Oh, the Philippines. Our minds are becoming more absorbed with finding out all we can about this country we are moving to.
I think about it all the time:
1. Will today be the day we get the email we've been waiting for?!
2. I wonder if they have my brand of deodorant there?
3. Am I sooo incredibly cold this fall because God is already adjusting my body temperature for the heat?
4. Will my kids eat anything there?
5. What stuff should we take and what stuff should we leave?
So, you can understand that when we found ourselves in a large city this past weekend we had to check out all the things we could. First, Dennis and I went to the brand new asian supermarket that has been built only a few kms. from his sister's house in Ottawa. We went up and down the long aisles looking at everything with big eyes and smelling everything with big nostrils. I mean, small nostrils. Ok, forget about the nostrils. We smelled stuff. Fish, wierd unidentifiable stuff, fish, cow tongue, fish- you get the idea.
Then we looked more specifically for what we came for in the first place: CANDY! Candy from the Philippines, to be exact.
What do we have there? Tamarind (which my friend Erin introduced me to), mango-tamarind (which looked safe), and sweet prunes (which Erin also introduced us to but I didn't like. I got it anyway because it was cool and I want to try it again to make sure I don't like it).
The next day we tried out the only Filipino restaurant we could find in the city.
As we've discovered, you can't have Filipino food without karaoke. Yes, that's right! For some reason karaoke is a well-loved pasttime for many Filipinos. So we would be remiss if we didn't participate in this! Ok, I admit it. We were the only people in the restaurant that afternoon. But we loved it and spent about 2 hours doing this- right during the kids naptime. If you know us, it takes a lot to make us want to skip naptime! :)
The girls enjoyed singing things like, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "Twinkle, Twinkle" (did you know there are several verses to that song?), and "The Right Stuff" by the New Kids on the Block. "What?!" I can hear you saying in disbelief. Well, Dennis likes weird music. And noone is better at weird music than Weird Al. And Weird Al has something he called his "Food Album". And on his food album is a parody of "The Right Stuff" in which he sings, "The White Stuff", about Oreo cookies. So Dennis likes that. And as is typically Dennis he has turned that song into a kid song. "A-ah-ri-uh, A-ah-ri-uh. What's in the middle? The tummy!" The girls love this song so it was easy for Button to sing along with the karaoke machine. "A-ah-ri-uh, a-ah-ri-uh. What's in the middle? The tummy!"
We bought four different meals and shared them amongst the seven of us. We had Dennis' friend, Stephen and Dennis' sister, Brenda along. Our food had very good flavor but was not made with the best cuts of meat. We adults liked it all but the girls filled up mostly on rice. Winnie is our most adventurous eater and enjoyed all the different dishes.
We decided to go all out and order dessert. Halo-halo. Hmm. Not sure this was my favorite, but at least now I can say that I've eaten a dessert that had beans in it!
On our way up north we were in the middle of what I felt was nowhere when we saw a sign, "Bookstore. Everything 75% off!" Well! Who could pass that up? We stopped. When we went in, it felt like we had entered somebody's basement with meandering corridors and alternating low concrete ceilings and high raftered ceilings. There were millions of books. There were also two cats upon which our girls lavished much love and potato chips until the proprietor gave the girls cat food for the cats instead. Squeaky tried to keep two or three little tidbits of the cat food in her potato chip bag "for the cat we get someday."
I searched through dark racks and dusty piles and scrounged up several books on the Philippines. We ended up buying three. Two of them are informational books on the country with lots of fun pictures. But the coolest find by far was this... passed over for years by hundreds of other customers who would never look at it twice.
Ta DA! This book is written by an anthropologist who provides some interesting insights into a tribal group of the Philippines. Dennis and I read parts of it together in the car and found it fascinating. Many of the tribal names and areas mentioned in the book are familiar to us. I'm sure much more of it will be familiar in a few years! It reminded us a lot of the cultural study we did in one of our practicums during training.
I wonder if the Kalinga have been reached with the gospel.