A Philippines Birthday

Alrighty! As of yesterday, I’m 27 years old. And I have peace like a river in my soul, even though I’m getting wrinkles from laughing so much around these kids.

Hallelujah is right.

On Saturday, we headed out of town with some friends on the motorcycle. I took this picture from the road. Beeeautiful!

Beautiful ocean view.

And this one, too. This was about the time I stopped feeling anything from the waist down and thought about letting my backpack “slip off” my back. Three hours on a motorcycle is basically the same as a workout. Don’t even argue that.

Shadows of people riding on a motor bike.

These are our biker gang friends, Brad and Kirstin. They’re from California which is why I chose a cool California-esque filter for their photo. They are living in Cebu for a year just like us, working with some really cool ministries like an at-risk birthing clinic, public hospitals, and programs for street kids. They also do video, and they do it well.

People with helmets standing near the street.

We stayed at a cute little place that was built kind of into a mini-cliff over the water. We loved it, although I did see one lizard in our room but how weird is it that I no longer fully freak out about these things? I think I’ve lost my true self somewhere along the way.

This was the place where we went swimming, right off the mini-cliff. Specks = us going for a romantic swim. And by romantic I mean sunburn paranoia, jellyfish stings, and fear of everything that moves in water. I am really fun to swim with.

Ocean water.

And these are the Kawasan falls.

Well, these aren’t the falls yet. This is the little river we walked along to get to the falls. You can’t really see it in this picture, but there’s a woman washing clothes in this river. The quiet sounds, the simplicity, and the fresh air of this place was so sweetly refreshing from the chaos of the city.

River running through the jungle.

THESE are the actual falls. I tried realllly hard to get a picture of the falls without a random person swimming in the photo, but no such luck. This man was intent on floating in one place for ten minutes.

Waterfall.

Annnd then I had more chocolate chip cookie brownies. I just didn’t want you to forget about them or anything.

Dessert bars.

There was driving, driving, and more driving.

Two people wearing helmets.

Followed by an absolutely breathtaking birthday lunch. Seriously still can’t believe that was real.

People sitting at a table.

We were only in this little beach town for one night, but that’s all you need to get one of these delicious sunsets.

Ocean view during sunset.

And then there’s this.

The most heart-tugging thing of my whole weekend was a homemade photo book given to me by one of my students. She made this construction paper-ribbon-sticker-photo book with all her beloved crafting materials and her very own photos. The thing about this that gets me is that these girls don’t have lots of crafty supplies to work with. They have a handful photos that belong to them, a few stickers, and they keep all of it in their only safe and private place: under their mattresses.

When I saw that she had used her cutest, newest, and most prized Angry Birds stickers on every page of this book, my heart just burst, in a happy thankful completely humbled way.

What a gift these kids are to the world.

Birthday Book.

I was far from home and missing all my friends and family, but it was a supremely happy and memorable birthday. Thank you for all your wishes and I hope you all had a great weekend, too, wherever in the world you were.

PS. I have a hugely huge quinoa decision to make. Help?

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