New things at month 3

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, so I will jump straight to the updates.

1. We flew to Palawan, another island in the Philippines, a few weekends ago.  I will write another post about that soon.

2. I am also volunteering at a children’s shelter here.  It is called Children’s Shelter of Cebu, and you need to check out their website or find them on Facebook.  They have the cutest pictures and videos posted!  Upon entering, you would think they simply transplanted all of the happiest kids in Cebu into this shelter.  Once you spend more time there, you realize that these kids are so happy and loving because they are so well taken care of.  The shelter houses about 80 children that have been abandoned, surrendered, or orphaned.  I go there two days a week during their play time after school.  Oh man, I love that place.  Spending time with the kids there is probably my favorite part of living here.  I will post pictures later once I take my camera sometime.

3. I have been taking a language class.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  English is well spoken in Cebu (hence the call centers that brought Billy to Cebu) and we’ve gotten by fine with it.  However, I still wanted to learn the native language because the teens at one of the shelters I am working barely speak English – they understand what I’m saying for the most part but have trouble answering back.  In doing research about the language here, you can see that in the Philippines, there are about 120-170 different languages, with each area usually having a different dialect.  The language spoken here is Visayan (named for the Visayas region that we live in) and our dialect is Cebuano.  Since the language is not common outside of Cebu, there are not a lot of companies teaching it and literally no books, other than a dictionary, to learn the language from…that won’t help you much with sentence structure and grammar.

The class itself meets two days a week for two hours at a time; I am in a class with three other people.  We are following a curriculum the company designed, and being a teacher myself (especially being a special ed. teacher where I analyze how people learn and adapting lessons to fit that), being in the class really tries my patience.  I am picking it up quickly, but the classes move at a snails pace.  We aren’t given a book because they want you to keep paying for subsequent levels of classes.

The love part of the class is that the kids I am working with LOVE that I am trying out their language.  They like to study with me, help me with my homework, and quiz me on the colors, numbers, adjectives.  None of them have asked me yet how to compare which window or door is bigger or how to ask for 4 tables in a store, but I did learn how to do that when they’re ready.  I’m telling you, this curriculum is random.

4. Init ka-ayu – very hot!  It has gotten much hotter here.  We are now officially in summer and, oh wowza.  I wish I could describe the heat.  How about a mental picture (I really should’ve gotten a real picture of this).  When I was at one of the places I volunteer at, we were sitting in their living room doing an activity.  Picture two little windows, no fans, and no breeze.  I was sitting on a leather couch and when I got up, someone exclaimed, “It looks like someone dumped a glass of water on your back!”  They then pulled a fan out of the office and set it up in front of me.  I bet you’re glad that I didn’t take a picture.

5. We tried hiking this weekend.  It turned more into a 2 hour hike up a hill through many villages asking where the hiking trail supposedly was, but it was some good exercise either way.  We kept asking where the trail was, and I don’t think we found it.  Once we got off the road and were redirected to a trail, I did a lot of this falling…running shoes are not good on steep, dusty hills:
photo (1)

When we go into small villages outside of Cebu that aren’t used to random white people walking through, I feel like a walking museum; that I am expanding their horizons with my white skin.  It does help that we always have the most attractive getup to keep the sun away.  Good thing there is not zoom on this picture.  We got a bit sweaty…someone must’ve poured a ton of water on our backs.
photo (16)

6. Our stuff that we shipped from the states finally came!
Shipped goods

Only a few things exploded in the boxes…sea salt and oatmeal.  Cowrie loved to help clean up the oatmeal.

Billy also tried putting Cowrie up onto of the boxes like he did to Gomer; she was not as afraid to try and jump off immediately!

I feel warmth and happiness inside every time I look at our stocked pantry shelves now.  What is the item that sticks out the most to you in here?
For me, it is the Hershey’s cocoa.  So many delicious possibilities can come from that little box 🙂

7. With having my Bloomington kitchen transplanted to Cebu, I have spent countless hours in there this past weekend creating yummy things for us because I’ve felt deprived for the past 4 months without my favorite things.  My most recent project: homemade yogurt!  As I’m sure you remember me complaining about the lack of Greek yogurt and of any healthy yogurt options here, I finally took it upon myself to figure something out.  I used this recipe in my Le Creuset (if you don’t have one of these babies, I would suggest you go to the store right now and get one…Chris and Rachel, thank you so much for this amazing wedding present!).  It will take a little tweaking since I used skim milk which made it too thin.
Homemade yogurt
Here it is with some homemade granola and mango.
Don’t worry, I won’t be talking about growing dreadlocks in my next blog post 🙂

This weekend I also made chocolate chip pancakes with gluten free flour, rotisserie chickens (I was able to fit two little chickens in my crock pot with this recipe – since there aren’t any hormones added to chickens here, they are tiny), chicken broth, and gluten free pizzas.  I have more recipes on the docket today.  Can you tell I love having my kitchen back?!?!?!

Now that my beloved kitchen appliances are here, we have to match up the wattage of everything to these adapters so we don’t blow out the appliances that are made to work in the U.S.:
That little blue box moves from the kitchen (coffee maker and currently mini food processor) to the bathroom (electric toothbrush) every few days.  You don’t have to use it on appliances you purchase here so our rice cooker can go directly into the outlet.  I am torn though; our regular food processor didn’t have the wattage listed so when I called Kitchenaid, they said that I shouldn’t try to use it because it will short circuit even with an adapter.  Anyone have any experience with taking those puppies abroad??  I am dying to make some hummus.

Ok, sorry, you didn’t read this blog to hear about food.  You read it to learn about our life in the Philippines.  Back to reality.

8. An ant bit me on the lip the other day.  It was gross once I realized what was going on.  We have ants in our car (any suggestions how to get rid of those??) and they were crawling on an apple I left on the seat while I was volunteering.  When I came back, the ant must’ve felt threatened by my impending teeth and decided to defend itself.  Minimal swelling, just a lot of confusion while driving.

Stay tuned for a post on Palawan!  Here is a preview:
I know, it’s ok to be jealous 🙂



3 thoughts on “New things at month 3

  1. Katie…you are awesome! Please continue to send these blogs, I feel like a whole new world is open to us now.
    I have asked your mom alot if you received your stuff that you shipped and I am so happy for you that it made it. Very exciting, like Christmas and birthday all rolled together I am sure!
    Your sense of fun and generosity is really beautiful, God put you there to fulfill his plan and it is obvious that you remain open to it. Keep this notes coming, we are all inspired!

  2. Katie you’re amazing for having the energy and motivation to make your own yogurt! I just gave up and stopped eating it altogether. I should buy it from you!! You can start a Cebu yogurt business. 🙂 So glad you are connected at CSC and enjoying your time there. They really are happy kids, aren’t they? So thankful for them!

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