“How old are you?”

Two of Fr. Johnny Klingler's students working in the formation house garden.

As we noted previously, Fr. Johnny Klingler, SCJ, is in the Philippines teaching English April through May. What follows is his first blog post from the formation community in Cagayan de Oro.

On my first day at our seminary and community house in Cagayan de Oro, I was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a symphony of cock-a-doodle-doos, the barking of dogs, the songs of birds and the tape-recorded call to prayer of our Muslin neighbors.

The formation house library is Fr. Johnny's air-conditioned refuge. The librarian is pictured here.

It was Wednesday morning and I went around introducing myself to the librarian, the secretary, two cooks and the lady who does the washing. They are all so lovely. I took my writing pad with me in order to write down their names, which helps me to remember. The class of Vietnamese aspirants that I will teach are all so friendly. They range in age from 21 to 29. They all look much younger. The first question that they ask me is, “How old are you”? It appears it is the way to get the conversation going. I start out with 42 years and work myself up to 76! They ask many questions and want so much to learn English. I got to know them better the following day when we went on an outing to the beach. It was a beautiful place. The water was warm, clean and had a good surf. I got a slight sunburn despite the protection. Our picnic lunch consisted of rice, chicken, shrimp chips, peanuts, bananas and watermelon. The watermelon is the best I ever tasted.

Fr. Johnny said that the students and SCJs in the formation community are all "mad about soccer."

Lunch and dinner usually consists of rice, chicken, fish, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, and for dessert, bananas and mangoes. There is always rice (white and sticky), even at times for breakfast. I make my own breakfast of toast covered with peanut butter. I love the strong instant coffee and I drink plenty of water. I have to as I am usually sweating. It is a little cooler than Manila in the early morning and late evening. The days are so hot and humid. My room is usually about 83 degrees or more and I am happy to have a fan. There is no air conditioning. However, I discovered that the small library is air conditioned so I go there as much as I can. One thing is sure, I will not gain a pound and more than likely lose a few. There is beer and coke in the recreation room and even though I don’t care for beer, I find it refreshing when the temperature is so high.

Friday, the teacher who set up the six-week English course came over to see me and we went over the program. She has a doctorate in communications and has taught at the formation house for a number of years. The classes begin on Monday.

This Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and began my day. The liturgies are prayerful and simple; the singing of the students, so beautiful. This afternoon I will take a siesta. Perhaps we will watch a movie this evening. I brought some DVDs for the community,

Fr. Wayne Jenkins, who has finished his archival work for the new district, will leave this afternoon for Indonesia to visit Fr. Tom Fix and then return to the States on Wednesday.

-Fr. Johnny Klingler, SCJ

The formation house chapel

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