Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Broadband is Here

Iloilo City is not as urbanized as Manila. It is much smaller, just over half a million people. We are considered in the provinces, and that means we lack many first world comforts and conveniences. However we do have several broadband services available in our city. All last year we did not have Internet service in our home. It was too expensive, and we found ways to manage without by going to wireless hotspots and Internet cafes.

A new Internet service was made available for just P788 (about $13) a month. We signed up and we are so happy we did. It is not as fast as what is available in the States, but it is still pretty good, and I am able to share the connection using a wireless router, so Chris and I can both be on network at the same time. She uses it for homeschool and preschool planning. I use it to maintain our website, this blog, and email and communications. It is so nice to have high speed Internet in our home. It is a way to bring some of what we miss in the U.S. to our home here in the Philippines. I can even listen to WBAL online.

We are very thankful for this resource, especially since it was much cheaper that we planned. Once again we see the God always gives us the tools we need to succeed.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Like I Never Even Left

Walking around the streets of Iloilo it feels like I never even left. Taking care of business, running errands, going to the store, working with the street kids and the missionary staff here, it feels like I am picking right back where I left off two months ago. This place is so familiar to me now, it just feels like home. There has been some adjustment. We had our first power outage the other day, plus the bugs are back in force, then there is the cold showers. All in all I am glad to call this place home. I am still a citizen of two countries, and yet I am glad to spend most of the year in this place, my home Iloilo, Philippines.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Trip Log

I am not sure when I will be posting this. Perhaps from an open wireless network I stumble upon somewhere, or perhaps not until we arrive in Iloilo. Either way, I begin this entry to pass the time recording our trip back home to the Philippines.

First let me say that I am very much looking forward to returning home to Iloilo. Iloilo is home, and I am looking forward to walking into our house again. We have had a very full and eventful time in the States. We got to see so many friends, family, and loved ones. We also had some fun times going to Hershey Park, baseball games, and even Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Most of all it was great to spend quality time with family and friends.

We had a quick flight from BWI to Newark. The sky was clear and we were able to see the New York City skyline as we landed. We could even see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Whenever I see the NYC skyline, I always notice what is no longer there. This is especially noticeable on this day, September 12th, the day after the fourth anniversary of that horrible day.

The last time we were in Newark, the concourse and waiting area was not that nice. Fortunately the International concourse is much nicer, we enjoyed our last Stateside lunch. I got one more coffee from Starbucks, and Chris enjoyed her new found addiction, iced frappuccino w/ a shot of caramel and a head of whipped cream.

On board flight 99, a Boeing 777-200 . . .
Bonus, this flight is about half full. The Anasco family has staked out three rows, nine seats in all. This will allow us to lay down and sleep during the flight. Also our seats have the Empower laptop plug-in so I can use my Powerbook during the flight without draining the battery. This way we can watch our own DVDs, the kids can play some games, and I can do other stuff like type these lines.

About 40 minutes later . . .
Unfortunately we are not able to leave, currently we are 33 minutes behind schedule. Our flight to Hong Kong takes the Polar route. The pilot just informed us that due to some solar/atmospheric disturbances over the North Pole, we are not able to leave just yet. It looks like we are going to be late for our connecting flight from HK to Manila. We might have to spend the night in HK.

Later . . .
So we had to get off the plane and wait for it to get cooler in order to take off. I don’t know why the weather and the outside temp is affecting our ability to take off. They did give us meal vouchers so we had dinner and then we got back on the plane around 7:45 and finally took off at 8:00. Of course we are going to miss our connecting flight to Manila. Estimated arrival time in Hong Kong, 1:00 AM local time, not sure what day that will be. So I guess we will be staying in Hong Kong for one night after all.

It is about midnight Eastern Daylight time somewhere over Canada . . .
Eric, Faith and Chris are sleeping. As I said earlier, the plane is about half full. We are taking up three rows, Chris and Eric are sleeping, and Faith finally dropped off. Even though this is still going to be a very long trip home. I am blessed that we have some room to stretch out and actually lay down. Hopefully this way we will get some actual sleep in this flight, rather than the fatigue induced unconsciousness that we usually get.

The solar disturbance over the North Pole has not stopped. This has changed our flightplan. Rather than a quick 14 hour hop over the top of the world, we have to take a 18 hour flight over Canada, Alaska, and then down passed Russia, China, and then eventually to Hong Kong.

Later, in flight . . .
Watched Kingdom of Heaven and the remake of the Burt Reynold’s classic The Longest Yard. According to the flight plan monitor on my view screen we are now crossing over the International Date Line. Don’t even think about asking me what day it is.

Later, after my nap . . .
Sprawled out over three seats and actually got about four hours of pretty decent sleep. Then Faithy decided to use me for a bed and I got maybe a couple hours more. Did I mention that I have a cold? Nothing like flying 16 hours with a head cold. The Chinese tea they serve helps.

Later, getting some work done . . .
About two hours to go. This empower seat power adapter is working great. It is just enough juice to keep things going. My battery is not being charged, but it is not being drained either.

I feel the Lord has given my kids a special dispensation of grace for travel. They are doing an incredible job. For the first part of the flight they sat together, playing games, and then they watched a movie and then had dinner. They both slept for several hours, and they are now keeping themselves busy reading, listening to music, and being just great. Eric is actually working on his latch hook rug. It also helps to have three rows to ourselves. They are not fussing at all, they have been very patient throughout this flight.

After breakfast . . .
About one hour to go. Chris and the kids are enjoying a pretty decent breakfast. I chose the native dish of dim sum. Not too bad, but it is better on the streets of Hong Kong. Eric and Faith are watching Black Beauty for the third time.

Not too sure about what awaits us when we get on ground. The staff here assures us that Continental will make sure we get a connecting flight to our final destination. We also have a flight to catch from Manila to Iloilo later today. I know this is true, the Lord will prepare the way for us. This delay was not a surprise to Him. He is always one step ahead of us. I trust in Him completely to work out every detail from our connections to our luggage. He always takes good care of us.

Finally one land . . .
Continental is putting us up in the Regal Hotel next to the airport, nice but confusing place. I walked in and tried to turn on the lights, I felt aound and switched every switch and no lights. In the darkness I somehow saw a little slot in the wall, you need your keycard inserted for the lights to work. Weird, now I know. We will get about five hours of sleep before we need to walk over to the airport terminal for our 9:20 flight to Manila. Did some sniffing around and found several wireless networks, but all pay as you go. I took one more nice, hot shower, now it’s time to get some sleep.

The next morning, . . . what day is it?
After an excellent breakfast at the hotel, we are now waiting at our gate to leave for the Philippines. We will arrive in Manila around noon, then we take the Cebu Pacific shuttle to Manila Domestic Airport, we leave for Iloilo at 3:20, we will be home by around 5:00 or 6:00. Getting even just a few hours of sleep in a bed rather than on three seats in a plane was beneficial for all. Chris and the kids are still a bit tired, but we are all doing well.

Home . . .
It is so good to be home. Took my first of many cold showers. Ready for bed.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Fall?

We are enjoying this taste of Fall like weather. In the mornings it is very cool, almost jacket weather. This is the calm (weather-wise) before the storm. Just three days to go and we will be home.

Honestly, I am still very much looking forward to going back. Now my tune may change when the heat of the Philippines hits me like a hammer, and when I have to start taking cold showers again. We have been blessed to share about our missionary work with family, friends, churches, and fellowship/bible study groups, and doing so gets us excited about what God is doing in the Philippines. It gets us excited to be going back.

Three days to go.

Thursday, September 01, 2005