Saturday, August 6, 2016

Beautiful Baguio

It's the end of another good week, this time in the Philippines. The school is a mile high in the mountains, 247 km by road from Manilla. The first days here, I huffed and puffed my way up the slopes to class. I lost count one day after 110 stairs (plus a steep slope). Altitude is a beast.
The view from my apartment staircase
But I wondered why it was harder this time than last, until an aha moment. Ohhhhh, my faithful carrier is in Indo ... so I had to schlep my 15-lb bag of computer and books myself.
Stairs. And more stairs. Everywhere.
By the end of the week, I'd acclimated somewhat to the elevation and ran 6 flights of stairs without puffing. (I was sightseeing the building - oh what a view over the valleys and townships of Baguio!)

After the Thailand conference in late July, W and I were home for less than a week. Friday, I flew to Singapore and Manilla. The ride to Baguio took over 7 hours. I finished a book about a half-hour before arrival, so was on high alert during the most winding part of the roads up the mountain.

We passed trucks on blind curves, plowed through rain and mud. You don't want to play chicken on the road - except that it seems to be "the way things are"; most of the time, people arrive at their destinations.

The morning view was worth the trip! Here's the week in pictures:
The valley below
I put the key into the door at the flat about 2:30 am Saturday. The driver and the security guard carried in my one small suitcase. I found a warm welcome waiting on the table.

The mangos were so sweet they tasted like candy - and the cornflakes made a great snack when I was craving dessert one night. 
Flowered shrubs on the way to class
Saturday was quiet - I looked over notes and swiped files to a thumb drive for student reference, working and relaxing in equal measure.

Sunday, I was in vited to a church that usually meets in town. They were celebrating their 28th anniversary. 
Temperatures in the 60s: your choice -
to dress for church like summer or winter
We met under shelter on campus, on a basketball court swept by blustery winds as a typhoon blew in from the sea. The wind swept a cloud up the mountainside and through the service, dampening us slightly. 
From the rooftop terrace, 7 storeys up
Clouds roll in each day, obscuring the view completely.
The food was Filipino (very good) and plentiful. Special guests were a YWAM team from Hawaii. They danced, Hawaiian style, for us.

But I was here to teach, not just enjoy the surroundings. Monday to Friday, I slept in until 6 before a breakfast of toast, peanut butter, and fruit in my room. By 7:30, I was out of the door and on the way to teach.
At least 8 countries represented (one student missing here)
Students were in place by 7:45!!! so we'd do some preliminary announcements and discuss their questions. Classroom time was sometimes intense, sometimes relaxed. Their progress over the course of the week surprised and delighted us all.
Class presentations on Thursday and Friday
I kept an open door policy in the evening: as long as I was grading papers, my door stayed open for student questions. Students dropped by every night.

The seminar on completing a Doctoral Project was toughest on those with limited English. I decided to edit and let students redo assignments until they were satisfied. Each morning, I passed out assignments marked the night before. Some students handed in work 3 or 4 times, until they had an outstanding grade.

Every lunch, the cafeteria served up excellent food. But in the evenings, the hospitable faculty treated me to dinner at their houses or local restaurants. They were kind enough to move supper forward to 5:30 so that I could be at my own homework by 7 or 7:30. What fun to meet professors and lecturers from China, USA, New Zealand, Thailand, and beyond. A special treat was time with our friends Weldyn and Barbara Houger.

Chapel services on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday helped center our work. I spoke in chapel on Thursday.
Tuesday's inspiring talk by the seminary president
The internet was sketchy at times so I was out of touch most of the week. But the days were full. Most evenings, the door stayed open until 11 or 12pm. I'd put the papers into my bag for the morning, lock up, and fall into bed to sleep soundly until morning.
From chipper in the morning to ready to sleep at night!
Saturday, the student I am advising (on her doctoral project) cancelled our morning appointment. I happily slept in and spent the morning packing.

What a wonderful lunch with new friends - and long-time friends of friends, Gaylen and Dickey. They've been based here for 15 years, teaching across Asia and Europe. The world seems to shrink as I get older.

I called my afternoon appointment, as requested. They were still out and didn't answer so I snoozed, read, and wrapped up classwork. I'm on my way to the Manilla airport tonight. I'll fly back to Singapore and Indonesia, starting at 6am tomorrow morning.

How I'll miss the warmth of the people, the energy of the classroom, and the beauty of Baguio.

Read more:
*Steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. Psalm 32:10

*A verse that encouraged us in class one morning: 
This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it--the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:2-3 NIV

*Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. John 16:24

Moravian Prayer: Gracious Lord, you have given all for our sins. The world needs you; and we, your humble servants, are tasked with sharing your love and grace. Lord, help us not only to be grateful, but also to share your love with those we encounter. Amen.

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