Do you remember the first stamp you got on your passport? If you’ve had the privilege of traveling outside of your home country, then I’m sure you remember your first passport stamp (unless you were a international traveling tot or something), well mine was today! I was pretty disappointed about not being able to take a picture of the literal stamping of this momentous, life milestone (& let the passport guy know my feelings about that!) but nonetheless, a proud selfie afterward would have to suffice.
After a 19hour or so travel day, a stomach swirling landing for me, without much sleep…I was beat and began feeling the effects of jet lag & this trip. We gathered luggage & navigated our way out of the airport to find our ride, and then it hit me; the muggy, sweaty, hot, humid Philippine weather, ugh! Luckily the “air con” in the car was blasting and cooled me down real quick, and a fellow missionary traveling guru shared her water with me and that helped too, But the car ride to the hotel was an emotion and feeling I’ll never forget: tired, excited, still kind of in disbelief that this was actually all happening, then the overwhelming signs of all the shacks and make shift homes that lined the streets hit me like a ton of bricks, on a few levels. BACKSTORY: Many people know by now my new visual impairment that I struggle through each day as I’m still learning how to cope with all the implications of that tragedy last year. I rarely talk about it anymore but times like this, when there is so much visual stimulation, I am overwhelmed with my impairment, it is difficult for me to interpret what I’m seeing. It it gripped my heart for a few minutes… being terrified of feeling so vulnerable in a different country by not being able to see like I used to, sad that my impairment impacts me like this, and just visually overwhelmed. I took this great opportunity to practice some serious deep breathing (if I was with my husband, I would have sobbed crying from this emotion, but since I was with 2 strangers and a new friend from church, I just pushed through it; breathed & prayed – that always gets me through it).
We checked into the hotel, had a few minutes to freshen up then headed to lunch at a local mall thingy, called Cash & Carry. We had lunch at the Pancake House and I asked Jason, the missionary here, to order for me. And this is what he picked:
After this delicious lunch (& much needed caffeine), we headed over to the Extreme Response office where I met the rest of the team and some awesome youth volunteers, and we all worked together to stuff 1000 Christmas bags! It was a seamless process and a beautiful gathering of the ER volunteers, the fun youth, festive Christmas music, singing and fun. There was a palatable joy with everyone together, enjoying the process of packing these bags for the Christmas parties we’re throwing this week.