Sumpteretc's Blog

What's on my mind at the moment

Month: January, 2006

not much help

Saturdays are always a little tricky, because we usually don’t have anything scheduled but we never are quite sure how the day will go. The students have a four-hour work period on Saturday morning, so if you have students assigned to work at your house, you can get a lot done. We were talking about making a longer trip today, maybe exploring Clark Special Economic Zone or something like that, but we were hoping to get some student help this morning, so we decided to at least hang around for a little while.

I needed one of the men to come and help with some yardwork. I’ve never had a yard before, so I generally don’t have any idea what to do with our yard. Nevertheless, I got out for several hours yesterday and did quite a bit. I took out all of our potted bouganvillas and gave them away to the Clarks and the Gacals. I spent a long time pulling out creeping vines, trimming the other bouganvillas and other plants, and doing various other tasks. I decided to leave some of the brush to be hauled away in our front yard until a student came to help. Naturally, no men were assigned to us today. We did have one of the ladies come for half of the work period, so we stayed around while she worked.


I still haven’t really been to a Filipino wedding, but there was one held on campus today, so I kinda crashed it. Apparently, it was just some neighborhood Pentecostals who had rented the building. I wasn’t really certain if the wedding was happening today or not. We heard some people rehearsing wedding songs this morning, and then we did see a lot of people dressed up in barongs and nice dresses. I wandered over to the tabernacle and watched through the back window along with several of the students. The processional was, um, proceeding. I think the sponsors were being seated when I arrived. I’m not sure how many sponsors there were–maybe 15 or 20 couples. There were also 8 or 9 attendants on each side. As the sponsors and attendants walked down the aisle, there were two girls at a microphone on the platform reading a piece of paper stating who each person was. They seemed to be giving stage directions, so I thought maybe this was still the rehearsal. I asked one of the students, and he said, “No, this is the wedding.”

Another reason that I thought this might be the rehearsal was that, besides the wedding party and sponsors, there were probably fewer than 2 dozen people in attendance. Yes, the number of people actually participating in the wedding far outnumbered the rest of the crowd. There were also very few decorations, except on the car.

Most of the processional went as I expected, including some traditional Western classical pieces. Before the bride came down the aisle, though, there was a dance number by one of the bridesmaids and a young man on an oriental carpet spread in the aisle at the front of the tabernacle. Then, during the bride’s procession, someone was singing a song. I was kind of in and out, so I didn’t really catch all the details of the ceremony. From time to time, though, I heard snippets that were very familiar to me from American weddings. When it came time for the preacher to wax eloquent, all of the wedding party went to their seats in the front and sat down. What a wonderful idea!

Glenbert told me that usually each of the sponsor couples will give 100 pesos to the presider. In a big wedding, he mentioned, that can mean an extra 4-5,000 pesos. We also discussed who pays for weddings. I still don’t have all the breakdown on this, but as far as I can tell, the groom and his family basically shoulder all of the financial responsibilities. I would guess the sponsors probably help in some way, but I’m not really sure to what extent.

I saw that they had a traditional Western ring ceremony. Glenbert said they sometimes light a unity candle, but I’m not sure if they did that today. I think the bride and groom signed their marriage license and it was read by the presider, but I was really too far away to determine most of the rest of what was going on. I actually left before the end of the wedding, so I will have to wait for an occasion where I’m actually invited, before I can study it in more depth.

Just a couple of side notes. Glenbert and I were talking about bachelor parties. He said he’d seen them in movies. He noted that they sometimes rented a girl to dance; he asked if I had done that for mine. 🙂 He also asked if we really have wedding crashers in the US. I don’t know about the movies these kids are seeing (shakes head in disbelief). I guess we were actually crashing this one.

rude awakening

We were awakened earlier than usual today. The timekeeper, Paeng, set his alarm clock for 5:00. Another student, Jeff, needed to get up at 3:00 to study. So he changed the time on Paeng’s clock without telling him. At 3:00 AM, the alarm went off. Paeng didn’t even look at the time on the clock; he just assumed it was 5:00, so he went out and rang the bell . . . loudly and repeatedly.

The Saguds had all of the faculty over for lunch today. I’m not sure exactly what the occasion was. I know several of their family members are visiting right now. I think it may have been Pastor Rheynil’s birthday, or possibly his mother’s birthday or both. I know when they asked Pastor Bong to ask the blessing on the food, they als0 asked him to pray for Rheynil and his mother. I think Rheynil’s mom is working abroad in Hong Kong, so she must have come back to visit for the holidays.

At any rate, the meal was served buffet style. We heard a goat in apparent pain early this morning. Evidence of that was on the table. Besides rice, naturally, there were two dishes of kilawan (?), one with papaitan and one without. Kilawan, according to Pastor Alex, is the goat’s skin. There was also caldatera and pancit bihon. Finally, there was a large stockpot of what I assume was pinapaitan. I tried everything but the pinapaitan. As one might suppose, the kilawan was not my favorite, especially the one with papaitan included. I just don’t seem to be able to acquire a taste for intestines and bile. The caldatera was pretty good; I went back for seconds. It was, however, very difficult to eat, since every chunk is more than 50% bone and even the meat has little chips of bone in it. It almost requires you to eat kamayan. The pancit was good too, but I don’t think I’ve really had bad pancit.

I spent some time talking to Pastor Alex during the meal. We talked about cowboys and Indians among other things. I was telling him how Tiffany and I each have trace amounts of Indian blood in our ancestry. He told me that his paternal grandmother was full-blooded Kalinga. As a consequence of that upbringing, Pastor Alex experienced an unusual discipline as a child. I’m not positive I have this 100% correct, but as I understand it: Alex was tied in a sack and hung upside down from a tree. His hands and feet were tied, so he could not get away. Then his father hit him with a stick. I don’t know anything about the Kalinga, but apparently they are notorious for their “savagery.”

phonemes and stuff

Most people hate Mondays, but this semester it’s Tuesdays that really get to me. Classes here start way too early. And somehow, I ended up with my classes being the first two hours on Tuesday/Thursday. The first class is at 7:15; it’s church growth 2. My eight fourth year students meet on our back porch. Apparently, though, one of my students hasn’t made it back from Christmas yet. And all the rest of them were late to class. Today, we were discussing how to recruit a team for church planting. I didn’t quite finish all I needed to say, so I guess we’ll continue talking about team recruiting and developing next time.

As soon as I finish that class, I have to grab my missions stuff and dash across campus to the third year classroom. There, I have 11 BTh students for missions 2. Today, we began our discussion of cultural anthropology, which is one of my favorite topics. It’s so fascinating to see the rainbow of cultural diversity on our planet. In this session, we discussed language and communication. When we talked about phonology, I explained that phonemes are the small units of sound that make a difference in a language. For example, l & r are phonemes in English, because “lake” is different than “rake.” In some languages, however, they are not phonemes, which is why we always get asked about eating “flied lice” when we go to Chinese restaurants in the US. I was speculating that maybe p and f were not phonemes in Tagalog because they seem to be used interchangeably but the students assured me that they are. Apparently, they’re just not very careful about choosing one or the other when speaking English. I told them that I notice this everytime someone talks about “frayer and pasting” (prayer and fasting).