Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What It's Like- Our House & Town

So with the new year comes new posts & thoughts & I am finally getting around to starting my series on "What It's Like." The last two and half months have been non-stop craziness with the typhoon relief & though we are still involved some with relief efforts, it has slowed down enough for us to get a breath & return to some "normalcy" in our lives.

The first thing I thought I would tell you about is where we live- our town & house. There are many things that are very similar to living in America & many things that are not.

We live in the town of Puerto Princesa City on the island of Palawan. We have a commercial airport, a very recently built, small mall, with a beautiful grocery store that I am SUPER thankful for, a few restaurants, shops, & things that you would see in any town. But, we also have public, open air markets, sari-sari stores (teeny convenience store hut), ukay-ukays & wagwagans (2nd hand clothing store).

Puerto (what we call it) has several nicknames- The City In The Jungle, The Greenest City In The Philippines- and it literally is a city in the jungle. It is surrounded by jungle & ocean. In 2010, the population was 222,673 & the city limits literally cover 1/3 of the island. Our island is a popular tourist attraction & we have 1000s of tourists come through every year. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was recently named one of the 7 wonders of nature. We have yet to be able to visit it- just like anywhere you live, you rarely have time to become a tourist. There are many gorgeous beaches, but unlike you may think, the closest "clean" beach is about a 1 hour drive from our house. We try to go ever so often just to get away. The ocean is so calming to me & I absolutely love it! I am so thankful that we get to live right by it!

The temperature averages very consistently at 85-90F. We NEVER wear long sleeves except in businesses where they are running air con, as we call it here.

And our lovely home, my safe place, my kingdom & domain. I love it.

When we first moved in 3 1/2 years ago, I wasn't as sure about it as I am now. We did a lot of work, repainting everything, replacing some things...rats & termites are a constant battle here. But, slowly & surely it has become ours. For the interested parties, our house is made out of concrete & ipil wood, some of the hardest wood known to man. It is a very nice by Philippine standards & big even for us. We have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a schoolroom/office, one big kitchen/dining/living room, a big porch, open basement where I do laundry, & open loft upstairs which is super hot during the day, but okay for family projects at night time. Houses here do not have hot water, but my handyman hubby has hooked up a gas water heater so we can have hot showers although cool showers seem to more of the norm here because of the heat & humidity! It's like a Texas summer all the time.

We have a beautiful yard full of lots of plant life. I have plumeria trees, banana tress, mango trees, malunggay (superfood), hibiscus, & many others. We are preparing a spot for a garden that we hope to plant this month. If I look out over my back yard, I can get a glimpse of the ocean that lies on the other side of the mangrove swamp. I dream of one day having a walkway out to the water, but as of now, it is impassable. 

I have worked really hard to make my home a place that my family & I want to be- a place of rest & relaxation. To some, it probably seems extravagant for where we live & what we do but I am convinced that to last on the field, it is super important for your home to be a safe, relaxing place where you can be energized for life & ministry.

We also LOVE having people over! It's one of our favorite things. We also want our home to be a place others want to come- a place where we can feed them a good meal & hopefully give them a little encouragement. Lots of wonderful memories & good times have happened here...

 We are Americans through & through, but God has called us to this little island in the Philippines & our hearts are here. This is our home & there is no where else we'd rather be!

Next week- What It's Like- FOOD!
Can you guess what either of these are?