Gratitude Lately

Today was my 292nd and very final day living in Southeast Asia.

I leave in 12 hours and desperately need to get some sleep, but before I do…gratitude.

Where to begin?

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I am thankful for surprise reunions with old friends.

…and clever HP Christmas gifts!

For sweet ‘let’s pretend’ with my favorite boy on morning break.

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For being connived into playing and singing for everyone at my ‘despedida’.

I’m always grateful for it — after the fact…

For these sweet ladies and their friendship; one last coffee together!

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Psh, who needs electricity?

For my family and how they love me well.

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My heart is so full.

2013 in review | 13 memories

My main moments from the past year (at least ones with pictures) are from various trips I took. Pretty typical for a third culture kid. 2013 was a good year for me. I was able to see and experience so much life and growth: I graduated from college, visited a state I’d never been to before, went to Europe for the first time, and I moved to the Philippines! Here are 13 of my favorite moments:

The first few days of January were spent finishing off my sister’s and my UK trip! English tea & pudding, balderdash, falling down the stairs daily, intense jet lag, trying to stay awake (& warm), and laughing with these cool cats late into the night:

Trying to get tan at Formby Beach;)

Trying to get tan at Formby Beach;)

After returning from Liverpool, I spent one jet lagged day in California before flying home-home to Oaxaca to spend the rest of my holiday with the family. I was able to check this off my bucket list — well, I had to first add it to my bucket list, but then I checked it off…

While home and still recovering from jet lag, my youngest sister, Debbie, and I got to spend a couple days at our favourite beach in the entire world: Puerto Escondido. Do you see my jetlagged eyes?? I shouldn’t be allowed in public.

Ah, to be warm again!

In the midst of school (trying to graduate in May) & work, I got to be reunited with one of my favourite people ever – my partner from massage school! She came to LA, so I had an excuse to do the touristy things I hadn’t even done yet myself: the Griffith Observatory and the L.A. Zoo!

How I love her and her sweet son!

How I love her and her sweet son!

My friend Karina and I went on a spontaneous road trip to Seattle right before finals. It was one of the worst ideas I’ve had, but actually the best decision. I got to see my childhood bestie in Cannon Beach, which has been a lifelong dream to visit!

This girl and I have been friends for 20 years and counting!

This girl and I have been friends for 20 years and counting!

From Cannon Beach, we drove across the most epic state line ever, making Washington my 41st state visited. I didn’t want to leave!

Seattle in April was a brilliant idea. Those trees…swoon!

Seattle in April was a brilliant idea. Those trees…swoon!

Soon after the Northwest trip…Donna and I got our friend, Nicole, married off!

Nothin' like a Wednesday wedding to liven up the week!

Nothin’ like a Wednesday wedding to liven up the week!

Then I graduated from Eternity Bible College!

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After graduating, I flew home to Oaxaca to spend a week with my family before moving to the Philippines!

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These two deserve a gold medal in the friendship department! They put up with so much of me last year and they’re really the best of people. Have I mentioned I get to see them in a couple weeks?? I’m beyond excited!

And here are the people I spent the majority of the year with! We trekked all over Mindanao and even to Luzon together in 2013, we make good travel & living buddies;)

These were moments I knew would make the best Facebook statuses. Livin’ the life!

I ran my first 5k in November! I placed 8th for women and won an award for being the only white female racing. Check that off my bucket list — after adding it first;)

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Although it was hard to keep it at 13 memories, 2,013 seemed a little extravagant…

Until next time!

Gratitude Lately

Lately I’ve been thankful for my inherited love for music and how it’s a perfect example of how we should never stop learning.

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For these lovely journals that have been my constant companions.

And my new comfy leggings that have kept me warm many-a-night during the storms.

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For a sunny day in the midst of a typhoon and picnic lunches with friends.

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For church that sang a song in English and how that always blesses my heart.

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For this piece of home. Not once have I regretted the space it took up in my luggage.

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And for FaceTime, which allows me to have late night chats with these beauties.

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Lately I’ve been working on intentionally finding reasons to be thankful and seeing how much my attitude on life has improved. I didn’t even have to look hard.

What are you thankful for this week?

Chinese New Year & 2014 via my phone

恭喜发财 Happy Chinese New Year!

I’ve decided to ring in the ‘Year of the Horse’ by doing a recap of 2014, so far – according to my phone.

This is how it happened:
“Hi, I’d like the panini pesto and a bottle of water.”
“What’s your name?”
“Hannah”
“Hannah??”
“Yes, HANNAH” (Just picture Squints from The Sandlot over-enunciating, “FOR-EV-ER”. That’s pretty much how it was)

…a few minutes later, “Hot panini pesto for Hyena”

Meh - close enough...

Meh – close enough…

We were eating at Burger King at the airport in Manila and every table was occupied. There was a guy sitting next to us eating lunch and reading his kindle, when this family of 3 plopped down and joined him without saying a word. I found it humourous to watch him try to become as small as humanly possible in his little corner.

This would never fly in the US. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to even breathe on freeways in America, let alone walk and sell on them.

Drive through store on the freeway...and I'm pretty sure he's giving me the stink eye.

I think he’s giving me the stink eye.

I've been traveling for 15 hours and Manila bus stations are wicked hot.

I call this: ‘I’ve been traveling for 15 hours & Manila bus stations are wicked hot – and Daisy is pensive’.

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It rains a lot in this country. This is the result of two back-to-back typhoons.

You know how McDonalds is unique to each country? Germany – beer; Mexico – jalapeño sauce; England – brown sauce? Well, the Philippines does rice…and ube ice-cream. Ube is a purple yam that is eaten as a snack by itself and in desserts. How else are you going to make your kids eat their veg?

Ube is a purple yam, which is used here for snacks and desserts…even at McDonalds. Ube McDip, anyone?

Ube McDip, anyone?

Not shown is my reaction to waking up at 3 this morning to find a mouse in my bed with me… I’m still a little traumatised.

The Year of the Horse is looking bright so far. How are you ringin’ in the New Year?

music to keep you warm

Although there is no shortage of warm weather where I live this holiday season, I know the climate to be quite ghastly this year for the majority of my readers – and I thought, what better way to combat the wintry blues than with some marvelous winter tunes?

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the days are cold; have a warm heart.

Christmas in Southeast Asia began in July and has built in a crescendo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for listening to Christmas ditties year-round, it’s just been going on for so long in public, that I feel I’m committing an injustice if I play the same same tunes at home. For that reason, I’ve decided to steer mostly clear of traditional holiday tunes and instead share with you what I enjoy listening to on gloomy days.

{If for whatever reason it doesn’t work to view it on there, here is the set list}

  • Emmylou – First Aid Kit
  • Living in Colour – Frightened Rabbit
  • Lucky – Kat Edmonson
  • It Never Entered My Mind – Miles Davis
  • Winter Song – The Head & the Heart
  • I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
  • Live Forever – Drew Holcomb
  • White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
  • Moon River – André Rieu
  • O Tannenbaum – Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Winter Birds – Ray LaMontagne
  • Let’s Be Still – The Head & the Heart
  • Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford & Sons
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Ingrid Michaelson
  • La Vie en Rose – Louis Armstrong
  • Pillow Talk – Wild Child
  • Fairytale of New York – Walk Off The Earth (pardon their butchering of the pronunciation of Galway)
  • Pretty Face – Sóley
  • High Hopes – Kodaline
  • What Are You Doing – Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Cheers!

Soon I Will Rest…Earned It I Have

Our home just accommodated 27 people for 3 days. 

On Wednesday last week, we had a family of 5 come stay with us, so that pushed our usual number up to 12. Then on Thursday, to kick off the long-weekend of partying, we celebrated a belated-Halloween and invited another family of 4 over to party with the 12 of us. I know you’re all dying to know what I went as. I won’t hold you in suspense.

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Mr. Smee from Peter Pan!

This past Saturday, the Moffits threw a huge birthday bash for the 18-year-old living with us. For the party, we ordered enough food to feed a small planet, then invited everyone we could think of. Remember how the Philippines had a huge typhoon doomed to hit on Friday? Although it didn’t hit our island, the likelihood of it raining still on Saturday was uncomfortably high. We were scheduled to have somewhere around 100 people come to party on Saturday morning and there was a heck-of-a no way that that many people were going to fit inside our home if it were to rain during the party.

Lo and behold, early Saturday morning: blue skies. Hallelujah! Ready to party…

But they'll usually have cake as well. Basically, just a lot of food in general.

Some pig!

I was given the job of photographer for the party. I’m not even kidding, it was probably 100˚F + incredibly high, post-typhoon humidity, then factoring in an estimated 90ish sweaty bodies hacking away at a pig and little old me, maneuvering my way through the crowds, snapping away — I was a hot, sweaty mess! But here you go, one of the few pictures with me in it:

Stopped taking pictures so I could be in one with the birthday girl.

With the birthday girl!

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Too cool for school.

Friends from church

Friends from church

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I love this one, it’s so bright and cheery!

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This photo was at his request. I believe that is a pig foot?

As I wangled a route through the masses, sweat no longer just dripping, but cascading from my body, I found my way upstairs to discover these kids conked out on mats in our school room; which had been renovated into sleeping quarters for 15 of our guests from out of town.

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Poor kids from the mountains aren’t used to our “sea-level” humidity.

This is our master chef who prepared the cornucopia of delicious food, minus a pig. His precious one-year-old, Zoe, stole the show and won the hearts of everyone at the party. Every time I spotted her, she’d have a little crowd following her, snapping away.

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And lastly, these are the beauties I get to live with while I’m here.

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Voila. I’m in 2 party pictures!

Gradually today, all of our guests made it to public transportation to wheel themselves home again and we found ourselves just a ‘small family of 7 Moffits’ once again. I kind of feel like I need to talk to a shrink. I’m going through people-withdrawal and I’m finding myself trying to use words like wangled and cornucopia as frequently as possible. Not only that, but I sound like Yoda when forming sentences, “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmmm?” Never a good sign.

What do you mean there’s not a waiting list to use the toilet? All the utensils and glasses are already clean and I no longer have to wash one each time I need to use it? Is anyone else hearing crickets?

Sleep now we will. Earned it we have, yes?

I Love Asia — But My Lungs Don’t

Last night was a rough night for my 6-year-old buddy and me. We were both up late croup coughing and sounding like seals. After getting the Asian equivalent to Vicks, ‘Megascent Oil’, slathered all over our feet, chests, and upper backs, we went to bed with high hopes that we’d be able to sleep through the rest of the night without coughing. He finally fell asleep, but I was kept awake trying to understand the phenomenon behind why after rubbing menthol on my feet did my cough go away and all I was left with was a minty sensation in my mouth. I can’t seem to grasp the concept.

Belinda and I joke about whether we’d prefer to have functioning lungs, or toned legs. As we jog in the early morning, huge trucks filled with produce and/or people drive by leaving behind black clouds of love for our lungs to enjoy as we run by. Breathing is bad in pretty much any urban area, but for whatever reason, specifically in Asia.

I was facetiming with a friend in California the other day, and we talked about the joys of the California DMV and getting our cars smogged. After living in Asia for so long, I really don’t mind all the hoops I had to go through in order to register my car in the state of California — at least I could breathe and run there.

What are some things you ‘put up with’ because you like the end result?

• Sore muscles because you know you’ll finally get that 6-pack if you keep pushing? Yeah, me neither…

• Working 12 hour shifts, because it feels so good when you stop?

• I wouldn’t know, but…giving birth, anyone?

What about things you enjoy doing, but suffer the consequences for later?

• Partying hard?

• Eating cheese and ice-cream, even though your lactose-intolerant body hates you for it?

I think as believers, it’s hard to view painful situations and circumstances as a beneficial thing, especially while you’re stuck in the thick of it. But when you’re finally able to take a step back and analyse the situation, it’s so much easier to see God’s goodness and how the results — whether it be a softened heart or just becoming more like Christ — make the ‘pain’ so worth enduring.

In the same way exercising and the pain that comes with it: shin splints, fatigued muscles, and cramping, (in time) bring about a ‘hot bod’, God materializes the ‘yuck’ in our own hearts because He loves us and wants us to better emulate His character. The process for both spiritual and physical is painful, there’s no denying that; let’s be honest, if it doesn’t hurt or make you break a sweat, you’re probably doing it wrong. I frequently question if it’s actually doing any good, but I think that’s why God designed it so others are the first to notice and will point out when they see growth.

So, for now, I’ll put up with dysfunctional lungs. It reminds me of how much God loves me and is willing to work through my rubbish with me.

Plus, I mean…Ryan Gosling: