A Day in This Life - Skillful Cook
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A Day in This Life

Cebu City, Philippines.

All In a Day's Work

5:30 am – Go running. And by running, I mean dodging stray dogs, motorcycles, roosters, trash, and suspicious puddles on the main street through town for about 3 minutes before calling it quits.

6:00 am - Eat breakfast (today I had cold brown rice + cold oatmeal + milk and honey and it was delicious), shower, get ready, and above all else, avoid blowdrying hair.

6:55 am – Commute via Jeepney. It's about a 30 second commute.


8:30 am – Start school.

Children of Hope School Students.

11:30 am - Lunch time. And thank goodness Jollibee delivers.

Jollibee - Chicken and Rice.

4:15 pm - Walk home. On the way home, make a pit stop for rice, produce, Oreos, and other essentials.

4:30 pm – Carry groceries home on a busy street full of people, ignoring comments made about my nose and ignoring the fact that every item of clothing on my body is saturated with sweat.

4:45 pm - Get home and bleach produce.

Bleaching Vegetables in a bowl.

(Sidenote on the bleaching: at the recommendation of other Americans living in Cebu as well as doctors back home in the States, we soak all fresh produce in a large bowl of water with a capful of bleach added to it. It sits for about 5 minutes and then it gets rinsed off with regular tap water. How this works is a mystery to me and I'd like to stop doing it because it's ruined a few of my shirts. Plus it just seems weird. But then I heard about someone living in Cebu who got a nice fungus on his face from eating a mango straight from the market. So I think I'll keep bleaching.)

6:00 pm – Dinner at home, dinner with the staff, dinner with visitors and adoptive parents, or kids' birthday dinners (yes, they celebrate all 83 birthdays). I love dinner. I love food.

Birthday Party at Children's Shelter of Cebu.

7:00 pm – Refrigerated chocolate + blog stuff.

8:00 pm – Cuteoverload.com and other good uses of time.

9:00 pm – Skype time, phone time, I-wish-I-could-hug-you-through-the-computer time.

Skyping with friends.

10:00 pm – The nightly roach patrol. This particular fellow was making his home under our bed, so we do not take this lightly.

The process of finding and killing a cockroach.

10:15 pm – Go to bed and dream about being on this beach. Forever. The End.

Beautiful sand and ocean view.
Filed Under: Living Abroad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I hope the comment about your nose was about how it’s adorable. Otherwise they were lying through their teeth. Cold rice and honey actually sounds really good – even here in the states, and I think I would be terrified to run there. Just sayin’. Totally don’t blame you for giving up after 3 minutes!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      No worries, it was a compliment. 😉 Still weird, coming from a stranger on the street. But a compliment nonetheless.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is a classic personal journal blog post!.. And I like those quadrants, the one with the hilarious “safe zone” — classic photos too.

    I’m not a food or photography enthusiast but I’m a fan of genuine life-experiences narratives such as these.

    I don’t know about other readers but this post is a great artwork by itself, one that cleverly interweaves a story, some excellent photography, the entertainment element, moods and emotions, etc. What makes it even more beautiful is the sense of contrast as well as purpose — how you’re enduring images # 1, 2, 7 and 8, for instance, for images #3 and 6 (the kids).


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I should have called it a compliment. It was something like, “Hello friend, I like your nose!” shouted at me over the roar of traffic. 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    The way you describe the Philippines is exactly how my parents describe it. The crazy streets, the hot weather, and the bugs that put the American variety to shame. Kudos for making the best out of every situation.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I lived in Hawaii for several years, and roach patrol was very common there! However it made us be super good about not leaving dirty laundry on the floor (not that that’s a usual habit! ha ha) Because, well I’m sure you get the picture!! UGH! I feel your pain!!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m a bit of a pansy for that life! 🙁 You must appreciate the little things so much more than I do. Thanks for reminding us of how much we have. I can’t wait to hear more about how much they have too. I know often times people growing up in poverty have a love and joy that outshines the average American’s….

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I am a total pansy for this life. But it’s kinda sink or swim at this point, so we try to laugh and make the best of it! Otherwise I’d wither up and die in about 2 seconds. 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a culture shock, huh? You guys are so brave, and such good examples of trusting God and allowing him to guide you in making these huge life decisions.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a change of pace!
    It really makes you appreciate the little things we take forgranted every day. You are doing amazing work! Enjoy all those birthdays!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      They are so special! I feel like I’m about to cry every time they sing happy birthday and pray for the birthday kiddo.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        The birthday picture that you’ve shared makes me tear up – it’s so sweet!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Those darn birthdays get me every time. Maybe by the time I leave I will be able to make it through one without getting emotional. Either that or it will be worse. 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am guessing the population do not have much of a nose, or a least they are on the flat side???

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    You crack me up! I love all of your posts about your experiences in your new home for the year. It seems like you’re making the most of what would probably be unbearable for most of us! Keep these awesome posts coming. P.S. Your nose is super cute, as are you! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      REALLY!?!? That makes me feel so much better to know that you have roaches in your nice, clean home. Maybe we’re not as far gone as we think we are. 🙂 On the other hand… sorry to hear about the roach. GAG.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    One of the staff here was just telling us some horror stories about a seafood buffet that put him in the hospital for 4 days thanks to the clams. I think I will avoid the shellfish. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Every night, when I tuck my kids into bed, I recite what has become our tradition. It seems that you could use a nice “tucking in.” So, here you are: “You are brave and you’re strong and you’re sweet and you’re smart and I am so proud to be your friend. If you need me, I will come for you. Good night. I love you. I will miss you until the morning. Your mom loves you. Your dad loves you. God loves you even more.”
    Sweet dreams and peace, dear friend

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Amazing post. You do so well at capturing the images and feelings and just conveying what life there is like for you. I am such a pansy and just can’t even imagine trading my normal suburban American life to go there. My hubby wants to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia and I just can’t bring myself to go along.
    I look forward to hearing more about your work there in the Philippines.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t know if he told you yet, but Bjork and I are starting a roach killing business when y’all get back to the states. 🙂

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve never been to The Philipines, but I have several friends from there and your description seems spot on. Also, the expat experience that you describe reminds me of my life in Santiago, Chile. Granted that Chile will soon be the first developed country of Latin America, there are still certain similar things in how we go about our day. I always find it fascinating to connect with other expats from the States living in other parts of the world. I, like you, dream of being able to be on the beach everyday. Okay, so it’s winter here and the water is pretty cold, but that would be my ideal life 😉

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I started following your blog recently, like last month, and I have to say I get SO excited when you have a new post. Now I get even more excited when you have a new post about your new life.

    I have many roach horror stories due to lots of traveling, but my latest one was a bathroom roach the size of my palm while I was on Green Island, Taiwan (which is extremely lush and tropical).

    I cried on my bed made of rock hard wood for 10 minutes and listened while my brother and his wife closed the door to the tiny bathroom and attempted to kill ONE roach for 10 MINUTES. At one point I actually heard my sister-in-law cry out with equal admiration and frustration “look at that, he’s so smart!” Eeeyeah, horrifying.

    So I feel ya sister, but like you said “it’s sink or swim” and it’s you or the roach so you gotta do what you have to.

    Take care, and I look forward to all your future posts!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This seriously made me laugh out loud for like 3 minutes. It is so horrible and awesome at the same time. 🙂 Have you traveled to the Philippines? Do you travel for work or just for fun? Thanks for your comment, Torri!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Well I’m glad I could make you laugh! No, I travel just for fun (would LOVE to travel for work) and I have never been to the Philippines, but it’s on my list! My brother lives in Okinawa and was living in Taiwan at the time I went to visit him, so it was awesome to travel Taiwan with a local.
        Take care of yourself and keep up the defenses! haha.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Loved having this little peek into your life in Cebu…and it’s always nice to see a foreign perspective, especially when it is both honest and heartfelt 🙂 Where is that beach? Have you visited Bantayan island (it’s a ferry ride from Cebu)? It’s really lovely!

    A husband/partner that is a fearless roach killer is in high demand over here you lucky girl! He killed it with that small knife and big smile?? I’m impressed!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ha! The big smile was just for the camera. And the beach picture is at Alegre Beach Resort, just an hour or two north of Cebu. We have heard that Bantayan is beautiful… we’ll have to check it out! 🙂

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Glad to hear your transition is going pretty well, and Jollibee for lunch, very cool! Have you tried the local chicharon and Cebu’s lechon yet? And enjoy the beaches, nothing like a weekend at the beach!