Greetings! You'd think I was writing this from Davao...considering it's 3:52 am Vancouver time and 6:52 pm Davao time. But alas, jet lag has claimed another victim....Me. All things considering...a jet lagged baby, traveling non-stop and adjusting to Western life for 11 weeks, we're doing pretty well!
The flights over were great and Tim and I were so thankful to have his parents along to keep the Bird occupied and comforted. She did awesome! We arrived in Vancouver with our dear friends, Heidi, Kate, Danielle, Uncle Bob and Aunt Sylvia holding up signs and making obscene noises with dollar-store noise-makers....They even made signs in the shape of appropriate individual interests! For Promise, they made a bird, for Tim it was a water filter and for me, well, I got the placenta...complete with cotyledons...I have very dear nursing friends. :)
The hardest part of our journey was the ride home....Promise had to sit in a car seat for the very first time ever in her very first mini-van. It did not go over well. She screamed for the restraints to be lifted and reached out to be held by mommy. I tried to be a law-abiding citizen and let her cry all the way to Grandma Stewart's house. She was pretty traumatized. Over the next few days, I tried to get her comfortable in this new environment we call "safety", but alas, riding on the back of a motorbike in a sling on her mother's hip is far more "safe" in Promise's eyes. She misses home. I don't yet.
However, as I went through Superstore this morning, I was taken aback by the "unfriendliness" of Canadians. It was refreshing to see the vast array of cultures represented...the Sikhs, Chinese, Afro-Americans and the like, but gosh...they looked so sad....no one smiled when you made eye contact. No one. There was no, "Morning, sir! Morning, Ma'am" or "What you like, Ma'am" or "Can I touch your baby, ma'am?" Nothing. Weird. I must've seemed odd to them, too because I was saying good morning and "Maayong Buntag" to every Asian that passed. Ooops.
Maybe it was the jet lag....or maybe I am just that friendly. I missed my smiley Filipinos.
And the COLD!!! It's like 22-26 degrees C here and I have long pants and a coat on while my fellow Canadians bask in the sunlight in shorts and sleeveless tops. Poor Promise was an icicle the first day! However, a hot shower with REAL hot water did the trick. :) And her uncle Jeff bought her a hoody to get through the next 10 weeks. Nice uncle. :)
And the quiet! No car horns, Balut-selling, traffic noise, ice cream man, diesel engines, engine brakes, cockadoodle-doos, barking dogs or cats in heat....silence. I could barely sleep it was so quiet! And no mosquitoes, cockroaches or ants....NO ANTS!!! We ate chocolate in our bedroom and left the wrapper on the floor just because we could! Eat your heart out Filipino ants!
Promise had the opportunity of meeting her Stewart cousins....all 4 of them. She especially like Hope who is just 6 weeks older than her. They cooed and screamed at each other with wild expressions. Hope is very close to walking and so Promise has been ramping up her crawling to keep up. Despite all her new experiences, she has her moments of complete and utter exhaustion where she throws herself in a crying fit not knowing what to do with herself. This land is strange and foreign to her.
We've been incredibly blessed to spend time with the Stewart family this week....and have been blessed with dear dear friends that have poured encouragement into us (which I must say has been much needed) and have been so well provided for. Not have a dime when we arrived, we had a friend buy us a box of disposable diapers, an uncle that bought warm clothes for Promise and another that bought Promise a well-loved and entertaining toy, not to mention the housing and food prepared by Tim's mom and the great company of others.
Tim continues to work hard on the water project meeting with board members of Impact Nations and picking up some photography work to earn some money while we are here. Pray for him. I think he is overworking himself and needs some time for actual furlough. Meanwhile, I am spending my days being a FULL FULL time mother. Promise is with me from start to finish....I love it. And I am seeing her grow leaps and bounds with each day....she's great.
So, that's it for now. This week will hold more visits and a bit of work. Still adjusting to the culture...it is a quite a shock, to be honest. I've only been gone 1 1/2 years, but I feel like it has been a lot longer...I hardly know what to do with myself. I don't know where 'home' is.
Will write more later and include better pics, but for now, here is evidence of Promise's first plane adventure. :)