August 21, 2011

Nosebleeds and Panicked Eyes

Lady Hiva and I are the young women and young men Sunday School teachers. Completely interesting considering Hiva does speak Tagalog at all and I learned vocabulary for ‘business Tagalog’, not ‘religious Tagalog.’

In the Philippines they have an expression for when you are speaking too much English, they say, “You are giving me a nosebleed,” and hold their index finger under their nose as a visual. I had finished my first lesson two weeks ago for the young men—they were so quiet, probably because some white guy was here in their class—and one of the adults saw me walk out and said, “Do they have nosebleeds now?” I laughed and said ‘yes,’ then made a mental note to get fluent enough they do not make that joke anymore. I have two years, I can do it. Then I turned to talk with the next guy in the hall and he handed me a card and said, “The Bishop wants to invite you to speak in Sacrament Meeting (mass) next Sunday.” ‘Yikes! There will be a whole bunch of nosebleeds,’ was my only thought, but in reality I felt myself smile and nod while agreeing to speak. I did speak and hopefully it went well. I am not sure how much they understood, but I tried.

The last two weekends have been full of Church activities. Last week I was with the young men as they played games and cleaned the chapel for Sunday services; and Hiva learned from the women of the congregation how to cook some local dishes. It was a blast to get to know them all better.

Yesterday we had the young men, well some of them, come over for a pool party. Again, it was the first time most of these kids had been in a real pool. Most of them did not know how to swim. It was fun seeing them use those blow-up arm floaties for little kids or life jackets so they dared get in.  A few of them ventured to swim to the other end of the pool with me swimming beside them or holding their stomach up or my hand on my back. For some reason my presence gave them courage to keeping going. I would constantly say, “Almost there, you are doing great!” Once in a while they would make it half way across the pool, look up with a panicked fear in their eyes and say (in Tagalog), “So deep now!”

“Almost there, Almost there,” I would assure them it was alright so their panic did not paralyze them.  It was such an achievement they would cheer for each one that made it to the other side.

Lady Hiva and I went on our weekly date Friday night and we wanted to watch a movie. The movie we chose at Mall of Asia was not going on until 10pm so after we ate dinner we had time to kill. We decided to go walk on the boardwalk behind the mall. It is a happening place on the weekends. Several restaurants line the waterfront each with a live band playing. Street vendors sell toys, an amazing array of foods, and drinks of all kinds. In the middle there is a homemade zipline. It starts from the third floor of the mall and goes towards the water over all the people. Lady Hiva decided that we should try it to give us something to do. I was game, so we paid our $3 and went for a ride. (Really Cheap: should have been our first red flag)

You have the option to sit side by side or lay side by side on your stomach. We chose sitting. As we put on the ‘safety’ belt the workers laughed because my legs were too long, I had to contort my body in odd angles to finally get in. (Made for small people: second red flag). We took off and synchronized our swinging feet to speed up. Our weight and the swinging did speed us up quite a bit, people stopped what they were doing and watched us in amazement as we went flying over their heads. I looked up from watching people below and saw we were coming to the end and a really LARGE cement wall was approaching faster than I was comfortable with. (Brick wall, no brakes: Red flag number 3)
The only thing between us and a massive collision with the wall was two old car tires strung on the cable and three really skinny Filipino guys, who were starting to frantically wave at us. (Red flags four AND five) ‘What are they waving about? Do they want us to get off?’ I was suddenly not so sure this was a good idea. I noticed Hiva was not laughing anymore either. I am sure we had the same panicked eyes as the young men in the pool.

But we were stuck. Safety strapped into our ride of death. GREAT.

I held my breath as we hit the first tire and did not slow down at all, the second caused us to swing wildly forward and four hands caught us as our faces and knees swung dangerously close to the cement wall. So thankful we did not choose to lay down face first.

In the movie we decided to sit way away from the ‘mouse wall.’ They can be in the theater with us—there is plenty of food to eat on the floor—but I just do not want to see them! Especially since the other day I was sitting on the couch and Hiva in the dining room and we had or large windows open to enjoy the gorgeous day. I looked up and saw a HUGE rat, mind you this was broad daylight, scratching at the dining room window. We grabbed the camera and then took photos as it scratched at the patio door trying to get in! So nasty. I wondered why the stray cats are not chasing it, then I realized it is just as big as they are, I would not mess with it either if I were them! After realizing it could not get in, it just ran away…no panic on its part.

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