Saturday, December 15, 2007
The student that I consider the most challenging moved to California. Even though the classroom is more peaceful without her, I was sad to see her go because we had invested so much time and effort into teaching her. I hope that she will continue being guided in behaving appropriately because if she is not, she is going to have major problems as she gets older. One of the kids at school got lice, so we had to check all the kids' heads. We didn't find any cases that day, but the worst was to come...
December 1 was the school's talent show and I have to say it was the funniest, cutest talent show I've ever seen, with the talents ranging from jump-roping to poetry to Tae Kwon Do to somersaults. Me and Ana were one of the 2 musical acts, we did a uke/guitar version of a Norah Jones song.
The next day, Missy and I went diving with Ken and Crystal and Mark and Tammi to Obyan, and it was amazing! The visibility was awesome and there was so much to see. We even saw a pretty big octupus! So the day started out awesome, but it quickly took a turn for the worst when, after diving, I discovered that I had become the new host for the little creatures that my students brought to school with them in their hair. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!! I was having a minor meltdown when Eva came home. I was afraid she might get freaked out, but she just whipped out the lice removing kit that she had so intelligently brought from home. After I used it I washed every fabric thing in our apartment and bleached the heck out of the rest of it. So that was an interesting experience that I would not care to have again. I haven't worn my hair down to school since then!
So even though the month started out with some not-so-greatness, it's been going pretty well. Especially since I get to go to Pohnpei next week, and then my family comes! Yay!
Saipanism of the Day
ever since: 'a long time' or 'since forever' or something
For example our car is so old...it's been around ever since. (A true statement, I'm afraid.)
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Missy brought me a sweet hat from the Phillipines.
The disappointment of Taco Bell-So, the sign said 'open' but really just KFC is open, not Taco Bell. And they wouldn't even sell me just plain biscuits, those bums.
Movie Night-I went to dinner with Judith, Mai, and Jessica and then we watched 'You've Got Mail' at the compound, it was a good time, yay chick flicks
The Beach Cleanup-There is this group here called Beautify CNMI and they do things like picking up trash and stuff. Last Sunday they did a beach/underwater cleanup and so I got to dive, yay! Except it was only like 10 feet deep and the water was really gross.
A Most Unusual Prize-The people in charge of the beach cleanup had hidden golf balls around the cleanup site and if you found one you got a prize. I found one, and guess what I won-a $25 gift certificate to a pharmacy! Try not to be too jealous.
Amy and Missy's Sweet Deal-My lovely neighbors and friends were planning to go to China for Thanksgiving, but the couldn't get their visas in time. They decided to go to Tokyo instead. They were supposed to leave on Wednesday but their flight was overbooked. They got a free night at the Hyatt as well as a free flight to Tokyo the next morning. As if this weren't enough, they also get an additional free flight anywhere in the Asia/Pacific region. I hung out with them at their hotel for awhile, and it was super touristy and beautiful. It's an aspect of the island that I don't really see every day, so it was fun. I also got to take a bath in their bathtub while they were at dinner!
The Turkey Trot-Where were you at 5:30am Thanksgiving morning? Well, call me crazy, but I was getting ready to embark on a 4-plus mile all-uphill run (well it ended up being more of a walk-jog for me). I was so nervous-I've never run more than about 2 miles at a time before in my life! I didn't train or anything. I thought I was going to die, but it didn't turn out to be as bad as I thought. I mean, I definately didn't run the whole way, but I made it to the top alive, and that was all I wanted. It also helped me not feel guilty about eating as much as I wanted at Thanksgiving dinner!
Thanksgiving-This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family. Although I did miss them, I had a great holiday with wonderful people here. The food was of course amazing, and I found out that I actually can cook if I have to. The company was the best-I am so lucky to be here with all these awesome people! I enjoyed my Friday off of work by going to the beach for some R and R as well as the three S's-snorkeling, sunbathing and shell hunting. Yay vacation!
I can't wait to go to Pohnpei for Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This is another one of those crazy blogs that has been written over a period of like 2 weeks.
So…not that much has happened since Friday really but let’s see if I can remember. There were a few things that I was like ‘man I need to write about that in my blog’ but of course I can’t remember them right now. On Saturday Missy, Virle and Barbara left for the Phillipines. On Saturday afternoon I ate lunch with the girls at the compound and I jammed with Peterson all afternoon, and then that night a bunch of students came over and we played Life, it was a good time. On Sunday we were going to go diving but the ocean was super rough so we didn’t go, it was sad. But I did go longboarding! I rode from the preschool down to Garapan. It was really funny because nobody here at all skateboards here (let alone people my age), so everyone was looking at me. Here, people give you a second glance anyway if you’re white, and I guess it’s not every day they see a white chick skateboarding down the road. Well anyway it was a pretty long way and it was of course really hot, so when I got to Garapan I was like all sweaty and I went into a deli to get something cold to drink and the lady was like “Is it raining?” and I was like “No, I’m just really sweaty” it was funny. After I finished my drink (and dried off a bit) I went into a store and I ran into Eva and Veronyka, so I was able to catch a ride with them instead of riding all the way back.
Today I almost burned down the school. Well not really but it sounds exciting doesn’t it. My class went on a field trip to the elementary school to make cook. They each made their own little pizza. They loved mixing the dough and rolling out the crusts, I think they love anything where they can make a mess! The oven at the elementary school must have been dirty before we even came, because it started smoking when I was preheating it. Anyway, so when I was checking on the pizzas the last time, I opened the oven door and it was like WHOOSH and the bottom of the oven was in flames. Luckily all my kids were outside on the playground but I was kind of freaked out, especially because the fire extinguisher was gone from its place in the kitchen. But the fire went out on its own before I could finally find it. Anyway, it was kind of exciting. And yes, the pizzas were a bit crispy but the kids ate them anyway.
Let’s see, what else has happened that I want to write about…Amy and I have had some adventures this week. The first one was that our car ran out of gas and we had to push it to the gas station. Luckily the gas station happened to be next door to the place where we ran out of gas. On Wed. we went to PIC and we talked to this really hot Korean lifeguard. On Saturday we did special music for church.
One sad thing that happened is that on Thursday Peterson left for the States. He might be coming back in a few months, but still, that’s far away.But wait, there’s more….I just don’t have time to write it right now because I need to go put my laundry in the dryer, I’ll post the rest later…
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The Sunday before Halloween I was super excited because Missy and I were going to be in an underwater pumpkin-carving contest, but then I got sick so I couldn't go, I was so bummed.
Other random fun things: running, snorkeling, cooking, shopping, playing with my kids, laughing, it's all good
Saipanism of the Day:
No, those red spots you see all over the street are not rust stains...it's the result of half the island chewing betelnut and spitting it out their car window. Yeah, kinda gross.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
On Friday night we had a birthday party for Jessica at the compound. It's always awesome to actually get together with everyone and not be working. This Sabbath the staff went to Kagman after church to invite people to the meetings and it was pouring rain so that was exciting. Saturday night us apartment people went to Derek and Myla's and we had a fondue party (mmmmm...)! The next morning Missy and I went diving at Obyan with the Piersons, Mark and Tammie, and this other couple, Rusty and Julie. It was, of course, awesome! I saw quite a few lionfish. When we were in the parking lot, we were talking to this lady and she was showing us her diving wounds-she got attacked by a triggerfish and her leg was all black and blue. I guess triggerfish are super aggressive-they won't kill you or anything but they can take some chunks out of you! I was scared when I found out what they actually look like because it turns out that during our dive I was letting them get super close to my face and stuff, that could have been really bad! Anyway, on our way back Missy gave me my first lesson driving stick shift in good old Rusty the truck (I only stalled 7 or 8 times...:). So that was kind of exciting. In the meantime Veronyka, Jessica, Judith, Mae, Amy, and Sean were having their first water session for scuba class. Missy and I went snorkeling while they were having their lesson and I saw a bunch more triggerfish! I got super sunburned, I thought my face was going to peel right off, but actually it is totally gone now. On Monday night there was this huge party at our apartment, there were tons of people, they totally blocked the street with tables and cars and stuff. In our neighborhood they have parties like that all the time-lound islandy music, setting up tables in the street, and enough meat to feed a pride of starving lions! It's neat, though, that so many people get together, you can sense the community. Work is going pretty well, though this week we are having a hard time because of people being sick but oh well, what can ya do. The preschool's enrollment is doing well-we are actually having to turn people away. Well anyway, I have to go and plan this program, wish me luck!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Saipanism of the Day:
I don't know if this happens in other islands too, but here if they want to know to whom something belongs they say "Whose own is that?" or they say "That's Riki's own" or whatever.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I have two exciting announcements! The first is that MY PHONE IS WORKING!!!!!!
The second is that Saipan is getting a Taco Bell :)
Saipanism of the Day
If someone is gone from Saipan for vacation or whatever, they are "off-island." So if someone's like "Dude, where's Jose?" you can go "He's like, off-island for the week, man"
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This week so far has been a little tough, but what's good is that I think I'm getting a 'second wind' with my job. I've never regretted taking it, but I was feeling a little overwhelmed and burned out for a while. I'm making more of an effort to be positive no matter what and I am finding myself really enjoying my kids more.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about all my friends and family, I think about you guys a lot! Thanks for the messages and of course the prayers!
Saipanism of the Day: zories-flip flops
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Yikes it’s been awhile…I didn’t write my usual last time Tuesday blog because I had to use the internet for other things. I need to start writing them ahead of time so that it is faster Last week was cool because I finally got my package from home with my ukulele, my scuba stuff, books, and all sorts of random stuff in it. Yay! I ended up doing special music for Sabbath school again but this time I played the uke and sang. It was a lot better than the first time! On Sabbath afternoon, we went out in groups of 3 or 4 and went door to door inviting people to our church’s upcoming evangelistic meetings and also just visiting them and getting to know them. I was super scared-we were basically just supposed to go up to some person we saw on their porch or something and strike up a conversation (that eventually would lead into an invitation to our meetings) while making a good impression of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. But it actually went really well. I was with Eva and Veronyka and we visited two families. The first family had a bunch of kids and they were really friendly and welcoming. The second family we talked to was out in their front yard with their machetes picking coconuts and cracking them open. When we walked up, they gave us each a fresh coconut to drink. It was really cool! I was really blessed by the whole experience-the people were really open and welcoming, and they were actually willing to talk about Jesus and church. I don’t know if they will come to the meetings or not but honestly I don’t really think that is the most important thing. After we finished visiting people, the staff had sundown worship on the beach and then we went out to dinner. On Sunday Missy took Amy, Eva and I to PIC which is kind of like a tiny little water park. It was awesome-it was like a mini-vacation! This week was kind of hard because I was sick for half of it but I had to go to work anyway because someone else got sick first and we can’t run the preschool if we lose more than 1 staff member. We still have the kittens-I hope we find them a home soon! They are getting so big and they are still so cute. At the preschool we have it worked out that each Friday someone gets off of work early and today was my day! I went to Wing Beach with Eva and Veronyka.
On Sabbath Eva and I ended up being recruited to do the scripture and the offering call like 5 minutes before church so that was exciting. It was potluck Sabbath which is always awesome (I made blueberry muffins). After church I got to talk to my daddy and my sister which was really nice. Then Eva, Missy, Amy, Judith, Veronyka, Peterson, and I went to Ladder Beach. It is a beautiful little beach with a cool little cave and stuff. After that, Missy, Mai, Veronyka, Eva, Judith and I went to the crepe place with Derek and Myla, this young couple from church. I had a chocolate/banana crepe and it was AMAZING! Mmmmmm. Sunday was such an awesome day. Eva and I woke up early and hiked down to Forbidden Island. I think that it is one of my favorite places on the island. There are lots of little tide pools and a few bigger pools and there are always lots of beautiful fish to see. I guess it’s actually pretty dangerous though-I hear that lots of people have died there. But we are always super careful (probably even more than we need to be but I’d rather have it that way). Anyway, it’s a nice challenging hike (but not too long) and a beautiful place so it was awesome. Then Missy, Amy, Eva, Bev, Mai, Judith and I went to a spa for the rest of the day. It was amazing, especially after a crazy week. It was so awesome that I almost feel guilty. I’m supposed to be out in the mission field toughing it out. I know that just because I have access to some ‘luxurious’ things doesn’t mean that I’m not a missionary but still it feels kind of like cheating in a way. But I have to say it was pretty awesome!
Don't worry, I'm still definately being challenged at work. Let's face it, trying to keep 14 4-year-olds under control and maybe even teach them something all day is quite simply a lot of work. The hardest part is to stay calm and be consistent. Sometimes I am tempted to just pretend I don't notice when a rule is broken because I just get sick of it but I know that if I do that they will just walk all over me. It is hard though, because it seems to me like the other teachers sometimes let things go 'undisciplined' or discipline inconsistently. I know that it is impossible to be completely and totally fair and consistent but I am trying. I am trying to have more boundaries and procedures in my classroom with clear consequences if they are broken. It takes a lot of work obviously but hopefully when the kids get used to the systems it will be easier. I know the whole thing that I just said is something that probably all teachers know but it's just one of those things.
This weekend is our staff retreat so we don't have school on Friday!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Yay for weekends, especially long ones! We didn't have school on Monday so it was a long and glorious weekend after a long week. It rained almost every day last week so my kids couldn't go outside for recess. They were going crazy (actually they were driving US crazy)! Eva and I finally decided that we could not live with three cats any longer so we moved them out of the apartment and into the back room of the preschool. Sadly, the littlest one (we named him Foxy) died yesterday. He just wasn't growing like the other two and he stopped eating and stuff. I tried to force feed him for a while but I decided to just let him go because he was in a lot of pain and it was too much work. Oh well, we still have two and they are super cute (still a lot of work though). We are trying to find homes for them. I hope we can find them soon because I feel bad that we hardly have time to take care of their basic needs let alone spend time with them. Oh well that's what I get for being such a sucker for animals :)
The best part of this week/weekend was that our new teacher Judith arrived. We took her on an island tour on Sabbath and on Sunday I went running with her, Jessica and Mai. After that we picked up trash with a group of people which was actually pretty fun. The rest of the weekend was kind of full of cat work but also I managed to get some snorkeling in. Eva and I discovered this sunken tank-thing pretty close to our apartment and it was full of fish. We saw this huge parrotfish-looking thing, it was about as big around as a volleyball and the length ofs my lower leg, it was beautiful! Last night we ate dinner and watched a movie at the compound. It was kind of a goodbye party for Larene, who was the preschool director last year and was teaching 5-8th grade until Judith got here. She's going back to the Phillipines tomorrow :( We'll miss her! Also, Missy, who was here last year and was in the States for the summer, arrived this morning at 1:30. I really like both her and Judith, actually everyone here is pretty much awesome, it will be a fun year!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
So school is pretty much in full swing. On my first day, I was in the classroom getting myself all psyched up for the day and the first kid walks in with her parents. She takes one look around the classroom and me and she bursts out crying. I was like oh man, I hope this isn't a bad sign about the rest of the year! But it wasn't so bad. The first few days I was kind of frustrated because I didn't feel like I knew what was going on and I wished that the school was more structured. Now it is going better, since the staff is getting to know each other better and the routine is kind of settling down. We are still in the process of making lots of changes though. One thing is for sure though-I love my kids! They are loud and obnoxious and distractible but they are also adorable and sweet. I have a total of 14 kids but they aren't all there at the same time-they come and go throughout the day, though most of them are there for the morning. Most of my kids are Korean or Japanese-some of them barely speak any English, which is challenging. The third day of school, my Japanese kids taught me how to count to ten in Japanese :) My kids are cute and stuff but I think that most of them are used to getting their own way at home and not being told what to do. Also they like to pretend that they can't understand me so that they don't have to do whatever it is that I'm telling them to do. One thing that is challenging about my job is the long day-I am teaching/watching kids/cleaning my classroom from 7:30am to about 5:45pm. I don't really have time to do anything after work because it gets dark at about 6. Overall though I am really happy and I love my job. At first I wasn't exactly thrilled about my rooming situation but now it's going really well. We have some new members of the 'family'-I found three kittens behind the preschool! They were sitting there in the rain and they were in pretty bad shape. But now they are doing great. I still don't know what we are going to do with them because our apartment is definately not big enough for two people and three cats. We'll just see what happens.
Random Trivia of My Life
-I start the day with either banana pancakes, apple pancakes, or mango pancakes. EVERY day.
-Asian kids are SO cute!
-I love the warm water here!
-You CAN get used to being nasty and sweaty all the time.
-When in doubt, get out the play dough.
-One word: SUNSCREEN (ouch)
-I am one of the only people around that has blue eyes.
-Air conditioning is one of the best inventions ever.
-Shell hunting is addicting.
Saipanism of the Day
air con- air conditioning
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Happy Sabbath! Although it is almost over for me, it's just starting for you mainlanders :). I will try to fill you in on the last few days. We had a 3-day orientation in Hawaii for all of the student missionaries going to Micronesia and neighboring islands. On Wed. myself and four other girls flew from Honolulu to Guam which took about 7 and 1/2 hours and then from Guam to Saipan which took about 20 minutes (I'm pretty sure that is the shortest flight I have ever been on!). When we got out of the airport that evening, there was a big group of people with a sign and everything to welcome us. I was really surprised! That night I moved into a very tiny apartment, but it is worth it because it is right on the beach!
Yesterday was very busy-we visited the school, we had to go to the DMV-type place to get our Saipan drivers' licenses, to the clinic to get our health clearances (required for teachers), to the bank to open accounts, and to shop for groceries and other things. This managed to take up pretty much the whole day. Last night we had dinner at my principal's house which was fun. The whole staff of the school was there. This morning some of the teachers took us up to Banzai cliff at 4:30am to watch the sun rise. It was cloudy so we could really see much but it was still fun. When I got back to my apartment, we still had a few hours before church so my roommate and I went snorkeling (we saw a bat ray it was awesome). The church here is (obviously) really small but the people are really friendly and welcoming. The church has lots of kids in it and they are so cute and fun. We had a potluck afterward and there was lots of yummy Asian food mmmmm. It has been raining on and off all day. Right now I am at the house of some of the SMs. My apartment doesn't have internet or even a phone yet but hopefully it will get set up soon. So anyway what I can say so far is that it is a major adjustment but I can see that I will really like it here once I get used to it. Wish me luck as I get ready to start teaching next week!