New Routines: Part 2 - Skillful Cook
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New Routines: Part 2


So this is the point in my life where I share my crazy new habits on the internet.


Routine #5: This cereal. All the time, every day. Period. It has real (like, REAL) chocolate inside each little piece and a funny dog on the box. So basically it's a dream come true.

Fourres chocolate cereal in a bowl.

PS. Yes, it's French. (Le is French, right?) I have no idea why this is in Cebu.

Two men pose for a photo in front of stairs.

Routine #6: Snacks for the guards. And judging by the size difference that I'm just now noticing in the picture, I'm sure they think we are giving them snacks to try to make them ginormous like us.

Our apartment building has armed guards on duty 24/7. There are two guards: Ryan and Romeo. They are champs. They work 12 hour shifts EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. and they are always smiling, so I like to give them snacks. Cupcakes, cookies, bread, muffins, mango cake, and other sugary carbs can communicate things across language barriers, I think. Things like “THANK YOU FOR BEING AMAZING.”

Routine #7: Singing the goodbye song. Several little ones have already left to be with their forever families, and hopefully there will be more in the next 11 months. It's altogether exciting and happy and sad and hope-filled.

I am not big on choral singing, but singing along with 80 kids to send off an adoptive family is always really precious.

Chocolate chip cookie on a plate.

Routine #8: Washing my feet. This is one of those ones where I don't have a picture for it so I include a random one. When in doubt, bring out the cookie picture. Recipe -> Friday.

I walk around wearing sandals or open toed shoes all day and the streets here in the Philippines are just a wee bit dirty.

My absolute rule that can never ever ever ever ever ever be broken: WASH YOUR FEET BEFORE GETTING IN BED.

A busy, multiple-level mall filed with people at night.

Routine #9: This one is my favorite: Ayala Date Night. Ayala is the big mall here in Cebu, and friends, I will openly admit to you that I love the American-ness of this place. The great restaurants, high-end shops, bookstores, coffee shops, and fancy things like fountains and toilet paper in the bathrooms are well worth the 30 minute taxi ride (which could soon become a 30 minute moped ride! - stay tuned).

Sometimes the noise, poverty, and hotness of Cebu is overwhelming, but just one night in the sparkly, air-conditioned mall can make me feel like a new woman.

Lindsay and Bjork smiling and a tray of sushi and wasabi.

In case you were wondering, the only store I've ever bought anything in is a giant Wal-Mart-esque store called Metro, which makes me hate myself. I have yet to make it out of the mall without buying something from Metro. It's a disease. But this is not about Metro.

This is about sitting in the air conditioning, overeating something delicious, and reliving the week's events with my favorite guy. Re-charge time.

A young mother holds a little girl and sits by another little girl.

Routine #10: Girl talk. So maybe “talk” is more like exchanging one word phrases, but what I'm trying to say is that I could really do this every day and never get tired of it.


Thanks for checking in on ye ol' Skillful Cook, guys! Your comments and emails saturate my social sponge and make me smile. 🙂 Happy Monday and Happy Week!

Filed Under: Living Abroad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t remember how I found your blog but I find it interesting! You see, I grew up in the US but my parents are from the Philippines. When I visited there as a kid, I hated it! The heat, poverty, mosquitos (my bites would swell) and dirt didn’t make me like it so much considering that I came from (at the time) the wealthy USA. I think it’s better now in the PI (more jobs from companies outsourcing) but I still don’t think I can live there like you and your husband!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      It’s so interesting to hear from people who have been here! We are definitely spoiled by our American lifestyle. It’s pretty humbling! Do you think you’ll ever come back?

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    The feet rule….YES! I remember in college watching all the hippie freaks walk around campus with no shoes on (one of which lived across the hall from me) and then get in their beds without any sort of cleaning routine. His sheets were literally black from dirt. I cringe thinking of that. If it’s a no shower night, you’ll find me washing my feet in the tub before bed. It just needs to be done.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    This post really made me smile…the guards, the goodbye song, and girl talk 🙂 Love that last photo 🙂

    Ayala date night! That made me laugh out loud! You are not alone…millions of Filipinos all over the country are in love with the “American-ness” of the malls (especially the Ayala malls)!

    Feet washing before bed…yes, yes, and yes!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s been wonderful reading your posts day by day and seeing you become more and more at home there. I’m so happy for you. When it’s time to leave, you won’t want to go!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, that’s such a lovely post. I love hearing about your everyday routines especially as they are so different and interesting.
    You are very inspiring.
    I love that you chat to the girls even if you can’t speak the same language. I am realising with my 1 year old baby how easy it is to communicate without even speaking the same language. You can read most of what you are saying through body language and tone of voice. We also do baby language which helps loads.
    I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I LOVE that last picture! What sweet girls! All 3 of them!!! 🙂

    So fun to hear about your adventures in Cebu!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Aw, thanks Melissa! 🙂 The biggest girl’s pony tail is not so cute… but I appreciate that you overlooked that part.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love how you give your guards snacks. So sweet of you and your hubby. My favorite picture is of the girl talk. SO adorable. Kids are the best to talk to sometimes. They are so innocent and cute.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Are you sure you want to come home again (see #10 – be careful what you say, if you want to come back again)?

      Just wanted to drop you a line, even if you don’t know me… because when I know what you are going through, I shoot up a little prayer for you.

      Oh – and I, too, am a believer of clean feet before going to bed. 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Yes, I’m sure I want to come back. I may have 15 kids in my suitcase, but I’ll be coming back. 😀 And thank you for your sweet comment – I so appreciate your thoughts and prayers, Cat!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love your updates!! When I lived in the Dominican Republic, we always fed our “watchees” tons. On the other hand, we also made him chase out bats & rats!!!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m an expat in Singapore and just love reading your posts about Cebu! So good to hear from someone going through similar experiences 🙂 Good luck with the posting – it gets better.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    thank you for sharing and making us smile. you are doing wonderful things.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love reading your blog! I truly hope we can work something out when school starts up here. Enjoy your new routines and delight in this wonderful experience!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    That last picture is absolutely adorable and priceless! You speak of your time with such compassion and honesty. I always look forward to reading the posts!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Seeing the photo of the family with their son makes my heart sing. It reminds me of when we picked up my son Eli in Guatemala. Its truly is a magical experience.

    That photo of you with those little girls is priceless. It really shows the bond that you have already developed with these kids and the ease you have with them. I SO want to go over there and adopt these kids. Maybe someday, you never know.

    Anyway, I truly enjoy these posts.

    BTW, were heading to MN on the 11th to visit my husband’s family. Were going to take the kids to Sebastian joes and on some walks around the lakes and maybe even take them to a funky restaurant uptown!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      great blog 🙂

      try sunburst chicken at the mall. wonderful wonderful fried chicken. if your in the mood for something of the sort.

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          wait what? they have curry? 😮

          their chicken skin is to die for. no really.. you will die early hahahaha! but its worth trying at least once.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    oh ye old pinch of yum 🙂 makes me miss you and your humor! thinking about you and Bjork!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m fairly new to your blog so I’ve been catching up on older posts. I love and thank you so much for your recipes and great photos! You are precious and I look forward to your posts so much! This post is especially sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed it! XOXO

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    i love your blog. 1. how do you stay so skinny with all this good food
    2. now i want to learn how to cook 3. i have three children and wanting a fourth. now i am considering adoption 4. i was born in NYC and from time to time went to school in the philippines. at first i read your posts defensively but now I am at awe if you as a human being and i hope my daughter (she’s 7…lol) grows up to be like you. i want her to live the life of service while still following and living her dreams.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I learned from past experience and and during the test of time that it takes adjusting to new mental habits in order to achieve more than “side hustle millionaire” status.