The days all blend together. I don’t know if it’s Tuesday or Thursday anymore. All I know is that I’m on a 3-4 hour continuous cycle of feedings, baths, naps and diaper changes!
We had a bit of excitement around here in the last few days. We first heard that our papers were approved on Dec. 30th and just waiting to get a stamp from the consular and that it’d be on its way. Then a few days later we heard Nope- it’s stilling on someone’s desk in Manila! We were all so mad and frustrated because everyone kept giving us different stories but no one would give us details. So what does a good secretary do?? Shawn and I decided to make a few calls ourselves and we found out that it only took 27 hours for our package to arrive in Manila, not 1-2 weeks like we had been told, and that our papers were done being processed and in the mailroom waiting to get picked up by DHL. Hey-We followed the rules and did not bother Eric at the Embassy like we were instructed. It was very frustrating because they decided that for our group they were not going to give us any information unlike the prior groups. No tracking numbers, no Yes it has been received… nothing. Come on now, I think you’re causing more work for yourself and more stressed families by not giving us ANY information on our case! Eric told us not to call him asking for status updates and that if we did, he wouldn’t give us info. because when he had in the past, families got upset if the package didn’t arrive when expected. I completely understand that but when you have a flight leaving in 1 day and you still don’t know if you need to rebook, that costs US money, not them. That’s the feeling we got from the Embassy, kind of like, “oh well, you’ll need to rebook your flight, big deal”. It’s not the fact that we want it to be here tomorrow, it’s that we wouldn’t even know when to expect it! We can’t plan anything with our birthmom for our going away and we can’t call Emi’s birthgrandpa and grandma to come from Arno to say goodbye because they want to see us off to the airport and we don’t know for sure when that would be.
(((heavy breathing ))) Sorry for the rant, but as you can imagine, it’s frustrating. So the point is that if it left Manila on Friday we should still be able to make our Wednesday flight back home. I think a couple families will have to reschedule their flights to Wednesday too.
Anywho…. The weather has been raining and windy but hot and humid also. I love my Guam dresses because they’re so cool and refreshing. The dresses are called Guams because the come from Guam and they decided to not think of a different name for them! True story! Oh, I’ve also learned that Guams are for everyday use but the mumus are for church and special occasions. The mumus have ruffles and puffy sleeves.
Tips for Future Families ==HOTEL REVIEW EDITION! (OOOoooo)
Well there are 3 main hotels on the island and a few apartment options. Please remember that this is strictly our humble opinions and we do not mean to offend anyone who has stayed at these hotels! That being said, here is our rundown:
RRE(Robert Reimers Enterprises Hotel) - Very American. If you want to be surrounded by Americans and Westerners and want the “motel” type setting, then this is the place for you. I think it completely works for people whose spouses have to return to the US because it’s small and everybody gets to know you. Water is available in the hallway and internet access is good. They have a back up generator that kicks in if the power goes out which I hear has happened a few times since we’ve been here. They also have bungalows, which are basically little houses, on the premises and I believe they run at $120/night. The hallway rooms I think are $79/night. It is centrally located and you can walk to the Courthouse, Gordon’s office and shops. The restaurant at RRE is the Tide Table and frankly we do not like it there! We join the other families for lunch or dinner on occasion but the food is NEVER consistent (other restaurants are)and they really have a roach problem! We feel it is over priced and very blah. Shawn placed our backpack on the floor once for a few minutes and that night we found roaches in our room and we saw none until that night. We also hear they have a bug guy who comes by to the rooms daily to spray for bugs and the rooms kinda smell funny. The bathrooms are smaller than the MIR and from the rooms we’ve seen, one had 2 twin beds and the other has one twin one full. But they do have a loveseat area and round table with chairs. You need to request a room with a balcony because they do have rooms known lovingly as “dungeon rooms” that have no windows. The RRE laundry is located out of the hotel and it is the only laundry in the area so all the locals also do their laundry there. I hear it can take up to 5 hours to do 2 loads. There are those who love this hotel but we don’t think we would have.
MIR (Marshall Islands Resort)- MIR is a cross between a hotel, an apartment building and condos. It has open access to the public but it also has Security Guards walking up and down the halls all day and night. From the lobby facing out, the left wing seems to be the apartments and condos, while the right is hotel room and more condos. We feel it’s a happy median between an apartment and a hotel. The rooms are comparable to a Super 8 and both of our rooms have had 2 queen size beds and a large bathroom with counter space. If you say you’re staying for 4 weeks or more they’ll move in a larger fridge, microwave, and coffee pot. Oh yeah, the RRE does not have microwaves. We have only had the power go out once for about 5 minutes and we were out of water once or twice when we first arrived, the longest was 1 day but the toilet still flushed. The only roaches we’ve seen are near the restaurant but not an infestation and like I said a couple in the room but few and far between. We do get tiny lizards out on the balcony sometimes. It seems to be the Asian tourist hotel and this is where they put up the WorldTeach people and new teachers for Majuro until thye find housing. I think the restaurant is one of the nicest on the island and like we’ve said before the food is good but can be very pricey for dinner ($10-27/plate). We’ve never had dinner there =) It can get a little noisy in the evenings on the lagoon side because everyone comes out at night but it quiets down at about 8-9pm. MIR has laundry on every floor for $3-$4 a load. We’ve never had to wait to use the washing machine but the dryer has been busy a couple times. If you don’t pick up your laundry on time, it will be taken out if someone else wants to use the machines as we’ve found out. All rooms face the lagoon and have pretty views. It has beach access but iys rocky and you should swim in the lagoon anyway but it’s nice to go for a walk sometimes. We could go on and on about the MIR and we’ll definitely recommend it to other families. It’s not for everyone but for $40/night, it’s a steal!
Long Island Hotel – We don’t know a whole lot about the Long Island Hotel but we’ve heard from the other families and the one current staying there that they have the nicest rooms. It sounds like they also have a sofa and a couple beds in there. The Embassy put up their visitors there so you know it has to be decent. They say they have not seen roaches in their room but they do have a slight mouse problem. They fixed it by placing duct tape on the door frame. They do not recommend the restaurant and they are located far away from everything. It is easy to get a taxi to there, but a lot more difficult to get one from there to the central area. It is a necessity to rent a car if you plan on staying at the LIH. There is laundry on site which is readily available. The US Embassy is located within walking distance. We have heard that internet availability there is very sketchy. It doesn’t always have connection although there is an internet tower next to the hotel. The LIH would probably the best hotel if you don’t want to be near the “action” and if you could rent a car at Hertz at Pay Less Motors for the whole trip for around $40 a day and are able to negotiate a good rate at the hotel. If you could get all that for around $100 that would be a great location to stay at. Otherwise, it is pretty far off from everything and staying RRE or MIR makes a lot more sense.
The only apartments we were able to find info on was the Shoreline apartments next to RRE. These apartments are occupied by RRE employees and we heard are pretty decent. You can negotiate a monthly rate for around $750 that comes furnished with beds, a couch, a kitchenette and one bedroom. There is no tv (which you might not think is a big deal, but when you have a month with absolutely nothing to do, it matters). You have to buy everything you would need for a month; pots, pans, garbage bags, sheets, pillowcases, etc, etc. You would have to make sure you clean daily and take out the trash daily because you will find critters living in your room with you if you don’t. If you stay at a hotel; they clean, they change you sheets, the make sure you room is spotless. We really wanted to get an apartment for ourselves, but when you have a new born and are up all night making bottles and singing lullabies, it’s nice to not have to worry about cleaning too.