Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blogger Madness

Photo Credit: Steve Nguyen

I made some new friends at our blogger meetup at Java Joes! Our online community is insanely growing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dinner At My Place

I have to admit that the place I am staying at the moment isn't all that charming, warm, or inviting. The walls are concrete and there are only two small windows placed at opposite ends of the apartment. I feel like I'm living in a shoe box and that is why I never have guests over! I'm never really home anyway except when I need to sleep. Ask my Korean neighbors. In a blink of an eye I am usually in and out and they usually laugh about it!

Anyway, I'll be moving at the end of July and I can't wait. Instead of a view of another ghetto apartment complex across the way, I will have a view of Beach Road and the ocean! I'm excited. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations but I'm really happy with this apartment that I found.



I hosted a dinner party at my apartment but my Korean neighbor, Lizzy, cooked our spicy Korean meal! Her home cooked meal was glorious! mMMMm Lizzy and her husband Dewy wanted to officially welcome Rosana to Saipan. I think Liz and Dewy exemplify the perfect neighbor. They have always been so kind and gracious to me. They're always checking up on me and every now and then they bring me delicious home cooked meals for dinner. I'm just really lucky to be their friends. They'll be moving back to Korea in August though. Among the guest list were the Crystal and Ken.

During our conversation Ken was demonstarting his ability to talk in different accents. He grew up in South Africa so he was talking mostly in a South African accent. We were all dying of laughter! Tonight's dinner and company was divine.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Snorkeling at Managaha Island

I heart Managaha Island.
Ken and Crystal getting ready to go snorkeling. They saw an eagle ray near the reef!
Majestic Blue water
Lazy Sunday. Thinking about having to pack all of my junk to move to my new apt.
Lorene and Rosana enjoying the 83 degree water.


Just a ferry boat ride away is Managaha Island. I need to come here more often for some R & R. Its nice to just relax, catch up on a book, and enjoy the view. Best of all its a free ride for the locals.

We gave diving a rest this past Sunday and decided to go snorkeling instead for the morning. The Piersons, Lorene, and I took Rosana for the first time to Managaha Island. She loved it and couldn't get enough of the underwater world.

There were alot of Japanese tourists in the water with life jackets on. It was a peaceful morning until some of them were splashing and screaming when they would see the fish underwater. Rosana threw some vienna sausages their way and more fish came! lol I had to swim out farther to get away from all the comotion.

I love Sundays.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunset At Kilili Beach

A Change Of Heart

Do you know whats amazing to me? How knowing and loving God can change someone's heart. We welcomed our new church member into our family after his baptism today.





Photo Credit: Rosana

Happy Sabbath!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Speed Dating In Saipan

This is going to sound crazy and random!! I will probably regret posting this later. I just noticed that there are alot of single professionals on island and I thought it would be fun to have a Speed Dating session in Saipan! The girls will be at a table, there will be a one minute timer, and the guys will be moving around. This would be funny! I would want Brad to participate so we can see what kind of game he's got.

Keep in mind that I don't want to participate in it. I just want to plan it as a fundraiser. But if I do, would anyone be game? Come on! There's nothing else to do on this island. Its just for fun but if you meet "the one" than that would be a bonus! lol Okay, tell me if you think this is lame and I will scratch it off my fundraiser list of ideas=)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Last of the Goodbyes

Saying goodbye is exhausting. Maybe thats why it took me so long to post this last farewell to Missy and Layla. They left over 2 weeks ago. The weekend that Missy and Layla left we had dinner at Giovanni's Restaurant at the Hyatt Hotel to kick off their big send off. We ate great food, laughed at all the good times we had together, and toasted to new journeys ahead.



Layla: The scientist in our group. We would hang out at Java Joes for coffee and go over my DAT flash cards. I was reviewing for dental school and she was reviewing for medical school. We'd have a blast diving together. There was always something we would laugh so hard about underwater.

She worked and lived in Costa Rica for a short time doing research on the conservation project for the turtles. She's an explorer, down to earth, and really fun to be with. Layla put so much into her kids throughout the school year. It was really touching to hear her students say their farewells and how much she has impacted their lives. One kid said she wanted to be baptized one day because of Layla's positive influence. I think she'll be successful in whatever she decides to do with her life. I'll miss you Layla!




Rosanna: (Left of Missy in the pic). One great surprise in the midst of everyone leaving is Rosanna. She's from Texas and is here to teach ESL at the SDA school for the summer. She's a good friend of Brit's and I am just happy she's here to keep me company even if its just for a little while. She's also been teaching me how to make delicious Indian dishes. Watch out Taste of India!


Missy. Where do I start! I think I felt the closest to Missy. Missy and I are just meant to be friends. We dove together, beautified the cnmi together, and chatted about important "stuff". She just gets me.

Missy is the type of person that tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. She's dedicated, positive, and passionate about her students here in Saipan. I'm hoping that she does decide to come back for another year because we've got plans to travel. But even if she doesn't I know we will always remain good friends.



Our mud pie was on fire!


Our food was delicious.


Photo Credit: Rosanna

And in the background the jazz pianiast played Leaving on a Jet plane while the mud pie was on fire. It was the song we sang at the wake of Brit's farewell. Only we sang a better version of it. Miss you guys.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Being Single

A short conversaton with a patient yesterday afternoon while working in his mouth.

Patient: So how old are you?
Me: 30
Patient: (gasp) 30 and not married yet?
Me: uh huh
Patient: Don't you want to be married?
Me: Sure, to the right person.
Patient: You should look for a husband.
Me: Say what!?


(Sigh) I get this alot especially from the Filipinos and there are ALOT of Filipinos on this island. Apparently if you're not married before the age of thirty you are considered to be an "Old Maid" in the Filipino culture. One word: stupid. I'm not in a hurry to get hitched considering the high divorce statistics that 50 percent of first marriages fail and 60 percent of second remarriages fail. I'd rather be single and happy than be married to the wrong person and miserable. How is that inconcievable to some?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Improving Access to Dental Care in Saipan

We didn't have to talk about money or what their insurance co-payment was. We were just there to get people out of pain and discomfort. We came together as a team and shared the same heart as Jesus: to serve others.
I feel like this is what I came here to do. To be able to provide dental treatment to those who really need it.
Ever heard of someone who lived with a toothache for more than a year? On Sunday we saw plenty of patients who put up with pain for over a year due to financial restraints or lack of insurance to visit their dentist. We saw 66 patients and did over 80 dental procedures. Dr. Crystal Edmister and Dr. Ken Pierson extracted over forty teeth as well as other dental procedures like fillings. The other registered dental hygienist, Lori and I did a bunch of gross debridements on patients who hadn't seen the dentist in over 10 years. We provided over $10,000 worth of dental procedures. I think it was a success. Here's an article about our event in the Saipan Tribune news.

But still the sad fact is 40 percent of the population in the U.S. is not getting the dental care they need. I read the Surgeon General's Report 2000, Oral Health In America, and it called untreated poor health the "silent x-factor promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year." Its a serious matter and unfortunately it doesn't get as much attention as it should.
Access to dental care is limited. I've seen it on my dental mission trips not only in Saipan but in other countries like the Philippines and Mexico.
Its hard because coming out of dental hygiene school you want to go out and make a difference. Now that I am out here I am realizing how great the epidemic is and how short handed we are. So, I guess I can only do what I can . . . save one mouth at a time.
Photo Credit: the Pierson's and Kuya Ernie

Mountain Biking Action



Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been really busy and by the time I get home I am too exhausted to post. I feel like I'm behind.

One of the highlights of this past weekend was mountain biking with Crystal and Ken on Sabbath afternoon. I can't believe I haven't done this sooner because I am really loving the mountain biking action. I accidentally grabbed Sean's old bike instead of Missy's and it weighed like thirty pounds. Let's just say I got a burning workout.

Saturday was clear and really hot so we waited till about four in the afternoon to head up to the north side of the island. We parked at the Mariana's Spa and Resort parking lot and then cycled our way towards the Grotto. I thought I was going to die on the hill to the Grotto.

What a view we had during our bike ride! I got distracted cycling under the brilliant red Flame trees, the bright blue sky, and the view of the Philippine Sea. I love it here!

We made a quick stop at the Grotto to check out the water below and saw that it was perfectly calm. This is one of the best times to snorkel and dive the grotto because its low tide.

After our short rest, Ken took us to a bike path that cuts from the grotto to cowtown and then to Bonzai. The moutain bikers on this island should know which trail I am talking about. This trail was really cool. We dodged lime stones on the path, over hung branches, and other debris on the path.

We even got a chance to stop and explore some caves that had existing bones and bullet shells. There is even an area where they have unexploded ordanances from WWII. I still have alot of exploring to do on this island.

Our one and half hour mountain biking adventure couldn't have ended any better. A night at the spa relaxing in the infinite pool. (sigh) Did I say I loved it here?! Photo credit: The Pierson's.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Clinic With A Heart

Psssssst! Spread the word to low income familes and people with NO dental insurance.

The Saipan Seventh-day Adventist Dental Clinic on Quarter Master Road will hold a Clinic With A Heart this Sunday, June 17. The clinic will be open from 8:00-4:00pm and the volunteer dental staff will be offering free BASIC dental care. What I mean by free basic dental care is people with a toothache and who are in immediate real pain. Most of the dental work provided will be extractions.

Sorry, there won't be any free root canals, crowns, or bleaching trays offered=( We don't have enough man power and time to do all of that. Our goal is to get the patient out of pain. During our Health Newstart series we screened alot of residents in Kagman that were in need of dental work but couldn't afford it. This is our way of reaching out to the community of Saipan.

The Clinic With A Heart will be on a first come first serve basis. I would come early to start lining up and to fill out paperwork. The participating sponsors of this event are the Saipan Central SDA Church and the Saipan SDA School.

If you have any questions, you could leave me a comment. Can a contributor from Saipan This Week put this on the schedule?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rewind

Its ironic that the object of war is peace. An email from Grant about his experience with a solider on a plane triggered a memory from my plane trip from Denver, Colorado to Ontario, California when I was visiting home in May. I was on United flight 1461. I sat in the exit row in between two older gentlemen. Usually on flights I keep to myself and just listen to my ipod as I daydream.

The guy sitting next to the window was friendly. I can't remember his name for the life of me so I will call him seat 14A. We chatted a bit. During our conversation I learned that he is a pilot that flys a black hawk helicopter for the marines. He's been serving for 20 years now and has been on tour in Iraq before.

I mention that I am living in Saipan. He says he knows about Saipan and where it is. A son of his friend died in Saipan during WWII. I notice a book he is reading on the war in Iraq. He mentions that he is in California for training and asks me if it gets really cold at night since they will be outdoors. We continued to chat about other random things.

Our plane lands and we are about to exit the plane. I turned to him and wished him well as he trains in California. He turns to me and says, "I'm not worried about my training in California. I'm more worried about when I have to leave for Iraq in a month and that I have to leave my family." My heart just dropped. I paused and I didn't know what to say right away. I said something cheesy like take care and that I'd pray for him. I wanted to say more but I didn't. I could kick myself about that situation.

So If I could rewind that situation, I would have said to you seat 14A, thank you for doing what you do so that we could live the life that we have. I should have said that we support you and that we are praying for your safe return.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Apt Search

Missy gave me a really sweet gift before she left. She painted me something! If I hadn't dropped my camara in the river I would have taken a picture of it.

My walls in my apartment have been bare this whole time since i've been in Saipan. I suppose I didn't think I would stay this long so I never bothered decorating. I hung up Missy's painting in my living room today and it is starting to feel alittle more like home. I shouldn't get too comfortable though because I will be out of here by next month.

Since I'm staying another year, I have decided to splurge alittle and move to a nicer apartment with a view. I figured that I probably will never be able to afford a place near the beach in California so I might as well live it up over here in Saipan. I'm still deciding between an apartment on beach road towards Garapan or an apartment on Capital Hill that has an amazing view of Managaha island. Both apartments are about $500 a month. The only reason I am leaning more towards the apartment on Beach road is because I wouldn't have to drive down the hill and waste gas to go running all the time. I can simply walk out of my front door and be on the beach in a matter of a few feet.

Still searching though for other places. If anyone has any recommendations for great apartments just let me know.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Java Nights



I've been to the airport alot this past week saying goodbye to my friends that are leaving for the states. Layla and Missy were the last ones to leave on Sunday. They made my transition to Saipan easier for me and I'll miss them. I knew I would be sad to see them go, but I didn't think I would be this sad. It is true that being the one left behind is harder than the one who is leaving.

Thankfully Ej called and wanted to hang out to cheer me up. We met up at Java Joes tonight and just chatted about the past month since I've been gone. We are planning a trip to Australia in January! It was good to see you EJ and I hope our plans work out!

While we were at Java Joes we ran into our friend, Greg. Just wanted to welcome Greg to the blogasphere! He's a scuba diver as well so check out his blog From My Rock In The Tropical Sun for upcoming pics =)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mai



We refer to Mai as the North Star. She's stunning and constant. Mai's easy to talk to. She's the type of friend who really listens to every word you say and is never distracted. She’s always uplifting and encouraging about how God has great plans for all of us. She's a great storyteller, killer volleyball player, and cooks the best veggie curry. She truly cares for her students and talks about how great they are. I think they were lucky to have Mai as a teacher this year.

On Sabbath afternoons we didn’t like to take naps. Favorite Memory: One afternoon I ditched choir practice and we set out for an adventure with Grant in his truck. We were in the back of the truck dodging tree branches as Grant drove through a rugged path that led to Naftan Point. We hiked along the cliffs and had Sabbath worship together while watching the sunset. Afterwards we had pizza for dinner while sitting in the back of Grant’s truck under the stars and laughed hysterically as Grant told us his best jokes. We had so much fun together.

I'm happy that she will be returning to Saipan with her boyfriend, Jerry, for another year. Have a great summer Mai and I’ll see you soon!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Diving Bonzai and Wing Beach

Fridays are my half days which pretty much leaves my afternoons free to do anything. What I love about Saipan is the ability to seek out adventure whenever you want it. Yesterday we rode the Aqua Jet Boat out to the dive sites Bonzai and Wing Beach. I was looking forward to these dives all week since these are the only dive sites I haven't been to yet.

I LOVE Nudibranchs!

My dive buddies from left to right: Ken, Yuko, Mayuki, Atsuko, Crystal, Me, Missy, and Layla.
I don't think it could of been a more perfect day to be out on the dive boat. It was bright, sunny, and the water was 83 degrees. While I'm riding on the dive boat the waves and the wind both take my cares far away and I am in total peace. From the view on the dive boat you can see the brilliant red patches of flame trees all over the island. The first dive spot was Bonzai. We saw a huge Napolean Wrasse! This picture does not do it justice.
We dove the arch at Wing Beach on the second dive. We explored all the little nooks and crevices of the arch. Wing Beach is definitely one of my favorite dive spots in Saipan.
Missy going through the swim throughs.
Lion Fish
I have the greatest bosses, Crystal and Ken. They are just really cool to work for and dive with. Crystal had a head cold and wasn't able to equalize so she had to go back up. There's Ken taking pics.
Layla crusin' over the coral. This was the last dive of the year for Missy and Layla since they will be leaving for the states this Sunday morning. I'll miss them but I am hoping they will have a change of heart about staying another year. (fingers crossed) Kudos to Mayuki, Atsuko, and Ken for these pics.
Head first. Diving isn't so scary anymore. Thanks Missy and Layla for the lesson.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Car Issues

I hate that everything in Saipan rusts because of the humidity. I lowered my car window last night and it wouldn’t go back up. I have the worst luck with cars. My friends can attest. Anyway, I had to resort to taping a plastic bag over the window last night so that the rain wouldn’t leak into my car. Quite a sight if you ask me. Everyone thought my car got broken into.

I had the repair guy pick up my car at the dental clinic for a check. Turns out that the motors for three of my power windows are rusted and will need to be replaced. Just my luck I tell ya. The damage is about $230. Does that sound like a good deal because I have no idea how much this repair stuff is suppose to cost. I'll have to take my car in every so often for a series of rust proofing. (sigh) I'm annoyed.

On a happier note, today is Friday and its half day for me! We are going scuba diving on a the Aqua Jet Dive boat to Bonzai and Wing Beach after work! I can't wait to get back into the water.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Interview With God

I am still jetlagged and have been up at two in the morning every day this week. I was going through my emails and came across this forward that my cousin, Davelyn sent. I just wanted to share this.

">

Jeff Turbitt: Saipan Blogger Article

Jeff's three part article was featured in the Marianas Variety News this week.

WHETHER to keep up with friends far away, enjoy a new forum for self-expression, change the perception of the CNMI or simply to opine on matters local, national or personal, blogging has taken the CNMI by storm. The community of CNMI bloggers cuts a wide swath of society: lawyer, doctor, journalist, principal, environmental activist and dental hygienist to name the day jobs of a few CNMI bloggers. All have their own particular focus and passion, but each finds a creative outlet in this new form of self expression that readers are increasingly responding to.




For those unfamiliar with the rapid machinations of cyberspace, blogging is an online diary in which participants can offer written thoughts, as well as audio, video or digital images, on virtually anything. Blogging allows most anyone to be a journalist of sorts. Journalism even at the highest level doesn’t require a license. Blogging took on a new level of social cachet in the party conventions during the last presidential election, as a media area devoted specifically to bloggers was set up, and the opinions set forth by bloggers have increasing influence the establishment media. Blogging is included and covered in everything from the New York Times to Slate.


There are now approximately 1.3 million English blogs on the Web. One can conservatively estimate there are now at least 30 CNMI blogs. There were five or less a year ago.


The pole position blogger in the CNMI is probably Angelo Villagomez (http://www.jetapplicant.blogspot.com/), a privately employed political/environmental organizer who recently returned to his birthplace here in the CNMI after being raised and educated on the U.S. mainland. Villagomez’s blog averages a solid 430 plus hits per day, and partially took off after having links related to a sex scandal involving Miss Nevada Katie Rees. But sex scandals aren’t the crux of Villagomez’s blog, though he has been known to display a bevy of athletic bikini babes on his site. His blog discusses all types of things with a particular focus on environmental issues. “My blog is about life in Saipan. I touch on politics, people, places, events, and when things get boring I just post girls in bikinis. I also talk about national topics. I also post videos and pictures,” he said.




Villagomez notes blogging can entail certain negative experiences, such as when he was fired for blogging. He was critical of management at a restaurant he was employed in, discussed his thoughts in one of his earlier blogs, and was then told his services weren’t needed anymore. That experience didn’t stop him, but he acknowledges certain vulnerability from his online journal. “When you blog, you are opening up yourself to the world. When you allow people to see the world through your eyes, you become sort of a celebrity. People who don’t know you will think they know you. People will leave you comments with the intent of pissing you off. 


I’ve had people leave some very personal nasty things about my family. Most things have been good. I make some money off of the Yahoo ads on my blog, plus people are always telling me that what I publish online reminds them of what a great place Saipan can be.”


Changing that perception of Saipan has been one of the goals of many of the Saipan bloggers. Most anyone who makes the move to Saipan will come across the Saipan Sucks Web site, which is extremely critical of the CNMI and can scare off a potential recruit. There was very little on the Internet to give a more balanced view of the islands prior to this rise in blogging, so a recent entrant to the CNMI, Walt F.J. Goodridge (www.passionprofit.com/escape), an author, career coach and “nomadpreneur,” started the We Love Saipan network (www.welovesaipan.com), a launching point for many CNMI bloggers last year.



“Right now, because of what we’re doing, there’s a new dialogue developing. There are an increasing number of people around the world who, after now discovering us through these new blogger channels, are saying things like: ‘I’m thinking of moving to Saipan! Have you ever heard of a place called Saipan? Ever thought about retiring on Saipan?’ Yes, the dialogue is changing,” Goodridge said.


THE dialogue isn’t completely Wild West, a common criticism of blogging. Given the size of the island, some people can feel a little bit of self-censorship — especially if their career seems to require more discretion. 



Melissa Simms (http://melissasimms.blogspot.com), an assistant attorney general with the Division of Immigration, says the focus of her blog is her own usual day to day life struggles, as well as observations and sometimes tirades, but there are limitations. “Due to my position in the community, I tend to steer away from anything too political or controversial, even though I have very strong opinions. I find it is a great outlet for me to express myself and communicate with my friends and family who are far away. I have met many wonderful people and made a lot of new friends through my blog that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.” 


Simms also said things she read on CNMI blogs helped influence her recent move to the island, and she has come to enjoy the friendships of other bloggers, who meet on the last Wednesday of each month at 7 pm at Java Joes cafĂ© to talk and offer advice. There is an open invite to potential bloggers to join in as well. “I think that the blogging community in Saipan is very strong — we are all very different in occupations, political opinion, hobbies, etc., but blogging ties us together, and helps paint a picture of what Saipan is really like from the perspective of many different people.”


Brad Ruszala (http://beachboyinparadise.blogspot.com), a sportswriter and general sports enthusiast, professes great love for his adopted hometown of Saipan, and posts mostly about sports and daily life. He enjoys the different perspective blogging allows. “Too many negative stories about our islands come out in the local and international press. For some, that’s the only way of getting information. I have a real stake in the future of this place and I know that there is plenty more to read about than the evaporating garment industry, the ridiculous utilities firm and the soap opera politicking on the hill.”


Ruszala also likes the democracy and different perspectives blogging allows. “The multimillion dollar foreign owned corporations and the overpaid politicians have lost touch with the regular people, so it’s time that the regular folks like me speak up. I’m not here to change the world, but I am here to say that it’s a lot different down here where I am.” 


Yvonne Reyes-Gomez (http://sommysmommy.blogspot.com) is the principal of Garapan Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the CNMI, and she is someone who simply enjoys writing. ”Reading and writing are the two hobbies that give me the most satisfaction because I am able to expand my own thinking and express myself. I’m a wanna-be published writer, but without the guts or time to actually sit down and produce something worthy of publication. Blogging is my fix. I can be a poet, a political activist, a short story writer, even a comedian in a blog.”


Reyes-Gomez also eases her day to day anxiety through blogging. “I have a very stressful job. I never get a chance to really sit down and reflect on the other areas in my life. Blogging helps to re-focus. It’s sort of like a gratitude journal, a chance for me to see and say all the things that I do outside of work. Sometimes I feel like I don’t contribute enough to my community and especially my family. Blogging is tangible proof that I have a life outside of the campus gates.”
Unlike Simms, Reyes-Gomez feels less need for self-censorship. “I write about my thoughts on government and its leaders or lack thereof. In my blog I do not have to worry about being “proper” and keeping my government agent hat on too tightly.” 
But government officials aren’t the only ones who might be a bit cautious around Reyes-Gomez, her own family must keep an eye on what they say. “Sometimes even my family self-edits what they do and say because they know it will eventually be publicized. I am the mamarazzi!”


One of the challenges all bloggers face is updating their blogs with fresh thoughts on interesting topics. “Sometimes I get blogorhea. Sometimes I’m on every day. It all depends on what’s going on in my life. When you’re a blogger, there may not be an event to post everyday, but there is always a thought worthy of sharing. I’m not against posting a one sentence quip either, just to get it off my chest. I read blogs every day though,” Reyes-Gomez said.



SOMETIMES devotion to a hobby leads to blogging. This is the case for Melissa Highfill, a self described “stay at home mom” who said she started blogging after seeing other people’s blog addresses in their signature on needlework message boards. “I use it as a tool to keep up with my friends and some of my family back home while we are stationed out here. If I had to pick one general theme, it would be needlework...that is what started it all and that is what I mainly look at when I am looking at other blogs. Many of my needlework friends are intrigued by our life here...hardly anyone has heard of Saipan,” Highfill said.



Bree Reynolds (http://breeanddoug.blogspot.com), a science teacher at Hopwood Junior High School, has a spouse who wonders why she devotes so much energy to blogging. “My husband actually asked me what the appeal was. Don’t get me wrong, he thinks it’s great that I’m documenting our lives, posting pictures, communicating with family, etc. That way he doesn’t have to do it, but he doesn’t get the appeal of sitting in front of a screen for hours reading other blogs, posting comments, etc. I told him, ‘I like to talk’ and blogging is sort of like talking to other people. Plus it’s a creative outlet.”
Reynolds also thinks blogging is an educational tool. “I created a blog for students to post about science and environmental related topics www.greencnmi. blogspot.com and another blog for posting about books and writing at www.fottenreaders.blogspot.com. These blogs are open to anyone in the CNMI that wants to contribute. They just need to email me to become an author. My students have also received a greater audience for their work and I really love that because it shows what students from an overcrowded, under-funded public middle school can do when they are motivated and inspired.”



Beverly Cabanatan (http://bevecaba.blogspot.com/), a registered dental hygienist, is one of the many CNMI bloggers with a spiritual focus. “I wanted to keep my family and friends in touch with what my life is like as a missionary dental hygienist with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Saipan. I wanted to record my adventures, my experiences with my patients, and my spiritual growth in Saipan. I blog about my spiritual journey, the outreach of the SDA Church, missionary life, scuba diving, and random other things about my life on Saipan.



Dr. David Khorram (http://marianaseye.blogspot.com), an eye specialist and surgeon, uses blogging as an outlet for his many different interests. “My most positive experiences relate to influencing people’s lives and opinions in a positive way through my writing. I’m now getting about 100 visitors a day, so I know that people are enjoying what they read. Recently a friend sent me a link to a Web site in the Philippines where someone was quoting me after reading my blog. That was cool. The Saipan blogs provide personal perspectives on issues I’m not usually exposed to, uncover news, provide information on events and activities, and are made by a pretty savvy group of individuals that I have come to know and trust. As a result, the Saipan blogs have positively influenced my experience of Saipan.”


The net result of all this activity is a massive increase in the amount of online information about these islands, and a more balanced and diverse view of life here. It might take a little longer, but even global internet trends make their way to these tiny Mariana islands.


Jeffrey C. Turbitt is author of Saipan and Other Random Hypercritical Thoughts, a blog focused on local politics. His blog can be viewed at http://turbittj.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Grant



Grant was the only male missionary out of eight girls this year. What a lucky guy, eh? One word that would describe Grant: solid. I admire his dedication to serve God and his leadership in church. He's a doer. When he saw an area in the church that needed improvement, he didn't complain about it. He did something about it and brought life to the ministry especially with our prayer meetings. He's passionate about God and it shows.

Grant's an adventurer. If he isn't relaxing on his hammock on some remote beach he was off exploring the cliffs, caves, or jungles of Saipan. I think he's pretty much seen it all in Saipan.

Grant is the kind of friend that you could call if you were in a jam. He never judged you and he was always there to pray with you whenever you were discouraged. One of the reasons why I am here in Saipan for a second year was because of what he said to me one day when we were hiking on the cliffs in Dan Dan. I wont' say though until later.

Grant left Saipan this morning, but the good news is that he will still keep up with his blog wherever he goes. I'll miss our tank swims. I'm just happy that God managed to bring our group together at the right time and at the right place. All the best to you Grant n Georgia.

Monday, June 04, 2007

WANTED: Models For Fashion Show Fundraiser

"Fashion Cares by Renee Salud"

-World-renown Filipino designer, Renee Salud, invites you to join the Saipan Seventh-day Adventist School in building a new campus.

-The goal of the Saipan SDA School is to move their two campuses to one central location.

-All proceeds from this fashion show fundraiser helps this relocation process.

-The Fashion Cares show will be held at World Resort in October. Details to follow.

You don't have to look like a supermodel. We are looking for real life models with different sizes and shapes. The age range can be from two years old up to grand parents. There will four categories: children's formal gowns, Casual Adult Gowns, Formal Adult Gowns, and Male Attire. Your attire will be custom designed for your body. You can pick out any style of dress. It doesn't have to be a traditional Filipina dress.

If you are interested, please leave me a comment with your email address and I'll forward you the details. Thanks!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Britni

I hate “goodbyes”. I was never really good at them. It is the end of the school year and the student missionaries are leaving Saipan one by one this week to continue on with their education and to pursue other dreams.



Last night we had a farewell party for them at church. We had a potluck dinner, played a couple of games, and watched a slideshow dedicated to the “Dream team”. They put their heart and soul into the school year and towards their kids. Mai and I are the only ones coming back for another year. A new set of missionaries will come out in the fall. This is usually what happens every year at the SDA elementary and junior high school.


I’m sad that they are leaving but I am thankful for the time we had together. They changed me. Our love for Jesus keeps us connected forever and the memories . . . well they’ll last a lifetime.

Britni is the first one that has left Saipan:

Crusin' in the back of Grant's truck, Rusty.

Britni is the youngest and the heart of our group. She’s what I would call a free spirit. She’s fun and energetic. I loved hearing her lead out in praise songs during church service while Grant played the guitar. She was my first dive buddy. We traveled and explored Guam together. We had heart to heart talks about our dreams and where God was leading us. I’ll never forget her laugh that you could hear a mile away. Britni will be moving to California to pursue her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy at Loma Linda University. I love you Brit and will miss you.

Guam Trip March 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It Just Fits

I'm back on island. I wondered how I would feel about coming back for another year. After my warm welcome home at the airport and at church . . . it just fits. I feel like I fit here in Saipan. I'm home. God's plans are far better than my own.