My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Sisterly Love- the joys and frustrations of sibling togetherness

At our best

At our best

It happens every time now. My sister and I get together and there is just not enough space to accommodate our respective kingdoms of power. We both get used to doing things our way, to having our subjects jump to do our bidding, and, most importantly, to have our own sacred space in which to conduct state business. I undoubtedly expected some conflict this Christmas, but I did not expect it to happen as soon as it did- the second we stepped through the door of my parents’ house. I was dirty from traveling 16 hours and, per habit, wanted to take a shower before going to bed. She was dead tired and equally grumpy that I would dare to shower before going to bed in the room that we must share. I wanted to turn on a fan for some ambient noise to camouflage my creeping-to-bed footsteps. She was freezing cold.

I think we both cried ourselves to sleep with the frustration of it all. Evidently, my dear sister did not sleep well because the next morning she was still furious with me, and as it’s not the sort of treatment I’m accustomed to upon waking, I ended up in tears again. This time I was only glad that my guy was there for comfort. He’s really good at drying my tears. Thus began our vacation.

My sibling and I could no doubt work out our differences if we: a) had more sympathy for the other’s point of view, b) could talk about it without the situation escalating, or c) had similar ideas about manners and modes of behavior. Since neither a nor b nor c seemed to be true this Christmas, our fights went virtually unresolved for days. I admit to tiptoeing around her the majority of the time, fearing her wrath and the horrible sense of personal failure that accompanied it. I’m sure she has her own story as well.

There were basically two sister bonding instances during those weeks. The first was the day before leaving for Missouri. We spent at least an hour conferencing on the best way to get rid of a strange sore on my leg. She spent the better part of an hour poking around on my hairy skin with a sterilized needle. I’ll spare you all the gory details of blood and such, but I’m pretty sure it counted as sisterly love. Things were good between us for at least 24 subsequent hours.

The second bonding instance occurred in Missouri. It was a late-night conversation after we had both had naps too late in the day to be sleepy at the right time. Snug in the rather small bed that we had to share, we covered all sorts of topics- from childhood trauma to life as we know it. I learned things about her that I’m pretty sure I had never known before. Both of us happy the next day, I imagine that the honeymoon could have lasted at least 48 hours if I hadn’t committed the unpardonable sin against my sister by almost falling asleep in church…..

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Impromptu Sermon Receives Rave Reviews

I had a wonderful Sabbath! After changing my mind several times, I ended up going to the town of Malandag, where our teammate Emmanuel preaches every night. On the way there, he was like, so do you know who is preaching at this church today? You are, they said. Oh, that’s funny! He replied, and started preparing his sermon. He ended up basically telling his personal story, and let me tell you, it was the best sermon I’ve heard in a long time. For about the last half of it I had to go to the bathroom really badly, but I stayed and waited it out because I didn’t want to miss anything!

Oh, and also I gave an unplanned talk up front. Ahem. We all did. Then I had to teach a Sabbath School of kindergarteners a new song all by myself. It wasn’t hard, though. They were soooooo cute! I got some video of them singing this song and it’s just adorable. If you saw it, you’d… you’d… probably say “Awwwwww!” just like I did. Also, my 100 peso offering in the kindergarten SS put them over their goal so they got to go for a plane ride or something? I don’t know what their goal was, but I was totally humbled that my $2 equivalent was able to push them over the mark.

I’m so proud of myself because I finally figured out a certain type of toilet. You have to pour water into it and everything goes down! I figured that out all by myself, cleverly clued in when the toilets at church had absolutely no flusher (but there was a trash can full of water sitting under a spigot). I hit my head going into that bathroom and going out of it. That was the second time. The first time I accidentally used the men’s. Well, they were exactly the same- how should I know?

This afternoon those of us who went to Malandag actually got to get out and walk around in a rural area among some dwellings. There were fruit trees everywhere and a beautiful view of mountains close by. They showed us a very sub-par church on the top of a steep hill and then the site where they’ve been given some land and want to build a new church. There are lots of Adventists in the area that need a church to go to. I took tons of pictures and I’d like to invite churches to sponsor them. The facility they’re using now is on the verge of crumbling and falling down the mountain. And the toilet facilities are- ech- just barbaric. You’d have to see it to know.

Tomorrow we hit the beach!

I have to mention how the meetings are going. We’ve been having over a thousand people attend each night. Tonight was definitely less in attendance. It might have been the rain. Last night Pedrito talked about the Sabbath. A large group decided they wanted to keep Sabbath, including a thirteen-year-old girl I’ve made friends with. I was so proud to see her up there. In Pedrito’s pictures, she’s the girl wearing a pink skirt Friday night. She wasn’t there tonight, so I hope everything’s ok.

I wish I could just comment on every picture on Pedrito’s site now, because so many of them have a little story to go with them. I usually take pictures with a purpose.

Today our van got rear-ended. It’s got significant damage, but no one was seriously injured and it’s still drivable. I wasn’t in it when it happened because I decided to go to a different church.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Philippines | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Observations in the Philippines


In addition to strange dishes that I’ve never tasted before (like the seaweed on Sabbath), the different fruits are just overwhelming. So far we’ve had at least one or two new kinds of fruit at every meal. And most of these are fruits that I’ve never heard of before and most of us don’t know that names of. We’ve had Jack fruit and mangosteen, bananas and papaya, passion fruit and guava, pineapple and durian. Plus tons more new ones that I can’t name. I’ve tried every single new thing and I honestly have to say that there isn’t anything so far that I really don’t like. There are some that I couldn’t eat a lot of at one time, like the fruit that’s white and squishy like a banana, but is sweeter, filled with seeds, and encased by a knobby shell that comes off in small sections. My favorites so far are (in this order) passion fruit, mango, mangosteen, and Jack fruit. My sorrow is that I can’t bring everyone fruit as the perfect souvenir.

Being stared at:

We, especially I, look so different from the people here that we get stared at a lot wherever we go. When we went to the mall, I think the people we were with got a little weirded out by it, but I just kind of ignored it. I mean, I’d stare at someone strange, too! Besides, it’s a friendly stare. They just want to shake your hand and meet you. Tonight at the meeting two little boys, ages 9 and 10, developed a huge infatuation with me. They alternately dogged my footsteps and fought each other. That hasn’t happened since I was ten.

The kids:

Wow. They are so attentive here. And friendly. Sunday night when we did a little skit for them during the meeting, they sat in a perfect semi-circle and every little face was glued to ours in rapt attention. Some say it’s just because we are foreigners, but in Poland I was a foreigner and those kids were real brats sometimes!

They all look small for their age. Most of them are skinny and lots of them are dirty. They have crazy little names like Lin-Lin, Mi-Mi, and Ep-Ep, and then normal ones too like Julius and Carlos.

They all want us to write down all kinds of information about ourselves. They always ask our age and if we’re married. They’re all so happy. I guess that’s the biggest thing I notice about them. They have nothing and they’re so happy. They can play with sticks and have so much fun. People here work hard but they also really enjoy life.

No electricity:

Well, today I survived an 8-hour “brown out”. It was really hot and for awhile there was no breeze and I thought I was going to die. Until today I thought I was acclimating really well because in the meetings at night the guys think it’s hot and I’m almost chilly. I ended up taking a shower to cool down. The women here wash our clothes for us and they do it by hand, too. I decided today to do some of mine myself in the shower, just because I had the time and because it felt good to stay wet. That’s hard work. I saw how they do it and took a short video. I almost feel too guilty to let them wash my clothes like that, but I’m sure I’ll break sooner or later. I am a lazy American, after all.

Sabbath, August 18, 2007

I was so tired last night that I went to bed before 8. And that’s after forcing myself to stay up as long as possible. I slept a grateful sleep until being woken up around 5:30 this morning by a rooster crowing outside my window. I just went back to sleep.


It was a partially open-air affair. The doors are metal gates that they can lock. I guess they never have to close up because it doesn’t freeze or anything. The temperature was quite comfortable because they had ceiling fans going, whereas the benches were not. Hard wood and my rear do not get along. Thankfully I had an extra sarong in my purse that I used as a cushion, but it still hurt. The people were all super happy to see us and introduced us from up front with pride. At least three pieces of paper were passed to us during the service for us to write our names on. Two girls sat at the end of my pew and gazed at me, giggling whenever I looked over at them. I think my blond hair is super fascinating. After the service, while all the members went through a hot potluck line under a small shade, we were all ushered into an air conditioned room and presented with what can be described as nothing other than a feast. Two large tables were covered with about twenty dishes each of traditional Philippino dishes, some meat, some vegetarian. When I saw what they had done for us I felt extremely unworthy. That feeling was soon replaced with a feeling of incapability as we were expected to sit around the table and consume it all. That was physically impossible, but I ate as much as I could. I had seaweed, eggplant that tasted nothing like it, excellent gluten, something really bitter, and the most flavorful, colorful bananas I’ve ever dreamed of!

August 20, 2007 Posted by | Philippines | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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