Yesterday we just got back from a three day vacation in a place called Nasuli, which is about a four hour drive north of where we are living. Here is just one of the many sights we saw along the way. We were following this motorcycle and I took this picture from the front seat of the van that we were in.
Do you know what a skylab is? It is a motorcycle with a board attached to the seat to make it hold more people and/or goods. That is how the baskets are staying in place in the above picture. In the Philippines, motorcycles are a major form of transportation. It is a little unusual to see a motorcycle with only one person on it. Usually, especially in the province, motorcycles hold from 2 to 6 people. Yes, you heard me right. We passed a motorcycle on Tuesday that held a family of six including very young children. Seeing motorcycles with three or four people was commonplace and hardly worth noting. And these are not large motorcycles either - probably 100cc to 250cc (for you non-motorcycle people those are relatively small).
Yet, the above picture does not hold a candle to the picture that I did not get! A man and his wife were transporting on a motorcycle a whole sala set (living room set) made out of bamboo. On his motorcycle was a couch, two chairs, and an end table, his wife and himself. We were amazed.
Living here in the Philippines as compared to the states is eye opening in many ways. This is especially true in regard to language.
Most Filipinos speak more than one language. To be conversationally fluent in four languages is pretty common. I talked with a young woman yesterday who works in our office who says that she is quite fluent in four languages but can speak a total of eight languages. As a case in point, one of the languages that she said that she was not that fluent in was English - all the while speaking perfect English to me. By the way, she has never taken a language course in her life. Go figure...
You heard the joke about this, didn't you?
What do you call a person who speak three languages?
What do you call a person who speak two languages?
What do you call a person who only speaks one language?
Not to slam Americans, but that joke is reality here. It seems that Filipinos don't even think it much of an accomplishment to speak in multiple languages - it is as natural as breathing to them it seems. They grow up in homes and communities where multiple languages are spoken all the time. That is just totally different from the way that Beth and I grew up. While I'm sure that there are advantages that could be cited for a culture that is more mono-lingual like the states, it is just that language learning ability is not one of them.
So, we are taking Cebuano lessons now and they are progressing slowly - at least it seems so to us. What Beth and I are starting to work on a lot more is trying to talk to people in Cebuano - that is where the real gains in language learning comes. Pray for us as we will be pushing ourselves to use Cebuano daily.
Here is an MK for you!!!!!
Ben, five, recently asked me, "Mom, how do you say 'hello' in English?" as he spoke English to me.
I said, "Well, you are speaking English right now and 'hello' is 'hello' in English."
"No," he said, "I mean the other 'hello'!"
I said, "In Cebuano 'hello' is I-O."
'No', he said,"The other 'hello'!"
I said, "Ola? is that the 'hello' you are looking for?"
"Yes, that's the 'hello' I am looking for.....what language is that?"
Our kids....goofing around, being cute, best friends - even when they squabble....blessings!!!!!
Ube is a potato-type 'fruit' here that is purple. I've had ube cake before and it was quite tasty! Now I'll get to bake one at home!!!
Ube Cake Mix
Milk comes dried, canned, or in boxes here. There is no farm-fresh dairy around here! But the milk is not to bad!
Laundry soap comes in packages small enough for one load only, or in larger bags for multiple loads. It also comes in laundry sticks as many nationals wash clothing by hand. The sticks work great as pre-wash stain treaters too.
Individual load laundry soap and laundry stick