Kalani is now into middle school! She had a wonderful time at the elementary school at International School Manila. She was able to participate in music, art, PE, computers, etc. during the school day. She also had after school activities throughout the year of circus skills, painting & drawing, Minecraft, gymnastics and “Children’s Music Theater.” Elementary school also has “Sports Day” and also “International Day” for all of the kids to participate in. She has made wonderful friends through school and is looking forward to advancing to middle school.
A major benefit of living in the Philippines is employing a family driver! And we had him earn his paycheck this past weekend since he drove us to our last vacation spot that was 12 hours away. Kalani didn’t have school on Monday or Tuesday, so it was a perfect time for a 4-day weekend get-away. We left at 4am on Saturday morning and arrived in Donsol by 4pm. The drive down was beautiful with long stretches of lush green scenery with protruding volcanoes. There was a good 2-4 hours at least where we didn’t come across any McDonald’s or Jollibee fast food places because we were in such rural areas.
Also on our first day we went to see some fireflies. It was amazing to see thousands of these insects synchronize their flashes of light. It was like watching a bunch of “Tinker Bells” communicating with each other…or Christmas lights that kept changing their light pattern. However, none of our photos or videos turned out from the firefly experience.
More photos our our Bicol Vacation here.
A couple of weeks after we left Siquijor for Christmas, we returned again. But this time it was for our cousin’s wedding. Matt and I were asked to be sponsors, Kalani was a flower girl and Mason was an escort. It was a fun experience to see how they do weddings in the province. And the day before the wedding was our little cousin’s 4 year old birthday party as well…it was a short trip, but full of fun and memories.
More photos from the wedding here.
The month of December was packed and full of fun. We had a full house and a lot of memories for Christmas 2013. My parents finally came to visit us and it worked out the best to have them here for Christmas. They only had 10 days in the Philippines, but I think that we packed it pretty full to make sure that they had enough to do and also time to relax. One of the highlights of the trip was taking my dad to the island where his dad (my grandfather) is from (Siquijor) and meeting his half sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. We also had Matt’s brother, Drew, come visit us since he served his mission in the Philippines and speaks Tagalog. After Christmas in Siquijor, we brought our cousin Sherwin with us back to Manila for a few days. It was his first time to Manila and his first time on an airplane!
As an expatriate, Matt was expected to perform at the work Christmas party his first year here. He did a wonderful job last year and can read more here. Now that this would be his second Christmas party in the Philippines, he wasn’t expected to be in the show. However the Filipinos had other plans for him. He was asked to co-host the evening with a local radio J.D.