We are coming at you live from the South Korean airport and thinking back to this morning honestly feels like days ago. But here we go.
So this morning (luckily) did not begin like any other mornings. No wake up call. Praise Jesus for that. The only time that mattered was we had to be packed and ready to hit the Country Mall at 10. We left loaded with tie dye pants and knock off Supreme sweats, Gucci belts, and Off White backpacks. Oh and I cannot forget to mention the knock off Gucci sunglasses that Cole Petty has barely taken off his face since he purchased them. After that we headed back to the hotel to eat our final lunch of rice and chicken (we had a feeling this may be our meal even BEFORE the food came out… coincidence? I think not). As great as having rice with EVERY single meal has been, I think we are ready to retire that item for the rest of the year. We then proceeded to have large group and we went around giving shoutouts, and talked about how we had seen others in the group blossom during this trip. I would be lying if I said there weren’t any tears, cause there sure as heck were. I think I can speak on behalf of the group when I say, it was during that time we realized how much we were gonna be missing each other when departure came. I will admit limits were beginning to be tested after having spent almost 12 days together, but this talk made us realize none of us would trade these people or this time together for the world. Suddenly we wished we had 12 more days to stay. In the time we have been in the Philippines we have become a family.
Our final touristy excursion was a visit to the SM Seaside Mall. Fun fact, this mall is the world’s sixth largest mall. We split into 5 groups and immediately dispersed. Again, shoutout to Quest, we had a bunch of volunteers paired with each group so they could help us navigate our way through the mall. This mall was larger than any mall any of us had been in before, with MUCH to do. We had groups doing everything from bowling to shopping to just hanging out on the roof enjoying the views. It was a good time.
After the mall, we got to enjoy a taco buffet at Les and Saralee’s house, it hit the SPOT. We had a packed house. Not only were we invited, but also the Quest staff! It was the perfect way to spend some of our last moments in Cebu. After we filled our tummies with Mexican, the returners passed out superlatives to all of the trip members. The room erupted with laughter and joy as we were able to reminisce back on all the memories we had made together in the last 12 days. Nelson (one of the Quest members) made, not one, but two phenomenal videos capturing a lot of great highlights from our time there. Naturally, the video from the school days had us all drenched in our tears all over again. But the way we finished the night… just topped it all off. You haven’t read about this event yet because it hasn’t happened until now. BALUT. We had a professional balut maker bring a whole bunch of it to Les and Saralee’s. We all crowded around a table in the middle of the living room. There was lights. There was cameras. There was yelling. Only the bravest went for it. But you all would be surprised to know, I think all in all the consensus was, it wasn’t GOOD but it wasn’t BAD. But there were some who went back for MORE (VANESSA you go girl)… Then it was time to say our goodbyes to all the Quest staff. This was another hard goodbye. I just want to EMPHASIZE to you readers how large of a role these kind people played in our journey. Without these selfless men and women, I can’t even imagine what this trip would have looked like. We are so thankful for the relationships we got to build with the Quest staff, they’re ones we will certainly never forget. A hundred sweaty hugs later, we were headed to the airport (just so you guys know that was around 9:30 PM).
We got to the airport around 10 PM, boarded at 12:40, and were airborne by 1:15 AM. It was clear the energy levels were totally fading throughout this process. We arrived safely here in Seoul around 6 AM. We have been through customs and security, and are now awaiting our next flight straight to the big A. Our flight is supposed to take off from here at 9:20 AM. We are saying BIG prayers over this 14 hour flight we are about to take on. Wish us LUCK.
It’s sad to accept that this is the last blog ever for this trip. It means back to reality. As much as we miss home and the comfort of our own beds, the Philippines was just starting to feel like home. Our hearts will forever be with this place and praying over this place. Thank you parents times 1000 for allowing us to take on this experience. Even though the trip is over, the effect this place had on our hearts will never die. Thank you to everyone who prayed over this trip before AND during it. All the prayers WORKED. Even though the end is bittersweet, we get to walk away with 35 new best friends. Even though the end is bittersweet, we take away a new gratitude for the lives we live back in the states. Every time we turn on our sinks to brush our teeth, or our showers to take a long, hot shower, we can think about those families on Bantayan who literally have to pull up all their water from a well. It takes them 30 minutes to get ONE full bucket of water which is probably equivalent to a 2 minute shower. I think one large thing we learned throughout all of this is that we are blessed so that we may bless others. You walk into these houses in Bantayan and they literally have nothing. It really makes you ask, why God? Why were we born into big houses with a pantry full of food and cars in the garage? But the reason is so that we would bless other people! Our hearts are so full. We can’t wait to see ALL of you oh so soon. THANKS FOR TUNING IN.
Lots of love, Emma D. and Gibby
P.S. our flight lands at 10:20 AM Atlanta time, please be there to pick us up 😉