Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goodbye Philippines

We leave Cebu in 24 hours and I cannot believe the time has arrived.  We have cut our expected time here short by more than 1/2 and have only been here for about 10 months.  Again, I will explain that at some point in the future when I actually have a chance to sit down and put some coherent thoughts down.  Right now, I just want to sit down and write down the thoughts and feelings I have had over our last few days here in the Philippines.  I just have to say that no matter how hard certain things have been about living here in Cebu, we know we were here for a reason and we are so very grateful for the many, many lessons we have learned in our short time here.  We have met some wonderful people, people it is very hard to say goodbye to.  I have worked with people who have been so great to me and have taught me so much.  We went out to dinner and bowling with my team last night and saying goodbye to them was so difficult.  I hope that I will have the chance to return here in the future and to see these people again, but there is a possiblity that I will never see them in this life again.  When I think of that, I am sad.  We said goodbye to people in our ward today, and I had the same thought.  We have met and gained friendships with these people and thankfully we have the internet, blogs, facebook and will be able to keep in touch.  But, life will move forward and this part of our life is ending and that is sad.
This afternoon we spent time with my coworkers, Grant and Branigan, and their families.  It was a good time with good food and friends.  It was beautfiul outside with the palm trees and the sunshine (although it was VERY hot and humid).  When we left Grants house and walked out the gate, the sunset was amazing and there were people playing basketball outside in the field across from his house.  There were dogs and goats running around and a small hut in the distance.  There were palm trees and the sunset behind them and it was a beautiful scene and I thought "that is like the ultimate Philippines scene" and it made me a little sad.  Then, we took Branigan, Julie and Beau Knowlton home and we laughed and talked through the horrible Mactan traffic, but as we got closer to their house the reality of us leaving really started to hit and we all got just a little quieter.  We got extra big hugs from Beau and said goodbye to the people who have been with us through this whole experience and I was struggling to hold back the tears.  We came out here together with big plans of the things we would do and the adventures we would have together and I cannot help but feel like we are abandoning them a little.  They have been so supportive and they understand why we are going, but we are going to miss their little family more than I can even express.  As we were driving away and I had tears streaming down my face for the first time through all of these goodbyes, Ben told me that watching their family and especially watching Branigan interract with Beau really helped him to solidify even more how much he wants to be a dad.  So, Knowltons, thank you for that!  We know we will see them again back in Utah and we will be friends, but the things we shared in the Philippines are over for us and that is a sad realization for me.  I have a hard time with endings, even if it means new beginnings.  Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts, put them down in writing so I remember.
Living in the Philippines has taught me many things.  I have learned more about Ben and his culture and his family.  I have seen real, true poverty and had the chance to really get to know people living in these type of situations and learn from their example.  We have enjoyed seeing beautiful locations, beaches, waterfalls and places that some people will only ever dream of seeing.  We have experienced living in another country with all of it's ups and downs.  So, for now, Goodbye Cebu and Goodbye Philippines....until we meet again! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Shangri La Weekend

So,I am not even sure how or where to start this post. First of all, it's been a month since I have posted and that's just way too long. This month has seriously been chuck full of a million things. My boss came into town and we had our Managers Summit which included an assignment for me to present for a full hour. Um.....unlike my husband and my dad, talking in front of a bunch of people is not my thing. It went well, but I spent more time preparing for that thing than I thought possible. Ben knows, he had to listen to me whine for like a month about it.  We did some other fun stuff this month, like celebrated my birthday with another trip to Bohol.  I am sure there were a million other things but right now I can't remember.

Another thing that happened was Ben had a little accident last week at the gym at the Shangri-La. We are members at the resort and workout there on a regular basis. They have these nice big showers with huge glass doors on them. Well, as Ben was getting out of the shower after working out, the door shattered into a billion little pieces around him. He was left standing there, buck naked, with little pieces of glass all over him. He had tiny cuts all over his body, just a few of them were more than tiny scratches. Well, lucky for us, as a way of making it up to us, the management let us stay at the resort for the weekend. We figured it would be a good room, but it was AMAZING! It was totally a suite and huge with a beautiful ocean view and huge balcony. They also gave us free breakfast buffet for the two days as well as a free dinner buffet. OH....and they invited us to their Ocean Club Lounge where we were able to get free drinks, snacks, etc. It was seriously amazing. We agreed that it was the BEST weekend we have had in the Philippines so far. It was so nice and relaxing and beautiful.

The other thing that made the weekend so fun was hanging out with friends. The Knowltons came over and enjoyed the dinner buffet with us on Saturday night. It was so fun to hang out. Although we moved to the Philippines at the same time and Branigan and I work together, we just do not see them enough. Our sleeping schedules are different, plus we live in the city and they live on the island. We LOVE spending time with this little family. They are the thing we will honestly miss the most in the Philippines. Beau is so much fun and just a joy to have around.  On Sunday, the Knowltons as well as our frind Jake Sohn and our new friend TJ came over to watch the Pacquiao v. Mosley fight. I will tell you, Manny Pacquiao makes me proud to be a pseudo-Filipino. He is amazing! Anyway, we all watched the fight, ate a great lunch, drank free sodas from the lounge, hung out, talked and just really enjoyed the day together. It really was so much fun. Oh, and since it was Mother's Day, it was a GREAT way to celebrate. (Mother's Day isn't really my favorite and this totally made up for that)

Monday morning we skyped with our families from the hotel and then went to the breakfast buffet. I ate way too much, but I honestly don't know if I have ever had better french toast than they have at the Shangri La. It really was a completely fun and relaxing weekend and we are SO glad we got to do it even if it meant Ben standing naked covered in glass in front of a bunch of people to make it happen. It was completely worth it.

The front room of the hotel suite

The amazing bedroom with the ocean view

Huge bathroom with a shower AND a bath.  This was the first bath I have taken in the Phils

I even had to show you the huge closet

The balcony and the gorgeous, breathtaking view

The view....oh how I will miss the beach!

Isn't she the cutest mom ever!

We love you Knowltons.  We will miss you when we are gone!

How can you not love that face?  He was in heaven jumping on the bed.

And this is the reason we are coming home.......we want one of our own just like him:)
So, I realize that this is the first I have even mentioned the fact that we are coming back to the States already.   It's a long story and a whole post all on it's own, but just know that we are excited to come home.  We have had so many amazing experiences here and are so grateful for all of the adventures.