Sunday, April 13, 2008

A ...ty-twoNA Party

For hubby’s birthday, friends bought him a huge tuna which our resident expert cook, Tintin, cooked in several ways. Being the “domestic goddess” that I am (NOT!), I don’t know the exact names of all the dishes but I found it really amazing how one kind of fish could be cooked in so many different ways without people getting “umay” with it. We had barbecued tuna, fish fillet, spicy tuna in coconut milk, sweet & sour tuna, sinigang sa miso type of tuna soup and fried tuna with sesame seeds and herbs. Wow, that’s six different dishes! I ordered the ever-reliable pancit bihon and lumpiang shanghai too for good measure.

Needless to say we had a feast! I’ve never been much of a fish-eater, I always joke with hubby that I must have been a mermaid in my past life. But on that day I had a lot of fun sampling the different fish dishes. Tintin could definitely give Rachael Ray a run for her money.

Hubby and his office buddies played poker until 2:30 am. Raine was in her element. She always enjoys it when there are a lot of people milling around. She would dance around to the music, go to her favorite Titas to be carried and pretend to be conducting her own poker game for one.

Entertainment and recreation facilities are very limited here on Marshall Islands but sharing happy times, a sumptuous meal and being in the company of good friends is the best R & R hands down.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Adventure is our tradition

On Maundy Thursday my Dad sent me a message thru Skype, “For the first time in 34 years, your Mom and I are home alone this holy week…”.

I was in Marshall Islands, Arlette was in Baguio with her in-laws, Sonny was in Tagaytay with his fiancé and her family and our youngest, Anthony was in the U.S. preparing for the Medical Board Exams over there. My parents were feeling the emptiness of their once-full nest.

Holy Week was usually spent together as a whole family. We would go out of town from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday, somewhere not too fancy or far away. Subic, Batangas, Tagaytay, Cavite. My mom always made sure that although we’d be on vacation we would still take some time to observe that town’s Lenten activities. We would visit churches in the area and sometimes even join the procession and prayers. Last year we all went to Island Cove in Kawit, Cavite. It was an extra special time because both “apos” were present. Annika was almost 2 then and Raine was just 5 months old.

Holidays for me are all about spending time with family and friends, whether at home or out somewhere special. It’s the time to relax, have fun and be with the people you love.

This past Holy Week was certainly a lot quieter and simpler this year for my parents and for my little family as well. We just stayed home for the most part but we did get to attend the Easter Vigil Mass and was pleasantly surprised that it was conducted much like the way it is back home. At least that is one tradition we were able to observe and keep.

On Easter Sunday we attended a lunch party by the beach. The cool, ocean breeze and the company of neighbors, colleagues and new acquaintances was a welcome break from being cooped up in the apartment. Although we are far away from the homes we grew up in, we are grateful for the friends we have here who help make our days all the more enjoyable.

Being somewhat newly-married (2 years, 4 months and counting!), hubby and I have yet to really start traditions of our own. But every year is an adventure in itself and it's exciting making our own traditions as we go along.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April Fooled

It wasn’t intentional but it might as well have been since it happened on April Fools’ Day. At about 11:15 am the power went off in our apartment. I had steaks baking in the oven and was about to put some rice in the rice cooker. Raine was happily watching The Backyardigans on TV. I was bummed of course, we just had a power outage the previous Friday and I was surprised we were having another one so soon. Sidenote: About once or twice a month, there’s a 5-6 hour brownout here on the islands. They say it’s part of some maintenance or electrical work they are doing, I’m not really sure.

I called up hubby to tell him to bring some lunch since I wasn’t able to cook. I was hoping that the electricity would go back on by 4 pm. Raine took her usual afternoon nap but awoke after just an hour probably from the heat. I had been fanning her with one hand while I read a book with the other. Raine and I went to the veranda to cool ourselves. Thankfully, there was a nice breeze and I put Raine in her stroller and gave her a bottle of milk to drink as we enjoyed the view.

At past 5 pm I decided to call hubby and ask him if he knew what time the power would be restored. It turns out that our apartment was the only place where there was no power. I called a friend who lived in the apartment across the street and she said they had electricity all day. Suddenly, I noticed that our neighbor’s air conditioning was turned on. I went outside and the stairs’ light was also on. Across the street our neighbors’ homes had their lights on! Ours was the only one in darkness.

I called up the Marshall Electric Company (MEC) and after getting transferred to three people I was able to get someone to come to the apartment and see what was wrong. The person I talked to promised to send a lineman in 20 minutes. Hubby arrived and checked the main switches to see if the electricity had tripped or something. He went outside to check on our meter with a neighbor. When they went to the meter room they saw that the door was forcibly opened and our meter had been removed! We were puzzled, did someone steal the meter? If someone from the MEC had gotten it why would they have to break open the lock on the door? We called up the accounting department of hubby’s office to check if the bills for the apartment had been paid by the company and found out that the bills were paid on time so there was no reason for MEC to remove the meter.

It was past 8 pm and we were already pissed, the 20 minutes had stretched to two hours of waiting. The lineman that was promised was nowhere in sight. We called MEC again to make sure someone was on their way to the apartment. Hubby went outside to wait for the lineman. At about 9 pm the electricity went back on. At last!

Hubby came back to the apartment and said he had seen the lineman reinstall our meter. The lineman asked him, “Are you Paul Wright?”. What the *#&@! It turns out that it was our neighbor, Number 3 who’s electricity should have been cut and not us, Number 2! Argh!

Goodness, what a day! We were April Fooled indeed.