Friday, November 29, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Black Friday! 

My trip to Hong Kong currently feels like a dream. Did I really travel to mainland Asia last week and see amazing friends?

I've gotten back into the swing of things in Santiago. It's like I never left. Today, Friday, through Monday I'm off to Sagada! My co-worker is taking me with her as she has meeting up there. It's one place in the Northern Philippines I've been looking forward to visiting. Can't wait to see some hanging coffins and Echo Valley! Also, we'll be stopping in Tadian to see Andrew, another YASCer, and his farm.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hong Kong - A Day in the Life

Due to a many factors – weather, people, the place, food – Hong Kong is up there as one of the best trips I’ve taken in my life. Since a great amount was packed into 5 days, I’ve decided to break down my blog posts instead of doing one gigantic one.

Looking at my list of places I want to travel in my life, Hong Kong wasn’t on there at all. However after learning I was going to the Philippines for YASC and there would be three other YASCers, Katie, Will, and Sara, in Hong Kong, it went straight to the top of the list!

Hong Kong is only a short two-hour plane ride from Manila. After riding on planes, trains, buses and automobiles, I finally reached my destination after 24 hours of travel. Of course, it was all completely worth it!

Sara, Katie, Me and Will at Tacos Locos. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Things

I had the most wonderful trip to Hong Kong! Perfect weather, great friends, scrumptious food, and impressive city - I couldn't have asked for more! I'm exhausted after climbing many hills and non-stop walking, but it was good for me. I'm sad to leave my fellow YASCers but ready to get back to the Philippines. This week and next I'll share in more detail about my trip but in the mean time here are some of my favorite little moments!

{I had to indulge in a cupcake}

Monday, November 25, 2013

Third Month's the Charm

October took forever to get through. Now all of sudden it is almost December! It’s hard to believe that I’m a quarter of the way through my YASC year! The third month was hands down the best month so far.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend and fellow YASCer, Sara Lowery! I'm beyond excited to be in Hong Kong celebrating with her! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Microfinance 101

What is microfinance? The answer is never simple or concrete. As an economic development student I've studied many theories behind microfinance, worked with a student-run microfinance institution, La Ceiba, and am currently working at a micro-lending institution. I've wanted to write this post for many weeks now but I never know where to begin. With so many different theories and ideas of microfinance out there how do I write about it in layman's terms in less than 500 words?

Well, here is what I came up with and I hope it provides insight into my passion and what I’m doing. Please realize there is much more information and resources available if you want to learn more. This is only a brief introduction.

Me interviewing a potential microfinance client

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

News & Resources from Episcopal Relief and Development

As you read this post I will be enjoying fellowship with my fellow YASCers, Will, Katie and Sara, in Hong Kong!

Image via // Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
As you all know from the news reports, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. It caused great destruction and damage knocking out power, communication and killing thousands in its path. Heartbreaking stories have been all over the news here in the Philippines. Many have wondered and asked how they can help. While there are many great relief organizations setting up camp in Tacloban and other damage areas who you could donate to, I believe Episcopal Relief and Development is a wonderful organization taking the long view on disaster recovery. Their plan isn't simply to provide immediate help but to work with community churches to assess and plan for years to come in order to make the community self-sustainable again.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Little Things

By the time you read this post, I'll be on bus to Manila to catch my flight to Hong Kong. To beat the traffic and ensure I get to the airport in time for my flight, I'm taking the 9 hour bus trip overnight. That means I'll have plenty of time to chill and read at the airport until my flight takes off. I'll be so full of excitement I don't know how I'll be able to pass the time!

The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy. I'm ready for a break and some fun with friends! However, busyness never takes me away from enjoying the little things.

{"Are you ready?" asks this bobble dashboard thing. I don't think I ever am.}

Monday, November 18, 2013

Who's on your sidewalk?

Last week, I received an email from my Mom saying my home parish’s priest, Rev. Kate, would be mentioning me in her sermon on Sunday. There were no more details. I wasn’t worried, more intrigued. Fortunately for me, St. James’ uploads audio recordings of every sermon.

I recommend to everyone to take 12 minutes and listen here. Rev. Kate makes the point that the church is not simply a building but it’s the people and community. The church is us, but not only all of us in the global community in all places but also throughout time. Rev. Kate reminds us that God is the God of the living, which means those who have come before us are still alive. And those living now and throughout time, the people of the church, our community are supporting us.

{image via}

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy Weekend!

Again, I want to thank everyone for the support, prayers and concerns during Super Typhoon Haiyan. Don't worry I am safe! I was never affected by the great storm which ravaged the Central Philippines. It is going to take many coordinated efforts and generous donations and time for them to recover. Prayers are continually needed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Linking of Two Dioceses

There is something to be said about being in a foreign country and witnessing two different cultures sharing and learning from one another. It was an out of body experience as I watched the world get smaller.  Not only am I here learning about Filipino culture but here I also had the opportunity to soak up information about Kenyan culture through song, dance, and fellowship.

Yesterday, the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago (EDS) hosted eleven visitors from Kenya’s Anglican Development Service. They included Bishop Joseph Sapit and other regional development officers. Last year, September 2012, Sir Patrick and a couple others from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines attended the Anglican Alliance Board’s Empowerment Conference. A couple of the Kenyans in attendance took interest in Sir Patrick’s presentation about St. Mark’s Foundation and EDS’s work with cooperatives and micro-lending, which led them to plan a short trip to the Philippines to learn more firsthand.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scouting the Divine

I’ve been somewhat of a book connoisseur lately. I’ve read more books in the past 3 months than in the last year and a half. Before I say any more, I must thank my Mom for all the amazing book recommendations and buying them all for me to put on my Nook.  I truly love to read, but in college I only had time for the assigned reading instead of reading for enjoyment. I’ve found reading helps me escape into a completely different world or relate to the story of someone struggling along a journey.

During YASC orientation, the leaders emphasized the importance of maintaining our spiritual health, whether through daily prayer, meditation or reading scripture. I started with the Bible Challenge to help guide me through the scripture instead of blindly diving in. After a week, my diligence faded away. I had trouble connecting with some of the passages and would lose patience in my confusion. I know I’m not alone in my feelings about the struggle of tackling stories of the Bible.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Little Things

Thank you again for all the love, support and prayers received over the weekend. Again, I am safe and perfectly fine. I feel blessed to have been in an area that suffered from only heavy rain and a cloudy day indoors. However, the area hit by the Super Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan (whichever you prefer) was greatly devastated. Reports say up to 10,000 could be dead, with homes and stores leveled to the ground. Please continue to keep all of those affected in your prayers! You can also follow this link to learn how you can help.

Of course after a heavy storm, beautiful weather follows. I spent Sunday afternoon under the shade of a tree reading, journaling, and enjoying the light breeze, sunshine and 70 degree weather. I wish winter was like this everywhere! Today, the office was abuzz preparing for our special visitors from Kenya. They've traveled all the way here to learn about the micro-lending of the foundation and cooperatives. We're excited to host them but only for one day!

Don't worry, I'm still taking time to enjoy the little things!

{My neighbor's have a pet turtle in their kitchen sink. He's been there for 8 years!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekend Reading


I don't know about you all but I've had a crazy, busy week! We've been catching up after the long, holiday weekend and preparing for visitors next week. The staff was supposed to plant trees tomorrow as part of a development project but it seems as though one last Typhoon is going to hit the Philippines. Hopefully, it is the last for the season!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan

Hey readers, friends, and family!

There's been much concern over my safety and the safety of the other YASCers as Super Typhoon Haiyan. I'm happy to say that we are all on the Northern Island of Luzon. Below is a map with an arrow of where I am versus the trajectory of the storm.

While my weekend plans have been rained out, I will be safe! Thanks for all the prayers and concerns. I feel blessed to be out of the storms path. Although, please keep everyone else in the Philippines who will be greatly affected by this storm in your prayers.

Compassionate God… Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
— Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), page 733

{image via}

Driving 101

When learning how to drive, a part of me was thankful to learn how to navigate the craziness of aggressive, defensive, fast, stop and go traffic of Northern Virginia. I felt that if I could handle the NOVA drivers than I could drive anywhere. Well since arriving in the Philippines, I’m rethinking that theory.

There is no logical order to traffic – no passing lanes, speed limits, stop signs or traffic lights signaling when to stop and go. I’m thankful to have a driver who is familiar with the madness or else I would never go anywhere.

First, let’s talk about the various vehicles and obstacles on the road:

On top of regular cars there are trucks, who are the slowest on the road,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Puppy Therapy

Who doesn't love puppies? They are cute, cuddly, lovable, playful creatures! My neighbor's dog had six of them about a month ago. They're finally old enough to be out and around. Once I knew they were born, every morning I would look out my window waiting for the day they would finally show themselves. It may sound pathetic, but I have to admit I sometimes (read: most of the time) prefer puppies to children. The anticipation was killing me! Finally, last week the day came that six little fur balls were out exploring their new world.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Little Things

It's back to a normal work week! Due to a low pressure and typhoon hitting the south, we are being dumped with gloom and rain. I'm tired of clouds and want the sun back! I can't believe it is already November. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around it since it's still feels like summer here. 

There's is much coming up in the next few weeks and I cannot wait share! In the meantime, enjoy some little moments from my life! 

{More love in the form of Fall Cheer from Aunt Susan & Uncle Bill and the Diocese of Virginia Staff}

Monday, November 4, 2013

Celebrating the Dead

As it is said, "a picture is worth a thousand words." And so, I believe they can display a deeper meaning of All Saints' Day than my description. Although, I will give a little background.

Here in the Philippines, Halloween is not widely celebrated or really even mentioned. All Saints' Day, the day after Halloween, is traditional, family holiday. Almost everyone has November 1st off of work. This year it fell on a Friday, so it was a long holiday for everyone. Our office closed at noon to allow people to travel. Buses and Jeepneys were completely packed. People even talked about how if some wanted a ride they would have to stand or sit in the aisle. It's one of the busiest travel times of the year.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy All Souls Day!

Today is an important family holiday to Filipinos. They spend the day cleaning their dead family's graves, sharing fellowship with one another and blessing their loved ones who passed.

I continue to be inspired, amazed, and entertained by my fellow YASCers' posts! I hope you are too, and follow the links to read only a snapshot of the adventures we are all on.