Tuesday, September 7, 2010

back to Manila

We had a great time (albeit exhausting-but that just goes with the territory of traveling with small children-I get this and still, every time we vacation, I am surprised at the amount of time it takes Justin and I to recover from the weekend). The island of Bohol and the Bee Farm were everything we had hoped it would be. The food was luscious, the views spectacular, the Tarsiers adorable, and the beaches were amazing.

There's an early flight and a late flight from Bohol to Manila. Justin and I were praising our parental insight to have scheduled the early flight on Monday so we could get back home and decompress for the afternoon. Frankly, we had done everything the farm had to offer for a family with children and Justin and I would probably have collapsed if we had to chase after our little monkey's for another day in Bohol. Off to the airport we went on the 8AM shuttle for our 10:30AM flight. There was plenty of wait time in the tiny little airport.

Bella immediately began her entertainment hour for all the Filipinos waiting for their flight. She started dancing to the music the small band of blind musicians were playing. The little musical troop's music lifted the spirits of everyone in the room. Bella wandered (with Justin or I a few feet behind her-we took shifts) from one person to another; giving high fives, smiling coyly, being pet by lots of Filipino Lolas (Grandmas) or running away as they reached out to touch her, which would just make everyone laugh.Waiting in the airport for the little flights back to Manila tends to be my least favorite part of our vacations in the Philippines. This wait turned out to be really pleasant, as waits go. It was almost a family reunion in that little room and people watching is an art form I like to practice in these situations. I met a sweet older Filipino woman who was visiting family in Bohol for a wedding. She has been living outside of Seattle for the past twenty years as a nun. She helps the Filipinos who are immigrating to the States (there are 60,000 Filipinos in Washington!). She also spent some years teaching. When she found out I was a Pacific Lutheran University grad she told me of a time her congregation rented Harstad Hall for a seminar they were having. I lived in Harstad Hall as a freshman. It's a small, small world.

People are mostly curious about our family; why we live in Manila, how long we've been there, do we like the Philippines, was the baby born in the Philippines, how old are the girls? These questions are annoying in Manila but for some reason when we get to the other islands in the Philippines I love talking to the locals (whether they are from Manila or not). I can feel their genuine interest when they ask me these things? Arabella's outgoing nature right now, at the age of no fear, opens up lots of conversations with people. It helped out wait go by in the airport.I am constantly surprised at the evolution of what has become comfortable, acceptable, and normal for us after living in the Philippines. Two years ago I felt a lot of anxiety associated with being in a tight space, using a filthy CR, being stared at for an hour; and forget ever taking a boat ride with my children. Now I am relieved to find a CR in the airport with its lack of toilet seats and toilet paper, crowds of staring eyes are fine, and watch me take my kids on a tiny little banka to a tiny little island. It's safe to say I've gone global.The girls were great for our flight back to Manila. It's just 1/20th the amount of travel time the girls have done so it's a piece of cake. Many people on the hour long flight were video taping the lift-off and landing, giggling with excitement as the plane lifted into the air. Our girls could have been in the Jeep the way they were business-as-usual. They settled in, held our hands during lift off, watched Barney on the DVD player, and snacked on crackers, just like the little seasoned travelers they have become.

Home sweet home came soon after.

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