Home for the Year - Skillful Cook
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Home for the Year


This is the view that I’m looking at right now.

I have a fan two inches from my face.

I just ate a mango and leftover airplane snacks for breakfast.

I woke up to at least 100 roosters crowing.

My hair is triple the size of my head.

I flushed a bug down the toilet and it broke.

So I guess we’re here!

Street in Cebu.

{the road leading up to our apartment}

Cebu is a big city with a breathtaking mountainous, tropical landscape and several modern establishments like the lovely Ayala Mall. That’s where I spent my ATM maximum yesterday to buy some essentials, like a classy white plastic table, a large fan (the one that’s two inches from my face), and a rice cooker. Riiiiiiicey.

But most of this city is not modern. In contrast with the beautiful landscape and modern parts of the city, there is an overwhelming amount of poverty.

You know when you “know” something, but then you really don’t know it until you actually experience it?

That’s kind of how it has been.

I think that because I had seen the poverty through the window of a van when I came 4 years ago, I thought I knew what it was like here. But we are LIVING here now, living amongst poverty that I am realizing I really know nothing about. The way of life for most people here is so extremely different than how I live my Western life at home.

I think I underestimated how overwhelming it would be.

But sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I try to focus on why we came, which was to support an organization that rescues homeless kids and gives them a chance to be a part of a family. And speaking of that organization, I could probably write a whole post on what is happening there and the sweet kids who call it home. But I’ll save that for next time.

Bjork and CSC Kids.

Thank you for your interest in what we're doing and thank you for waiting patiently for food posts. Believe me, I'm eating, but most of it is coming out of a wrapper, box, or bag right now. It will take me a week or two to get my feet settled in the kitchen but I am excited to share some yummy new foods with you!

Your thoughts and prayers and comments and emails are so appreciated! And if you could especially pray for the toilet to get fixed, that would be good. Really good.

Man and woman wearing glasses smiling.

Filed Under: Living Abroad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    What an amazing journey you are on! I am really looking forward to reading about your experience and think it is such a blessing to have you there helping to care for those children. Best wishes and prayers for a life changing year! ( and for a working toilet!!!!!)

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi there in Cebu!! This is an experience of a lifetime and you will have so much to write about & share! I look forward to all you see while you are there! Can’t wait to get some of the recipes in English!!! I know you are a blogger, but I hope you also journal… so much to take in!!! Will definitely keep you in my prayers!! (I am assuming this is missionary work, right?) All to bring glory to Him!!! God bless!!!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Still amazed at your adventurous and willing hearts and looking forward to every post. The kids are precious! Prayers for that toilet too.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. What you guys are doing is amazing and undoubtedly life changing. Good luck getting settled in your new home and new kitchen. Look forward to hearing about each step in your adventure.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    your pics are just great. Am sureyou will have to work at getting settled ,wont be to easy . Just a task for me toget settled in my home ,and it is a palace . God give you the strength right decisions ,health , mybe a little comfort ,AND A FIXED STOOL. be nice to Bjork. I do appretiate the pics and messages .God be very near you. Love gm,R

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so awestruck that you’ve moved to the Philippines, and for such an admirable reason as well. I was so excited when I first heard mention of my country on your blog, as I’ve been a quiet follower for quite a while now! And to be updated on your big move has been so great. Wishing you all the best in your new home, and sending all the positivity in the universe.

    Have a blast! xx

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ditto to all above. Do keep a daily journal and re-capture the week here. The upside here is that years ago, you would have had to write on paper and wait six weeks to hear a reply from someone. At least through all the poverty you have access to the world.
      BTW, the photo of the two of you says everything.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I only recently started following your blog and I’m finding this new adventure so fascinating! It’s probably something that all of us should do sometime in our lives to really appreciate the abundance we have in the western world.
    You really are doing something very special!!!
    Hope that toilet is fixed already and that your rice cooker and fan don’t overload the power!

    Lisa x

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ll pray for you, Bjork and Lindsey! You’re in the midst of a very good thing and it’ll just keep getting more interesting. Life changing stuff. Plus I hope the toilet gets fixed soon. Love from Omaha!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Welcome home!
    And I’m loving seeing more photos of my “friend” and her husband with these travel posts!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m so glad you are posting other than just food. Although I truly enjoy your blogs of food b/c they are so yummy and delicious, it is nice to see what life is really like somewhere else! I think it keeps us thankful for what we have here in “Western” civilization when we visit or live in other countries. I have never lived outside of the States but have visited other not so fortunate country’s and listen to my sister’s stories when she lived in Panama for 18 mo. It seems like a completely different world. So thanks for your other posts. I will keep you and your husband in my prayers as well as those who you are working with. Best of lucky. Ya’ll will bless so many lives!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,I enjoyed reading your post and hope your toilet is working now. I know you have a lot to offer in your new home. You will be greatly missed at Edgerton and I look forward to reading you blog.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yeah!! I’m so glad that you made it there safely!
    I know that God is going to use both of you to bless the kids you come in contact with! And I’m pretty sure He is going to do some great things IN each of you as well!!
    Bless you!!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    So glad you are there safe & sound and settling in!! About the toilet… hope they told you – don’t flush anything that doesn’t come out of your body!!! I know we westerners cant imagine not flushing toilet paper…its called toilet paper for goodness sake!! But the plumbing in third world countries just cant take it!!! One of the goof thing about not flushing the t.p. is that you can let the yellow mellow and therefore save several flushes!! Believe me, when you have fragile plumbing every flush counts!
    As for the poverty you are soooo right. We cannot imagine…our poverty & their poverty are still worlds apart!!
    As my daughter said when she came back from
    Nicaragua at the age of 13, “yes they are really, super poor – but they don’t know it mom. And they are happy in a way we never will be.” Out of the mouths of babes…
    As for me – while I LOVE the food posts they can wait – I am excited to hear all about the work you’ll be doing there!!! I am so envious of you!!! You are so very fortunate to be able to be doing His work in such a place with these special children!! I’ll be praying for you all!!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your view is awesome! I love your view! I love that you share your view with us! These posts about your current home are beautiful and make my travel bug do a its travel bug dance. Thanks and keep em coming!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    You rock for doing this, and I’m sure the creativity that drives your cooking will sustain you through whatever trials you face. Good luck!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    It has always amazed me since the first time I went to a third-world country the kind of poverty people can live in. Then I see it here too, and I think that we need more people like you throughout the world. There is so much to be done and not enough people who are able to give up their lives to help others. I do what I can, but I know I can’t do what you are doing.

    I came to this site for the food, but honestly, that can wait. I am inspired by your journey and I so look forward during the course of this year to see through your eyes.

    I also don’t think i’m alone in asking if there is a way to donate to help the cause you are working towards.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    What an adventure Linds! Can’t wait to read more. Prayers for you on this exciting journey!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your blog! Enjoy Cebu it’s an amazing city. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years as a child and loved every minute of it. Have an amazing journey what u r doing is truly awesome. If you have a chance visit bork ay while you are there! Walang yelo was my first Tagalog phrase….No Ice!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We are certainly hoping to explore some areas outside of Cebu including Boracay! And we’ve steered clear of ice, although I think there may have been some ice in our Coke Float from Jollibee yesterday… oopps… 🙂 Crossing our fingers that we slowly get acclimated to that kind of stuff!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    So excited to be following your adventures in Cebu! What an amazing adventure you are on and God’s blessings to you as you “stretch yourself” in this scary, but exciting new land. I look forward to your new posts and we will be praying for you at home and Renovation!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’m also new to your blog and am amazed at the adventure you are starting. What a wonderful cause–the photo of the kids speaks volumes.

      Best of luck with the plumbing!