Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just an update

I realized I have only been blogging about once a week. While that is a huge improvement on how often I used to blog, when we are all the way across the world I am thinking once a week is not enough. I will try to do better.

I am trying to keep updated pictures posted to facebook. If you are not my friend, become my friend and you can check them out. It's just easier to post a bunch of pictures on their than on here.

So, what has been going on with us?

We have been doing a lot of apartment hunting. We have decided, after MUCH consideration, that we will be moving into the city. We currently live on Mactan island, which is where my work is, where the Shangri La is, and where the Knowltons are which makes it hard to leave. But, along with the great things on the island comes some not so great things that we won't be sad to leave:

1. There seem to be many more stray dogs running the streets on the island. Anyone who knows me, knows that these little guys break my heart.
2. The city does not allow trikes (pedicabs). These guys cause a lot of traffic and I am ready to be rid of them for a while.
3. KARAOKE right next door at all hours of the day and night
4. Nothing to do (other than the Shangri La). I guess I didn't realize Ben and I like to be out so much, but we drive into the city almost daily to go to the Temple, go to the malls, go to the movies, etc. There is none of that out here.
5. Pretty much no restaurants, I have eaten at McDonalds more than I ever cared to in my life because its the only American restaurant close.

We are excited to move into the city because:
1. We will be within a few minute drive of 3 shoppings malls, movies and the Temple
2. Less dogs, meaning less anxiety for me
3. air-conditioning in the church!
4. No trikes causing extra traffic
5. No karaoke!!!!!

We really are going to be so sad to leave our house and the view. The house we live in is nice, and big, and comfortable (minus the termites). But, the noise that comes along with living on the beach just does not work with our lifestyle. We did have Branigan, Julie and Beau come visit us on Sunday and having them there made our house feel homey! We need to have visitors more often. Plus, chit chatting with them took my mind off of the amazing amount of noise going on.

Branigan, Julie and Beau. This is the view off our back porch.

Looking at our house from the back

Sunday night we also received a call that Ben's Lolo (Grandpa) passed away. We have now lost 2 Grandparents in just 2 weeks and we are just so grateful for the knowledge that we will see them again. We were especially sad to hear about Lolo because we were planning to go up to Laguna (near Manila) to visit him in the next few weeks. Now, we are going in order to attend his funeral. We are sad to have missed seeing him, but so grateful that he was able to come and live with the U.S. Crisantos in Oregon for a few years. I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet and spend some time with this great man. He was truly the patriarch of his family, leading them by his faith and example. I am looking forward to attending his funeral and meeting my Crisanto cousins, aunts and uncles.

Christmas 2008 Crisanto kids with Grandpa (don't mind the quality of the picture. It was a picture taken of a photographer taking a picture)

That's what is going on with us over here in the Phils!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fun in the Philippines

I think once in a while I am going to make a post and show some of the really great things about living in the Philippines. Today, I am going to show you pictures of our "island hopping" adventure. Because the Philippines is made up of thousands of small islands, island hopping is pretty easy to do. We rented a boat for the day that would that took us to 3 of the smaller islands surrounding Cebu. Normally, you go to each island, spend time on the beach, swim, eat, etc. For our adventure, we took off late so by the time we got to the islands it was already low tide and we couldn't pull up to the beach. So, our day was without the beach portion, but we did everything else. We ate, listened to music, layed in the sun, snorkeled, swam and just had a good time. We went with the team that I manage, so it was great to get to know them better and just have fun together. So, fun in the Philippines activity #1 is Island Hopping.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My Grandmother, Mary Cecil Barrus Johnson, passed away Sunday September 5, 2010. People keep asking me, "was it expected?" and the crazy thing is that I keep answering "kind of" and then I catch myself. My grandma was very healthy, had no severe health problems, no severe pain, nothing that would make you think "she's ready to go any time". She was walking on her own, totally had all of her faculties and there was no indication that she would be leaving us so soon. But, SHE knew. When Ben and I decided to move to the Philippines, Grandma Johnson was NOT pleased. She really didn't want us to go. During that time I was on the phone with her and she said to me "Well, I won't be here when you get back". The way she said it, and then the way she kept saying it over the next few months made me really believe it. So in spite of her health, for me it was sort of expected. When we stopped by her place on the way to the airport, I still don't think I would know that this would be the last time I would see this amazing woman in this life. But I hope that either way I did what I would have done. I talked to her, hugged her, let her know I loved her. She was her normal spunky self asking me if I was SURE this was a good idea? I did get to talk to her on the phone from here, let her know that all was well over here and hear tell her I love her one more time. I remember the seriousness in her voice when she said "I love you Carmen". She had started saying it in a way that you just knew, and if she never talked to you again, she would know she had told you she loved you.

She spent her last days spending time with her family. She went out to eat with one of her sons on Friday night. She spent time with my mom, sister and her daughter, Avery, as well as listening to my sister in law Melissa play the piano on Saturday. She had visitors and people who loved her surrounding her all the way until the end.

If I could use one word to describe my Grandma it would be "spunky". She had attitude, and follow through, and she didn't take any crap. She was loving and as my mom says "fiercely protective of and loyal to her family". When people tell me I am like my Grandma, I take it as a huge compliment. I know I get a lot of who I am from her. There is a streak in the Johnson girls, you can see it with a lot of us, going down to even her great grand daughters and we know we got it from her. We are stubborn and proud to be who we are. Thank you for that Grandma!

I got to spend a lot of time with her over the past three years while we were living in Utah. We always went to my mom and dad's place for Sunday dinners and she was there. She was always so willing to listen to and participate in the family conversations. She always had her keys on a little wrist band that she would wear around and Addy loved to play with. She always let the girls wear her jewelry and was always just happy and content to be there. I am so glad I got to spend that time with her. Ben also had a chance to really get to know and love her and she LOVED him!

She was always so interested in everything we did. When I was single she was the first one to tell me not to worry about it. She had married a little later and my Grandpa was younger than her as well. She loved the house we bought. She was so excited for us when we decided to adopt. She asked lots of questions and kept involved in our lives. If she didn't agree with or understand a decision you were making, she would tell you. She loved my Grandpa and I am sure the past 11 years without him have been difficult. But we are so grateful we had that time to spend with her.

There are so many more memories and things I could share about her, but I am just so grateful to her and to my Grandpa and for the heritage that I have. I know I am a Crisanto now, but I will always be a Johnson, Granddaughter to Mary Cecil and Wally Johnson. Happiness is being a Johnson!

My Grandpa passed away 11 years ago, while I was on my mission. She missed him every day. I can only imagine how happy they are to be together again. She is with family and loved ones that she has been separated from for so long, her brother who she lost in WWII, her parents, her siblings, so many friends that had gone before her. So, although I will miss my Grandma more than I can even express, it would be selfish for me to want to keep her to myself. For now I just will be patient knowing that I will see her again.