Before I explain my adventures in the Philippines, let me just say how thankful I am to be back in the USA! After being overseas and living out of my suitcase for 5 weeks, I’m so glad to be back. And I’m thankful that I can now move into my new home, the first home I’ve ever owned. I praise the Lord that the loan paperwork was finalized on Thursday at 1:30pm (US time). That’s when I officially became the owner of the home in Jenison. I look forward to moving into it this week.
I also praise the Lord for the support increase I found out about today. Tabernacle Baptist Church of Virginia Beach, VA, voted on Sunday to begin partnership with me. That brings my support level to 83%!
Now to my adventures… The first adventure was my trip to the US Embassy to get mortgage paperwork notarized last week on Tuesday. At first it seemed I was going to have problems getting the paperwork printed on legal size paper (US standard) since the Philippines has a slightly different standard size. But thankfully Gospel Light Baptist Church, where the translator training took place, had the right size in their office.
The fun began on Tuesday. The plan was to take a taxi to the embassy, hoping that the trip would take no more than an hour and a half. I had an appointment at 9:30am, so leaving at 8am would have been sufficient time, even with heavy traffic. But we didn’t plan on the monsoon-type rains. The rains were so hard that morning that public schools cancelled classes–the flooding causes major traffic issues. It delayed my co-worker’s and my departure from our place of lodging that morning by 15 minutes. These issues meant that we needed to change our mode of travel. My Filipino friend decided we needed to take a jeepney, two trains, and a taxi in order to arrive on time. Well, after rushing through those modes of transportation we did arrive right on time.
The difficulties began when I presented my paperwork to the notary. She flipped through all 51 pages and found no where to sign. I assumed she was going to find something, so I didn’t know what to say. She said I could come back later. I told her the earliest I could come back would be Thursday, but if I waited until then, I might as well just wait til I got back to the US the following Mon (8/8). So she told me to select the papers needing notarization, but she warned me that it would cost $50. So I chose 12 pages. I handed them to her, and she notified me that it would be $600 to get them notarized! My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe it! She said that it was $50 per page. What was I to do??? I decided that I had already come so far that I needed to go ahead and “bite the bullet.” But the sickening feeling was that I wasn’t even sure if I was getting the right papers notarized, since the directions I was given weren’t extremely explicit.
When I left the embassy, I was confronted with the heavy rains again. The umbrella did little good. We finally found a taxi (taxis become rare during heavy rains). The taxi couldn’t go very quickly because of the heavy traffic (no wonder they go in hiding during the heavy rains). I saw that the meter continued to run even though we were hardly moving, so I told my traveling companion that we should just walked. So we sloshed through the flooded streets along with many Filipinos, wending our way between the vehicles. We stopped at a KFC for lunch, needing to walk through almost knee-deep water to get there.
As we were heading to DHL, I realized I probably needed to print off two copies of the documents (still not knowing exactly what needed to be done since the directions were not extremely clear). So we returned to the church to get that done. Then we were ready to head to DHL. I had asked the church office personnel to ask about overnight service with DHL. Well, I found out that they forgot to do that, because we were shocked to hear once we got there that they don’t do that. So, we had to go to Fed Ex. That was quite an ordeal. The DHL was at the University of the Philippines, and we were trying to find a taxi right when many, many other students (probably around 50) were also looking for a taxi. But thankfully, the Lord provided one without us having to wait too long (I kept thinking about the fact that if we send the docs too late in the day, they won’t arrive overnight).
When we got to Fed Ex, we found out that they also don’t overnight to the US. No shipping company in the Philippines does that any more! Here I spent $600 and now my docs won’t even arrive very quickly. The closing would need to be delayed yet another day! So, I went back to the church with this thought: I spent a large amount of money on notary services, transportation, and shipping, and I don’t even know if they will arrive in time or if they will even be correctly completed, even if they do arrive on time. I was overwhelmed, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had to take a nap that evening and read some Scriptures in order to recover.
Late on Thursday night I received word that my docs were received on Thurs AM, US time. Praise the Lord! But the lady asked me if I could print off more docs, sign them, scan them, and send them back. How would I do that at 11pm in a city where I am completely unfamiliar with the resources? Thankfully, she changed her mind and just asked me to come into her office once I arrived back in the US. She assured me that I had done all I needed to do from my end in order for the closing to happen.
On Friday morning I woke up and found out that the closing did indeed happen on Thursday at 1:30 pm (US time). At that time I officially became the owner of my first home. Praise the Lord! You can’t imagine how relieving it was to know that! After around two months of work, the process was finally brought to a very satisfying conclusion. I also found out that day that the title company was going to reimburse me for the notary services. Amazing! God is good! Moving day is on Friday! I can’t wait to get settled into my new home!
The other adventure happened on Monday. My flight was supposed to leave at 6:35am, so we had to wake up at 3:00 am to be at the airport on time. When we arrived, we were welcome by a huge line that was going no where. We eventually found out that the plane would be delayed until the afternoon because of a mechanical problem. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be arriving in Grand Rapids until Tuesday.
Delta actually treated us quite well in order to make up for the inconvenience. They shuttled us to a five-star hotel (Manila Hotel), where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet, very comfortable rooms, and an excellent lunch buffet. They also gave us a $100 voucher for our next flight. In addition, they paid for a hotel that night in Detroit and gave us $6 vouchers for breakfast, lunch, and supper.
The plane finally left at 4:35pm on Monday from Manila. We passed through Nagoya, Japan, and finally arrived in Detroit at 10:00pm. When I finally got to bed last night, it was midnight. That means my day that began at 3:00 am in Manila was 33 hours long! What a day! Thankfully, I arrived without incident in Grand Rapids at 10:00 this morning. It was so nice to have a “normal” flight for a change.
Now I think it’s time to go to bed. I just hope my body cooperates, even though I’m still experiencing jet lag. We’ll see how it goes!