Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tidings of Sadness and Joy



On December 22, a fire started on the third floor of the NCCC Mall in Davao. One of my former students, Maryjoy whose wedding I attended just before I left Davao in August, was trapped on the fourth floor. All day (which was their night) on the 23rd, I waited along with many others to hear news, praying and checking Facebook every free moment with high hopes that plummeted with each passing hour. "No survivors." was the cold announcement as the snow began to fall here in Nebraska. How do I process this grief when I'm so far away, in a often foreign environment? A poem:

Tidings of Sadness and Joy

by S. Farlin

Here, a blanket of cold and white
There, you were wrapped by inferno.
Now black tints our world with grief,
Sorrow piled on top of joy.

Last we met you were clothed in white
A resplendent bride.
Dimples and hugs, kindness and love, 
Hope was embodied in Mary.

Waiting for confirmation,
Waiting for His advent.
Anticipating the Good News,
Fearing the worst.

For unto us a Child is born
And from us a daughter was taken.
Death I feel your sting, 
But the Son came and brought victory.

Jesus be the center as we journey
Through all these extremes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

First 30 Days in Nebraska



Transitions are a regular and repeating part of my life. They come and go in waves and sometimes overwhelm me. As I was wrapping up things in Davao and preparing to live in the US for a year of home assignment, I wanted to prepare my heart and mind as well. I decided to post a small insight or observation from the day on Facebook to record my journey for my last 30 days at home and then for my first 30 days in Nebraska. Here's a collection of what I wrote: #first30days

Day 1 of being back in the US: Glad to be able to help my sister mow the lawn. Almost feels like I've always lived here.

Day 2 in NE: It's impossible to instinctively know what time it is when it's cold (< 80 F) all day and the sun doesn't go down til almost 9 pm...oh and you're jetlagged.

Day 4 of furlough: Hanging out with siblings is nice!

Day 5: Belly laughs that end with tears in my eyes

Day 6 in NE: According to a local, Haiti and the Philippines are the same place. LOL!

Day 8 at "home": Craft night helped me to settle in and not feel like I'm living out of a suitcase.

No automatic alt text available.

9th day of furlough: Helping siblings with yard work, they're sweating and I'm enjoying myself.

Image may contain: one or more people, plant, tree, sky, child, outdoor and nature

Day 10 in NE: Who knew that you could buy a fishing license online while out on the water?

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, child, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Day 12 aka Day 42 of transition: Connecting my phone isn't as easy as buying a SIM card load at the sari-sari store. #imissglobe

14 days since I left Davao: Finding a daily or weekly routine is harder when you don't have a class schedule.

15th day in NE: It's so quiet here that I can clearly hear my stomach growling.

16 days since I left Davao: Each day there are moments where it feels like a friend from the other half of my world should be by my side or I should be by their side. Time and distance don't negate those connections but they do make my heart hurt.

Day 18: Saw a partial solar eclipse in Davao in 2016 & a total eclipse in NE today. Living globally does have perks!

Day 20 away from Davao: I miss the warmth of the tropics.


Day 23 back home: I do love the beauty of a big sky!

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Day 27: Today I cleaned out the kitchen...oops, she doesn't belong in the trash!

Image may contain: 1 person

Day 29: It's so refreshing and comforting to spend time with good friends from my other life on this side of the world.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, beard, outdoor and closeup

30th day in NE = 60th day of transition: At the State Fair viewing the animals and walking around in a SEA of red t-shirts...yep I'm definitely in Nebraska.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, outdoor

Friday, August 18, 2017

Last 30 Days in Davao


Transitions are a regular and repeating part of my life. They come and go in waves and sometimes overwhelm me. As I was wrapping up things in Davao and preparing to live in the US for a year of home assignment, I wanted to prepare my heart and mind as well. I decided to post a small insight or observation from the day to record my journey for my last 30 days at home. Here's a collection of what I wrote. #last30days


30 days til I leave Davao for NE: I will miss small hardware stores manned by a smiling tindera.

29 days til I leave Davao: Finding community and connections where you thought that they had withered away.

28 days til I leave: Even an honest to goodness "see-ya-later" causes me to tear up.

27 days til I leave: I will miss 🛌 💤 during in the 🌴

25 days left: Supper sorted for less than 120 pesos ($2.50)!

Image may contain: food and indoor

24 days left until my departure: I will miss my motorcycle that gives me freedom to go anywhere, and I'll even miss the funny looks I get when people realize that a white girl is driving.

23 days left till I leave Davao: Loss reminds me that things that seem permanent aren't, so I need to
 put my hope in my eternal God.

21 days til I leave Davao: Sari-sari stores--a perfect place to pick up the garlic I forgot to add to the market list and to strike up a conversation with a neighbor.

19 days until furlough starts: An early start to a long day at school is more bearable when there's others to work with and time with good friends to end the day.

18 days til furlough in NE: Nearly empty closets make me feel both accomplished and empty inside.

Image may contain: people standing and indoor

16 days to furlough: Caught in the middle of "I'm leaving so I need to pass tasks on to the next person," and "There's so much to be done and I'm not gone yet."

15 days left until I leave Davao for a years furlough: Half way there! I will miss serving parents and colleagues.

14 days left: In transition, alone-ness rears it's ugly head and it stinks! But I'm so thankful for the multiple communities I belong to!

Day 12: Like a tongue returns to a new filling, so my thoughts seem to always come back around to "Is this the last time I'll ever get to...?"

11 days until I leave: Last night in my house. What a blessing this place has been!

Day 9: Even a LONG day on little sleep in the midst of a depressing circumstance feels less burdensome when you can laugh with friends!

8 days left until I board a plane: There's nothing like a good cry to tire you out and to make the world seem better.

6 days til furlough: Enjoying the pool at the end of the day. Thankful for friends who let me use their extra bedroom by the pool.
Image may contain: pool and outdoor

5 days (or is it 4 since it's after midnight?): Genuine care is a 3 course (2nd two shown here) meal painstakingly and lovingly cooked just to treat me!

Image may contain: foodImage may contain: food and indoor

4 days to go before getting on an airplane: The chaos of packing is real!

Image may contain: shoes and indoor

2 days left: One last ride home in the rain, the kind of rain where you are soaked in less than 2 seconds.

TODAY I leave Davao for a 1 yr furlough in NE: So thankful for my 16 years here and the lives that have impacted mine. Who knows what the next 30 days will hold?