Saturday, August 06, 2016

One Year Left in Manila

      Well, our vacation is over and school has commenced, so we are back in Manila for one more year. It's weird when you get to a half-way point of your tour and you are torn between being really excited for the adventure coming up next, and feeling sad over everything you know you will miss about your current country. I'll be honest, last year was a difficult one for me, and it wasn't hard because of where I live. The adjustment to living in the Philippines was actually incredibly easy. We are located in a very convenient place, with almost any "American" products we could wish for at our finger-tips. The school here is amazing, and our apartment is fantastic. I think what made everything so hard for me personally, is the fact that I am now in a different place as a mom.  My kids are gone for most of the day, and I am not needed every moment like I used to be. My role in their lives --while still very important -- has taken a step back. I feel more like a cheerleader or a guidance counselor than a mom. They are all big enough now that it wouldn't be good for them anymore to have me hover and do everything for them. They need to learn to do things on their own.
         So, as I figure out my new role, I have had some ups and downs this past year. I know for certain, that I want to work in some way that will give us an extra, steady paycheck. I have many options (photography, writing, speech, ESL), and am trying hard to find the best fit for me and my family. It has been a struggle. I don't know why its been so difficult, but I just haven't been able to settle. I feel confident that I will find my path, and I am determined that I will not let this new year (our final time in Manila) go to waste. I want to leave feeling connected to the country and people here. I am determined to have a great year!
      Anyway, enough of that. We had an amazing vacation back home in Utah. I laugh, because when we were deciding as a family where we wanted to go for the summer, we talked about places like Europe, or Hawaii, or Australia, and in the end all of the kids really wanted to go home to Utah. They wanted to be with family and play with their cousins. It made me smile to know that they value their family so much. We weren't at all disappointed either. We had so much "cousin time"! Here's a little break-down of what we did:
           - Side-trip for Logan and me to Kansas (Thanks again for the car Brooklyn!!)
           - Road-trip back to our family in Utah
           - Spent a week getting over our jet-lag
           - Drove around Cache Valley
           - Fishing ... a lot
           - Time with Grandparents
           - Learned to make Native American knives out of obsidian using the traditional method
           - Hikes and drives to the bird refuge
           - Moab
           - A baptism for our two favorite little twin boys
           - Tomahawk throwing
           - Lots of cousin time
           - Swimming, bowling, roasting marshmallows
           - A Fourth of July race and small-town parade
           - Lots and lots of fireworks with family and great friends
           - Lots of family photoshoots
           - Pokemon Go
           - Temple Square
           - Outdoor running
           - A little bit of yard work
           - Family reunions
           - Lots of popsicles!
           - Aggie Ice-cream

Needless to say, it was an amazing trip. Dan came back a few weeks before the rest of us, and I think by the end of it all, we were happy, but ready to come home. Our flight back through Seattle and Japan was very easy. Everything went as planned. Its nice to have older kids who can work their own little screens and not panic on the flight when it stretches into ten or twelve hours! The kids were a wreck when we got home, and I think all of us slept for twenty hours straight. We had a few weeks to recover before school started again. Everyone seems to love their new teachers. Logan is a student ambassador this year, so he is helping with events around school, and assisting new students so that they feel welcome and comfortable. It's the perfect job for him!
Dan and I are busy doing a lot of leg-work to prepare for bidding season that is coming up this fall. It's a pretty big deal because it will determine where we live next. No pressure! This is a crazy life, but I am learning to appreciate it more and more. I'm so grateful to have the world perspective I now have, and I hope I am making the most of this opportunity! I'll say good-bye for now and leave you with my favorite pics from our vacation. I'll post again soon!

 Logan with me on the plane


Gotta love America and the HUGE drinks you can find there! :)

 Fun night with tomahawks and obsidian knives!

Visiting Grandmere

A Day in Moab ... 105 degrees, but so beautiful!

 (whistle insert here!)

Visiting Grandpa Great!

A Baptism

Family Reunion!

My cute parents!


Fourth of July BBQ at WaJu's

 Fourth of July run!

Speedy Gonzales here ran the mile in 7min, 11 seconds!

Yay Owen!

Worn out after the race.

The boys favorite little guy, baby S.

Fun games with the Toones


 Owen loved his cousin Tyson's pet hedgehog!

Truck ride with Grandpa!

Aggie ice-cream with Abuela and Abuelo!

 Football with cousins

 Sleep Over

Temple Square

Pretty shots of my lovely Perry, Utah

And finally, back to school! (Except Owen. He was sick for his first day!)

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