Thursday, November 30, 2006


Well, it looks like there are lots of new things to experience here in Manila. There is supposed to be a typhoon, scratch that, Super Typhoon named Durian hit Manila around two in the morning here, (that is 11 AM back home). We have been receiving updates from the embassy and this website: From what we gather, this is a CAT 5 and that is pretty big. A few weeks ago, they had a CAT 4 that did lots of damage to the region and some people were without power for almost 6 days. We are in a hotel, and they tell us that a hotel is the safest place due to back-up generators, purified water, etc. I am trying not to freak out but....hello, we hail from the west, the worst it gets there is wild fires and snow storms! Not that those aren't bad, but we aren't used to tornadoes and hurricanes! I am sure everything will be ok, and we will be sure to keep everyone in the loop.

Here are some pictures of what smog will do to a sunset here....I guess this is the "upside" of pollution.
Also one for the girls, the finds from a recent shopping trip: everything for under $30 USD!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One for the grandparents...the many face of our Holden!

Various pictures from our day

Fish in the supermarket, this is a tame picture compared to the other stores where ALL the meat is out, including full on pigs! Ick!

Street Kids; this breaks my heart, they are everywhere throughout the city and they come up to your windows at stoplights begging.

Nate and Holden with his first coconut. He has talked about getting one ever since we arrived (like it is a pet) and we looked like morons asking everyone in the store how to open it!

Melissa and Holden in the grocery store, soy sauce anyone?

The DECISION...kind of...

Today has been a long day...we have been trying to decide on a place to live. There are so many, but none of them has really been "the one." Sounds like I am looking for a husband! It's true though, a home is that place you can find refuge, a comfort from the harsh world and we certainly know how especially important that is here! Today we had a "look see" or as they call it here; an optical evaluation, (I'm not kidding, that IS what they call it), at a penthouse suite at a condo just around the corner from where we are staying now and Nate's office.

I am torn so here is the PRO and CON list of the housing:

Condo in the "Americanized" area of town
  • clean and nice area
  • overlooks a golf course, con: golf course is private, bigger con: it has a huge $$ for membership
  • large bathrooms and a jetted tub
  • huge closets
  • nice kitchens
  • high security, kind of important with a kid, no?
  • around 70% of the tenants are expats hopefully that means other kids (but not too many...)
  • furniture is nice
  • an extra room for ALL OUR VISITORS, or another baby whichever comes first

  • not close to Nate's office, but Nate will have the driver, but traffic could be bad, but traffic could be bad if Holden and I have to come out here for playgroups....since there are kids here, American Kids!
  • not close to anything (but a huge market), but that is certainly NOT walking distance
  • more expensive by 15,000 php a month



  • huge
  • great views of the city
  • 2 levels high
  • IS the Penthouse
  • there are bars and resturants since it is a hotel as well
  • the price!
  • again with the extra room
  • close to Nate's office
  • Again with the penthouse theme: it would take forever on the elevator to stop at all the floors between lobby and penthouse
  • small bathroom
  • small kitchen: but as Nate says, who is going to be spending time in the kitchen? Not us...the cook.
  • no closet space
  • very little securitythere is some serious work to be done, cracks in the walls(that makes me nervous), floor planks coming up, painting to be done, light fixtures and AC to be put in, etc Could take a month to get it all done. Pro: could be gorgeous when it is!!!
  • who knows what the furniture might look like
  • Far away from all other people who look even remotely like us

I, in no way shape or form have every been considered indecisive. On this, Nate is ready to string me up by my toes, for lack of a decision. Time is ticking and I would love to have a palce before Christmas. I just need to find the right place in the right location with the right furniture and the right layout and the right pool, and the right list goes on. Heaven forbid we EVER build a house. I guess since there isn't much else for me to do here yet, I am making this my "project" at hand. I will let you know the status! Wish me luck!

Here is a picture of "the view" from the penthouse.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Little Feet

This is the Mizuno Badmitton Championship in the middle of Market Market, a picture of Manila Bay and Holden in a PINK jeep at Market Market, where you can rent a "car" for 5 cents for 5 minutes(we will be coming back here a lot).

Ever since we arrived in Manila, we have been promising Holden that we would take him to Happy Feet, but with Nate's crazy schedule, sleep and trying to find living quarters, we haven't had much time. We finally made it this weekend, to what Holden calls Little Feet. We watched it on an IMAX screen at the Mall of Asia (the 3rd largest mall in the WORLD...that's right ANNA, the 3rd LARGEST!!!) Holden was very thrilled(this picture is him on the ride home) and we were more than happy about the price: under $20 USD for tickets for all three of us, a bag of popcorn an ice tea and a diet coke. Here, that is expensive. Try that in the states. While we didn't have time to shop, I am sure to make a trip back soon!

Speaking of shopping...our friends, Ico(who is from Manila) and Jeffrey(who is from Utah, but has lived here 3 years and works for Nate) think it is funny that after 2 days in the country, I know of almost every mall in the region: the Mega Mall, the Powerplant, the Podium, the Shangri-la Plaza, Market Market, Greenhills, etc. There is a mall on every corner and 5 Starbucks on every other, it is crazy

Jeffrey and Ico had us over to their condo for Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixins. They learned how to cook a turkey via Martha Stewart and it was delicious. I knew from the moment Holden and I walked into Nate's office on the first night that Jeffrey and I would be fast friends and he and Ico have been so helpful and hospitable since we arrived. They have made the transition much easier than expected and I will be forever grateful for their friendship.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The departure...and arrival

We have arrived safe and sound...the airline did a number on us and $900 in additional "fees" later and almost 24 hours in airports and on airplanes we did arrive in Manila on my birthday. Nate was sweet as always and had a birthday cake waiting at the hotel...only is said; "Happy 28th Birthday Melissa Love, Bryan." Seems there was a mix-up at the bakery, or Bryan, who works for Nate, wanted extra brownie points for remembering my birthday. The picture didn't get snapped before someones little paws made it into the box! Either way, it was delicious and much different from cakes at home with marshmallow frosting. Our tastebuds are just one of the many things we are finding that require adjustments here.

The flight was long long and more long, but we were so exhausted from the packing that we almost slept the entire time. I truly started to freak out when we transferred to Philippine Air in LAX where we were a few among a handfull of American's on the flight. It is a strange feeling coming to the realization that you aren't just going on vacation....we are MOVING and LIVING in another country. While on more than one occasion, while driving from the airport to our hotel I saw my life flash before my eyes, after 3 days here, we are used to the driving and have not seem on accident. There seem to be no traffic lights or lanes or laws for that matter and apparantly it works! Who knew.

Holden has been a real trooper. While on several occasions we have heard, " I want to go back to Utah," and one very poignant moment that brought tears to out eyes, while loooking out the window where he exclaimed, "DAD, I think I can see Utah from here!!!"

He talks a lot about his friends back home and we hope that once we get settled and meet some friends he will adjust even more, but when you are leaving friends like this, it has to be hard!

Then again, leaving friends like this is hard for all of us! I love these girls!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006


we are still in Utah for another few days...but check back soon for all of our adventures!!!