Saturday, April 30, 2011

A lot of things

There were a lot of things I could have done today.

There were a lot of things I wanted to do today and a lot of things I needed to do today.

But, all of those "things" took a back seat today for one important thing I did do today...

We took these children:

Who come from this most horrifying depth of poverty:

And hosted a swim party for them:

And I have NEVER seen such big smiles or so much pure unadulterated joy:

I know these children, I consider them part of me and every week I look forward to seeing their beautiful faces, feeling their love, and giving to them the love, attention and respect that every child should get no matter what their circumstances are. If you want to help visit I promise, the small amount that is takes to give gift of education will not go to waste.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

and then they went to Hong Kong...again

Ah, back to civilzation. That's what Hong Kong feels like. Only a 2 hour flight and I wonder why we don't go more often. Ususally because we are spending too much time at the beach! We had been looking forward to getting back to Hong Kong for a while and it finally worked out over Easter break.

In the Philippines (which is about 80% Catholic) they take holy week pretty darn serious. In fact, so serious that in our building they shut the power and the water off. Ok, that has nothing to do with the church but because EVERYTHING is closed they use those days to make major repairs hence the no water, no power.

We skedaddled to the local Shangrila and "pre-vacationed" at the pool for a couple of days before we headed North for cooler temperatures, better food and most important fantastic shopping. Oh, we threw in a trip to Disneyland of course and even let the Easter Bunny visit. I must say the funniest part of the trip was when Holden had a melt down in Tiffany's. "MOM! the only things girls want are diamonds and looking at jewelery is NOT fun." "Really Holden, looking at jewelery IS fun and girls want more than just diamonds silly, they also like bags and shoes and pearls." He seriously had a melt down with phrases like "this is suppose to be a FAMILY vacation, we are suppose to do things that the whole family likes, this is stuff you can do in Manila." Honestly, where did I go wrong with this kid? Needless to say, this cut my shopping trip down to size and we headed to do things the WHOLE family know, like Disneyland. HA!

Disneyland was a treat as always. We went on Easter Sunday. Still trying to figure out if that was a good idea! It was crowded but mostly with just adults. The ratio of adults to children had to have been about 6:1. It made me wish there was an express line for people WITH children in tow.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: traaveling with kids is hard work. Especially at Finnley's age and with their food preferences, or shall we say pickiness. There was one moment at lunch where Nate looked at me and said, "how do people back home do this alone?" and every night we fell into bed absolutely exhausted. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, we can't move home.

For it's size Hong Kong is suprisingly efficient. We made it places in record time and for as many times as we have been now, it just seems easy. But it is crowded and there isn't anyone to lend a helping hand. Yet another reason Manila was calling my name to come home.

Monday, April 04, 2011


What started off as a trip to Turkey then turned into a holiday to Cambodia eventually landed us back in Boracay. And why wouldn't it?

Turkey was going to be the Spring Break to remember! The plan was to catch up with Nate's parents in Istanbul but after the timing didn't work out for them we started going through our lists of places to visit. Cambodia has been a top spot for both of us, but due to the lack of direct flights it was a bit of a challenge without a decent chunk of time. The week off of school seemed the perfect fit but after our amazing vacation in Boracay 3 weeks earlier, neither of us could bear the thought of traipsing around the hot city taking the boys to temple after temple when we could just as easily (easier in fact) head back to Bora. Adventurous, no. Smart, yes!

Our holidays before Finnley came around were a bit more adventurous. Holden proved to be a laid back and easy travel companion.. But, when I think of all the vacations we have had since Finn blessed us with his red headed spirit the big long haul city trips have been; lets say, a bit challenging. There has been invitations to leave restaurants (Osaka), admittances to hospitals (Bangkok), stripping clothes off in the middle of winter (Paris) and vomit in taxis (Hanoi). Now, I'm not saying Finn isn't a little trooper in his own right, he just clearly prefers laid back beach vacations and right now I am totally okay with that.

Now, the problem with going to the same place twice within a 3 week period is that you can't fork out the dough for a villa with a private pool the first time and then stay in a hotel room the second time. Oh no, it doesn't work that way...for any of us. You have already broken the seal, let the genie out of the bottle. This is also why you should never let your kids fly first class. Trying to get them to think coach is all fine and dandy again is NEVER going to happen.

Now, I'm not saying my kids make demands, but they certainly do let their opinions known. As we are boarding the tiny thirty seat prop plane Holden says "We are in first class, right?" Um yeah Hold, the entire plane is. Can't you tell?
Then, as we are swept from the speed boat into the golf cart and escorted directly past check-in to a hotel room where we can freshen up and wait for the villa to be prepared Holden says, "This is okay, but I really preferred the place we stayed last time." The talk of this life of luxury so accessible to him in the Philippines makes for some very useful conversations about the need for an education so he can continue this all on his own dime!

Once again, the week proved to be magical. Books were read, children were water-logged, parents were tanned, sandcastles erected and music was danced to. Turkey and Cambodia will come in good time, but today, we live for Boracay.