Friday, January 30, 2009

It's been 16 years since we went to China Town as a family. The whole Gunderson gang went together in '92, looking for wedding bands and an engage-ment ring.

We found bands that we really liked in one store, and then found an engage-ment ring we all liked in another. We thought they'd look nice together, but how can you know unless you try them on?

So we asked if we could take the ring from one shop, out into the chaos of Ongpin St., and try it on in the other store. Thing is, we couldn't really come up with something to leave as collateral.

So we left Dennis! Jeri made some remark on the way out the door like, "And he eats a lot."

This year we took the boys down for Chinese New Year.

Ongpin St. is still chaotic, but we wondered if we might be able to find the shops where we bought our rings.

We rode down the street in a kalesa, which was a great way to see the fireworks.

Our horse never so much as winced. But we didn't recognize the shop.

Then we walked all the way back up it and still didn't see it.

It was four-o'clock and we were a little lost on our way back to the LRT station when we found it. From the street we were really quite unsure, but when we stepped inside the door it was a flood of memories.

The ladies tending the place still have the same charm that made leaving Dennis there possible and funny.

And then from there we could easily remember where we bought the wedding bands.

We learned a lot about Chinese culture, had a great meal, and took a lot of pictures. A lot of these are Aubrey's.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Aubrey got a camera for Christmas, so it's just possible that you'll see the occasional picture of Deborah and I.

Here's the man himself in action. We went to Mary Hill today, a retreat center nearby where we go to hike on the trails through the woods, climb the "Kung Fu Panda" stairs and enjoy the scenery.

We went with Brian (right) and John Paul (middle, front) , who are brothers, and Pong-Pong (middle, back)--the three of whom spend a good portion of their lives at our home. They are next-door neighbors and have been very good friends to Aubrey and Auden.
If I were to say that Auden talked on the phone, you would have to know the full-bodied way that Auden does everything in order to understand that he wasn't being any less active than the other boys.
If St. Nicholas had been a Filipino, he would probably have delivered sacks of rice to families instead of toys to children. That is what I got to do for our staff the days before Christmas, and I was taken off-guard by how very happy it made them. I will not forget what it was like to step over the doorway into Lucy's home in Antipolo, and to be greeted like the Spirit of Christmas itself. Thank you to all the many St. Nicks who made this possible.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dhave must be wondering right now whether he's just been adopted or whether he's died and gone to heaven. The form-ula for a happy Dhave is really pretty simple: constant attention.

And, well, he couldn't be with a better family.

Jon Ariel left the little children's home in April of 1994 when he was two-and-a-half years-old. We celebrated his 17th birthday with him yesterday (a day late).

But since then he has been joined by Hazel Elen...

...and then Shane (right)...

...and then by Job Michael--all from different homes (in fact, different islands) in the Philippines.

Jon Ariel is now making his fourth trip back to the Philippines to pick up yet another sibling, this time also from the little children's home.

Dag and Kari Anne are those beautiful, comfortable sort of parents who make it look all too easy and fun. When someone sits down with Dhave one day to explain to him from the Bible how much God loves him he's going to say, "I know."