Monday, December 8, 2014


That one time Kristin and Risa decided to bring this home with them...

...also happens to be the one time I opted out of studying for finals to join them.

Don't go thinking I'm a complete slacker though. I did manage to write a nutrition paper, make some taco seasoning, a batch of hummus, some banana muffins and deseed a pomegranate beforehand. That counts for something, right?

Anyways, this movie is one of those things that will forever remind me of the Philippines. That is also probably why I couldn't pass up the chance to watch it again. The first time I saw it was in Cebu with Arturo as we were trying to figure out how on earth we were going to get our new passports. The second time was just days after Robinson's, a mall in Tacloban reopened. For months Chris, one of our country directors, just wanted to go to the movies so when Robinson's opened back up that was exactly what we did. These memories associated with this movie go a lot deeper than that though. Just rewind with me a tiny bit and you'll see. 

I went to Cebu quite a few times over the summer. Arturo and I went twice to figure out passports, which could be and should be, an entire series of posts all on its own. 

Exactly six weeks later I was in Cebu again, this time alone, but with my passport finally in hand. 

Little did I know that just one week later I would be on my way back, this time with, Stephen, Amber, and Ian, Dalyn, and Clark Carel.  No passport drama, just a day at the temple dedicated to making this family eternal. 

Thought my time in Cebu I felt guilt but also acceptance. I felt frustration but also achievement. I felt unsure but hopeful. But more than anything in Cebu, I felt inspiration and love. Cebu brought some of the most incredible experiences. While I was there I learned so much from the people around me, and the people I met while I was there. I developed a trust in myself that I didn't have before, and reaffirmed to me that God's hand really is in all things. Cebu was the trip I never intended to make, but the exact trip I needed each and every time. 

To me, the reopening of Robinson's seemed to be a symbol of just how far Tacloban had come since Yolanda. Robinson's had everything. It was a place where people could get the things they need, such as groceries, clothes, or prescriptions. It was a place where they could get things they wanted such as construction materials for a project, or accessories for a phone. It was a place they could go to escape the struggles of everyday life; like at the arcade or the theatre. For at least seven months that wasn't available. The day Robinson's opened was a day of major accomplishment for Tacloban. 

Leave it to me to turn a night watching The Amazing Spiderman 2 with my roommates into a trip down memory lane. Hopefully, it doesn't bother you. If it does you probably stopped reading a long time ago. But for me having those memories to look back on is something that I will treasure forever because some of those moments are what inspire me to be better each and every day. 

Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) Update: From what I've heard from people in Tacloban, everyone there was kept safe throughout the duration of the typhoon. Samar is another story, and I am still waiting to hear from people assessing damages there, but there is no doubt in my mind that because of Yolanda in 2013, more lives were spared when Ruby came knocking in 2014. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Haiyan and Hagupit. For me there is one extreme difference. I don't remember hearing much about Haiyan until it had already made landfall. The damage was already done. I read every article, and watched every report. I talked to people that I knew in the Philippines to find out how Haiyan had effected their city. I wanted to be a part of every fundraiser, and every group that went over to help. I wanted to do something for the people that had done so much for me over the last year and a half. 

Hagupit has been almost exactly the same. I have watched every report and read every article, only this time I am getting updates from people in Tacloban. I am getting updates from my friends.

Over the summer these people became some of my closest friends. When I would have a bad day they would be right there cheering me up. They were the only people that never failed to bring a smile to my face. I watched them give when they had nothing to give. They are some of the most hardworking people I know. They made my experience in Tacloban. 

For the last three days I have talked to them as they've prepared for Hagupit to make landfall. I saw the Facebook post telling the members that the church in Tacloban were once again open for evacuation. They've told me of their fears for parents who were far away. I have worried as they have returned home to make sure they can get their family together before returning to the evacuation centers. 

Even amongst the fear they have been able to keep their spirits high. They have done their best to distract each other. After hearing the stories that followed Haiyan, I know that the chapels are the safest places they could possibly be.  My heart aches knowing that they have to go through this again. Heaven only knows that I would give anything to be there with them right now. I've never met a more faithful group of people and I am so very grateful for their examples in my life. I add my prayers and faith to theirs, that Hagupit with pass quickly and that they will be blessed with the safety and supplies they need to make it through. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Every Tuesday for the last 15 weeks my day has gone a just like this:

9 AM to 1:45 PM HELP Internship
2 PM to 10:20 PM - Shift @ Aspen

Usually the first thing people say is 
"Wow, that is such a long day."
Maybe it is, but to tell you the truth I love it that way.
I made it that way.  

There is something about 

There is something about 

There is something about 

There is something about 

When you can spend an entire day with people who build you up, make you laugh, and motivate you to be your best self then there is no such thing as a long day. If anything it is way to short.