So it has been several weeks since I added a new post. There are days when I can’t believe that I have been living in this faraway land for over six months. The time seems to have flown by, and the days, weeks, and months seem to go by faster and faster.
The months of March and April have brought with it some unique experiences to visit beautiful destinations around the Philippines. Here are a few photos that catalog some of the interesting things I have encountered over the past month or so.
1. A few weeks ago, our office participated in a teambuilding day that involved games, competitions, and art projects. This is a photo of me showing off my self-portrait as a five year old. For those of you that knew me as a five year old, you probably notice that the hair bow in this collage is not quite as big as the ones Loria used to make me wear. The group that facilitated this teambuilding day is the same group that conducts art therapy with our IJM clients.
2. This photo was taken during a trip to Quiapo, a district located in the bustling giant that is Metro Manila. A few of the ladies that work in my office took me to this district in hopes of finding lots of cheap handicrafts to use for the Manila Field Office prayer room at the 2010 Global Prayer Gathering that took place in Washington DC on April 9-11.
3. Here is another shot of Quiapo. Please note the tricylce queue. The streets of Quiapo was congested with men, women, children, dogs, cats, jeepneys, tricylces, and me trying to take a picture of it all.
During Holy Week, I was able to spend a few days prancing around the rice terraces of the Philippines. The landscape of this part of the country offers some of the most breath-taking views I have ever seen. Our group hiked up and down these man-made wonders, and I have never been so sore in all my life. This trip was truly an opportunity of a lifetime.
At this point in the rice terrace hike we had to tiptoe across a flooded terrace to reach the next leg of our trip. Here Mike is mentally preparing himself to take the first step.
This is me moments after I took a wrong step and found myself up to my knee in rice terrace mud. Thankfully, our sweet tour guide did her best to help clean me up after my slip. I am pretty sure I was saying something to our group extremely prideful and southern like, "this ain't my first rodeo," only moments before I took the faithful step that led to this photo.
As we made our way up the rice terraces of Sagada, we bumped into this big guy, and the caribou was gracious enough to let me snap a photo.
During Jonathan’s visit we spent one afternoon touring the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial located in Metro Manila. This memorial honors those who lost their lives during World War II fighting in the Pacific. In all, this 152 acre cemetery and memorial is the final resting place for 17,202 military Dead. Those who are buried here represent every State in the Union along with a host of other countries. The marble white headstones are set behind a lush background of Kelly green grass, fuchsia Bougainvillea, and native trees that spread across the grounds like fans.
We were also able to take in the beautiful monument that contains 36,285 names of those who are considered our Missing. This amazing memorial the Fallen carries the state seal of each of the States of the Union. Jonathan and I found our way to the seal representing the great state of Mississippi and sat a while to take in this beautiful place that finds itself nestled in the midst of a robust and chaotic city.
The month of March brought with a very exciting event: a visitor from home. Jonathan, a friend since junior high, survived the 14-hour flight across the Pacific and made it safe and sound in Manila on February 22nd.
While he was here we enjoyed some of the interesting places around Metro Manila, and we were also able to visit Palawan, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
I am the boy with the blonde hair. You must understand that the peace sign is required for every picture taken while in the Philippines. They love it!
On February 14th me, Leah, Edgar, Mike, Megan (there are five IJM interns now!) and several coworkers attended the wedding of one of our IJM lawyers. It was a great experience. The bride and groom are both from Chinese families, so at the reception, we dined on a seven-course Chinese meal. I sampled lots of new and exciting dishes. Most of the time, I had no idea what I was eating!
A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit. Proverbs 16:10 (The Message)
If you desire to influence another person, the way to start is by nurturing them. What clergyman John Knox said over four hundred years ago is still true: “You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.” At the heart of the nurturing process is genuine concern for others. And as we try to help and influence the people around us, we must have positive feelings and concern for them. If you want to help people and make a positive impact on them, you cannot dislike or disparage them. You must give love to them and give them respect.
You may be wondering why you should take on a nurturing role with the people you want to influence, especially if they are employees, colleagues, or friends. You may be saying to yourself, “Isn’t that something they can get somewhere else, like at home?” The unfortunate truth is that most people are desperate for encouragement. If you become a major nurturer in the life of another person, then you have an opportunity to make a major impact on them.
Taken from Becoming a Person of Influence by John Maxwell
Mr. Maxwell really knows his stuff when it comes to impacting the lives of those around us. My mom has been a long-time subscriber to John Maxwell’s EQUIP leadership emails, and since moving to the Philippines, I have found his ideas and thoughts to be incredibly helpful.
my little bouquet
Tuesday night, me, Mike, and Megan hopped in a cab, and we headed off to meet some friends from out of town for dinner. After enjoying some excellent Filipino food, Megan and I each bought ourselves a little bouquet of flowers. Every since I arrived in Manila, my mom has been telling me to get some fresh flowers for my apartment, and I finally took her advice!
After being in Manila a few months, I have come to realize that the postal service here is pretty hit and miss when it comes to getting things where they need to be in a timely manner. When I mailed Christmas cards in December, some arrived in two weeks, while others reached their final destination long after December 25th. And so it goes with receiving mail from the US Postal Service. My mom promises that every time she sends something, the postman always says it will be in my mailbox in 12-14 days. And sometimes that does happen.
Just this Monday, the day after Valentine’s, I received three beautiful Valentine’s Day cards from Grandmother Dolly, Aunt Velma, and Ms. Sandra. These three ladies strategically mailed their letters 12-14 days before I was to receive them; they were delivered a day late, not bad considering every time I have visited the PO here there is a minimum of two stray cats wondering around, trash piled up in a corner (I probably have letters in that pile), only one man sitting at the window with at least five other people just sort of sitting around in the back, and there is always a line. With all of that said, going to the post office is always interesting.
Since I just provided all the prior knowledge needed to understand the Manila Post office, it makes perfectly good sense for me not to be alarmed when, on February 12, I had still not received photos from my mother’s visit here over Christmas that she had mailed a week after she returned home.
Well, finally, after being MISSENT TO THAILAND, my mom’s faithful envelope containing wonderful pictures from our time together arrived safe and sound in Manila without one single creased or torn photo.
Apparently, they got the Hope Newsome that lives in Manila, Philippines, confused with that other Hope Newsome that lives in Thailand, perfectly understandable.
the letter finally made...in one piece.
Why yes, I'll have two green do-nut holes, three blue ones, and throw in one of the pink ones too!
noodles for breakfast, noodles for lunch, noodles for dinner...
This afternoon, Leah and I decided to take a quick break, and we headed over to the Seven Eleven next door. Leah grabbed some chocolate-covered almonds, and I snapped a few photos of the myriad of snack foods available.
my air conditioner
I talked to my mom this morning (her Thursday night), and she filled me in on the weather conditions on Pahnka Road. Apparently Jones County, along with the rest of Mississippi, is experiencing an ususually large amount of snowfall as I type this. In all my years, I can recall one or two times when there has been enough snow on the ground in my front yard to make snowballs to throw at my brother let alone build a snowman. Listening to her go on about the cold weather makes me a little sad that I skipped winter altogether this year.
Over here on my side of the world, this week I have become particularly conscious of the smoldering conditions here in my beloved Southeast Asia for one reason; our office air-conditioner (or as the Filipinos call it, “air-con”) as been out the past two days. So as all my fellow Mississippians watch the evergreen pines and Magnolia trees turn into white giants from the comforts of your living rooms, I will be wearin’ flip-flops, workin’ my Jay-pan fan, sippin’ mango juice, and thinkin’ of y’all! All my love from Manila!
Just last week, IJM Manila hosted a “Fun and Friendship Day” at a local shelter where several of our clients live. One of our vice presidents from Washington DC was in Manila, and we wanted to plan a special day for him to spend with our clients. We enjoyed a day of games, music, and art.
Our clients enjoy several art therapy sessions throughout the course of their time under IJM’s care. During these sessions, our clients are given the opportunity to be creative and express themselves through art.
I was a group leader for the day, and I had the privilege of painting along side a few of our clients. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of painting and laughter together.
During this session, each person painted a small part of a large mural that was pieced together at the end of the day. This art activity was lesson in how working together to reach the same goal can yield some pretty amazing and, might I add, colorful results.
The finished product.