Although we’ve been in the Philippines for only a little over a month, it seems like much longer considering all that we have experienced and accomplished. As we are discovering, Filipino culture is relational, not time-oriented, which means everything takes much longer than what we are accustomed to. Despite this adjustment, we have managed to check several things off our to-do list. We started our visa application, moved cities, located, rented and turned a bare house into our new home. On top of our to-do list, we have been learning to live more like Filipinos by hanging our laundry to dry, living with an intermittent water supply, taking public transportation, and coping with high humidity and heat. In the face of all these changes, we finally feel like we are now out of survival mode and able to focus on all the reasons we are here. Experiencing the Filipino culture firsthand, we have been blessed by their hospitality and willingness to help us despite language and cultural barriers. Many of the store clerks greet Sadie by name and entertain her while we shop. We have felt so welcomed by the friendly Filipinos everywhere we go.
Transitioning to different cultures also comes with challenges. Because very few things can be completed quickly, a simple task such as buying groceries or making a trip to the hardware store often become an all-day event. To put it into perspective for an Oklahoman, imagine living in Owasso and having to take a bus into Tulsa to buy basic necessities for your home. After a 30-45 minute commute through winding roads, you eventually make it to 71st street. However, you still must hop on the back of a jeepney (see picture below), which takes you to the mall when the bus route ends. Toting a baby, stroller, and anything else purchased along the way doesn’t make the trip any simpler, although Sadie does gain many adoring fans wherever we go!
Not purchasing a car for the first several months will allow us to truly immerse ourselves into the Filipino culture, learn the public transportation system, and build more relationships with the local people. While this has made purchasing groceries and items for our home a much bigger challenge, we have found systems around it such as stockpiling bags near taxi terminals while one of us guards and the other purchases remaining items in another store. We repeated this process daily until our house was set up. Needless to say, by the end of the day, we were all exhausted and thankful for an easy taxi ride home.
In order to maximize our interactions and relationships with Filipinos, we have begun our formal study of the Tagalog language. This includes 6-8 hours each day, which will be explained in our next update.
As chaotic as life has been, we are extremely thankful to be here and have experienced God’s grace in big and small ways since we left Oklahoma. We have remained healthy, Sadie has adjusted well and is happy, and we found a home across the street from other missionaries who have been a huge help and encouragement in our transition.
Thank you for being a part of our team, we could not be here without your prayers and support!
- Patience through language learning: The Tagalog language is challenging for English speakers.
- Balancing responsibilities: Curt will be responsible for 40 hours of language learning per week while Kristin will be responsible for 30 hours. Taking care of Sadie, managing the home, and building relationships will become a balancing act.