As the tropical weather continues here in Iowa, the floodgates have opened on our memories from our time in the Philippines or the "P.I." as we used to call the islands south of Taiwan. We experienced so many adventures packed into the 22 months we lived there.
I think the recent weather and flashbacks influenced our shopping at the grocery store. We came home with a watermelon, grapes and mangoes. They have all been refreshing, but the mangoes were delicious! We did not find a pineapple but I remember trying to grow them in our yard while living there.
Thinking about food, I remember the black market while living in Angeles City. Often items from the Base Exchange would end up there. We avoided going there, except for one time when we were having ham for a holiday meal. In my family ham was never served without a cherry sauce made with cherries, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A substitute for me became pie cherries to which I added the spices. There was none to be found on the base, so Joel took a risk and went to the black market coming home with one cherished can of pie cherries at 10 times the price! Being 18 hours by plane and an ocean away from our loved ones was not easy, but having a traditional inner holiday dinner seemed to bring them closer that day.
Speaking of dinners, I remember one meal we ate and then hurried off to church, not taking the time to sweep the floor before we left. We came home to a dining room crawling with hundreds of ants. You could not keep the bugs out of the house no matter what you did.....you just tried to manage them in some way. Usually that meant doing your weekly cleaning every day (hence the help) and also keeping a supply of several cans of Raid around, which now makes me shudder to think about! One time we were checking on the kids in their beds and Joel asked me if I had put a new knob on the closet door. When this new "knob" started to move I went and got the Raid and sprayed it. It was a huge roach which then fell on the floor. I covered it with a paper cup and it moved the cup across the floor as it attempted to escape. Those flying roaches were so big and ugly that for a very long time after returning to the states I would jump whenever a fly or any other insect with wings would pass by. Like the weather, I do not miss the bugs. They never seemed to bother those from the P.I. ~~I expect they were just used to them being around. I am sure we provided entertainment with our over the top reactions to the roaches, rice beetles, and other insects. Okay, enough talk on that subject!
As I said before, it was an unwritten policy for us in the military to hire local Filipinos to help out. It was difficult for us to adjust to having a live-in maid, but we were blessed with a feisty young woman named Ampharo who taught us a great deal about living on an island in the Pacific and also how to manage having a maid, house boy, sew girl and a hired guard. She also Amphy was a blessing and we got to know her family and eventually her husband and baby very well. We kept in touch for many years after we returned and then as we moved and they moved we lost contact.
I am not sure any of you readers are finding this interesting, but it has been fun for me to reminisce and reflect on those years. Even so, I am ready for the heat and humidity to leave and fresh air and cooler temperatures to return. At least we are not dealing with flying roaches!