Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Dang. Now I know why they called the bike race "Tough Love" up Mt. Tapochou. Not even your mama can help you! Call us insane to run up those steep gravel hills at 6 am on a Holiday but it was so much fun. My calves were on fire. We ran the Turkey Trot Race from Lower base to Capital Hill all the way up Mt. Tapochou on Thanksgiving Day. The run up was a killer but what a spectacular view from the top!

What I love most about training and doing these races is that you get to meet alot of cool people on the island. The sports community on Saipan is huge and I just love how active everyone is here. I've made friends from beach volleyball, scuba diving, soccer, swimming . . . you name it! It was good to see alot of familiar faces.

The Piersons and Moreno also came out to do the Turkey Trot. My only goal was to make it to the top alive! The song that kept me going was Till I Colapse by Eminem. Its a song about digging deep inside yourself and finding something that you thought you never had to give you that second wind. The run was tough but the reward was worth it: another stunning sunrise.
I think the Turkey Trot is a great tradition to keep up on Thanksgiving day. Back home in California my friends and I had the Turkey Bowl! A bunch of us would come together and play a friendly game of flag football before we all celebrated Thanksgiving with our families.

********Gobble Gobble*********

This year I got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice. Lunch at the Blaylocks and Dinner at the Maycocks. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for obvious reasons: great eats and having the chance to spend time with those you love and care about. Though I really miss my family back home in California I still am fortunate to have my Saipan family. Here's some pics of our dinner at the Maycocks. We had a yummy potluck dinner and the best pumpkin, cherry, and apple pies!

Here's some pics from my lunch at the Blalocks. Sara and Kelli made a traditional Thanksgiving meal from scratch and it was so yummy! I really loved Sara's home made cranberry apple sauce and the turkey was cooked to perfection. At the end of our meal we went around the table and talked about the things we were thankful for. Everyone had some heart felt thoughts and funny things to say. Love hanging out at the Blalocks because there is never a dull moment! Right, Harry?!

As I look back on this year I realize that I have so many things to be thankful for. Here's my list in no particular order:

My faithful flossing patients, for making me feel what I do matters.

My jack hammer Handy Dandy Cavitron tool, for helping me get this betel nut crap off my patient's teeth everyday. My hand would really die if I didn't have this tool. (Pictures taken with patient's consent. Look away if you can't stomach these pics)

My ipod, for helping me escape my daily grudges. Music does wonders.

The internet, for letting me explore and discover things and amazing sites that I never thought I'd ever get to experience.

My health, I'm so lucky to be able to do the things I love to do.

My family, for always being there. I'll be home soon.

Manang Janice, Angie, Mel, and Rae, for being my life lines.

AC, for helping me snooze at night.

Mandi Asian Spa, for the infinite pool that over looks the ocean.

Truoung's Viet Restaurant, for their yummy avocado smoothies.

Tre, for the best deep tissue massages.

Saipan SDA Youth, for lifting my spirits every week.

Friday Night Bible Study buddies, for your encouragement and your insights about a loving God that does exist.

Moretti, for making me smile and laugh everyday.

Scuba buddies, for being my guardian angels and experiencing a whole new world with me.

Java Joes, for your iced Chai drink.

Saipan, for her sunsets and sunrises that put my soul at ease.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Real Beauty

Last Friday Real Christian Theater had its first road tour and performed at five local schools: Hopwood Middle School, San Antonio Elementary, Dan Dan Elementary, Kagman Elementary, and San Vicente Elementary School.

This year Real Christian Theater's theme was "Real Beauty". All of the skits focused on what we believe Real Beauty is: forgiveness, honesty, patience, kindness,tolerance, trust, etc. One of the challenges of performing at public schools is that you cannot use the word "God" in any of the material. So we had to use skits that indirectly talked about God. As a team we are striving to share our love and passion for God. Real Christian Theater is the only drama team on island that travels and performs from school to school.

I must say that I have a new found respect for road shows after doing this tour. So much work goes into the show. It is a huge production and you have to be ready for anything that may go wrong. Forgetting a line is easy because you can try and cover it up. But if your sound system and speakers are down its more stressful. Most of our shows were outdoors so we had a couple of problems with the audience not being able to hear us. But everything eventually worked out.

Our first show of the day was at Hopwood Middle School. The first show we were still working out the kinks especially with the sound system. We did our best. The crowd was really supportive and cheered us on. As the day progressed our shows kept getting better and better. I have to admit that its a great feeling when you say your lines and the kids respond with a hearty laugh! Thats the best feeling to be able to make someone laugh and be happy.

I think its really sad that some people equate real beauty with just physical appearance. Some may judge others and totally miss out on getting to know a really great person.I'm so tired of the body image battle. The media plays a role in defining what is beautiful and I have experienced the pressure to be a certain way. I say screw the makeup, straight hair, and dieting. I think that its sad that women have to change who they are in order to be perceived as beautiful. When it comes down to it, knowing your worth and being happy with who you are is the epitome of what beautiful is.

I'm so proud of the kids because they gave their heart and soul into this school road tour. They did such a great job and they continue to inspire me in so many ways. Mostly they encourage me to lighten up and laugh at myself every now and then. Mai did a wonderful job being the MC and directing the show. Kudos to Sean for organizing the school tour. One of the highlights of the tour was the Kagman kids asking for our autographs! We felt like rockstars.

At the end of the show we played the song by Christina Aguilera "Beautiful". It really tied the skits together and I'm hoping the kids took something learned home with them. Whats next for Real Christian Theater? We will be performing for some of the other local Churches and at Street Market. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunrise Catchers & Dolphins

There are great rewards in being an early morning riser. One of them is catching a sunrise on Saipan. Funny how you'd think catching a sunrise is relaxing but sometimes racing down Middle Road at 5:30 am to make it in time is stressful! Sunrise usually is around 6 am. My favorite place to catch sunrise so far is Bonzai Cliff in the Northern part of the island. Its about a 15 minute drive from where I live.

It's true that no two sunrises are ever the same. Some of them are electrifying and some just peak through the clouds. Its rainy season and the clouds are out. If you're patient and willing to wait sometimes in the rain to see when the morning sun breaks through the clouds . . . it is a spectacular site. I don't know how anyone can live on this island and not experience a sunrise atleast once a week. If I could, I'd watch it everyday but I'm usually swimming or running that early.

Monday morning Greg and I spotted a pod of atleast 20 Spinner Dolphins making their way across bonzai and towards Bird Island!! How lucky were we. They looked really small but really playful. We were so excited since this was the first time we ever saw dolphins in Saipan! Sorry no pics of the dolphins. They were hard to capture since they blended in with the waves. We also saw two turtles below us just riding the waves.

There is this other spot near bonzai where the fishermen sit above the cliffs and fish. I really love this spot because it gives you a clear view of the sunrise, bonzai cliff, and suicide cliff. You also can dangle your feet while sitting on the cliff ledge which is about 100 ft from the waves crashing below. Such a sweet site.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Excited About

Troung's Yummy Avocado Smoothies! Hurry up and taste one! Apparently there are only 11 avocado's left! You know that it takes awhile to get fruit in from the states or the Philippines. Go go go!

Real Christian Theater Drama is performing at Hopwood School, San Vincente Elementary School, and Kagman School this Friday. Its our first school tour and we are psyched . . . ok, alittle nervous. We are performing nine short skits focusing on the basics like having patience, forgiveness, honesty, real beauty, and the effects of drugs/alcohol. All really good take home messages and definitely NO cheesy skits. I think they'll enjoy our program . . . it beats being in class, eh? The program should last about 30 minutes if things run smoothly. I'm in charge of props/setup and i'm in 3 skits! Eeeek! I'm sure we'll pull it off.

It's a 4 day weekend for me! Woo hoo! My plans? I'm going to rock climb at Suicide Cliff, mtn bike, scuba dive, and finish my book at the Mandi Asian Spa. I hope it doesn't rain. Check out Mai rock climbing this past September. Ohhh, this is going to be sooo much fun!

Trying to tap more into my Filipina roots=) Tan Holdings will be hosting a free concert by Martin Nievera on November 18 at American Memorial Park. Gary V. and Martin Nievera are two of my favorite Filipino singers. I've seen him perform in California before during a sing-a-like contest. He's just got an amazing voice. Here's a video clip of him and Kyla.

Judith, Jessica, Missy, and me will be backpacking Thailand together from December 21-January 7! I'm looking forward to riding an elephant, diving the hot spots, and wandering in a new country. Christmas and New Years in an exotic place . . . what more can I ask for?

22 people dedicated their lives to Christ at the end of our Kagman Evangelistic Tent Meetings. The Saipan Central Seventh-day Adventist Church held meetings for three weeks with possibly more baptisms to go. You never really know who and how many will show up to meetings like this. Saipan is predominately Catholic. The times that I did go I noticed that the crowd kept growing night after night. Its amazing how God can move and transform a person's heart when they take that leap of faith.

Baptism pics by Mai

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Imagine living in a bubble where the majority of people you knew were just like you. You went to the same church every Saturday morning. You attended the same private school and university for all of your life. The majority of your family and friends were of the same faith. You believed and hoped in the same things. You think the way you are and the way you live is the norm or the standard. Most of all, you think that the way you live your life is the only right way to live. This bubble is all I have ever known.

Leaving the Seventh-day Adventist bubble back home and coming out to Saipan has been a real eye opening experience for me. Exposure to the many different cultures and religions is making me realize how REALLY different I am. I had the chance to share my faith with other people of different beliefs throughout this past year. I'm embarassed to admit that I was judgemental. . . I thought the things they believed in were crazy and wrong. But then I realized that they probably think that I am crazy in the things I believe in as well. I can be so foolish sometimes. I'm starting to realize that Christianity has been getting a bad wrap. It's fascinating though to hear perspectives about life and God from a Buddhist, Atheist, Catholic, Latter-day Saint, Muslim and others.

My spiritual experience out here has been mind blowing and humbling. I feel my beliefs evolving and growing into something greater than I ever imagined. Living abroad is teaching me to embrace and love the differences I have with others.