I love my wife. She is my friend, and my daily encouragement. She makes me a better person by reminding me of the bigger picture. I don't like life without her nearly as much. She makes me happy and helps me to pull my head out of work mode long enough to be silly from time to time.
She took my kid with her. That was very difficult too. Promise is still so young, and it seems that she's changing every day. Imagine what I will miss in three weeks. Especially considering she will be spending it with her cousins, meaning communication and motor skills will likely develop at an even faster rate. Sigh.
Thank God for Skype. The Bird hasn't shown a consistent appreciation of the whole video conferencing concept, but perhaps she will be more attentive if her own Father is on the screen. If not, Bethany is welcome to put a picture of Dora the Explorer on the screen next to the Skype box, just so that it at least appears that Promise is interested.
We had a really nice time in Manila yesterday. Isn't nice a terrible word? We took Promise to the mall for some western food. Manila is all about the food. Food that can't be had here in Davao. Yesterday it was ribs at T.G.I.Fridays for lunch. Bethany was already in her pajamas by dinner, so I went out on the LRT in search of western food round two. The take-out pasta survived a long trip in my backpack on the very crowded train.
It was hard saying goodbye to my ladies this morning. I know that they will have a great time, but I would certainly rather they were here. Bethany is gonna do great on her exam. She's been studying hard, and she really knows her stuff. Thanks to all of you for praying. I am now awaiting word from her to find out how the flights went. They should be arriving at PDX sometime in the next 20 minutes. Perhaps I'll hear from her around 12:30am here.
My original plan was to go on a photo hunt after having dropped them off at the airport. I must confess that after I said goodbye, I was in no mood to create anything and just wanted to sulk. I asked the taxi driver to take me to the nearest Starbucks (again, I see Manila as one big food and beverage opportunity) but he seemed rather confused by the request. Thankfully, his randomly selected route—that was quickly taking us to an area that won't see a Starbucks for another hundred years—was enough to bring me some inspiration. The early morning sun was hitting a crowded river bank and that was all I needed. I think he was relieved when I asked him to drop me there, though his expression said "Buddy, I don't think there's a Starbucks in this neighborhood."
Anyways, I wandered until the light started to suck, and had a nice time making images. Unfortunately, my second attempt at finding a Starbucks very much resembled the first. This time however, the driver didn't even attempt to communicate that he had no idea where the nearest Startbucks was. I was too busy dwelling on my wife's absence to notice. When I finally snapped out of it, my driver, who was clearly too bashful to stop and ask for some navigational assistance, had rung up a whopping 190 peso bill and brought me to some remote corner of the city with which I was quite unfamiliar. I'm still not certain what prompted him to drop me at that particular location, as there was not a Starbucks in site. I suppose he had finally just given up.
Some of you may have already guessed what happened next. The meter had become so high, that I didn't have enough small bills to give the man. When I gave him a P500 note, he just looked disgusted and sniped, "No change!" I had kept my cool thus far (I wasn't being gracious or patient, as that's not my style, but rather inattentive). When I handed him that five hundred, I knew what he was going to say, and yet couldn't help but blurt back that I could have paid exact change if he hadn't driven me to Detroit and back! The hyperbole was lost on him, so I sent him out to look for change. When he hadn't returned after ten minutes, I decided my time was worth 300 pesos and abandoned his vehicle. To my knowledge, he may still be wandering the streets of Manila looking for change.
Oi! Rabbit trail. What was I talking about? Oh, my day. Actually, never mind. Not much to say. I never found a Starbucks, but the Seattle's Best was an acceptable home base for a few hours of working through my email. The rest of the day was spent going back and forth on the Metro, which is more crowded than you can imagine. (If you've just imagined a crowded train, you are wrong. It's more crowded than that. Nope, it's more crowded than that too.) One must be violent to enter and exit the train. Thankfully, I've got lots of weight to throw around.
I managed to catch a matinee showing of Avatar in 3D (one more thing that can't be found in Davao), before heading back onto the train towards the airport. I'm glad to be home, though it sure seems quiet here. I'm feeling sleepy, but feel silly for saying so. Bethany just flew across the Pacific with a toddler on her lap without my assistance. I hope she coped okay. Thanks for all your prayers. I'll keep you posted on my bachelorhood. Below are some photos from the trip, but most can be found at Facebook.