Monday, April 30, 2007

Plenty Turtles, Neh!

It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. Angelo invited me to watch the Division of Fish and Wildlife release some hatchlings into the ocean before sunset. Where? I won't tell you since there are some locals that hunt for these Green Sea Turtle eggs for dinner. Cinta and some the Kaipat clan later joined us.

There were a total of one hundred and six eggs on the beach. Some hatched before we got there, nine were dead, BUT fifteen were still in the nest! They were wild and all over the place. We watched all of them scramble towards the ocean some climbing on top of one another in a frenzy. One big herd heading for the deep blue sea to start their new life. Will they survive on their own? I don't know. I hope so. It was my first time to experience this and I'm so lucky that I got to see it first hand.

I read Mai's blog this afternoon and she talks about all the other missionaries leaving Saipan to continue on with their life as they pursue their dreams. We started the year together and now . . . it's time to say goodbye. This happens every year at the SDA School. A team of Student Missionaries come out to teach at the school for a year and then most will leave. It seems as if Saipan is a transition stage for most. I think it is a transition stage for me. Being here has taught me to lean on God when there is no way out and there is no one left. It has made me stronger as a Christian and as an individual.

Who knows when we will see each other again. All I know is that the memories and friendships I have made here in Saipan will last a lifetime. Though we are all going our seperate ways I know that God will take care of us. Living in Saipan continually reminds me to keep trusting in God . . . though I cannot see what is ahead. I know that He has great plans for me and those who believe in Him. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Only In Saipan

Me and The Big Boy. Just got back from diving in Rota! I'll write more and post pics later. Two more days and I am on
V A C A T I O N!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Note to self: LIVE your life.

Dag Nab it! The big 3-0 is approaching around the corner. I came across this poem at lunch yesterday while eating at Remington Cafe in Garapan entitled: On The Road. It "woke" me up again and reminded me to take more risks in life.

On The Road

Aren't you bored standing on the sidelines
Watching others run really hard
Cheering them on
And exchanging opinions?
Worrying if you'll be able to finish the race
Standing at the start line with uncertainties

Its time to get up there on the road
And start running
Its ok even if its slowly
And if it gets tiring, then walking is ok
Coming in last place is ok, with each step the scenery will change
Even if you run in place
The soles of your shoes are bound to wear out.

I think its easy to get caught up in the rat race and than lose your passion for life. Anyway, it made things more clearer for me! Just thoughts about living life to its fullest . . . =)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Our Own

We finished our advanced diving course this past Sunday. Missy and I dove for the first time on our own at Laulau Beach. Usually we dive with a large group so this time it felt different. Different in a good way. Diving every weekend has definitely made me more confident with my navigating skills.

We took a pocket book filled with different groups of fish on our dive and tried to identify as much fish as we could. There's so much to learn. My next dive will be at night. Should be interesting considering I hate the dark and all the freaks come out at night.


You know what I'm thinking? I'm wondering why this week is dragging for me. I'm a bit mellow. My vacation starts next Tuesday and I just want to go home. Maybe I'm just homesick.

I've been thinking a lot about if I made the right decision to stay in Saipan another year. Although I have already committed to a second year I've been having doubts. Alot of people have told me that my decision will be clearer when I am on the plane back from California to Saipan. They say I'll either love and want to come back to Saipan or I'll hate coming back. They say its normal to feel this way. I guess I'll just wait and see how I feel when I go back home.

These pictures are from spa night at the Maycock's home. The SDA Women's ministry planned a spa night for the women in our church to get to know each other better. We spent all afternoon transforming Barbara's house into a place for some R & R.

We created five rooms for : massages, art/mediation, manicure/pedicure, yoga, and facials. Personally my favorite room was the art/meditation room. It was the first time I have painted in awhile. We had candles lit up everywhere, incense burning, and music to set the mood. I was really impressed when everything was set up.

We invited all the women in the church but there was only a total of six that showed up. Thats okay because having a small amount of people was actually perfect. We had sundown worship and had a such great time together. Thanks to Barbara and Missy for all their help.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beautify CNMI's First Anniversary

I admit it! I look for any excuse or opportunity to get dressed up on this island. I wear scrubs five days a week and I am usually in a t-shirt and jeans during the week so it was nice to get dressed up. Missy and I went to Beautify CNMI's anniversary fundraiser dinner at Aqua resort last night and had a blast. All you can eat seafood buffet, yummy dessert, and great company . . . what more can you ask for?

Its kind of funny how I found out about Beautify CNMI. I was new to the island and just started blogging. I came across Angelo's page and noticed some really great pictures of the recyclable christmas tree ornaments. I had seen those Christmas tree ornaments in Garapan but forgot to take pictures.
Anyways, I saw them on Angelo's page and "borrowed" them for my blog to show my friends and family back home. A day later I get a message from Angelo saying how those pics look "familiar"! I was so embaressed! But before that incident I use to read up on Beautify CNMI on his webpage and became interested in ways to be involved in the community.

To make a long story short, I attended a Beautify CNMI Micronesia Challenge meeting in November. It was then when I first met Angelo, Cinta, Bree, MIke Tripp . . . Just like Cinta said during her speech last night, we have made so many good friends through Beautify CNMI.

During the slide show they showed alot of groups that participated during the first year. When the SDA Church picture was displayed up on the screen Missy and I screamed! Really loud! Louder than I thought! Gotta represent you know!?

It was good to see some of my online blogger friends there last night. Steve and his wife, Miwa were so cute. Also Walt and Captain Carl were there too. It is amazing to know that there are over 50 local bloggers in Saipan. Before I came out to Saipan I would try and google stuff on Saipan. There was very few information out there. I think that if I would have seen the We Love Saipan website before I came out here it would have answered alot of my questions about life on Saipan.

Anywho, we had great night=)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sweet Escape

Looking for a sweet escape? Check out this cute French eatery called Cafe 'de Comar. Its right across the ABC store in Garapan. Its a perfect place for coffee and yummy crepes. Mai and Britni shared the mango crepe. Grant and I shared the banana crepe drizzled in chocolate. This place reminds me of a place I use to frequent much in the states called the Crepe station. I'm going home to visit in twelve more days! Just enjoying the last few days I have with them since most of them will be leaving in June.

*Angie and Mng J you would love it here!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Science Never Sucks!

I taught good oral hygiene, tobacco and betal nut cessation in Bree's science class this morning. I was a little hesitant about teaching middle schoolers because the other hygienist didn't have such a good experience with them before. I was just hoping I wouldn't get any attitude or wise cracks. I think for the most part it went really well. Bree's class was very smart and attentive.
I thought it would be fun to disclose the plaque in their mouth with the red tablets and to also have them look at bacteria from their mouth using the microscopes. The kids had fun laughing at each other and their pink teeth as well as looking at slides of bacteria from their mouths. Did you know that you have over 300 strains of bacteria in your mouth? Gross, i know.
Another important topic I wanted to talk about was tobacco and betal nut cessation. I asked the class how many of them chew and I'd say that about half of them raised their hands. So slowly I listed all the reasons why betal nut and tobacco chewing was bad for them. I'm hoping that I got through to them. Its just hard to see them start a nasty habit like chewing at such a young age. Anyways, Thanks Bree for letting me come teach your class!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A New Life

Being active in Church and seeing how much work is put into the ministry by the Pastor, Elders, and the church members is ubelievable. Seriously, sometimes I feel like I have alot on my plate but when i see the sacrifices others make for the work of the church . . . well, its inspiring. We have different departments in the church all reaching out to different parts of the community. At church during our family time we share with each other what is going on in various departments. Head elder, Eric, has been giving bible studies for the men in prison every Tuesday nights. He shared with us that six of them have given their lives to Christ and have decided to be babtized. Usually I hear of only one or two at a time, but six! Well, thats just amazing.
This past Saturday a church member rededicated his life to Christ after being away from the church for a long time. He spoke in front of church about his struggles and his desire to come back to God. I can relate to how he felt. Its called backsliding. Your intentions are good but there is no follow through. Without a true conversion in the heart nothing will change. It was just incredible to see how God changed his heart and seeing him start his new life.
Saturday night the Women's Ministry gave a baby shower to three mothers: Sue, Ethel, and Renea. We had dinner, played a couple of games, and just enjoyed the fellowship.

Spoiled Diver

This morning's dives at Laulau Beach was the start of our advanced underwater training classes. Most Sunday mornings you will find us diving at either the Grotto, Laulau Beach, or Objyan Beach. I however, haven't been in the water since I came back from my Palau trip in March. What can I say other than I am a spoiled diver. I guess when you dive in Palau, you have really seen it all. I'm getting ready to dive Rota at the end of the month.

There are a series of five specialty dives we have to complete in order to become an advanced diver. I'm taking this class so that I can eventually get my rescue diver certification. This morning we worked on two dives. The first one was the deep diving class in which we descended about seventy two feet and worked on skills such as buyouncy and unlocking a combination lock underwater while being timed. I clocked in at eight seconds above water and underwater I messed up and clocked in at 30 seconds. They say your thoughts are alot slower underwater. Whatever! The second dive we worked on navigating with a compass which was pretty easy. Three more dives to go which includes a night dive!

Anyway, after our skills test we just watched the bigeye Scad Baitball. They change formation so many times and its just really amazing to watch. Sometimes if you swim in the middle of them they almost engulf you and you are surrounded by walls of fish. What a way to start off a lazy Sunday.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)

On of the most memorable moments of my life was my trip to Washington, DC and NY last March with my friend Nikki. I was going through a break up and I just needed some time to travel. We planned our trip hoping that we would make it to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. I'm alittle obssessed with the Cherry Blossoms=) They're one of my most favorite flowers. I was alittle worried that we'd miss it because the blooming can be unpredictable because of the weather. But we actually came just in time to see them in full bloom along the Potomac River. Let me tell you that it was an amazing sight! At first sight, the intensity is surprising. Standing in the midst of the blossoms falling everywhere is similiar to standing in falling snow.
The Cherry Blossom season is over too soon, but I think that is what makes it so special. Everyone stops to enjoy it because the blooms may be gone tomorrow. In Japan the Cherry Blossom (sakura) is a metaphor for life. A brief, brilliant blooming followed by the inevitable fall. The Westerners think about death and rebirth in the fall. The Japanese think about it in April. But instead of thinking about it, the Japanese celebrate with these festivals.

I missed my chance to go this year, but my friend Atsuko went back home to Japan last weekend and took these beautiful pictures. Maybe next year I can see them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Queen Of The Beach

Twelve ladies including myself will be competing for the Queen of The Beach volleyball title. Come watch us play volleyball on Sunday, April 29 at 9 am. The volleyball tournement will be held at PIC. We are doing this volleyball tournement to fundraise for the CNMI Autism Foundation. I need atleast five sponsors or more who can donate $10 each. Any support would be much appreciated=) Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bubbles the Manta Ray

Three of my dive buddies (Judy, Dennis, and Darlene) dove in Yap this past week and brought back this really cool picture of a Manta Ray! The best part is that the Manta Ray has a name, Bubbles! Yap is definitely one of the hot dive spots I want to conquer as well as Philippines and Thailand. I have decided to take the advanced underwater certification class and eventually want to become a dive master=) I love being underwater.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Insomnia & Smoothies

I drank coffee way too late last night and I am up posting at four in the morning=( Since I have to get up to run in an hour anyway, I wanted to post some pictures from our Smoothie Night this past weekend that was hosted by the Pierson's.

All of the missionaries came to hang out and we sampled four different smoothies: coffee ice cream, tropical blend, wild berry, and pina colada. My favorite smoothie was the tropical blend which by the way had fruit and tofu in it! Yes, tofu and the best part is I couldn't even tell the smoothie had tofu in it. The smoothies reminded me a place that I use to frequent much in the states, Jamba Juice.

The school year is coming to an end in May and most of the teachers will be leaving back home to the states. I feel like it was just yesterday that we started this journey together. I remember them being there at the airport to welcome me and pick me up at one in the morning. Such a great bunch they are and I am going to miss them this upcoming year.

Missionary life has surprised me. It has been everything but boring and predictable. I admit that sometimes it can be down right lonely at times. But during the times that I most feel alone is when I'm leaning on God the most. The friendships I have made, the work of the church, and the adventures I have shared . . . they continually remind me that I am exactly where I need to be right now in my life.

Thank you Crystal and Ken for a great night and thank you to Ken's parents who gave them the Vitamix blender!=)

Easter Sunday Clean Up

Beautify CNMI's partner, The Friends Of The Mariana Islands (FMI), led the cleanup on Sunday morning of Isa Drive between the Botanical Garden in Papago and Northern Marianas College in Fina Sisu. Here are some pictures!

Missy and I woke up really early to join the clean up Sunday morning. It was really warm this morning and it was a long walk! Its okay though because all the honking from drivers who supported FMI and the ocean view made my day.

I have joined the group FMI because I really believe that if you are a part of a group that shares the same passion and same goals, your commitment to serve will be more consistent and stronger. I hope that everyone in the CNMI will consider joining The Friends of the Mariana Islands (FMI) group. We always have a good time together and alot of laughs!

I have realized that Its really not just about the clean ups. Its about building new friendships and making a difference together here in Saipan. I consider myself lucky because I have made some really good friends by joining this group.

Thank you to everyone who came out and Happy Easter!

Participants included: FMI, Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Gus Kaipat, The Kaipat Clan, MINA, SDA Church

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holidays In Saipan

I love living in Saipan because we not only get government holidays but we get the Catholic holidays as well! Thanks to the Cathollics I get a three day weekend. In the years I have worked I have never had Good Friday off in the states.

So Friday instead of sleeping in like a normal person would, I woke up at five o'clock in the morning to watch the sunrise with Grant and the other missionaries at Bonzai Cliff. It wasn't too long ago that Grant saw a whale and her baby surfacing up near Bonzai Cliff. We were hoping we'd catch a glimpse of them again. We weren't so lucky this time but I did enjoy having an early breakfast hearing the waves crash on the rocks below us while watching the sun light up the morning sky in pink and coral hues.

Life is good.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Healthy, Happy Smiles

Before I moved to Saipan I worked at a Dr. Caplanis' periodontal dental office in California that specialized in gum disease and implant dentistry. I loved the challenge of working with specialized scary cases. I learned so much from Dr. C and was able to apply that knowledge here in Saipan. Most of my patients that I ever worked on were adults 40 and older so I never really worked on anyone younger than 35.

Working at the clinic here in Saipan is alittle bit different. I see a whole age range of patients from age 1 to older adults. Its not bad but I guess I'm just so use to working just on adults. I have to be honest and say that I prefer working an adults more than kids. Kids are cute but they're really challenging to work on especially when they have the "wiggles" and when their crying in my chair =(

Although working on kids is challenging for me I find that teaching them is alot more fun! Today I was able to teach a Kindergarten class and a 3rd & 4th grade class at Saipan SDA School. The older kids were smart and quick to answer all my questions. The Kindergarten class was hilarious! They are still learning how to not call out and raise their hands. They made me laugh alot in class today and reminded how much fun teaching really is.

Anyway, here's some pics of the cute kids. Counting the days to see my niece and nephew in May=)