Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Summer Thusfar

This summer has been one of much change and much studying, but also a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of what I've been up to so far this summer since coming back from Saipan.
Congratulations Randi! I was so glad I made it back in time for her graduation.

Me and new puppy Harley on our way up to Walla Walla
Cousins! We all met up in Walla Walla to see Allegra (2nd from left) graduate from WWU.

My new home at LLU

My roomate Liz and I

My friend and roommate from Saipan, Jess! I'm so happy she lives near me!

One of my anatomy professors presenting us with a visual aid of the internal organs...

This pretty much sums up the first seven weeks of summer for me...studying for


Some of my lovely fellow OT friends model the their scrubs in front of the anatomy lab

Saipan Reunion number 1! We got together for dinner with the Piersons, visiting from Saipan. It was so awesome to get together with some of my dear Saipan family, I'm sure missing them all...

Some of my friends and I got pedicures to celebrate the end of anatomy!

I've been to the beach a few times this summer. Of course it's much different from Saipan beaches (WAY colder and more crowded, to name a few differences...) but it's still super fun. This is my friend Kelsey catching a football at the beach on one of many Sabbath afternoon beach days.

Saipan Reunion number 2! This time us Loma Linda Saipanese people got to see Mai! It was so good to see her!

Liz, me, and Mandi went to L.A. to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the California Science Center. It was really cool! If you haven't heard of it, basically it is a combination of art and science-it features cadavers that have been meticulously dissected and then plasticized. The bodies are posed in active life-like positions, like dancers and acrobats. There was even a plasticized giraffe and an ostrich! (

Venice Beach

Ever heard of the TV show 'Wipeout'? I hadn't either until we came across the set where they were filming their season finale. We got to be part of their 'live audience.' I guess it's this show on ABC where people injure and make fools of themselves trying to make money.

Well that's a pretty good representation of my summer...except it might appear that I spent more time having fun than in school. Let me just set the record does in fact take a lot of time and work to be a functional student in a professional program. Just so you know. I took anatomy for 7 weeks, and I've been taking 'real' OT classes for the past 4 weeks and next week is finals! Craziness. Then I get to go home for 2 weeks yay.

Saipan people-don't worry, I think about you guys every single day! When the studying is done (for now...), and life slows down for a moment, my mind always travels to that little green speck of land in the bright blue sea where I lived and loved for 10 months (sorry, I'm neither the most profound nor original writer ever, but the sentiment is genuine and heartfelt). Whether you're still there or have had to leave like I have, I hope life is going well and you are finding happiness and success. I love you so much!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Preschool Graduation

I just realized that I haven't put up anything about preschool graduation yet! The teachers and the kids both worked very hard to get it together and I have to say it was a very cute program. All the classes sang songs and recited memory verses, and my class got their diplomas. Amy and I even sang a special music at the end. It was difficult, but I managed to hold myself together pretty well, even when they gave me a goodbye gift of a book that the kids had made for me. Here are some pictures!

June 1, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back in the States

I wrote this blog a few days after I got home. I've been avoiding blogging because I still don't want it to be real-the fact that I am no longer there on that warm, beautiful, diverse island with adorable children and a great family of friends and coworkers. But alas, it is so.
June 8 2008
It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Leaving Saipan was and is still incredibly painful. Nobody here really gets it. They're all like "I bet you're so glad to be home" and I'm like "well I guess so....but I really loved it where I was." My first night at home, I wept bitterly into my pillow far into the wee hours of the morning, thinking 'I don't want to be here right now!' Each day is a little better though. I am so glad that my family came to visit me. Not just because I got to see them, but because now they know all the places and people that I'm always talking about. Saipan is pretty much all I talk about right now, everyone is probably really sick of hearing about it. 'In Saipan, we did this, in Saipan we had that, wow, you can't find these in Saipan, gas was way more expensive in Saipan, etc. etc. etc.' Well, I guess that's just how it's going to be for a while, until I start talking about anatomy. I'm glad that my family is pretty understanding of my antisocial-ness, lethargy, and non-stop reminescing. But it's not very fun. I'm seeing all my old friends again, and that definately perks me up again. But it sucks because I just see them long enough to remember how much I missed them, and then I have to leave again. I only have 3 more days left here at home. But at least I'm going up to Walla Walla for the weekend, so I'll see some of my friends from up there. Except for it will be the same situation.
My sister graduated from high school this weekend. It's been fun seeing her and her class all grown up and stuff. I wouldn't have missed it for anything. It is weird being with so many people though. I feel so awkward around everyone. I don't really have anything to say except "Yeah, Saipan was great, it was awesome, yeah, now I'm going to go to school in Loma Linda, what are you up to these days?" Bleh. I am glad that Katie and I have each other. Even though our experiences were very different, just the fact that we both went to Pacific islands and worked with children gives us a bit of understanding toward each other. We have been comparing stories and reminescing about island life.

Lookin' good after nearly 24 hours of travel :) Katie (and Harley) came with my mom to meet me at the airport in Sacramento. We're both sporting our island T-shirts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Final Countdown

Anyone know that song by Europe? That's okay, besides the title, it really has nothing to do with this blog post.

Oh, man. oh manohmanohman. Today someone pointed out that I'm leaving in 9 days. Less than a week and a half. I only have 4 more days of teaching left. Only four more drives to work with Amy. Only four more days of playing trains, cars, and Legos. Only four more days to make it all better with a band-aid and a hug. Only four more days to ooh and aah over stick figures and scribbles. Only four more days to wow an adoring and appreciating little crowd with my guitar skills. Only four more days to pick up my little ones and spin them around and watch the pure innocent delight illuminate their faces. Only four more days of tiny arms wrapping around my legs and a smiling little face saying "I love you Miss Riki!"

(Sigh)..........I should go to bed. It's been a good Sunday. I had my last spa day with Mai and another friend (actually the same girl who wrote and directed the play performed earlier this month.) So refreshing...Then we went to Coffee Care with Judith and Jessica, mmmm. Yay friends. After that we went clubbing that is. The book of discussion was "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards. You should read it. Amy led the discussion and she did quite an exceptional job.

Also, Judith, Jessica, Mai and I practiced this dance that we're trying to learn, it's gonna be sweet! We will so be ready by Tuesday night (you can believe this or not). Judith came up with this genius idea to have an 'open mike night' at Oleai's for the upper-grade students and staff to share music, poetry, art and whatever other talent they might have up their sleeve. It's going to be fun!
I love my Saipan sisters! (Vero, Crystal, Amy, Judith
Me, Jessica, Bev, Mai)

Monday, May 12, 2008


The guitar duo-after church
Saturday and Sunday nights (May 3, 4) REAL Christian Theatre presented a musical called "A Song From the Heart." It was written by a member of the team, and it was a full-length play. The whole thing was original except for the songs. The most amazing thing is that the author is only 17! She also directed the play. It was really good-it had humor, drama, irony, all the good stuff.
Me and the lead actress of the show!

The Cast!!!

On Sunday morning, Judith and I met Mark at Lao Lao for a dive. It was just the three of us, so we got to go really deep (well, the deepest I've gone so far-125 feet) and we saw some really cool things. Of course, the fish and the coral formations are always exciting to me, but the best part was that we saw two turtles! Mark had his fancy shmancy underwater camera so here are some pictures.

This little guy didn't seem to mind our presence at all-it even let stroke its shell!
It hung out with us for quite awhile, foraging on the bottom.

We saw another, bigger turtle down deeper. We also saw a pretty darn big Napoleon wrasse. It's scary going down really deep-when I looked up and I couldn't see the surface, I became a bit...uneasy. But it was fun.

Another cool thing that we saw was a giant fishball-it was so mesmerizing just swimming with that solid wall of fish. We also got to swim in it! Here are some pics!

Me with the fishies!

This is such a cool picture of my roommate Judith!

After the dive we decided to go to Remington Cafe, a place that we had never been but we had heard about their famouse iced coffee with COFFEE ICE CUBES! After wandering around Garapan unsuccessfully, we were about to give up when I happened to turn around and see the inconspicuous sign. It is such a great little place-great coffee, good music, good environment, good service. The guy that worked there was really nice, he saw us looking at some diving magazines and so he brought us more, and he also brought us this really cool book that was in Japanese and English. I guess you can only buy it in Japan or on Japanese websites so Judith and I plan to go back and have him help us order it. (Did I mention the guy was Japanese?)

After the dive that day, I felt really exhausted. It's normal to feel tired after a dive, but my exhaustion wasn't going away. A few hours later, I also started to feel dizzy and short of breath, and my joints were aching. The thought of decompresson sickness crossed my mind, but I didn't really get worried until it was about midnight and the symptoms still weren't going away. I talked to the Maycocks and they decided to take me to the ER. They gave me oxygen and an IV, and after a few hours I was feeling better, and so they sent me home. But the next morning the symptoms were back, so I went to a walk-in clinic and Sean called the Divers Alert Network for advice. Both the DAN people and the doctors at the clinic felt that I should probably be treated in a decompression chamber. It was kind of an adventure getting all the arrangements made for me to fly to Guam-oxygen or no oxygen, commercial plane or helicopter (which would have cost a lot!) etc. But finally they decided to treat me with oxygen for 1 hour before the flight, which would be on a regular plane. I was kind of nervous going on the plane though because I was afraid that I might get worse or something, but it actually wasn't bad. Then someone picked us up (Barbara came with me) and took us to the Navy hospital because I guess the regular decompression chamber was in use. So I showed up there, and they were like "What are you guys doing here? We are only supposed to recieve military and military dependants unless we have made arrangements with someone ahead of time. No one should have let you guys in here!" But they said that since I was there with a medical condition, they had to treat me. They hooked me up to all sorts of monitors and gave me more oxygen (that's some good stuff let me tell you.) My symptoms had really improved by the end of that oxygen session. The dive doctors of the Navy came in and saw me. They did a neurological function test on me and asked me all sorts of questions. After evaluating me, they decided that recompression therapy was not necessary (after all that). So the next day we flew back to Saipan. I was really tired and a little weak for a few days but I'm pretty much back to normal now. The only sad thing is that I can't go diving for awhile. I'll probably only get 1 more dive in right before I leave.

It was kind of a scary experience because I guess DCI, if it's severe or not properly treated, can have lasting effects like paralysis and brain damage and stuff. But luckily my case was not severe, and also I had lots of people praying for me here on Saipan and in the States. Thank you everyone, and thank you Jesus!