Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Commitment . . . Not Such A Bad Thing.

Commitment to anything is hard work. I have to admit that I haven't really commited 100 % of my heart to anything in the past two years except for completing my 2 year contract out here in Saipan. After Saipan I don't even really know where I'm going or what I want to do. Making plans is tiresome for me and frankly I'm tired of being disappointed.

Today was a milestone for me. Coach Mike continues to push me to swim faster in the pool. Though he sometimes yells at me for "pausing" at the other side of the pool . . . it makes me want to work harder. He finally told me that I have to stop surviving and start challenging myself. So he made me commit to my first 400 meters without stopping.

So this morning I swam my first 400 meters without stopping! Woo hoo! That may not sound like a big deal to you but for me . . . its huge! I remember swimming with EJ for the first time about three months ago and not being able to complete even one lap. I was pathetic. I kept thinking how am I ever going to ever get up to par. But after finishing my 400 meters this morning I felt so happy. I know, its werid to be so happy over something so small. But I haven't been this happy in a long time. My self- doubt is slowing going away and I am starting to remember the sweet benefits of commitment.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hell Of The Marianas Bike Race

The Pacific Islands Club hosted the first ever Hell of The Marianas Bike Race this past Saturday. I went to cheer for Kimiko, Lewie and Greg really early in the morning. So early that the moon was still out. When I got there all the bikers were gearing up and adjusting all their bikes. Rock music was blasting in the background and everyone seemed so hyped up to race a 100k on Saipan's flat and hilly terrain.

I was really impressed with how well put together the event was from the clock at the starting point to all the volunteers helping at the water stations. I can tell alot of effort was put into the race. They climbed some continous hills that lived up to the name Hell of the Marianas and did a full circle around the island. The riders had to head south around the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport up to Isa Drive going to Kagman Road, and turned at the Laolao Bay Golf Resort heading to the Mobil gas. From the Kagman Mobil gas station, riders headed to Chalan Talofofo, turned at the Kingfisher Golf Links, and went towards Chalan Pale Arnold road up to Chalan Matuis for the Radar Tower.

From the Radar Tower the riders will climbed up at Suicide Cliff and toward Grotto, where they turned and headed back down to Banzai Cliff. The riders then navigated from Banzai Cliff toward the Last Command Post down to the American Memorial Park, Beach Road and head toward PIC for the finish line. It must have been a beautiful course to bike even though it was really long. There's nothing like a morning ride that zips through the north part of the island with the ocean view in the background.

I thought about how hard each of them have trained for this race especially the women. What an inspiration they are. Truthfully the amount of biking they have done in the past 3 months sounds painful! I mean, I can barely last 10 miles. I know I just have to be patient and not quit. This is the quote on my fridge that keeps pushing me to become a better version of me. "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."-Lance Armstrong

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My First Icon Mtn. Bike Ride in Saipan

Saipan is zzzzz best place to be if you are a sports maniac and are into Mtn Biking, Running, Beach Volleyball, and Scuba Diving. There is plenty to do here. Sometimes I feel like there is not enough time in the week to fit it all in.

After Greg's month long hiatus in the states, he finally built my bike and took me on my first Mtn Bike ride in Saipan. I couldn't wait to get my bike dirrrrrty! Its rainy season so alot of the roads and trails are nice and muddy. We started off the run at the entrance of Lau Lau Beach Road heading towards the dive site. If anyone has gone diving at Lau Lau they will know how rocky and bumpy that road is. It kind of reminds me of a Toyota Tacoma truck commercial offroading in the jungle somewhere.

Ok, maybe it wasn't that extreme but it was really rough. So we made it to the Lau Lau beach dive site and went towards GapGap Road. There is this really steep gravel hill that just about killed me on the way up! Actually I had to stop and walk my bike up the hill for a bit. Then I got really tired and just stood there wanting to go back down. Greg ended up towing my bike along side him on his way up while I walked up.

After conquering that GapGap hill we went through Kagman village and headed towards Forbidden Island. Guess what another killer hill towards the look out. I was on the "granny" cycle all the way up and was going so slow! I felt my legs burning. We finally made it to the look out to take a quick picture and then raced back down since we spotted rain coming in from the distance. Overall the ride was only 10 miles but it felt longer than that. Not too shabby for my first Mtn bike ride, eh?! Hell of the Marianas Race is this weekend and bikers will be racing 100k! So crazy. Here's a little map of my morning ride from Lau Lau all the way to Forbidden Island and back.

I think i'm starting to get use to the different gears. Throughout the whole run I kept switching from gear to gear. Also I was practicing how to brake without losing control on the gravel and dirt roads. My disc brakes are sweet! I dread wiping out but know eventually it may happen. Greg raced down the steep hills flying over rocks and dips. Not ready to go that fast yet.

One thing I love about Mtn biking is that you don't have to have someone always with you. You can just take off whenever and wherever. I enjoy morning rides especially on the north end of the island.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who's Line Is it Anyway?

Ever watch that comedy show Who's LIne Is It Anyway? Those comedians are brilliant making up the script out of scratch in front of a live audience. They're truly an inspiration to me. The Pressure is on. My first drama performance is this Wednesday night in Kagman. Its a monologue between three readers entitled "One Minute". Eeek, I've got a lot of lines to remember. Tonight we rehearsed the play and did okay. I forgot a couple of lines and just stood there. Grrr, I hate it when your mind goes blank and the worst thing is you have to keep a straight face. We still have to smooth out a couple of transitions but for the most part I think we've pretty much got it down. The true test is performing in front of an audience with your nerves creeping up on you.

Its not so bad when you mess up or forget your line because the audience won't know that you have messed it up. The key thing when you mess up is executing a great recovery from the mistake that was made. Thats the hard part because when you fidget or look to someone else its a dead give away.

Sean suggested I stand in front of a mirror and practice my lines. Peforming in front of a mirror has been really helpful for me even though I just keep cracking up at myself! But when I'm serious sometimes I forget my lines. So I watch my facial expressions and see if I give away clues that I have just messed up. Surely my hands tend to fidget and when I mess up I want to just hit my forehead and say "doh"! heh The kids have been so encouraging and have been giving me some really great advice about relaxing. I just need to remember to b r e a t h e. If i can swim with sharks I can surely say some lines in front of a large audience, right? Lets hope so.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Japanese Lantern Festival

Saipan is definitely one big melting pot. From the West to the East the diversity out here is pretty amazing. I've made some really great friends of different cultures and its been really fun getting to know what each culture is all about. Actually its been more fun food tasting their yummy dishes!! Every now and then we get a cultural treat and an event goes on for a day or even a weekend sometimes. This past Saturday the SDA Student Teachers and I decided to check out the Japanese Lantern Festival after church over on Middle Road.
We walked into the festival with traditional Japanese music playing in the background. Although the festival was alot smaller than I had thought we still had a great time just walking around and checking out their booths. Some of the women and kids were dresssed in their colorful cultural attire. When I saw them it reminded me of one of my favorite written books-Memoirs of a Geisha. I think the Japanese culture is fascinating. Sadly I have never set foot on Japan. Only in transit through Narita and Nagoya aiprort. But when I do finally make it out there I want to do two things in Japan: see the Cherry Blossoms Fesitval and snowboard in Japan! Oh and of course explore the many Buddhist temples and visit with the monks.

Missy and I bought some kind of dessert drink with beans and boba looking pearls inside of it. It kind of reminded me of the Filipino dessert Halo halo. Speaking of Japanese food, Saipan has some pretty tasty Japanese restaurants. My favorite Japanese restaurant in Saipan so far is Len. If you have never been there you must give it a try! Its secretly hidden on the first floor of an apartment complex towards Garapan on Beach Road. I had the hot pot with chicken and mixed veggies . . . yummylicious! You'll have to check that out.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Small things have been upsetting me. What's worst is that I act like I am not upset and annoyed but I really am! Why do I feel the need to bite my tongue and tolerate the madness I go through? Maybe i'm just chicken or maybe I'm too concerned about what people may think of me if I complain. I seriously am not much of a complainer. Anyway, I am fed up and frustrated.

Ok, so this is the real me. Lots of things upset me: other peoples behavior, my behavior, time pressures, work. Living in a different country there is the added pressure of cultural misunderstandings, adjustment, and little familial support. I realize that I can't expect things to be the same as they are in the states such as customer service, work ethic . . . blah blah blah

I realize that certain situations that upset you can give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself and others. Its just frustrating when things aren't the way you are use to. For instance, Americans drive on the right side of the road and the British drive on the left side of the road. Neither is right or wrong, it's just unfamiliar and a different way of life. I think it just comes down to adjustment. Something that I am having a hard time with out here. (sigh) TGIF Ahhh, I love Saipan's sunsets.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Good Morning Saipan

Early Tuesday morning Crystal and I went live on Harry's Radio show 103.9 to promote National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month for the month of October. I was a bit nervous considering you never really know what Harry will ask you! Its good though because he keeps you guessing and I have to say that he's very professional on air! Needless to say we had a great time talking about the importance of proper oral hygiene and coming in regularly for dental checks every six months. We also discussed topics like how periodontal gum disease is linked to systemic diseases like Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Low term prebirth babies, and Pulmonary disease. Your mouth is truly a window of your health. Hope we got the point across. Of course we had a couple of minutes towards the end to talk about diving as well.

Anyway I just realized that I have been a Registered Dental Hygienist for four years! Holy Cow! Time has flown by and I can't believe I have been in this profession for that long. I have learned so much about life and people in this profession. Many times I have taken the role as a counselor in the chair where people would vent about anything from marriage, work, and real life concerns. Personal discussions don't ever leave my dental office. Its amazing how much people will share with you though. I may not offer advice but I do have great ears=)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Church Planting In Kagman

Since I was a kid I would hear about the amazing stories of missionaries church planting off in far away lands like Africa, Cambodia, or Thailand. As a kid I remember thinking how far those places seemed and how perfect those missionaries must be. Now that I have grown up I have realized that those places don’t seem so far away after all nor are those missionaries any different than you and me. Definitely not perfect. Experiencing God in Saipan has made me realize that He can use just about anyone who has a willing heart.

The Saipan Seventh-day Adventist Church is getting ready for our two-week evangelistic series in the village Kagman starting this Saturday. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get a chance to take part in church planting. Pastor Ravia and the other missionaries have been going door-to-door giving Bible studies on Sabbath afternoons for the past couple of months. Pastor Duenas will be flying over from Guam to lead out in the series. The drama group that I have joined, Real Christian Theater, will be making its debut performing short skits before the sermon. I’m a little nervous about that . . . but I’m sure we’ll do just fine.

What I didn’t fully realize at first about church planting is what a major production it is. So much planning and hard work goes into these meetings. The load can seem unbearable at times. It made me realize how much work the Pastor does and much church support he needs. We believe with the hard times that have hit the CNMI that people are searching for something more than what this life has to offer. It’s been a challenging road but I am hopeful that God will work through us to bring even at least one person closer to Him. Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dirt princess

Drumroll please . . . My Gary Fisher Tassajara Mtn. bike has finally arrived! I'm sure my coworkers have been tired of me dancing around waiting for it. Its in pieces though and was shipped to me in two boxes. The hard part is waiting to have it built. I can't wait to get it dirty on the trails. Queen of the trails I am not but princess can?! Hmmm, maybe. I saw Kimiko the other day and asked if I could go riding with her so we'll see how that goes. I'm excited about adventure riding!

The Rota Blue Tri is coming up and I haven't biked at all! I've just been swimming and running mostly. I think I could bike it but I heard Rota's got some killer hills. You know I'm just doing this race to say that I completed a tri! Nevermind that I will probably come in last place. We'll see. I just need to invest in a really good helmet because after hearing tales about flying over handle bars . . . I'm a bit nervous.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Titan Trigger Fish Attack

I had an interesting dive experience on Columbus Day! I realize that whenever you dive with a bunch of Bloggers you are in for an adventure and there will definitely be different online tales told . . . so here is mine!

Jeff invited me to go on the Aqua Jet for an afternoon boat dive with Bruce and Rose.
Our boat ride out to Naftan Point and Boy Scout was rough. The waves were huge but we were still lucky enough to end up with sunny skies. We were the only four customers and we had the entire boat to ourselves.

I went diving at Naftan Point with Greg a couple of months ago and I have to say that I wasn’t really thrilled about this dive site. Perhaps I'm alittle spoiled from the wall diving I did in Palau. Since I was the only one that did Naftan Point before they made me navigate this dive. So we dropped in about 80 feet and I led them along the wall. I was disappointed because there wasn’t a lot of coral to look at so I was just searching for Nudibranchs the entire dive. We reached about half tank and started heading back to our boat. On the way back to the boat we stumbled across this Fish that I thought was a baby Napoleon Wrasse. I was just looking at his lips and didn't realize he didn't have a hump on his head. I need to seriously work on my fish i.d. because this was actually a Titan Trigger Fish but of course I didn’t know that at the time. I thought it would be as friendly as the Napoleon Wrasse that we were petting in Palau so I didn’t think anything of it. Looks so innocent right? Not! This picture doesn't do it justice because it was huge! It must of been a 30 pounder atleast 3 feet long and 2 feet wide.

Would you get a look at this Titan Trigger fish giving me the old evil eye? I should have known something was up. Here’s some advice. When you come across a Titan Trigger fish swim the other way as fast as you can!! I had never heard about how aggressive these fish can be. I was about 10 ft away from this fish using my zoom lens to take pictures. What I didn’t know was while I was taking pictures of this fish Jeff and Rose were being attacked by another Titan Trigger Fish behind me! They both have bites on their legs. Jeff’s bite broke through the skin and was bleeding.
Luckily Rose was wearing her skin suit and only obtained a 3 x 2 bruise on her leg. Unaware of what is going on behind me I still continue to take pictures of this fish from a distance. Next thing I know the fish looks right at me and I kid you not darts quickly towards me like a little torpedo. It was that fast! All I could remember thinking was “Lanya!” and screamed underwater so loud that Rose heard me! We must have been about 40-50 feet. My quick gut reaction was to block my stomach by quickly swinging my camera downward. The Titan Trigger fish ended up running into my camera and left some teeth marks on my filter lens. Nice I know! Worst was I wasn’t wearing my wet suit because Jeff and Bruce were teasing me that I looked like at “tourist” and it was so hot that day. So that fish could of really torn my skin up. Rose was a great dive buddy and was hitting the fish with her slate board to back him away. We quickly exited that area. My heart was racing! Grrrrr. I’m never going back to Naftan again.

I did a little research on this fish and realized that this fish can do some real damage to you and can even kill you if your not careful. Usually they easily feel threatened and territorial if you are near their nest. That is probably what happened. Anyway, now I’m more afraid of the Titan Trigger Fish than sharks. Phew, we made it safely to the boat. Still can’t believe that happened. Despite the attacks I still had a great day of diving.Here's a picture of a Nudibranch we found. Too bad too sad its blurry! Deal=P

Monday, October 08, 2007

Day Trip To Nappa Valley

How could I visit San Francisco and not stop by Nappa Valley aka Wine Country?! Nappa Valley is one of the most picturesque towns I have ever been too. Before my trip out I had only heard of Napa’s beauty through my friends who have either proposed or gotten married on the wineries there. This visit to Nappa was the highlight of my trip back home.
My girlfriend, Michelle, flew up from Southern Cali to purchase her gorgeous wedding gown for her upcoming May wedding and spent the weekend with me. Early Saturday morning we drove through a scenic valley through numerous wineries and majestic redwood trees. Napa Valley is only an hour drive north of San Francisco Bay. Since Miche is from the bay area she was pretty familiar with her way around.
The hour went by fast as we were catching up on things we have missed throughout the year. I am always puzzled how some friendships can last through distance and time. Fortunately, Miche and I can just pick up just where we left off and it never seems as if we have ever been apart. I guess the many days of enduring Dental Hygiene classes at LLU bonded us for life. You will always remember the first injection you ever give and receive! Scarrrrry!

We were able to visit three wineries: V. Sattui Winery, Sterling Reserve Winery, and Castello Di Armorosa. All three were very unique in their own way but all had such rural charming characteristics. We wandered through the castle, vineyards, and gardens. We also had yummy cheese and crackers in the picnic area. Napa is filled with the stuff wine goes good with: art, food, and interesting people.

So confession #1 is I am a wine enthusiast and am fascinated with the history and process of how wine is made. We learned so much about how very much the process of wine is like art. So many factors can affect the quality of wine such as the pH, total acidity, and sugar level . . . Its such a delicate process. Anywho, my favorite winery so far is the Sterling Reserve because it has an ariel tram that takes you up a steep hill that over looks the valley. It’s such a beautiful place. If you haven’t visited yet you need to go go go!

After our day trip out we meet up with our other girlfriend, Susie, that we graduated DH with for a night out on the town in SF. Ahhh, reunions with friends are sweet! (We missed you Shemmy!)

Friday, October 05, 2007

We Love Saipan Bloggers

Dear We Love Saipan Bloggers,

I just wanted to say that I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without meeting all of you here in Saipan. I have really enjoyed reading about your funny life stories and daily struggles. Its a given that one of you will give me a good laugh each day. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with me. You remind me everyday why Saipan is a great place to be despite all her downfalls.

It takes a lot to open your self up online. I love that we each have such strong opinions about everything. I’m glad that we don’t all think the same because if we did nothing would ever change especially about issues with the CNMI. Your blogs educate me about the ongoing need for changes with our local government, public school systems, environment, and much more. Boni, Jeff, Angelo, Bree, Harry, Cinta and others have done a great job at bringing critical issues to the table.

Disagreements between bloggers are inevitable. I have read some pretty eye brow raising posts and comments about fellow bloggers. It has been getting ugly online. I think arguing is fine as long as you can do it fairly. The question is can you argue in a way that gets your concerns addressed, but without doing damage to another person at the same time? Mean words and name-calling are hurtful and irreversible whether they are true or not. Kudos to you if you ever have to put up with personal attacks and name-calling on your blog.

The We Love Saipan network is much more than just showing the world why Saipan is so great to visit and live. It’s about creating a sense of comradeship and unity on this island. Atleast that is what I thought I was getting into when I joined this We Love Saipan Network.

I apologize if this post is too sentimental or cheesy. I am jetlagged and blogging at 2 in the morning! Hope you guys have a great three day Columbus Weekend!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Golden Gate Bridge Run in Pics

I had this strange urge to do a morning run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Aubrey was game to do a early morning run with me. So happy that we did. Such a great view and the weather was perfect. Overall I think the run was just under 4 miles.

I heard there is a marathon run from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay bridge. I'll have to come back for that one. My flight leaves in a couple of hours =( So sad to leave SF. One last blog post to come on my trip to the Wine Country-Nappa Valley.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Dr. Oakley, Maria Agulto, and Me.

Classes finally let out and I’m free for the rest of the trip! Woo hoo! I've learned so much from the "Captains of Cavity Prevention in their battle against the Plaque Pirates of the Oral Sea". . . heh

SF is such a beautiful and unique city. September is the best month of the year to visit. It’s not too cold and not to hot. It’s the perfect time to see the leaves start to change into variations of oranges and rusty reds. Although I love Saipan's year round beach weather, I still miss seeing and feeling the seasons change!

After classes let out I climbed the stairs behind the Moscone South Convention building onto a stone terrace that opened up to a breathtaking view of SF’s skyline. Strong straight lines and material in different colors and textures define my view. I’m in love with the architecture and art in SF. Its chilly but the sun is out. I’m wandering on my own. Ahh, it’s great to be alive.

Thanks mucho to a blogger named Dave who suggested a hidden jewel nestled on top of this terrace. Its called Samovar Tea Lounge. It’s a cute little eatery that serves yummy tea from all over the world. It’s got a Bali feel to it with an Urban twist. I like! I think Kelli and Sarah would have loved this tea place. I had their Jasmine Pearl Tea and a delish Smoked Turkey Sandwich for lunch.

Down below the terrace is a place called Yerba Buena Gardens. They were having a live band concert! A couple of live salsa bands performed. The crowd was going crazy! Some people were salsa dancing on the sidewalk while the others were just hanging out and grooving to the music! I wanted to salsa dance and did so with some nice stranger. He knew how to lead and I was happy whenever he would twirl me around. Such fun.

One more full day and a half until I have to head back to Saipan. I am running across the Golden Gate Bridge later this morning and then heading out to the Marina. So far enjoying my escape to the city even if its for a little while.