Hello 2010

It is oft said that what you are doing the night of New Year’s will be reflective of your year to come. If there’s any truth to that, there will be a lot of explosions in my future. Much to my expectation, New Year’s was similar to Christmas: we ate, we drank and we blew things up. I say ‘we’ but everyone had to wake me up at 11:50pm so I could come downstairs with the fireworks. We shot them off and I went back to sleep – almost.

It wouldn’t be a Filipino New Year without a brownout so, just after midnight, the electricity went out. No electricity, no fan. No fan equals a lot of mosquitoes

This is how you cook chicken.

This is how you cook chicken.

annoying me throughout the night. Somewhere around 4:00am I passed out. At 7:30am I rolled out of bed in daze, had my coffee and went straight to work. I felt like a zombie most of the day.

That morning I helped Papa shovel out the coal that was made. It was dirty work but we managed to come out with twenty large sacks of coal. The remainder of scrap wood that didn’t char properly was re-stacked and cooked again. By the time it is all done, we should have another six to ten sacks.

Harvesting the Coal

Harvesting the Coal

We could make a few thousand pesos selling the coal but we’ve decided to keep it for our own use here at the house. We do a lot of cooking.

Our new CR has been completed (minus some touch-ups) and I took my first shower the other day. It was glorious. The water pressure was nothing worth writing about but the sheer fact that we now have falling water is wonderful. Such things as a toilet and a sink can not be over appreciated.

When we went to town to purchase the sink, they wanted 1500 pesos without the fixtures. “Thirty dollars for a sink? Are you crazy?” I managed to ask that in perfect Ilonggo. Our toilet only cost us 650 pesos so there was no way I was paying that much for a sink. Papa agreed – it was too expensive. We left happy that we weren’t squandering our money on such

Our Cement Sink

Our Cement Sink

a foolish price but we also left without a sink. “No problem”, I told Papa. “We’ll make a sink.” And make a sink we did. It’s amazing what you can with a shovel and the dog’s feeding bowl.

We took a break from all our labors and went to the beach yesterday. It was nice to chill out in the sand and watch the waves roll in. We swam off and on but it was rather cold from the excessive cloud cover and the constant wind. None the less we kept up the festivities and didn’t bother to stop when the rain started. We bought our Tilapia straight off the boat, wrapped it in some banana leaves and threw it on the fire. With food, drink, and ocean, you know it’s always going to be an awesome day.

The only thing not awesome about the day was the bathing suit I was forced to wear. Momma bought it for me and swears (along with Jennifer) that it is guapo. I swear it’s underwear. “Look”, I exclaimed, “there’s a hole in the front.” My common sense was lost on them and so I wore my new Thai silk ‘bathing suit’ with Filipino briefs underneath.

In My 'Bathing Suit' Drinking Hot Tea

In My 'Bathing Suit' Drinking Hot Tea

It didn’t look too bad but since it was shorter than my normal shorts, my excessively white legs brought more shouts of “Hey Joe!” than I wanted to deal with.

With the New Year festivities over with and our CR completed, I’ll be concentrating on other projects – mostly farming. Our pechay has grown amazing and we eat it regularly (taste like spinach). The tomatoes and okra are half grown. We are now planting carrots and watermelon. Aside from the farming, we’ll start to focus on building the new house.

The wedding hasn’t disappeared off the radar either! I have to complete some paperwork at the embassy for my ‘legal capacity’ and then we can get our marriage license. We’ve decided on a small wedding but I’m curious to know exactly what ‘small’ means here in the Philippines.

Jen is so camera shy.

Jen is so camera shy.

Small parties here usually include three generations of people. I’ll keep you posted – it’s time for me to get back into the garden.

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