Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cervantes, Mankayan and Baguio

This picture is of our group at the highest point in the Philippine Highway System (hence the sign) -- so cold!

The SAVERS outreach trip was also wonderfully successful. We left late Tuesday night (the 23rd) for Cervantes, which is between 10 and 11 hours from here in Laoag. We took two vehicles -- our jeepney (which has two "regular" seats up front, then a sort of barrier/wall-type thing, then two benches along the sides of the back that face each other) and an elf (which is a small truck made for carrying animals/cargo but many people use it for people). I would have liked to ride in the elf, just for the experience, but wasn't able to -- they wouldn't let me. :[ Oh well, I think they just wanted to keep me safe.

We arrived in Cervantes on Wednesday morning, all of us completely exhausted. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon sleeping on mats in the church before attending a birthday service (service, NOT party) during the late afternoon, which also provided us with our dinner. We gave our program that evening in the church -- mostly old stuff that we have performed several times before, so we weren't as stressed in preparing, which was nice. Of course, there were mistakes, but the performance wasn't bad.

After performing we drove straight to Mankayan, which luckily is only about an hour and a half from Cervantes! This was my favorite of the two places -- the people we stayed with were the nicest and most hospitable people I have been with in a while. We unexpectedly had to stay with them for two nights, but they were not at all bothered. They told us that it was our house, they were just the managers. :)

Can you believe it was between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time we were in Mankayan, and I was freezing cold?!?!

On Thursday we were able to "see the sights" in Mankayan. There is a place there called LePanto, which is sort of a village within a village - it has its own airport, school, a gold mine, etc. - and we went to see that. We took public transportation (jeepney) there, but walked home, which was quite tiring but had beautiful views. One of the Bible students from the school here comes from Mankayan, so she played tour guide. Later on we ate dinner at her house, then went to the place where we'd perform (this time it wasn't a church, but more of a stadium or arena). I thought this performance was the better of the two. We performed an additional 3 dances, were more focused, and had a bigger crowd.

Finally, Friday morning (at 4 AM!) we drove to Baguio City, which is halfway between Laoag and Mankayan, and were able to shower, rest, eat, etc. before doing some exploring of the city. Most of us went to SM Baguio, which is a really big mall. Afterwards I went with a few people to the market to buy what are considered Baguio specialties -- I bought strawberries (my favorite!), peanut brittle, choco pinipig (which is hard to describe but very tasty), and these cookies called lengua de gato. We left Baguio around 6 PM and arrived home at 1:30 AM Saturday. I've spent the days since then sleeping, sleeping, and doing even more sleeping!!!! It's still sem break for us at the Bible school, so I won't start teaching again until next Monday.



Well, since I haven't written in so long, I am going to write two blogs: one about the anniversary and one about our SAVERS outreach trip.

The anniversary was a success!! I enjoyed the lechon, but wasn't able to name my pig. I hadn't chosen a name by that afternoon, and while I was munching on roasted pig skin (very yummy!) I couldn't bring myself to name it. Oh well.

After the lechon we were able to rest and prepare for the service that evening. I spent the afternoon lying on a pew with my foot propped up -- For those of you who didn't already know, I hurt my toe during the week leading up to the anniversary. I told you I'd been practicing my solo pointe dance like crazy, which later wound up being 1) a very bad idea and 2) completely pointless. I bruised the toenail and probably also sprained the toe (it was my right big toe), and wound up not being able to do the dance on pointe at all. I still danced, but used my flat ballet shoes. :[ I taped my toe up and spent the evening barefooted. My dance was right at the beginning of the service, so I had some much-needed time to rest my foot afterwards.

I don't know how we did it, but we pulled everything off!! We performed 2 hand mimes, 2 dances, and 4 human videos -- everything was brand new! At the last minute (as in during the two days and nights before the anniversary) everyone started showing up for practices and we were able to get a lot of work done. Our two biggest problems in SAVERS are 1) tardiness and 2) lack of focus and motivation during practices. We discussed this the other night during a meeting, and hopefully we'll see some improvement.

Anyway, that's that! 55 years of God's faithfulness -- and we're ready for year 56!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Yesterday I decided to take a break from dancing and go with some people to to look at pigs for the lechon on Sunday after church. (A lechon is a big meal -- for lots of people -- where they roast the whole pig. You kill it right beforehand.)

The place we went was so cool. They had all these different sections depending on the type and size of pig....It was really organized, at least more than I imagined it would have been. At the top they had all these huge mother pigs I think most were pregnant, but some had just given birth (and had adorable little piglets!!). They kept them really confined and didn't give them room to move -- to avoid miscarriages. There was one male pig in the center (it was a huge room) whose role was to impregnate all the women. :) But those pigs weren't for eating, so we went down a hill and around to the back where there were tons more of the eating kind. There was one pen with big pigs (not as big as the mommies upstairs, but way bigger than Wilbur), and they got smaller as you moved down into the other pens. (I still can't get over how cute the piglets were!) We got there around feeding time, so the pigs were hungry and squealing SOOO loud!! The lady started feeding them pen-by-pen beginning with the piglets, and the other pigs could smell the food I guess because then they got even louder. It was pretty funny. It was cool to watch them eat though, because there were these little spickets that they drank water from, and they knew how to take turns and everything!! I don't know, I just thought it was cool.

I got to choose the pig for the lechon, so I chose my favorite -- one that had a big brown spot over its right eye and two large overlapping grey and brown spots on its back... It was adorable and I want to name it. (I don't have any good name ideas yet.) Rendo told me "you know, when we cook it no one will see the spots..." But I still wanted it. (Although...Do I want to send the cute pig to its death? Oh well, too late now.)

So, any pig name ideas????

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Needing some time to breathe...

Well, I was definitely wrong about not being able to fit in practices this week -- we've been practicing every single night, sometimes till as late as 11!!! I am exhausted and oh-so-busy. Here is my schedule as of late:

1. In the mornings I either teach English or go to the elementary school.
2. After returning I work on stuff for the LCD projector, although I recently learned that I don't have to have everything finished by Sunday -- only the songs that will be used during the anniversary. So I'm breathing a BIG sigh of relief. :]
3. After lunch I get back to work on the LCD stuff, and try to fit a nap in. Sometimes this happens, and other times it doesn't -- but I'm definitely grateful for the times that it does!!
4. Around 3 I go over to the church with my ballet/pointe shoes, iPod, and some band-aids and work on a solo pointe dance that I'll be performing this anniversary. I've been pushing myself really hard to improve on the little things -- I have already made up the dance and remember all the steps; now it's just a matter of making it look good.
5. We have worship team practice every day around 5 or 5:30. I've been singing backup for the past two nights, so I have to be there - and even when I don't have to, I enjoy listening. It's like an extra chance to worship!
6. After showering and eating dinner, it's time for the service (8:30-9 PM every night). We have an opening passage of scripture (from Psalms), do praise and worship, and Pastor Florie prays. There is a theme every night (thanksgiving, church ministries, young people, every family represented in church, etc.), which is cool. After the service someone from the church provides a snack (soup, bread, etc.) for everyone.
7. After snack it's back to practicing -- we concentrate on one thing each night, either hand mime, human video, or dance. At around 10:30 we're usually done, but sometimes it's later. We take everyone home and I crash.

On top of all this, I got food poisoning on Monday from some meat we ate Sunday afternoon. One of the ladies here in the house got sick too, but she is better now -- I, on the other hand, have still been having trouble keeping my food down. I think one of the things that's keeping me from feeling normal is all the stress my body is under from dancing so much, staying up late, etc. If you could keep me in your prayers for that I'd really appreciate it.

Oh, and we finalized the dates for the Mankayan/Cervantes trip (can you believe it? I'd been spelling BOTH of those wrong all along!) - we leave October 23, late at night. I'm excited. I'll give more details about that later. Thanks again for all your prayers and support --


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy, busy, busy.

Hey all, sorry for not having written lately -- I've been busy!! (Believe it or not...)

We've been really busy lately preparing for the anniversary. Things are kind of chaotic with the SAVERS -- not enough times to practice, people don't show up for practice, everyone is late to practice, etc. It seems like everyone (with a few exceptions) is in the mindset of "Oh, we have plenty of time to prepare, it's no big deal" when in reality we don't have plenty of time. We probably won't be able to fit in practices next week at all, and if we do they won't be able to last very long (because we have services every night that week!). I know everything will work out, but for now it's kind of stressful. I'm also still teaching my ballet class and working with FGCC's Sunday school students on a song to perform at the anniversary. And, of course, traveling two days a week to Balacad Elem School to teach music -- they're improving, and I'm having a blast!! :)

In addition to all our practices, I am busy transferring all of our song lyrics onto a laptop so we can use an LCD projector (we just bought one; beforehand we'd been using an overhead projector) at the anniversary. There are hundreds of songs and I have a short time to get it all done -- luckily it's easy work.

Finally, in the weeks leading up to the anniversary lots of drama has been unfolding -- slight division and conflicting ideas among the SAVERS, trouble with pastors, etc. I'd rather not give details, but keep Pastor Florie (and everyone else here!) in your prayers, because she is feeling discouraged about it all. Also pray for the event as a whole (the anniversary).

all my love,k

P.S. There has been some trouble with planning our SAVERS trip to Mancayan -- conflicting dates, etc. Also, one of my worries is that several people will not be able/allowed to travel with us, and will have to be replaced -- after the anniversary we'll only have between 1 and 2 weeks to prepare. Sometimes it seems like things are so slow, but right now it's like they'll never slow down!!! Please pray about all of that as well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Kaitlyn, shy? No!

Well, the performance went really well!! My friend Raquel told me that the people's reaction was stronger than some in the past -- some told her that they were brought to tears, especially by our human video "I Pledge." Overall, Friday was a really great night. I had a fun time hanging out with the SAVERS and I'm relieved that everything went smoothly.

To the right is a picture of me just before my "death." That's Nicko holding the gun.

Last week I was feeling a little blue -- I was discouraged, because although I am forming relationships here, none of them are really that "deep." Sometimes I feel like no one here really knows me. When I'm having a bad day, or missing home, or anything - I don't really know who to talk to. I was able to talk to someone about all of this though, and he reminded me that building deeper relationships takes time. He said to try and understand that it is just as hard for them as it is for me. I feel blessed to have made friends here, but please pray that I'll continue to *really* get to know the people here, especially the kids my age. Things have gotten better though, and I don't feel as discouraged -- I've been getting better about truly being myself around these people. Sometimes I think I seem shy and quiet to the people here -- but those of you who know me well know that I'm usually NOT! (In fact, sometimes it is hard for my family to get a word in at the dinner table!) The other night I finally decided to stop worrying about having anyone to talk to, or people thinking I was crazy. I was myself -- laughing, smiling, talking, dancing -- and it felt great! I found that when I acted more like myself, more people talked to me, too. So I'm going to keep working on that. :]

The "Still" dance is coming along - we know it all, just have to perfect it - and we finished learning our new hand mime!! The anniversary and Servantes/Mancayan trip are coming up quickly though, so we're trying to fit in as many practices as we can.

Finally finished teaching parts of speech to my English students, and we're going to move on -- I'm going to have them read C.S. Lewis' book "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." That should be fun and will definitely be a nice change. I haven't been going to the elementary school lately due to vehicle issues - but today will finally be going again. I hope to teach them another song -- hopefully they remember the last one I taught!!