No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

27 March, 2010

Boracay Island, The Philippines

Spring Break on Boracay:
Tropical islands, mango shakes, palm trees, snorkeling, scuba diving, white sand, crystal clear water, sailboats, cheap rum, friendly locals, sunshine, good friends and a dream to go back.

The island of Boracay. Our villas and where we spent most of our time is toward the top of the picture.

I love these little tricycles. Similar to the tuk-tuks in Thailand, they take you around the island for about a dollar's fare.

Our typical day...

and a typical night. Most everyone speaks English in The Philippines and we had a lot of fun hanging out with the locals and playing with their kids.

I don't think I could rate the food in The Philippines higher than the spicy tastes of Thailand, but these mango shakes were a little slice of heaven. Fresh mango and ice in the blender. Every night we dined on fresh fish while watching the waves crash and the stars come out. Food and drinks were cheap. Massages about $8 for an hour.

James, Craig and Charity did a lot of sunbathing and a little diving. Cory and I took an Open Water Divers course, which Cory successfully completed. After day 2 I opted for more time above water and the occasional snorkel swim.

The glass bottom boat behind us is painted like Nemo. We found clown fish, spiny sea urchins and humongous sand dollars just from the surface of the sea. My favorite line from our dive theory books: "If it's really pretty, really ugly or doesn't run away from you, don't touch it!" So true in all of life.

Even the cats were on island time.

Kids ran free around the island. No hyper-attentive parents, no orange arm floaties, no sunscreen---just child-like play with wild abandon at the beach. They were gorgeous.

Sunsets were strictly observed. We left the beach one time for a sunset ride on a sailboat. Flying fish and big box jellyfish cruised with us.

Our perfect jungle villas for $33 per night. Just a 3 minute walk from the beach. Monkeys, toads, geckos and birds all inclusive.

Our tricycle ride back to catch the ferry to catch the plane to get us back to...

Manila. A city with a "captivating energy and electricity in the air."* Here's Cory on our final Philippine evening in one of the many outdoor malls in Manila. Fake environments are an oasis in the middle of a crazy city like this. Cory is on country #9 with us. We look forward to making South Korea #10 in May.

*Read: Travel code words for a messy, disorganized, in-your-face city with air pollution, honking cars, zero traffic laws, and guards with guns on every street corner and convenience store.

19 March, 2010

Our Wedding Story *by Riko*

I have a rather precocious student in my class who is always interested in the love lives of adults. It must be her older sister's influence because normally second graders don't care much about love lives except to be grossed out by their parents kissing. But this little one was so inspired by her teacher getting married that she very enthusiastically wrote a story about it. Everyday she asked for more writing time. Like any good budding author, she was very dutiful in her research, asking such important questions as, "what did you do next?" and "did you ever go to his house?" Read on:

Mr. Foss and Ms. Latter
Realistic Fiction
"They Are Going to Marry"
By: Riko

Realistic fiction! She realized she didn't have all the details since she has only known me for 7 months and had to fill some in herself.

There is a man called Mr. Foss. He is realy strong and handsome.

Love those bulging biceps!

He went to ropongi and he saw just right person called Ms. Latter. And Ms. Latter thought that he is cute and handsome. Mr. Foss thought...

The Roppongi sentence is funny on so many levels. Roppongi is the foreigner neighborhood of Tokyo filled with American friendly restaurants, grocery stores and bars. But Roppongi is also an area filled with gentleman's clubs and where "less-reputable" women hang out, if you know what I mean. How did she come up with Roppongi?

...he is funny and cute. A butifull women called Ms. Latter said hi! He said hey! They be came friend for a long long...

While I like to think she is commenting on James's narcissism here, she often has trouble with he/she. Mind you she has only been speaking English for 2 years. Apparently I'm not only a less-reputable women, but I'm also very forward.

...time. Mr. Foss said could you come to my house? She said "of course!" Ms. Latter went to Mr. Foss house. They went to church.

Floozy! Everyone knows you don't go to a man's house when you meet in Roppongi! Go to church and repent!
**I also always say "of course" in class.

And the priest was talking to Mr. Foss said "I will mary with Ms. Latter." They disaited (decided) to marry! It was the day to marry and Ms. Latter...

Okay, we have redeemed ourselves, we are getting married. I love James's goatee and spiky hair. She was kind to give him some.

...wore a butifull dress. Sparkling and had a veil. And the priest said to Ms. Latter will you marry and she said yes! He said it to Mr. Foss...

Japanese brides wear very bright princess like ball gowns, so the polka-dots don't surprise me.

...too he said "of course." And she got a butiful ring shaped like a heart. Ms. Latter became Mrs. Foss. Mr. Foss and Mrs. Foss kiss on a lip. And they...

This one had me in stitches! Look at those lips!

...went to a nother house. On December they sleep to gather shaped like a star and they lived happily ever after.

As she was doing her research for this book, she asked me, "Do you and Mr. Foss sleep in the same bed?" I responded by asking if her parents did. She said "sometimes." I think in traditional Japanese homes you usually have your own futon, that's why we are in separate beds on the star bed.

I like Snoopy. I love 2B and 1A.

2B is my class and 1A was her class last year. It's the best About the Author blurb ever. Watch out Kristin, this one's jostling for that book sale in the future.

07 March, 2010