ae86204d0146af0c3e94.jpg

i need my sleep you, you know.. - by tracey

4:00am.

That is the time I woke up Wed, Thur and Fri of this last week. To be at Gentle Hands for 5am.

Why on earth, you might be asking.


When Charity told me Tuesday night that she had to be in 2 places at the same time on the following day (Wed) but couldn’t and wanted me to go to the hospital to take one of our boys. He and his two siblings are in the last stages before they go abroad to the US to their forever family. She filled me in on the details of his case. And what I would need to do when I got to the hospital. And how I had to talk to the people in charge and plead his case to waiver putting him on meds. They were wanting him to go thru more meds for a case of TB that looked like he didn’t have, from a misdiagnosis.

 

Whoa. This was WAAAAAAAAAAAY outta my league. But did we have any other choice? The future of these siblings and another delay in them getting to their forever family… that just seemed unjust.

 

So I went. 

 

Wednesday morning, I was accompanied by one of the young guys from GH, along with my “little guy”, I will call him.

 

What I DIDN’T realize was that we were going to Ermita. The hospital was in ERMITA. In Metro Manila, this is across the entire metropolis.

 

Ooooooooh my. We left just after 5am. We took a trike to the MRT.  Took the MRT all the way to the end. Walked for 10 mins to the LRT and took it a couple stops. We then got a pedicab to the hospital. This took about an hour and a half. No joke. And there wasn’t any traffic at this time of day.

 

The next 2 hours were quite eye opening. We got our number. #111. Oh boy. This was gonna be long. Until a hospital lady told me to go in the first batch. So basically my number didn’t matter. The fact that I was the only “white” person there did at that point. 

 

I am not the kind that would “use” my whiteness to benefit myself in anyway. Ever. That sort of thing makes my blood boil. I will say, however, that the fact that the hospital lady wanted me to go in the first batch and not wait…I was completely fine with that. :)

 

If you have never had to do a sputum test, be thankful. Here I was with a little boy I barely knew, getting him to cough up any spit or phlegm or whatever could come up from his lungs into a little plastic bottle for sampling. It is horrible. Here I was with my “little guy”…encouraging him to spit. 5-10ml of spit from coughing. SIGH.

 

After we did it, we went down to visit someone to ask about his exam and chest x-ray. The deal was that his skin test for TB was clear and if his x-ray was clear, then in order to waive him from doing his TB meds in the Philippines, which would delay their adoption another 6 months, we had to do a sputum test. But we needed to know the details of the x-ray. Which they would not disclose the previous day to one of our GH staff. So this is where Charity had needed to go and be “firm and direct” and get the needed info. But she had to go to another meeting that was equally important. And she believed I could do it.

 

Well. I did. :)

 

I got the results. And I didn’t back down til I did. After my “little guy” and I were done we went outside to find our companion back to GH. He was nowhere. Couldn’t find him. Great. You see I had no idea, at this time, where I was. I didn’t’ know at the time I was in Ermita on Bocobo street. Kinda dumb, no? Well.. After texting with Charity, I hopped into the first cab I could find. And then opened the door while it was driving, to hop out; the taxi driver was very rude and was saying derogatory comments to me. Really? You really want to do this to me right now when I have NO clue where I am? Hmmm. I was not in the mood.

 

So with a smile I said to my “little guy” we are getting another taxi ok? And the next cab driver was lovely and back “home” to GH we went.

 

I said bye to “my little guy” and thought that was the end of the adventure.

 

What? Oh no, Tracey, you have to go to them all…you are the face now and you have the relationship there and having too many different people would not be good” was kinda how I heard it come out of my dear sister-in-law’s mouth.

 

I think this was her way of “testing me”… chuckle J 

 

Thursday AM. Eddie, the GH driver was able to drive my “little guy” and I to the hospital so no trekking here and there. :)

 

We went thru the door, got our number - 39. Well that was better than 111. :)

And went thru the routine again. Today my “little guy” was much more talkative…

 

Wednesday he was scared and uncertain of what was going on, and what I was doing there. This day, he held my hand and held tight to my arm in the elevator. We giggled. He asked how many times we have to come here and do this. He told me he was going to US to his family soon. He asked if “Tomorrow could be the last time to do this, please? Promise?” 

 

Man…Thursday I realized…we had bonded. over his spit. :) But seriously…here was this brave little boy, the oldest of 3 siblings, waiting…waiting for his forever family to FINALLY come get them. They have been delayed already with nonsense and such. Another delay would not only be horrible for the family but also these 3 who have been holding on so dearly to the hope of a FAMILY.

 

When I said goodbye to him as we got to GH and told him I’d see him tomorrow, he ran to me and flung his arms around my neck and kissed my cheek.

 

I quickly walked upstairs, with tears in my eyes. 

 

Friday AM. Our last day. Eddie drove us again. We were number 23. :) Again, the first batch. When we got upstairs, the hospital workers smiled as we walked in; no kids do these sorts of tests. The skin test and x-ray are always what is needed. But, they were being difficult and demanding a sputum test. SIGH. When we got there they said to my “little guy”, oh it’s your last day! My “little guy” beamed. He worked hard to fill his 5-10ml bottle. When we were done we high-fived. I had a little treat of cookies and a little note for him… telling him how proud I was of her… that he was brave, from his “Ate Trace” or “big sister Trace”.

 

When I said goodbye this morning, my heart could barely contain my emotion… again with the arms around the neck. And a huge kiss. 

 

Later on during the day I saw him and he saw me and yelled with a smile, “Hi, Ate Trace”. We are buds now.

 

I am so excited for him to be with his forever family. The hope and joy that must be in his heart, overwhelms mine to tears anytime I think of him. And I will forever be his “Ate”. xoxo


DSC06505.JPG

my first visit to malabon - by tracey

malabon is a city within the metro that Gentle Hands has been a part of for quite some time now. a very depressed area, an area that is below sealevel (reclaimed land) and flooding is always. 

it is here where my sisterinlaw charity and her GH workers bring light and love every saturday.

from kids songs and stories, to activities and baon (lunch) for all the kids. and our GH doctor, dr dennis, along with charity diagnosing and administering meds for many each week.

i had a dream about what it was going to be like here. i even saw the exact gas station in my dream, down the road from it. 

when i got there i was totally shocked - it was exactly how i had dreamt. wow.

as i shot hundreds of photos in those short 3 hrs, something happened to my heart…something i cannot not yet quite describe..but something that rang true:

i am where i am to be at this moment in time.

there was no doubt about that.

here is a look at my first trip to malabon thru my lens…

20110115_GHmal-0192.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0208.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0224.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0227.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0245.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0281.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0285.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0287.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0289.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0295.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0375.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0410.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0413.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0419.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0485.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0509.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0517.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0534.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0543.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0546.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0551.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0566.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0571.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0579.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0586.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0601.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0626.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0649.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0660.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0661.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0700.jpg 20110115_GHmal-0711.jpg

for the full album, check go to this LINK.

[all photos are copyright of tracey l heppner photography. it’s not cool to steal. so just email me and i’ll be glad to chat about you using them. :)]


caleb & elijah - the twins || posted by tracey

my sisterinlaw, charity, who is the director of Gentle Hands, wrote the last story about the rescue of the little twins.. i added the photos..we work well together, i think.. :)

20110106_gh_LipaResQ-4234The phone call was sketchy. A referral from Social Services in a city several hours away. Another orphanage had been called but they refused the case. We, my social worker, driver, and sister-in-law with her camera, left the next morning unsure of what to expect.

20110106_gh_LipaResQ-4245When we got to the hopital, the social worker introduced us to the man who had posed as the father of the twin baby boys. We stood in the hallway outside the hospital nursery for over an hour as I asked question after question. 

20110106_gh_twins-4304In my mind, it was simple. The man and his girlfriend had planned this whole thing. A fake pregnancy, a fake labor and a fake birth. Twins were bought and paid for by this couple- about $275 for both of them. The day after “birth” they were taken for a checkup but thankfully, the doctor was suspicious and the couple was “caught” in their game. The girl disappeared and the man has feigned ignorance of the whole scam. He claims his girlfriend tricked him and he is completely innocent of their plan never mind now he is out 10,000 pesos.

20110106_gh_twins-4314No one knows where the twin baby boys came from. We know they were sold and bought and this is child trafficking. We know they are about one month old and probably were born a few weeks premature.

They were in two separate cribs. They were being fed with bottles that were half their size, the nipples not even fitting in their mouth. They didn’t even have names. One and Two.

We have named them Elijah and Caleb- “The Lord is my God” and “Brave”. Fitting names, in my mind. They are feeding well, sleeping together, wrapped up in one blanket as they should be. They seem at peace.

We will wait for legal intervention and NBI (the FBI of the Philippines) to conduct an investigation. And so the twins are safe in Gentle Hands. What their future is, I am not sure but I know that God is watching over them.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7! || by tracey

7 days! we have been here a week..and we can all honestly say it seems much more than that!

since my last post several more things have transpired… tuesday  was sarah joy’s 7th birthday, the graff’s youngest. we headed into vans and drove out to nini’s for a lunch pool party..so much fun.. :) 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4010.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4013.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4015.jpg

the yummy spread of food…

20110104_sj_bd_nini-4017.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4018.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4019.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4020.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4021.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4023.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4047.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4055.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4063.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4110.jpg

caleb texting.. :)

20110104_sj_bd_nini-4121.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4125.jpg

little BELLA, nini & papa’s new puppy.. :)

20110104_sj_bd_nini-4137.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4148.jpg 20110104_sj_bd_nini-4173.jpg

(the above photos are the only ones from my good camera..the following: all phone camera pix!)

that afternoon we went back to GH and then had PIZZA, at sarah joy’s request for the birthday dinner! :)

wednesday…i went with charity and minet (GH senior social worker) to ICAB, intercountry adoption board, to pick families for two of the children at GH. what an experience. sobering really, when you think of it; here you have files of families and the destiny of children at your fingers.. wow. 


DSC06037.JPG

after ICAB went back to GH and toured around the new building - GORGEOUS! can’t wait to take photos of the completed building..it’s going to be AMAZING!!

thursday was a rather intense day. we did a rescue of some twins that were stolen and then bought and then left at a hospital. sweetest little guys…such a tragic beginning of their lives…these two have been thru a lot in their first month.. in the next couple of day i will send out charity’s story of this and add the photos i took with my GOOD camera.. :) DSC06054.JPG DSC06076.JPG

friday was chill day.. i slept in..til 7:30! did some computer work on my laptop..was about to do some more on my iMac when realizing i neede a powerbar…UGH. so off to find one we did at SM megamall..we then headed over to GH to fetch our children who all were being dropped off after a big sleepover at nini’s. 

today i was going to go early to MALABON, the area in metro manila where charity and GH goes every saturday to do kids ministry, medical outreach and a food program. lemme just say mother nature decided to pay a visit and it was advised that staying home this week would be the better option. :)

so we checked out the organic farmers market here in our village, right across the street in the park around the corner from us. LOVED IT!

sorry some of the photos are sideways.. :)

DSC06186.JPG

DSC06143.JPG DSC06144.JPG DSC06146.JPG DSC06147.JPG DSC06148.JPG DSC06154.JPG DSC06155.JPG DSC06156.JPG DSC06157.JPG DSC06158.JPG DSC06159.JPG DSC06160.JPG DSC06161.JPG DSC06162.JPG DSC06163.JPG DSC06164.JPG DSC06165.JPG DSC06167.JPG DSC06169.JPG DSC06170.JPG DSC06171.JPG DSC06172.JPG DSC06174.JPG DSC06175.JPG DSC06178.JPG DSC06179.JPG DSC06181.JPG DSC06183.JPG DSC06184.JPG DSC06185.JPG DSC06188.JPG

then for old times sake, rosie, J and i went to greenhills shopping centre..looked around, had lunch… DSC06190.JPG DSC06193.JPG DSC06195.JPG DSC06196.JPG DSC06202.JPG DSC06203.JPG DSC06204.JPG DSC06205.JPG DSC06207.JPG DSC06209.JPG DSC06210.JPG DSC06211.JPG DSC06214.JPG

DSC06218.JPG

caleb decided he wanted to stay home with pace…i think i got 4 texts while we were gone, where are you? when are youcoming home. we were gone only 3 hours. :) we ate some CPK and headed back to the boy and his dog..

a week..a week of adventure..lots of galavanting..lots of excitement..lots of hope…lots of good stuff. happy saturday to you! :)

xotracey

manigong bagong taon (happy new year) - the bird has landed! || by tracey

we traveled over 30 hours from dec 30 - jan 1 to get to manila.

whoa.

20110101_HK.JPG

 [what i did on NYE in HK. :) ]

20110101_HK2.JPG

[a cool display in the HK airport]

i could go through the play by play for you.. like how rosie lost her retainer at YVR airport before we even left…or how beijing was a gong show of organized chaos…or how uncomfortable trying to sleep on chair with arm rests in the Hong Kong airport is. ya i could totally go into detail. but i wont. :) instead i will just say that we made it. and we were all so happy to land in manila. and in pretty good spirits too!

today is day 4. and it’s 4:30 am and i am sitting in my sala (living room) in the quietness of the early morning. all i hear is the whirring of the ceiling fan and the occasional vehicle passing by me, 6 floors below. (did i mention we are on the 6th floor? i hate elevators. ya..no comment.)

day one was awesome. getting greeted by the family at the airport..not being assaulteded with the expected “wall of heat and humidity” that i for sure thought would greet us…reuniting with our dear pooch pacey at the condo, where he jumped record breaking jumps in sheer delight…ordering pizza for lunch then making our way out to nini & papa’s (j’s parents) place just in the province (outside the metropolis is called the province) where the cousins all swam in the clubhouse pool and j’s sister, charity, brought over dinner, a wonderful first dinner in our new country. it was truly a good day.

20110101_nini5.JPG

 [swimming at nini’s clubhouse pool]

20110101_nini3.JPG

 [swimming at nini’s clubhouse pool]

20110101_nini2.JPG

 [swimming at nini’s clubhouse pool]

20110101_nini4.JPG

 [swimming at nini’s clubhouse pool]

20110101_nini6.JPG

[swimming at nini’s clubhouse pool]

day two was exhausting. the night before i had made lists…lists of things that needed to be purchased. things like garbage bags, a broom and dustpan, hooks for the walls in the bathrooms and closets, bathmats, tooth brush holders, garbage cans, tea towels, fans..things like that. this was a little bit of a challenging task, as i had to access files in my brain that were named, “things we have shipped that are being sent in boxes”. this was so i didn’t buy “double” of some of the necessary items. altho i did have to buy some cheap plates to tie us over til ours come, etc. my brother in law, evan, was recommended to come with me as he was a “good shopper” daw (i have been told). jonathan was incapacitated and couldn’t come, as he, well…let’s just say, he needed to stay near a bathroom. :) so evan and merry faye (his oldest daughter) and rosie and i headed to SM.

20110102_xmaslane.JPG

[in makati, the business district - the christmas lane..hmmmm…]

 SM one of the biggest retail chain for department stores and supermarkets. this would be the place we needed to go to. and there is one in makati here where we live, so off we went. we spent SIX hours at SM. i have NEVER spent that much time shopping. all i can say is that it was a totally prosperous trip and i dont know if i will go shopping for a very long time now.

you see, some things about living here are different. like, how things are placed in the said store. no they dont have ALL the water bottles together. they have stuff in value/brand order. so you have to literally hunt for stuff, if you are wanting to make sure you get a good deal or get exactly what you are looking for. and some things have different names than what we would call them back in canada. and another thing is the time in which it takes to actually purchase the said items. you go to the check out counter and not one but usually 3 or 4 people greet you at the counter - one to put your purchases on the counter. one to punch the items into the cash register. one to pack the items up. and one to check the items off on the receipt, to make sure all of your items are there.

buying the washing machine was an even more interesting feat. let me give you the play by play:

1. found washing machine sections.

2. looked for best buy and best machine.

3. asked sales person a question, in which they paused then sort of answered yes, in which i responded, “hindi mo alam talaga, di ba?” (you dont really know, right). and he disappeared. then reappeared with someone who knew the answer to then i giggled.

4. we filled out the delivery form. it cost me P200 to get it delivered (which i may add it has not yet been delivered, even though it was to be delivered yesterday - but i am not concerned..yet). i figured for P200 (about $5) i will let them deal with packing it up and bring it to my place n the 6th floor. :)

5. walked over to the purchasing area. sit in chair and wait for name to be called.

6. name called and then they began the process of purchasing. this entailed getting more information, phoning in my credit card for authorization and receiving my receipt and delivery receipt. oh i forgot to mention that i had bought the fans and iron here at the hardware store too. each “section” - fans/kitchen appliances/washing machines/tv’s/etc, have to hand write their own invoice, which will then be taken to the purchasing area where i will pay for it all together. so the receipts were actually 3 invoices plus the credit card receipt and delivery receipt. :)

7. go to claim area to receive my FREE gift with my washing machine - a laundry basket. SCORE! :)

yes..this entire process took about…an hour. :)

it was at this moment that i was reminded, again: you are now on circular time. this is just the way it goes. i had been preparing myself for it. and i’m glad i had. or this hour long process could have driven me to the looney bin. instead it was good for me. i had no choice but to wait. so i waited. and it was good for me. the lifestyle of the circular thinking will be good for me. :)

once we got home and unpacked, it was dinner time and the elijah (caleb’s age, cousin) and merry faye stayed the night.

that was day two. :)

day three was a monday. if you know my sisterinlaw, charity, you will know how much she LOATHES mondays. i have never had many issues with mondays. i dont say this to one up..its just an observation. so knowing we were going to Gentle Hands at several points on this particular monday - our first monday in manila - i was, i admit, a little nervous. :)

i took this AMAZING video in the taxi on our ride to Gentle Hands from the condo (what i will call our home in makati from here on in) on my cell phone. it was about 10 minutes. i narrated it. i had the taxi driver in it. it was AWESOME. it was also awesome cuz we got to GH (gentle hands) in a record 28 minutes! i had it all the way until we stopped at GH and you could see the new building! the cost for such transporation was P130 - just about $3.25. the unfortunate thing - it would appear that it is no longer on my phone. i dont know how this happened. i was sad. so you just have to trust me that it was a rad video. i may do a 2.0 of the video soon. :) 20110103_GHr.JPG

[rosie at GH with little colin]

20110103_GHj.JPG

[j with little colin at GH]

when we arrived, my heart was so excited. here was the place i had been dreaming about for months to be at. i climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor where charity’s office was. people coming and going. coffee being drank. yes. this was a good place. :)

after a bit, evan and the kids and j and us all piled into his vehicle and headed to FA (faith academy) to get the kids uniforms and to pay for school.

20110103_FA1.JPG

 [up at Faith Academy]

20110103_FA2.JPG

 [up at Faith Academy]

20110103_FA3.JPG

[the girls waiting at the school store to get uniforms]

20110103_FA4.JPG

[uniforms]

the kids were so excited. it was such an awesome thing to see.

we ate lunch at the V - the school cafeteria. curry and rice. wasn’t bad either! and then headed back to GH. jonathan and evan took off to purchase cell phones for j and the kids.

cell phones for the kids? yes. safety first. for several reasons, it is very wise to have the kids set up with phones. to be able to ge ahold of them and vice versa is very important in a city like manila. yes. and they are cheap. i think j got himself and the kids all NOKIA prepaid phones with load (prepaid cards) for around $100 CDN.

20110102_bksign.JPG

[inside the BURGER KING. they also had a console for ipod/iphone, ds, psp…wow.. so smart! also shows you how the phones are a part of “normal” life here..]

i stayed at GH and spent the afternoon with charity. the first thing we did was go to the medical room where the medicine is stored. today were pharmacists. the TB patients of Malabon, a community that GH helps in many ways by feeding programs, etc, needed their weekly meds packaged up. 20110103_GH1.JPG

[the meds}

i’d say there were about 20 adult and 8-10 children patients. cher (what we call charity, pronounced CHAIR) gathered the boxes and we brought them up to her office. she wrote out the doses on papers and i started filling them. there were anywhere from 4 - 6 different types of meds. i got a system going. rifampicin. isoniazid. pyrazinamide. ethumatol. multivitamins. i cut recommended doses and put them in piles under each patient. then after they were i would double and triple check. they would then go into the bags and would be delivered as soon as i was done. i swear cher should have been a doctor. :)

anyways. it was fun. all the while, as i was doing this, several meetings were taking place. for the most part i understood what was going on. it was amazing to me that i could understand as much as i could. just gotta get my brain/mouth going to keep up whilst speaking! in due time.. :)

cher then toured me around the new building. WOW. WOW. WOW. it’s amazing. and gorgeous. and so incredibly functional for all the needs that will be met. everything about it is the awesome. i can’t wait to do a video blog about it. :)

20110103_GHcolin.JPG

[little colin at Gentle Hands..bathtime!]

the guys got back from the cell phone shopping and it was off with our four + MF (merry faye) to the dentist. on the plane trip over here, at 2 different points, rosie was in tears with pain, saying her tooth hurt. we couldnt see very well in the plane but luckily i had tylenol. once we got to HK we looked and there was a hold the size of ballpoint pen tip in one of her back molars. HELLO! we were amazed she hasn’t been in pain til now! so we called sunday to make an appointment to get this looked after. i think it cost P1200 which is about $28. for a filling. oh ya baby. :)

we took a taxi home and jonathan proceeded to being dinner - pasta and sauce and garlic bread. but he got stopped in his tracks. no can opener. DOH! never thought of that when i bought the CANNED sauce instead of a jar. note to self. :)

today is tuesday. it is now 6 am. jonathan and rosie have waken up. the traffic below is becoming noisier with cars and people chattering. the sky is beginning to be break. today is sarah joy’s (youngest daughter, of cher and evan) 7th birthday. we are going out to nini’s for a swimming lunch party. the kids are all still on christmas break til next wednesday jan 12. so this week there will be lots of play dates and maybe even a day beach trip. :) i do know that dad is taking evan and j on the sailboat tomoro and thurs. fun fun. :)

if you are reading this, thanks for taking the time to read this looooooooooooong account. i dont expect to write long ones like this all time. it just turned out this way for this one. :)

happy tuesday! :) xotracey

ps - until i get my home office and imac set up, the posts will include mostly cell phone pics. too difficult to upload onto my laptop from my good camera. :) this is just easier. :) eventually they will all be on FB, the good ones. ;)

the journey begins! - by tracey

i woke early this morning. 6:25am. not on purpose. but maybe it was on purpose.

as i rolled over and looked out our 8th floor window of our hotel at the fairmont airport hotel, i watch all the lights twinkle with the dark blue sky as their backdrop. morning was nigh. it was quite and peaceful. yet the flickering lights and the movement of airplanes and vehicles scurried about without disturbing it. the sky was clear..not many clouds in the sky.

as i sat and watched the sun rise in my beloved vancouver, i was overcome with much emotion.

here is the morning we jet off to manila..the morning we have been counting down to for months. here it is and it barely seems real. the 12 pieces of luggage and the hotel room help me believe it’s real. the jet planes taking off at a steady pace help me believe it’s real. the excitement the kids have bubbling inside to see their cousins helps me believe it’s real.

as i lay and watch the sky go from dark blue to lighter blue and shades of oranges and yellows, i lay with a lump in my throat.

the day is preparing a beautiful show for us. a bright clear sky. gorgeous colours. the flights leaving.

and so here is our lives…ready for the new chapter to begin…the sky is clear and bright, as is our future. where it will take us exactly, i know not. but what i do know is that it is so very right. and so very exciting.

stay tuned…the trailer was good..the main show - it’s gonna be AWESOME. :)

IMG_0114.JPG

taken with caleb’s iPod touch at 6:44am this morning.

crunch time! i need more dark chocolate!! - tracey

we leave vancouver in one week for kelowna.

all the boxes that are being shipped leave our house today. they go out on the 21st. and their ESTIMATED time in manila is jan 22. sweeeeeeeeeet. camping for 3-4 in manila.. thinking we’ll be doing a little shopping.

went to richmond to get all of pacey’s documents all signed - he is good to go next wed!

lots of dinners and lunches and coffee’s in the next week. plus a field trip with rosie’s class tomoro, an engagement shoot saturday. you know..living it up. :)

we are eating off a couple dishes..cereal is a staple here.. :) ..and microwave popcorn.

did i mention that there must be a leak in the upstairs somewhere? cuz its leaking in two  spots in our bathroom. and our landlord is in mexico til after we come back. SWEET. luckily his friend is coming over today to access the situation. interesting..we moved to a leaky ceiling in aug and moving out to a leaky ceiling. ah the joys..

the excitement inside bubbles up several times a day. the thoughts of everything new. being in manila. the kids and their cousins. the kids going to Faith Academy. working with my sisterinlaw at Gentle Hands. photographing EVERYTHING i see.

but so do the welling of tears hit me during my days too. leaving friends & family. leaving the school that the kids go to. leaving beautiful vancouver and the photo industry. leaving my favorite places i like to walk, go for coffee, explore, shoot in.. then i think some more and say to myself, “well you will have to find new favorite places..new friends..new coffee shops, etc”. and that thought makes me excited again.

the emotions these days are somewhat overwhelming.. but they don’t overtake me. :) chocolate lucky charms have been lovely the last couple days. ;)

but seriously..the peace inside that we know this is the next adventure we are going to be a part of…the anticipation of so many exciting unknowns..it’s there. and it dilutes all the stress (most days) that seemingly is piling up on my shoulders - i still can’t get into a massage appointment this week..and my neck and upper back are a MESS. however.. :)

oh! the kettle beckons..hot tea and some more dark chocolate! xotracey

SORRY - THE CELL PHOTOS ARE SIDEWAYS..WEEEEEEIRD.

here’s what our cave is looking like lately - sparce!

 DSC05860.JPG

and all our boxes ready to be picked up today!DSC05858.JPG DSC05859.JPG

doing some last minute shopping for things that are hard to come by..like certain types of feminine products! :)DSC05862.JPG

9-15-17-24 || some important numbers.. by tracey

9 days til our personal effects get shipped.

15 days til the pooch goes to manila via air cargo.

17 days til we leave vancouver to go to kelowna for christmas.

24 days til our plane leaves for manila.

WOW.

when i look at all those dates, i get excited. nervous. giddy. stressed. hopeful. anxious. enthused. i remember when it was over 100 days. heck..i remember when it was 8 months! and look here..it’s just over 3 weeks til we start another chapter in our book.

so what goes thru my head at T-24 days?

* will we get the boxes packed in time? will i be able to bring my desk? (it comes apart) how much stuff WILL we be able to ship??

* scheduling get togethers/lunches/dinners in the tight schedule we have, keeping in mind that j is going on a 6 day trip on wed! (at least it’s the last one before we go! it’s been a BUSY fall with him gone almost EVERY weekend somewhere)

* changing all the necessary addresses for everything to be mailed to us properly.

* getting the pooch his paper all finished by vet and otherwise before his departure date.

* will our truck sell before we go??

* how should i transport my computer and hard drives?

* are we going to have all the necessary finances we are needing to go?

or how about the other end…

* what will it be like the first day we get there? (its currently 32*C there….)

* who is picking us up from the airport?

* will we find a vehicle? will the kids take a bus or carpool to school?

* how will i begin to figure out how to get a working permit?

* will pacey have survived without us??

* will we have survived without pacey?? :)

* where do we begin??

…yes..so much goes through my brain. but even though its a continual state of busyness inside, i sense and overwhelming peace. peace that everything is going to be ok…that as the last 8 months have come and everything fell into place..then so shall the next 3 weeks.

i am excited to live in makati for the first few months we are there.. i’ve always wanted to live in the downtown core of a city. :)

Makati_Skyline.jpg

view of MAKATI (photo from WIKIPEDIA)

buy some amazing art = give hope to many - by tracey

some of you may know that our little family is making a big move across the pacific ocean.. in 5 weeks in fact! our adventure is on the interwebs at www.heppnersinasia.myfotojournal.com. we are started to get really excited as there is lots to do in preparation to go! the kids are enrolled in school for january..we have a place to call “home” when we get there..our dog can come! hahah.. :) yes..we are excited.

one of the things we will be doing there is being able to be a part of the GENTLE HANDS family..my husband’s sister, charity, runs the non-profit organization, which is a rescue agency for abandoned and and at-risk children and youth. it also serves as an orphanage for many children to be loved. they are currently in the midst of a building expansion as they are bursting at the seams.

being a part of this organization brings so much joy to my heart and life..and i’m still on THIS side of the globe! i can’t wait to be on THAT side!

one of the things i wanted to do before we left was put on some sort of community based fundraiser for the Gentle Hands building expansion. and so i did.

it is in the form of an online art auction. some of Vancouver & Canada’s finest photographers and artists donated fine art prints for this auction. i’m overwhelmed at the response of the artist community. so giving. and their art - UNbelievable.

the art auction gallery is up for preview all this week. on sunday, nov 28, the online bidding begins and for 3 days you have the chance of not only taking home one of these fine coveted pieces of art for you or for someone this Holiday season, but you get to give to an incredible cause - Gentle Hands. All proceeds are going towards the building expansion.

i’m so excited. :)

so hop on over to the preview gallery and share the link with your friends and family..the more people bidding, the better! thank you! xoxo

GHart-gallerypreview-email.jpg

contact me  |   my online portfolio  |  check out my facebook page  |  follow me on twitter

i HEART vancouver - by tracey

with only a mere 6 weeks til we fly out, i have to tell you..i’m starting to get “mushy”.. :)

i/we LOVE vancouver. everything about vancouver. the culture. the weather. the people. the things to do. man, is it gonna be hard to leave this city. it’d be different if we were like, “oh man, cannot WAIT to get out of this hole of a city!”. no..we dont feel like that at ALL!

vancouver has been home for us for almost 4 years…it’s been an adventure. it’s been hard. it’s been awesome to meet so many amazing people. it’s been great to explore. it’s been amazing to raise our kids in.

there have been many laughs..many tears..many questions..many victories..many growing times..many hard times…many remarkable times.

we just have nothing but love for this city. :)

have been working on a business project with a client and i was going thru some old stock photos.. i have THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS. (one of my goals is to go thru ALL my files next year and catergorize them..or..have someone else do that..!) going thru a bunch of VANCOUVER stock stuff made my heart warm..and a little sad. but mostly warm. :) so i thought i’d process them for my blog.

here is vancouver thru my eyes… enjoy.

vancouver - i just love you.