Tag Archives: Philippines

Kami ay bumalik!!!

3 Jul

I’m writing this from my (almost) put-back-together home! And it feels like home. Which is so great. Yeah, there is no grammar judgement in my cozy little condo.

We are seriously so happy to be back, which is a little surprising! A few months ago, I still didn’t want to leave the US, but as that date drew closer, I was getting more and more excited about being back in my own place, seeing my friends, eating the Filipino food, hanging out at the pool, etc. So yeah, it’s been a terrific first few days, but first, let me back it up (say it, M. family, loud and proud!)

So…We began our trip last Friday morning at 3:15am. Ick. Josh’s parents drove us to the airport and sat with the kids and I while Josh checked us in. I used to go up there with him, but it all stresses me out! You’d think I’d be used to this kind of thing because I’ve been doing it since 1984, but no, it seems to get worse each time. There is usually one problem or another, and with the lack of sleep and emotional goodbyes, it’s the perfect cocktail to cause a breakdown! This time wasn’t really different, but I just kept my back to the desk and let Josh be the stud that he is.

Every bag that I packed was 50 lbs on the money. It’s a pride issue with us missionaries. My mom did the packing back when it was a 70lb. weight limit, so she’s even more talented in the tetris-esque (yeah, say that one five times fast)

So the first hiccup was that because our layover in LA was over 12 hours, they couldn’t send all of our bags to Manila, meaning we had to traipse around LA with 18 pieces of luggage. The second hiccup was that Deacon’s passport expires in less than six months. The PI have a weird rule about coming into the country on a passport that expires in less than 6 months. However, if you have a resident visa, you’re golden, so Josh just had to explain it to the ticketing guy, but not before I turned around just in time to see the agent put his hands over his mouth and say “oh no. Oh no no!” I just turned back around and said a quick prayer.

That first flight was great. Everyone had a little nap, except for little ol’ me, who is always zombie like on these flights. In LA, we grabbed all of our bags on a gigantic cart. You’ve seen those school groups or mission trip groups with all their luggage in one place? That’s what we looked like. I waited with the bags while Josh went and rented us a van. Shockingly, he was able to fit every last piece of luggage in it. We had to take turns breathing, but it worked. Josh also got us a hotel room for the day. He was pretty generous with us all day, since he was the culprit for the unnecessary long layover. Long story short, he had originally booked the LA flight that took off before we even left KC, so when he changed it, we were stuck in LA for a nice long day.

Anyway, we dropped off our stuff at the hotel and headed to the Sta. Monica Pier for some fun California fun! It was a great day, with beautiful cool weather and a little (ok, a lot) fog.

First, we went to the Pacific Pier to ride some rides.

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It was great! Caleb even got to get in on the action.

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Caleb and I watched the waves while the other kids and Josh rode a roller coaster.

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I had to wear my fedora so it wouldn’t get crushed in our luggage.

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After that, we went to In ‘n Out for our last American meal. It was a good one! Josh and both agreed that we like Five Guys better, but were still wonderfully satisfied. The restaurant is right next to the airport, so we got to watch airplanes come in for a landing every couple of minutes. When the 747’s made their way, Deacon screamed with delight.

Then we headed back to the hotel for a MUCH-NEEDED nap for all of us. It was about 3:30pm in LA, so 5:30 our time. I slept for a couple of hours, then took a bath, followed by a shower, and a cup of coffee. It was the perfect way to relax in this unexpected break between travels. We don’t usually get that. Josh and the kids slept right until I woke them all up at 10:00pm!!!

When we got to the airport, we spent the NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS trying to check-in! It was one problem after another. They ended up charging us for the ticket change that Josh made, after Josh had been told that we wouldn’t be charged. They refused to let us check-in until he paid it (also know as a hostage ransom.) THEN,  Deacon’s visa issue came up again. We were being the annoying know-it-all customers, telling him how it all works, but it wasn’t until he spoke with immigration in the Philippines that he would let us go. Of course, they told him everything we told him, so it was an hour wasted. Plus, in customer service, it’s no fun to let the annoying customers have their way…

That’s twice that EVA air in LA has had pretty awful customer service (we flew with them in 2008 as well). I would refuse to fly with them if I didn’t LOVE the plane and the flight attendants. They are so great!

That took so much time, that our flight had already boarded and we had to be escorted through security and got to ride one of those carts that always look so cool barreling through the airport. We had a terrific set up on the flight! I want these seats every time we fly now! We were in the last row of one section, where there are two seats instead of three. Josh and I sat there with Caleb on our laps, and Josh could stretch out his legs to the side without being in the aisle. We were all right near the bathroom, so I didn’t have to take each kid there when they needed it. It was really perfect. Then the three older kids were in the middle section by themselves. We put Mackenzie in the middle so that she could help Deacon and Bella with their personal TV.

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The kids got right down to business with their movies. There was Despicable Me, Escape From Planet Earth, and some other kid-friendly movies and shows.

My super wonderful and sweet husband asked the flight attendant if there were any other seats available in the plane and she pointed one out. Then he told ME to go sit by myself and sleep or whatever I wanted to do. He kept Caleb with him and I was able to pound out a good 45 minutes of rest, which is huge for me! That 13 hour flight went by a lot faster than usual!!

When we arrived in Taipei, it was Hello Kitty heaven. I know I posted about this the last time I was there, but seriously, what’s the deal? She’s EVERYWHERE there!

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Our last flight was ridiculously empty, so Caleb was able to have his own seat, woohoo! That definitely made the trip go by quicker.

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Even Kit Kitteridge got a seat to herself.

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Their Aunt Brianna and Uncle James put together goodie bags for each of the kids!!! It was so amazing and so fun for the kids. They had wrapped gifts to be opened at certain times during the flights. They’ve been excited about these bags for weeks, so they started asking if they could open them as soon as their bun-buns hit the seat on the first flight. They got some candy, toys and activities, and loved everything!

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Mackenzie was hysterical on the final approach. As she stared out the window, she couldn’t stop talking about how happy she was to be back. She just kept saying, ‘I’m so happy that we’re back in the Philippines…..yep, good ol’ Philippines.” Then she’d give me rundown of how the afternoon was going to go. ‘First, I’m going to jump on Abby. Then we’re going to go swimming. Then we’re going to play American Girl dolls…”

When we arrived in Manila, everything went swimmingly. Our luggage came out quickly, no problems at customs and immigration, and all of our bags fit in the one vehicle. We couldn’t help but stop by our favorite tea place on the way home. I missed me some Serenitea!

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We were met by our besties in the lobby of the condominiums where we both live. The kids were all SO excited and laughing, screaming, and jumping up and down. Or maybe that was Michele and I…I loved it! We had dinner with them and poor Deacon fell asleep mid-bite of his pizza. I didn’t have my camera, but it was so sweet. He literally used up all his energy until he crashed.

Anyway, the kids have jumped right into life back here. The girls are doing soccer camp this week. We had a friends birthday pool party yesterday, and Mackenzie goes away to summer camp next week! We’ve all  pretty much adjusted to jet lag. Caleb had a rough first night, but then was good to go. The other three were up at 2:00am and and 4:30 am the next two nights, as was I. They say it takes a day for every hour of time change, so in theory it should take us 13 days to recover, but I think we’ll all be good to go tonight.

I’ve enjoyed the early mornings, because it means that I can get my run in before it gets too hot. The temps are totally doable right now! I was dreading the heat, but we’re good. I’m thankful. My runs, however, have been very not great! My pace for a five miler is a minute slower than my half-marathon pace! What is that?!

Ok, I can tell I’m rambling, so I’m going to cut myself off!

What is your favorite airline???

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