My SIL emailed before we left, and wrote, "Eat mangosteen until you can't stand the sight of it. Tackle the Taho man when he goes by the house. Soak up the sun and the Tagalog and the relatives to your heart's content. You deserve it. Congratulations."
I'm not sure I deserve it but I am happy that DH made many sacrifices to give me this vacation. This man's least favorite season is "anything cold" yet he is happy to let us cool down with fresh mango shakes in high 80s weather. I don't want his sacrifices to be for naught, and the least I can do is to follow my SIL's advice and to maximize the opportunity. This past week, I am happy to report that I have introduced my girls to two new fruits, mangosteen and lanzones, and have allowed them to eat (really good) bananas and mangoes for dessert.
I am even happier to report and introduce y'all to the Taho Man. DH and I met Mang Dante more than 10 years ago, and he took to my husband like a brother. The girls first met him via Skype, and just yesterday, bought their first cup of taho from him. The exchange conducted in English (by Mang Dante) and the girls (in Filipino) was priceless, and happily recorded for posterity.
Three months will be over in no time. The girls may not be fluent Tagalog speakers by the end of their vacation but I hope to have piqued their interest and sparked a love for their heritage. As homeschoolers, we do make ourselves more aware of the learning opportunities available to us. We have called this quarter our Winter Term Abroad even though nothing in our environment reminds us that it is winter! But every walk around the block is an introduction to native plants. And even a trip to the local mall is a study in local habits and favored cuisine. They now know that in the Philippines, they don't need to flock to Chinatown to celebrate the start of the Year of the Ox. Any mall would do.
In the following weeks, we hope to know Jose Rizal and Calamba as well as we do George Washington and Mount Vernon. We hope to understand our Catholic heritage through the eyes of the Spaniards who built the churches in old Manila, and the faith of the Filipinos who died for it. We also hope to have fun at the pool --a saltwater swimming pool, that is-- as we learn about saving a local watershed.
Yes, I am soaking up all that I can, and making sure that DH is getting his money's worth.