Sunday, July 07, 2013

Cebu: Days 1 and 2

All right!  I have a few minutes (aka an hour) to sit here and blog about our first few days!  We left on Thursday at 9 pm and the kids were wide awake.  They have never stayed up that late!  They ended up staying awake until 11:45pm (well, Nya did not fall asleep until 4am!!!!).  
I will say that leaving at 2am was both a super terrible idea (kids that were sooooo overtired and all the passengers were trying to sleep and our kids were not) and a great idea (our kids were so tired the next night that they were pretty much able to get right on schedule 15 hours ahead).
{Had a subway sandwich and waited...}
{Boys finally passed out.  By the way, the pillow above has been AWESOME.  I use it to feed Nya on the airplane and then it allows her to stay sleeping on my lap.   One thing we would do differently is take WAY less carry on.  Each boy had a backpack and they did not need anything in it.  So, unfortunately they were half asleep carrying backpacks which was not ideal.  I would recommend rolling suitcases for kids if they are going to take anything, or really, just don't take much on board.}
I will tell you that the flight sucked. Yup, we are not `allowed' to say sucked but it sure did.  Like my friend Tessa said, it's like labour and you sort of just need to get through it and there's no stopping it.  12 hours.  They had the lights on from 2-4am to feed everyone dinner which was terrible for Nya.  I ended up spending the first few hours just holding her close to the engines so the sound would keep her quiet.  Lots and lots of walking the aisle with her while everyone else slept.   She was not terrible, but what do you expect with a 1 year old wide awake in the middle of the night?!   Random, but one of my least favourite things was the guy across from me crunching on pork rinds (so crunchy!!!) while I was so overtired and trying to sleep :)  Gary and I slept less than 2 hours in 36.

Gary got sick on the flight and spent some time vomiting in the bathroom. Not cool.  It was the combo of exhaustion and recycled air and lack of food.  Fortunately once we were in Taipei he perked up a bit.  We spent 2 hours in that airport and then took the 2 hour flight to Manila.  It went really well.  Loved that flight.  China Airlines was great, the ladies were all so friendly and helpful to our family.   The benefit of traveling with 3 kids is you get optimal seating and they move you through quickly!
Nya asleep after feeding her and I fill out a million custom forms.  This flight was my favourite.  Ample leg room and Nya slept!!  Let me tell you, by this second flight, Nya was good just feeding and going to sleep.  THANK YOU GOD!!!  So glad to be breastfeeding her even though there were a few people just staring.   She has been feeding sooooooooooooo much.

 Everyone had told us that the Manila airport was crazy but we breezed through our luggage, customs, ATM and taxis within 15 minutes and went to another terminal 15 minutes away.  It was perfect answer to prayer.  Then, we waited in Manila for about 4 hours as our flight was delayed.  We had pizza and the kids raced cars for a long time.  I should note that we did not take a stroller and used the Ergo instead.  This was a very wise decision as she loves to be held and then my other hands were free to hold luggage/kids hands etc.

People have been taking a lot of pictures of our kids. I would say that 90% of people thought Nya was a boy due to being bald.  Koen was a hit in all the airports because he just chats with everyone about everything.  He even smiles his `handsome smile' for photos.  Kai is not as exciting to them but he still sneaks into some photos.
We arrived in Cebu at about 4 pm which is actually 1 am our time!  Jen and her 4 year old daughter, Ella, picked us up and it was so good to see them!  We drove just less than an hour to their home.  So great to see Cebu!  We kept everyone awake for dinner and then we were all in bed and asleep by 7pm ( which was really 4am our time!).  We slept until about 5am which was not bad!  Nya was hungry and fed frequently.  It is weird to wake up in the night feeling really hungry.  We are all sleeping in a giant air conditioned room and it is perfect.  The loud AC means we don't need to tiptoe around :)
Nya and Koen in the playroom.  Koen checking out the chickens outside!  I thought they were roosters because they are the biggest chickens I've ever seen.
Ella showed Kai how to hold a chicken!  It is hot and humid here, I'm assuming low 30's and we just sweat all day but as recommended, just embrace it.  So I do.  Sunday morning, before church, Andrey and Ella took us on their daily walk.  It was really great to see what they do every day.  The kids were tired and hot but such good sports.
It is so hard to take any photos while keeping tabs on the three kids but wow, there are some amazing flowers and butterflies here!  Will have to get a few photos of those.  We walked to the bridge and checked out the goats and river.  This was at 8:30am and we were fully dripping in sweat :)
I felt a strange connection to this goat :)  So cute!
We went to church and it was good to worship in English and Cebuano. It was hot and we were really tired but I love just experiencing everything.  Poor Nya was so tired.  Beyond exhausted.  The boys did go with the kids for a bit.  After church, they had a little coconut milk/rice snack and then we went to a restaurant for lunch.
Yummy chicken and pork.  So so yummy.  Nya was still awake and so exhausted.  

Then we went to a pool for 2 hours.  So nice and refreshing!!  The boys are really improving in their swimming but wow, Ella is amazing!   She is 4 and can swim in the deep end no problem, dive down etc.  I think we have some video of the pool but no photos as I didn't want to take our camera there.  Nya perked up with the pool so that held her off of her nap until we got home. 

 We then picked up a local dessert/drink called Hola Hola.  Coconut, banana, ice, condensed milk etc.  We took them back to their house to drink.
Nya finally got her nap.  It's hard to know how much to go with the flow and how much to push your kids and how much is time change/jet lag etc.   I tried to wake her up 1.5 hours later (love our travel crib so much!!) and she just stayed passed out on our bed.  Poor girl.  Just really trying to get them on the Cebu time. 
Jen has made us some amazing meals (last night chicken tortilla soup and fresh guacamole) and we are so thankful for it! 

Last night was a much better sleep for her as she only fed twice?  The kids were up for the day at 5am.  Working on this.  
Today the plan is to rest at home this morning while Andrey works, Ella has school and Jen goes to several meetings.  I will be doing a photoshoot for 3 hours this afternoon for an organization here.  I'm nervous/excited for it.  I  will be the sweatiest mess ever.   We brought our back up camera along and not a lot of gear so hopefully it goes okay.  I'm thinking the diffuser would've been helpful.   Also, we have our travel laptop which makes editing a bit trickier, we will see!! Gary will be doing a photoshoot this evening in the dark for a street kids ministry. Will be tricky as the sun is down around 6:30pm but should be fun.   

Tomorrow we are off to Moalboal (beach resort).  We are really looking forward to it!

So far I would say that the hardest part was the flight over but being here is just the same as being at home really in regards to having the kids along.  I'm so glad that they are here with us and I'm glad that we are stationed in each place for 3 days or more.  They are still a bit off time wise so a little grumpier than usual but that is totally to be expected.  Koen spends hours racing his cars around :)  Nya loves exploring the home which is so baby friendly and Kai is playing cars with Koen and doing a little reading/DS etc.

Gary and I are getting along well. Phew!  If you could pray for our photo sessions today (I will be with people I don't know in places I don't know!) and also safe travels for tomorrow (2.5 hour drive), that would be awesome. 

Highlights so far:
Kai: chickens
Koen: mangoes
Nya: pool
Gary: seeing the kids explore the culture here
Louise: Just seeing how Jen and Andrey do life here and getting to know Ella better.

Thank you for reading, I def. will only post once per location!

Love, Team Chapman in Cebu, Philippines


  1. Awesome update! Praying for you!

  2. Enjoyed reading about your experiences so far. Best wishes with the photo shoots!

  3. Loving your updates. Makes me feel like I'm adventuring with you :)

  4. Jennifer Begin9:31 PM

    Great stories Lou and, of course, love the pictures!

  5. So exciting. What an adventure. I remember that disgusting flight to Manilla and yuck with 3 kids. Have a great time and we will pray for the photo shoot.

  6. Great to follow along on your adventure. This may make me decide to take the boys with us on our next trip...maybe...

  7. Love hearing about your adventures! You'll be in our prayers!

  8. I am loving these updates so much Louise! Thank you so much for taking the time to do them! It looks so interesting there, I love the photo of Kai and the chicken... too cute. Gary and you are awesome and brave for doing this trip with your little munchkins, but I just know every bit of stress with 3 wee ones will be far outweighed by the experiences and memories you will share!

    Take care!

  9. Sorry that first flight went not so great. glad you're there safely and embracing the humidity! :)

  10. Hope the photo shoots went well and you are all adjusting to the time change:)
    So jealous that you are in south-east asia!!