highlights since the last time we wrote:
1. drank iced vanilla dark roast coffee jelly caffe lattes from Starbucks!! basically an iced vanilla latte with chunks of coffee flavored jello-stuff. you know how it is when you drink bubble tea and than you get a surprising blast of tapioca balls? that is exvactly how it is. quite interesting how there are Starbucks on pretty much every corner near our house, are we in some sort of Asian Seattle?!!
2. Saw Transformers 2 in the theaters with our host dad for our first official bonding outing. Lets just say due to sitting in the front row, Britt had to visit the comfort room because her chunky latte didnt agree with her! muah ha ha ha. fun regardless, though :)
3. We have discovered public transportation here now!!. It is very convient but a tad interesting being squeezed into a small box with hundreds of other moist (aka sweaty) people.
4. On Saturday we had our first college Bible study which takes place at our host families house and they made it Fourth of July themed!! Yeah for their kindness out here. So we ate very American food and it was a hoot seeing some of the locals wearing red, white, and blue that day. there were some people from the USA and a few regular locals in the group. it was great to get to see the body of Christ from around the world in action.
5. Sunday we went to our first church service at Union Church of Manila and like everywhere else here were very kindly welcomed. We always get very grand introductions everywhere we go so that was loads of sweetness. The service was really intriguing and just so everyone knows, the head pastor at UCM used to be the Worship Pastor at UPC five years ago (Pastor Steve) and we feel that .is a very special connection that we have a fellow Seattlite all the way out here in the Philippines!! After service we were introduced to the college group that we will be doing a bible study with every Sunday while we will be here. Most of the people are between 16 and 19 because ppl graduate HS at 16 here then go off to college! We did some worship and prayer which was cool.
6. At lunch after church yesterday we ate ox tail! Nothing goes to waste out here. In my opinion, it tasted like a small chunk of flavored fat. Really scrumutous huh? Per person the meal was about $5-and that is at a gourmet restaurant!
7. I really bizzare thing to see here is how there are aisles upon aisles of skin whitening lotions!!! Dark skin is considered ugly so most people sadly try very hard to lighten their skin. We asked and found out that they have this mentality because they want to look like American celebrities. Also, most ads are are about 98% white models, it is really important for me to stress how idolized whites are here. Because of the idolization, we get stared at so incredibly much no matter where we go. Slightly uncomfortable at times but than again it is flattering that they think we are so beautiful. (especially how most of the time we look like living hell due to the fact that it is like living in large sauna here!) That might be a weird thing to blog but tis the truth.
8. Mikey got in first place out of 21 people during lazer tag yesterday!! The rest of us were so proud to be American after his beautiful victory against the Filipinos we played against! We are allowed to say this because they (college ministry kids we were bonding with) said our skin would glow while playing lazer tag. Ashlynn told them it was because he has naval training....they bought it.
9. Today we took the train to a flea market....not sure where we were but it was nice getting to see a new area. We were really confused at why there were penis shaped ashtrays at about ten of the stands....do Americans like genitalia themed sovereigns? On a brighter note, we saw a few Catholic churches and nice Filipino statues. John Fay highly enjoyed the more historical sites we saw today.
10. It is very saddening to see how much need and poverty there is everywhere. Sure we live in very nice accomadations (nicest area in the entire country) but if you just drive about 5 minutes down the road it is a completely different world. To try and paint a clearer picture, most of the Philippines (at least the greater metro Manila area) looks like one of those TV commercials you see were they show extremely saddening imagines of straving children with flies all over their bodies living in the slums asking for support. The people that Habitat helps out have an annual income of about $500. That is about $4 a day if you are lucky. It is very hard to witness and we would like to ask for prayer for the people we seeing living like this. Seeing this on a daily basis has really reaffirmed our team why we are here in the Philippines and how much our outreach is needed.
Fun Filipino Fact: 20 million people live in metro Manila during the week to work. We fall just behind Tokyo. Also, all the grocery workers (that are female of course) wear uniform dresses and heels! Same with the women security guards. So professional here!!
Words of Wisdom: What do you call a person that can speak three languages? A: Trilingual. What about a person that speaks two languages? A: Bilingual. What do you call a person that speaks only one? A: American. -Joke cracked by a college kid here.