Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Year Celebration

This year’s New Year’s Eve celebration was quite different than the past couple of years and I quite enjoyed it. There’s not much to say about or many pictures because of its low key nature.

On December 30, 2013 I traveled with Andrea, my neighbor and co-worker, with her husband, George, her two children, Shemain (19) and Kevin (21), and her nephew, Dave (14) to their family house in the mountains of Nayon. It’s only about two hour travel from Santiago City, but a vast difference in climate and landscape. It’s definitely quiet, simple, country living.

The house belongs to her late father, the first Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, and her 94-year-old mother. Andrea’s sister and her family live at the house full time caring after their mother. They needed a break and wanted to visit her husband’s family during the holiday - hence, the visit from Andrea.

The large porch where I spent a majority of my time.

I love real fires and this fireplace was delightful as the temperatures dropped in the evening.

The outdoor kitchen
You have to put your cellphone up in the orange pouch on the porch to get any sort of cell phone reception.

Her mother may be 94 but is as strong as an ox. Her mind is slowly slipping. You must speak loud and she’ll ask you the same question about five times in a row, but I watched her till her garden for about 3 hours one afternoon. I hope I have half that stamina if I make it to 94 or even 84!

The four days there were filled with reading on the great big porch, playing with the adorable puppies, card games, movie watching, and sitting by large fires. We ate fresh chicken caught from their farm. I learned how to pluck the feathers and watched as they somehow used almost every part of it for the meal. Andrea taught me how to make pancit, one of my favorite dishes here. I crushed her in a couple games of Gin Rummy one afternoon, a favorite one my mom and I always play. I also enjoyed being around people my age! We talked about pop culture, college life, our hopes and dreams and everything else.

Preparing the freshly caught and killed chicken for dinner.
Skewering hot dogs and pork bbq to grill with Andrea's niece, Clarise, and nephew and Shemain.

Clarise manning the grill.

Kevin jamming out on a plastic guitar.

Andrea in the kitchen.

Afternoon card came and snacks!

George strumming along.
Adorable puppies! Andrea took the gray one home with her and named her Carrie. She's now Zoe's best friend and playmate.

On New Year’s Eve we rung in the New Year with a bonfire and roasting marshmallows in front of the Episcopal Church located next door to the house. A couple neighbors joined us and, of course, a guitar was brought out. The night was quit except for someone singing karaoke off in the distant. But it was broken as the clock striked midnight. Fireworks went off, car horns were being honked, basically anything that made noise was put to use in announcing the New Year!

New Years Day started with a church service and then became another lazy day. Some of the ECW stopped by for coffee and fellowship then they moved on to another house. We headed back to Santiago on January 2nd. It was nice to get back to the connected world outside but I appreciated the recharge I received in Nayon.

Thanks for reading!

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