Last week I told you about our 'last full cycle' season of the rice planting and harvest. This past week 'we' [my master gardener, President Quitola] and I decided to move the tomatoes and plant another group. He had started the seeds and when the plants were about 8" high, he transplanted them to their new home...this will be our final planting of the tomatoes also. We have enjoyed the flavorful US tomatoes-the ones that are native to the Philippines are similar to our Roma tomatoes at home. Thanks again for the seeds, Chip.
The day that was set aside for transplanting we woke up to a constant drizzle. Now I am here to tell you that the Filipino's DO NOT like rain...funny, because they live in a tropical climate but there is some 'legend' that if they get their heads wet, they will be sick. I remember my mom always saying 'if I get a chill and get my feet wet, I will get sick'...maybe we are part Filipino...ha ha ha.. Anyway, when I heard something outside last week on the day we planned to do the planting, I looked out and this is what I saw!!!!!!
|The happy couple.|
|Adding our 100 peso note to Virgo's shirt.|
Part of our district is in a different province, the Kalinga province. That area is just over the mountain from Banaue and is the home of many native kalinga people. They are decendents of the Ifagao people, the ones who migrated to Banaue and settled there. The Ifagao are very small people, very industrious, very clever and extremely musical. Likewise, the Kalinga people are also musical and actually use the same kind of native dress as the Ifagao. For the presentation of the Tabuk Branch, they performed a native dance.
Our home is owned by a family whose last name is Ramos. They live on a farm about an hour's drive from here and we see them occasionally as they come to harvest something that is planted on 'our'/their property. New Years is a huge holiday in the Philippines where families get together and most often serve Lechon Baboy. That is a pit roasted pig and is a very popular dish. Along with the pork, they serve a many other traditional dishes and one that is very popular uses fresh coconut. We have coconut trees and so on Monday morning, the gate opened and in came the Ramos' son with a hired worker from the farm. That young man took off his flip flops and immediately scaled the coconut tree in search of the perfect coconut for their dish-it was a sight to see...a man climbing a tree like a monkey. That is an Only In The Philippines moment for sure.
It is hard for me to digest the fact that our time here is beginning to come to a close. 2013 was a shocker for me. I always thought of it as far in the future but all of a sudden, BAM!!! It is upon us. I have such mixed feelings...I have missed my family more than I could have ever imagined. Many important events have transpired and we have been on the other side of the world. It was our choice and I wouldn't trade a second of our time here but I don't feel like I am ready to be done or finished with the work the Lord sent me here to do. Probably because I am not...I have another five months and plan to make them the most productive ever.
After they were done, they grabbed some of the other members to join them and guess who was on the top of their list??
New Year's Eve in the Philippines is a dangerous time-there are NO rules and everything is legal and available to purchase on every street so the mission has set a policy that ALL missionaries must be in lock-down by 6:00 p.m. on that evening. Those that live close to the mission home are invited to come and play games, watch movies, socialize and eat together. Every year President and Sister invite some of the missionaries to cook and this year, Sister Khushi [from Pakistan] and Elder Lacambra [Philippines]both shared their favorite recipes with us. President and Sister also invite us 'oldies' to contribute food if we want to and the spread is always amazing. I always love to watch the confidence of some of the missionaries as they comfortably work in the kitchen, preparing a dish to share.
|Brother Galiza, Sister Khushi and Sister Saez.|
|President Carlos supervising Elder Lacambra's banana flower recipe.|
|The group who shared New Year's Eve with us.|
|See him in the tree, climbing his way to the coconuts.|
One of the former senior sisters purchased a beautiful orchid about 2 years ago and planted it on a palm tree in the mission compound. It is the most gorgeous color of purple and I have loved watching it cycle. At first, when we arrived, it was very small and on it's second bloom cycle. I have watched it bloom, rest, bloom, rest, bloom...the cycle is like our lives. We all bloom. I bloomed when I was married...and again when I had babies...and again as we moved...and again as I took my first job after having a family...and again as I returned to college along with my oldest daughter...and again as my children grew up, married and flew from the nest. I then bloomed again as I became a Meemaw and then a temple worker in two different temples, started my own business, dissolved that business to come 10,000 miles to serve my Heavenly Father on a full-time mission, something I never thought we would be able to do. Our lives are full of cycles and opportunities for us to bloom. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father that I heard His call, gave up my life to come here for two years to help these people find their own bloom...oh, wait, I am the one who found MY own bloom. What a treasure!!!!!!