Saturday, December 29, 2012

last minute surf trip

As soon as I got back to my apartment from Beijing, I made a quick turn around... packed a bag for the beach, and loaded up the car. Sophie, Nara, Bessie and I were beach bound. I didn't really have enough time to think about what I was doing, but the beach sounded like a good idea? 

Last minute trips always turn out having the best stories... and this one held that standard. I did none of the planning... I literally packed a bag in 10 minutes, and walked out the door.

I called my friend Jill on the way to find out how to get on the NLEX, the north bound major highway, and we were on the way to Zambalas. 

Upon arriving to the hostel that my Korean friends picked out, I may have been a little bit in shock... there were chickens running wild, sandy floors, and Filipino traditional hut's that I was surprised could hold my body weight without collapsing.

I don't know what I was expecting... but this wasn't it.

I must say, I was a little unprepared. But, that brings about the adventure of it all, right?

I had my hammock packed, with no mosquito net. I had my chacos, but no swimsuit. I had my camera, but only enough battery to take a few photos. 

Oh, and did I mention that I got the car stuck in the sandy path to the hostel? I walked to the closest building, asked every Filipino man inside to come help the poor ginger that got the car stuck. After they got over the shock of the fact that I could drive, they all came out and helped save the day. One of them mentioned that he didn't have big muscles... I told him that every little bit helps. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was about 5 inches taller than each of them.. and I definitely weighed 30 pounds more than all of them. With their help, we got the car out of the sand and driving back down the pathway. I gave each of the guys twenty pesos (fifty cents) for a snack.. they were excited about such a small treat.

The next day we got to spend the day surfing... we hired 4 kuya's to help us learn... they were in the water with us the whole time. I rode a few waves ... and I developed a good new respect for surfers. 

The views on the way were wonderful. We passed through a town called Subic, or what I like to call "little America." It was so nice. They had turn lanes on the highways, police officers, and nice grassy areas.

The trip was awesome, and the ridiculous stories from the journey are even better.

Some of the views on the way.

I have never seen anything like this... it was sand.. probably used to be a river.

So pretty.

We stopped to take a few pictures!

Subic! This was so pretty!

Sophie, Nara and Bessie.

More of the sand storm.

Sophie hanging out in the hammock at the hostel.
Kebabs. Too bad we ran out of charcoal.

Beautiful deserted beaches!!

We built a camp fire on the beach one night.

This was so pretty. I've never seen pine trees and the ocean in one view.

Rocky beaches.

This place was beautiful.

Pine trees on the left, ocean on the right.


I love these ladies.

Here are the guys that saved us!

Sophie and I hanging out at the beach.

The hammocks we slept in at the hostel.

Going surfing... so much fun!!
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100

Friday, December 28, 2012

white christmas in beijing

If I can't be "home for the holidays," I can't think of better way to spend Christmas than with one of my divas from Auburn. 

I finished Christmas ministry exhausted and thankful. Exhausted from weeks that were jam packed! Thankful for so many opportunities to share the Christmas story. It seems like I finished Christmas ministry one minute and got ready for China the next minute.

Once I switched my brain to "China" mode, I threw every pair of pants and every shirt with long sleeves that I have here in the Philippines into a suitcase, and I left for the airport.

Our time in Beijing couldn't have been better. We stayed up the first night talking until 5am. I guess we had a few things to catch up on. 

My favorite part of the trip was meeting Anna's Chinese friends. I also got to walk down her everyday paths, visit her favorite places, and eat at her favorite restaurants. 

I loved the cold weather. It was polar opposite than the Filipino furnace of Manila. It was nice to wear a jacket and skinny jeans and not have sweat dripping off my body. I even wore my hair down. It's amazing what the cold weather can do.

I am so thankful that I was able to spend Christmas time with Anna. She is such a blessing in my life.We had a blast laughing, creating new memories, and shopping. We even got to visit the Great Wall. That was an awesome experience. 

I feel so blessed.

The Bridge. Anna's favorite study spot. It is a great coffee shop.

On the Sports University campus.

Walking around campus!

I got so good using chop sticks.

There is octopus meat inside. I chewed it about 100 times before I finally gave up and swallowed it.

Snowy pathway.

I love lazy mornings and a good breakfast.

Here we are on the subway... when we actually got a seat!

The Forbidden City.

Tienanmen Square.

After a few hours of shopping.

This guy is so much fun. We went to his body building competition!

This was a sight to see.

I love this diva.

Singing some Christmas Carols in Chinese.

Joy to the World.

Gift exchange in Asia... you never know what kind of thing you will open.

My favorite Chinese guy.

Matt got baby blue ear muffs with a kitten face on them.

Good time together.

We had so much fun.

Getting Daddy ready for the Great Wall... putting his scarf on and drinking some coffee.

Anna at the Great Wall.

This was unbelievable.

My Daddy and I freezing cold at the Great Wall.

Train Station.

Birds Nest from the Olympic Games.

Christmas day in our Reindeer sweaters and scarves.

Christmas Morning Breakfast.

I loved meeting this guy from South Carolina. There is not much like a Southern boy.

PuTao... most handsome guy in Beijing.

Christmas Morning.

This lady reminded me of Nandy the way she was moving down the road. Check out the gloves over the handle bars... that's one way to keep your hands warm.

Christmas night dinner. Right before I flew out.

Who needs a ham when you have a duck?
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52