Thursday, June 21

Look-See

So, that is what the relocation company here in Manila calls our visit to the Philippines... a look-see. Every time I heard them say that, I thought it was a little comical. Then, when I caught a glimpse of our agenda yesterday, I noticed the title read, "Look-See". It still sounds funny to say... almost like I'm talking to a baby, "Looksy here!"

So, I already wrote about our look-see visits on Monday. Now, I'll write about what we saw Tuesday & Wednesday.

Tuesday we visited the International School of Manila (http://www.ismanila.org/). GREAT school! It's wonderful! I'm afraid I liked it too much!! We may only live in Manila for a few months, which makes it a very tough decision whether to enroll the kids in this wonderful school & keep them there even after the project moves to Angeles City. If we do that, then Sammy will have a 1 hour & 45 minute commute one way to & from home each day. That's definitely not my idea of quality family time! Otherwise, I can just wait to enroll the kids mid-year at a school in Angeles City when the project moves there. I've visited that international school, which is really nice, but just not the same as the ISM. It's hard to downgrade your idea of something when you've already seen the best option available. But, we just need to figure out where our priorities lie & go from there. That & a LOT of prayer!

International School of Manila


After we saw the school, we went to look at some of the housing. We saw 8 homes for rent in the Makati area of Manila. Some were very nice, some were not. All of them were HUGE!! Huge homes, huge rooms, huge backyards!! Very spacious! Sammy & I really only liked one home. But, like I said above, we're not even sure that we'll be spending much time here in Manila, so there's really no point in considering a one-year home lease.

Home at South Forbes Park


After the homes, we looked at condos for rent. I didn't think I would be the least bit interested in renting a condo, but we did look at one that we both loved! The pool area is wonderful for the kiddos... it has a huge grassy area where several kids were out playing the evening we looked... it has an underground walkway to a mall directly across the street... it has an awesome gym/spa in the basement... and all the other amenities just can't be beat! Plus, I already made connections with a 16-year-old high school girl who was exercising in the basement when we walked through. Her family is from Connecticut & she told me how much she loved their apartment. And, she told me how much she likes to babysit!! Little does she know...

After we toured 6 different condo buildings, we called it a day. We were very tired & our feet hurt!! Sammy & I crashed early that night!

The next morning, we left the hotel at 7:30 am to drive to Angeles City/Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ). We met a new representative, Jim, from the relocation company that TI is providing for us. Jim took us first to see the Westfield International School in Angeles City. After we toured the school, we went to the Clark mall. (The Clark Special Economic Zone used to be the US Clark Air Force Base. This was where they took John McCain when he was released from being a POW. So, when I say we went to Clark, basically we just drove onto base property... except that it's not a US base anymore. The Philippines just treat it as such. Right down to guards at each entrance!) We killed a little time at the mall before heading to another wonderful Italian restaurant in Angeles City. There, we met a realtor who took us to view 2 homes for rent. And, that's it! Only 2 homes! This is hard for me to comprehend coming from Dallas, TX, but basically we were told that TI is pioneering the way for a new industry influx in the area. Angeles City is not used to & not prepared for new families to move into the area. So, there are very few homes for rent... very few! Both families nixed those homes very quickly. Sammy & I didn't like the neighborhood atmosphere. I think the other family felt the same way. So, Jim took us onto the CSEZ to view the old base housing that they are refurbishing specifically for all the new TI employee families. We are not required to live here, but TI has contracted with them to refurbish the duplexes so that they will be suitable for our families. They were nice. Not outstanding, but liveable for 2 years. The largest they had was a 3 bedroom duplex & they will be outfitting them with new furniture... sofa, dining room table, 3 queen size beds & mattresses, bedside tables & appliances. That seems to be a good option for our family, if we decide to move to CSEZ & enroll the children in the Westfield International School. So many choices!!

Westfield International School in Angeles City


After seeing all there was to see in Angeles City & CSEZ, we buckled up for the commute back to the hotel, which took 2 hours!! That just confirmed that it would most likely not be a viable option for Sammy. The kids & I would really miss him if he spent 4 hours commuting each day!

Yesterday was by far my hardest day here. Angeles City was quite disappointing, in my opinion. It was very primitive living & there were just very few options as far as housing, schooling, extracurricular activities, etc. But, this is where TI chose to build their brand new facility. We were told several times yesterday that our families are basically the "guinea pigs" in the area. We'll be the ones paving the way for new industries/companies to build in Angeles City. And, we'll be the ones to pave the way for a true real estate market. I'm just not sure I want to pave the way for anything!! I didn't sign up for that. After shedding a few tears, I sucked it up & went on about the afternoon. I want to have my cake & eat it too, which is just probably asking way too much. I need to spend some serious time on my knees!!

Since yesterday was so draining on all of us, the other wife, Julie, and I decided that we needed a day of pampering. So, we slept in late this morning, had brunch, then made an appointment for a spa pedicure. It was wonderful & so relaxing! After our pedicures, we went to the spa downstairs & had a 1-hour full body massage! We'd been on our feet, walking for 3 days straight. We needed to de-stress & relax. The massage did the trick. Then, this evening, we all went to see Ocean's 13. The tickets were $3 each!!! You can't beat that! We all enjoyed the movie. It was good. Now, we're back in our hotel room, just relaxing. I find myself constantly wondering what the kiddos are doing right now. I miss them so much!! But, I also know they are having fun with Mimi & Papa & Aunt Jon & all their cousins. I'm glad they are getting this time to spend with them before we move overseas.

Tomorrow will be another lazy day, I hope. Maybe I can work on my tan by the pool! Then, I am flying home early Saturday morning. I'm looking forward to it!

See you soon...

7 comments:

Christy C said...

Wow, they sure do have you going! I have been thinking about you a lot and praying things would go smooth and you would find peace there. I'll continue to pray. You'll be home soon, can't wait to see you!

Lynn said...

Wow! I am not sure I would be brave enough to make such a move and I don't have three children to consider. Seems it would be easier to make your decisions if TI could tell you for sure what they were doing. But you and Sam are really stepping out on faith and letting God guide you and I know He will reward you greatly for that kind of trust. I bet the kids are thrilled to have you home.

owldog1 said...

Can't wait to read about where you are moving into and what school you decided on.

kiwi77nz said...

I was really interested in your blog. It sounds like you have had quite an adventure. Originally from New Zealand, I live in Manila, but also lived in the Dallas area for about 13 years. I am researching international schools and wondered which one you finally chose. Please contact me at kiwi77nz@yahoo.com or 09213597924. Thanks I look forward to hearing from you. Amy

tim01 said...

If you are looking for a good international school in Angeles City you should take a look at Noblesse International School. It's new, has the best facilities of any school in Pampanga and has employed only fully qualified foreign teachers. The head/principal is very friendly and approachable. Their website is www.nis.com.ph.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I saw your post as I was also looking at "international schools angeles" on the web. I'm living here in Manila at the Rockwell complex. I guess you went there as you described some apartments next to a mall that you went to through an underground walkway. I've been living here for almost 2 years and lived in Angeles on and off for one year. My background is 20+ years computer software and before that Electronic Engineering (worked on some integrated circuit designs 20+ years ago. If you and your husband are interested to meet up over coffee with me and my live-in girlfriend then send me a text. We're here in the mall and in this area almost every day. After 3+ years of living here I could perhaps give you some advice on life in the Philippines.

Richard

zero nine two nine 2001 452

grace said...

i think you better look the St. Paul American Christian School (SPACS) they have great teachers. Of course my husband teach there James Franson. Its inside Clark.