Yesterday, Alex and I took a road trip to Chicago, not for our anniversary, but to prepare for next year in Asia Pacific; we needed to have both of our birth certificates and our marriage certificate authenticated (see the official ribbons and seals attached to the documents in the picture). The fact that we were at the Consulate raised the question of why. When Filipinos first hear that we're going to Manila for a year and see that we're both caucasian Americans, they are often confused and warn us of what to watch out for: traffic, heat, humidity, rain, flooding, and robbers. Yesterday we experienced a small taste of the limited personal space, blunt and direct questions, and save-face attitude that we'll likely see much more of in Asia next year.

It was a joy, however, to be surrounded by and to interact with the people we will be serving alongside next year. I met a mom who had an adorable five month old baby girl (who was probably this size I was at birth). Alex met a man in line who admired his baseball hat featuring the national team of the Philippines and who taught him to say "you're beautiful" to me in Tagalog.

Our hearts beat faster as we anticipate our transition in July. We know that we can't even imagine the blessings, joys, and struggles we will face next year, but we want to take a moment again to say thank you for supporting us in our dream!