Well kids it is story time here in this small corner of the internet I call my blog. So grab some milk, your blanky, and take a seat as I give you a couple stories from the Philippine trip.
I'm standing in a bookstore checking out the classics section. I'm hoping to pick up one of the great Russian novels, but no luck. While I'm standing there scanning the shelves, I notice that they are playing the hits of Richard Marx on the speakers. As one who enjoys the works of Marx almost too much, I found myself singing audibly, "Oceans apart day after day..." I soon noticed a young girl staring at me rather oddly, which I dismissed due to my rather large size in comparison and not because of my knowledge of all the lyrics. Very soon, she walked by again followed by a friend who was also singing along, "Can't you see it baby..." I would have thought it odd, until yet another customer walked by with "where ever you go" exiting his mouth. I had to laugh, and wonder what is it about this anthem that caused us all to sing along? Was it that we were each hoping someone out there was aware we were "Right Here Waiting" or was it just a catchy tune littered with cheesy lyrics that beg to be sung? But before I got to deep in thought, my mouth began spewing, "we used to walk down by the river..."
The purpose of the trip was to build home with Habitat For Humanity for some of the homeless people in Tagaytay City. One of the people we met had a great job working at Clark Air Base until Mount Pinatubo erupted destroying 4,979 homes and damaged another 70,257. The Americans pulled out of the base, and all the Filipinos lost their jobs. Like many others, he had to leave an area he called home and has been living in various situations that are not pleasant. He recently was kicked out of an apartment he rented for the equilivant of $20 a month. For the last few months he has been working with Habitiat to copmlete his sweat equity. Until Thursday he had no home to call his own for his wife and child to live in. It was an honor to be a part of the dedication of his new home.
Here in Korea, Seoul National University is regarded as the top school, and those who attend are the lucky few. Well, we found out that the hole for the septic tank was started by a group from SNU, but abandoned as the volcanic rock in the ground was too tough to dig through. As our team had doubled the size of the whole, I wanted to encourage them by telling them that some college students from Seoul National couldn't even do this. But when I told them this, some students informed me that the students at Seoul National are known for "being smart, not strong."
It was meal time on flight back home and the choice was beef or fish. Well, by the time they got around to me, the beef was gone. The nice flight attendant offered me the fish, but I've seen Airplane! and don't take those risks. She said she would double check to see if there were more beef. A few minutes she came back and asked me if I would like shrimp instead. I agreed and ate well. When someone in my row noticed my meal, I uttered, "you got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them."
Well, that will do it for today's story time. Soon, I'll give you some excerpts from a speech I gave during my time in the Philippines. Until then, "Hold on to the night, hold on to the memories..."