cabbage Burgers back in the day, and granola, I have not baked at all. The other senior sisters make cookies, brownies, gluten-free desserts, etc. But the bakeries here are SO good, I just don't see the need to work that hard. Plus, if you bake it , you have the entire thing to eat. Better a small treat at a time. This one caught my fancy, though, and so I tried it. We liked it, so I recommend it here for you. (The rest of it will go to the office tomorrow!)
One Bowl Apple Cake -
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tbls vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil. Peel and slice the apples and add to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep apples from turning brown.) Mix together the baking powder and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl. Mix well (best with a fork) until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased one 9x13 or two 9″ round pans. Bake for approximately 55 minutes.
I glazed it, because why not add MORE sugar, if you can figure out a way to do it!