Sunday, November 30, 2008

For my Teacher

A folded up filler paper was left on my table this morning.
This poem painted a big smile on my face...
I have this teacher
she is very pretty
She lets us play games
like “centers” and “Jeopardy”
She brought Meatball once
her little loving dog
I remember that time
when she chased Brandon like a frog
She took us to the movies
and she is very kind
Another person like her would be to hard to find
She has a funny boyfriend
His name is Mr. Brad
This woman is Ms. Kathy
Best teacher I’ve ever had!
From Breyandel Santos
Thanksgiving Break

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy (almost) TURKEY Day

I could just picture Gypsy (Glen and Lindsay's dog) and Meatball having this conversation. I just can't decide who the instigator would be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


As unpolitical as I choose to be, watching Obama give his victory speech was overwhelming. Having Brad and Angelo cry at the same moment was just as priceless.

What Fairy Tale?

Fairy tales are myths. Happily Ever After’s are as uncertain as the vote Sarah Palin will receive from her mother in law. That is just the painful reality of love.
I’ve been living with my boyfriend for quite a while now. It was a decision that hurt a lot of people in our lives (but that’s a whole different story). There are days of exhilarating happiness, of natural high, and moments when confusion is strapping, it binds you in pain.
A few days ago, Brad was talking to a mutual friend on the phone. After we said our hi’s and hello’s she mentioned how different Brad and I are although we are both water signs (Scorpio and Cancer). Whether I believe in the interpretation of stars or not, the truth in her remark astounded me. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard it but it was surprisingly the first time my thoughts swiveled … was her comment just based on astrology or was it because she knew us in various periods of our lives? It’s true both Brad and I enjoy the outdoors and revere the thrill of new adventures (among others) but there are a lot of things we say or do that raises an eyebrow and some that gets our blood churning.
He could make himself laugh when I could find the same comment completely insulting. We could be wrapped in a sweet snuggle at the same time he decides to pass gas. He is amazingly comfortable and great at entertaining big crowds while I have to seek for familiar faces in a small room. At times I wonder if our unlike personalities would clash and leave us in pieces.
When we have days where we struggle to adjust or accept differences, I often ask someone what ever happened to happily ever after. Once a wonderful friend, Vince, said “oh sweetie, it doesn’t exist.” It was like watching the beginning of Shrek when it starts off with the traditional opening 'Once upon a time...' and is then cut off when Shrek says 'What a load of...' (for the record, I thought that was hilarious).
Albeit that painful reality, my heart continues to skip when I hear his car pull in the parking lot or when I get a random call that begins with “I just had to tell you first.” I still love the comfort of having him in the next room or falling asleep on the sofa watching a movie (especially without the flatulence) and of course the lilies that make an ordinary day special.
I don't envy those who live in blissful ignorance, waiting for their fairytale to happen, not anymore. I’ve already accepted that my life won’t be filled with dragons, witches, damsels in distress, or a pineapple under the sea, that’s what Disney World is for. Although I will continue to believe that once in a while in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a taste of magic.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy UN Day!

We will be judged in the future on the actions we take today -- on results. On this United Nations Day, let us rededicate ourselves to achieving them."
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
One of the wonderful things about celebrating United Nations Day is that it isn’t solely an American holiday but a day to celebrate unity with countries that form the UN. With all the negativity and chaos in our daily lives, it is a relief to know that other people continue to make an effort to uphold social progress, human rights and world peace.
Last year, my 2nd grade class represented India. With the help of Rahul’s parents we were able to dress the kids in Sari and Dhoti. Today, we were the Boricua’s and Borrinqueño’s of Puerto Rico! Ms. Nora and I had a blast painting the flag on our kids faces.

HOLA! from PuertoRico

Ms. Aguon with her beautiful dress and GiNOROMOUS hat representing the CNMI

This kids class made up commandments to represent Egypt...
(zoom in to the first commandment, you'll get a kick out of it)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Classroom Conversations

Anakin: Fish belongs to meat and beans category
Armstrong: No it doesn’t
Anakin: Of course it does…
Armstrong: It doesn’t because when we go to church and we can’t eat meat, we eat fish. So it doesn’t belong there, right Ms. Kathy?

In this case Anakin is right, but I’m not saying you’re wrong. When it comes to religion or culture a lot of things differ.

Anakin: Well that explains it, I’m American.
Well so is he.
Armstrong with a bewildered look: Im not American, Im Chamorro.


A Shot Glass
See Through
Confusing Thoughts
A Tear

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dog Eating Moth

Meatball has grown twice her size in the past three months. She learned how to sit, lie down, crawl, and give her paw when you command her to do so… alright so there’s gotta be a treat on the other hand (it's a work in progress).
Although, she'll jump in the water without a command or a goodie. We might have her take diving classes soon :)
Brad also managed to teach her how to chase her tail and eat live animals such as baby geckos and moths. She can now survive in the wild!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Three Liner Pix

(Brad Derksen Photos)




The Beautiful Blue

As I stand on the shore, the ocean calls me into submission.
As I feel the warmth of the tropical water, my heart beats a little bit faster.
As I submerge into the beautiful blue, I gaze at this world…
vast, magnificent, both eerie and astonishing.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Brad and I went on our second couple dive at Lau Lau. We followed the familiar pipe that led us out into the open. As my senses were heightened to the cracks and pops of the crustaceans, Brad pointed at a Green Sea Turtle. While its rear flippers were steering itself and its front were gliding through the water like a bird using its wings, we found ourselves swimming alongside it. It was INCREDIBLE! The next morning, we drove and dove at the same sight before we headed to work…

The weekend before that, we went out with veteran divers, Harry, Kelli and Mike. Harry suggested we take a look at Wing Beach and Grotto. Brad looked at me and knew I was doing a silent dance of joy. In my excitement, I plunged in the waters of Wing Beach with the snorkel still in my mouth... drinking enough salty water to keep me hydrated for a marathon. The crevasses at this place were unimaginable.

When we immersed in Grotto waters and went through caves, I looked up and realized I could hardly see the surface. There was no shore waiting for me, just open water. I started feeling tense and woozy, it didn’t help that my mask was fogging up. But in spite of that, there was a greater sense of satisfaction than fear…

(pictures taken by Kelli Blalock)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fan belt and beyond

So my fan belt broke. Now I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting for rescue. Okay, so it’s not the middle of nowhere. I’ve managed to name at least three landmarks such as the stoplight by NMC, Western Union and the old garment factory. If you live out here, you could locate me in a jiffy.
While Boy, the mechanic, and his partner are mending my ant infested Rav, I am typing away, thanks to the power of my smart phone and EVDO, as well as enjoying a power bar called TWIX.
We literally had three months of summer during which I’ve managed to check most blogs in a week and have discovered new ones that are just as fascinating. Now, nada. Despite bloggable moments, there was no way I could manage to sneak in a few minutes to type out a couple of lines. I guess breaking down isn’t so bad, especially when you’re not in the middle of a freeway.

So here are some updates.

Papa. Seeing him in his current situation is heart breaking. He usually has a million things to say when I drop him to dialysis on Mondays and Fridays. But now, the most I get from him is an unsure “NO!” (I asked if he wanted to listen to some music). I just found out that he’s back in the hospital, under observation.

My new set of 2nd graders. This year I have 7 staff kids and more from parent requests. My coworker said that this is probably the highest form of compliment I could get from the other teachers. It is pretty flattering but I also feel pressured about the unspoken expectations. Also, I could never get used to not missing my old class.

Meatball. She is a giant terror! She responds to Brad’s “HEY!” while she barks back at my “NO!”
When I ignore her, she puts on this pouty face and hides behind the couch. How can I not fall for that?

Alright, they are done with my ride. More updates later…

Diving… I gotta write about diving. It’s been a definite thrill.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bubble Paradise

I looked up and saw the stream of bubbles coming out of my regulator. I couldn’t believe I was down there. I couldn’t believe I was 38 ft. underwater. A wave of nervousness came over me, but I suddenly realized that everything as incredible as this holds a piece of peril. It was now up to me to either face my silent fear or bask in this beauty. I’m glad I chose the latter because I gazed and marveled at this new world.
(pix: I can set up my gear!)
Thanks to the other Brad, My Brad and I were fortunate to have met a marvelous PADI dive instructor, Mike. He and dive masters, Harry Blalock and Brad Derksen (aka: the other Brad) led us to scenic Lau Lau where we did our first two open water dives. During our first decent, I had trouble equalizing, causing a squeeze in my ears. It took me a good three minutes before I got to 20 ft. where they were patiently waiting. Truthfully, one of the three frequent divers made sure that I was taking my time to get use to the pressure and led me to slightly ascend if I had too. It made such a difference. As we swam towards the coral, it made me think of all the walk-through aquariums I’ve visited and submarine rides I’ve taken my classes to. I knew then diving was exponentially beyond compare. When we reached the reef, we saw a Hawksbill Turtle feeding from the corals. How lucky was I?! My first dive and a turtle was in plain sight! The reef was nothing like I imagined. An array of creatures brilliantly illuminated the water. From a school of diverse fish and a scorpion stonefish creeping in the sand to the marvelous tube worm and Christmas tree coral, everything was incredible. We swam for 38 minutes before we did our initial ascend.
During our second dive, we demonstrated skills that we learned the day before. We had to be able to take off our weights in the surface in case of an emergency, perform a snorkel/ regulator exchange, tow a tired diver, and remove cramps. Then we submerged back into the beautiful blue, this time equalizing wasn't a setback. We executed how to get rid of a flooded mask, what to do when someone or you signal that you're out of air, manually inflate our BCD (buoyancy control device), and breath bubbles when sharing air with another diver. Then we went back to exploring the reef. This time we saw a Green Sea Turtle, again, amazing!
Diving will undeniably be part of our adventure. Well, that is if we start reading our books and pass the certification test.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sisters Day Out

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves
and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.
-- Toni Morrison

A relaxing day at Mandi Asian Spa

We battled, we patched up. We die laughing at secret jokes when no one else was amused. We threw some of the harshest words at each other but guarded ones back when others meant harm.
Through some of the toughest times, we were stifled and muted by each others presence. Yet through it all, the cold eventually thaws and melts away and we're right back to where we've left it, that is, like nothing has ever been missing...

Friday, August 1, 2008

'Tis a Mad, Selfish, Hungry World

The dogs are happy biting bones, Though meat, they never meet;
He’s back to work upon the pile And sorts the rocks from leaves;
There’s silence excepting the noise of scrambling for food found;
The garbage-dump’s a blessed spot, Where man and beast share food!
-John Celes

My selfish version of hunger:

A famished, lone-clad lady stands amidst a pot of soup
All searching through her mothers kitchen room for some left-over food;
The aroma of freshly baked empanada
Oh the thought of fruits, yogurt and granola;
Each time taking swigs from a bottle,
filled with cayenne, lemon and maple;
No hunger-pangs from master cleanse
yet thy lip yearns as she willfully contends.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Personal Legend

"The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness.
And also by unhappiness, envy and jealousy.
To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation.
All things are one. And, when you want something,
all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
- The Alchemist

The Alchemist made me think about my personal legend. Did I learn early in my life my reason for being and gave up on it so soon? Or am I already living the path that would take me there?
My favorite part of the book was when the boy looked up to the sky and said “You old sorcerer, you knew the whole story. The monk laughed when he saw me come back in tatters. Couldn’t you have saved me from that?” The voice on the wind said “No, you wouldn’t have seen the pyramids. They’re beautiful aren’t they?”
The book tells how we seek our dreams and treasures elsewhere and then find it at our doorstep. But it also spoke of love and how love leads us to strive to become better than we are.
On our way back from American Samoa, Reo (a colleague) and I were walking around Pago Pago airport to kill 4 hours of waiting time and to find gum. We ended up in this little café that sold native war clubs, artifacts, and a few selections of books. As we were scanning through the pages, a man sitting on a wooden stool jumped in our conversation. He recommended this tiny book on the shelf. Before we knew it, he was telling us about his journey through Tahiti, Bora Bora and the other exquisite islands of French Polynesia. Evan, who is a retired pilot, was on a sailing trip. During his voyage he obtained a near death concussion that made him pray for death daily. The one thing that kept him from giving in was his quest for love.

You see, this Irish guy met an amazing surfer who is currently sailing her 40 foot sailboat to surf spots around the world. In order for him to be with her, he has to catch up on his own boat. In fact, he was on his way home that day and had made plans to sail off from Florida. This quest for love would take him almost a year. As he was telling us his story, we were immersed in his passionate pursuit. He talked about how a girl like Liz could possibly chose to love him. I don’t know what kind of guy Evan was before or what he will be in the future, but in those few moments I knew he has found his treasure, his personal legend. And hopefully like the boy in the Alchemist, the universe would conspire to help him achieve it.
I googled up Liz's sailboat and found this...
"The voyage of Swell is a return to the essence of surf exploration. It is the pure enjoyment of elemental pleasures and absolute indulgence in the enlightenment of travel. It is a journey to promote respect for our natural environment, especially the ocean, to appreciate cultural differences, to challenge myself, and to inspire others to face their fears and live out their dreams." - Liz Clark
I know I’m not destined to do great things that would awe or influence the world like discover how to turn lead into gold or transform man into wind. But I hope that the little things that I do, the things that I’m passionate about, would turn into something great, someday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diving Anyone?

I don’t know what it is but when I don’t see anyone within three yards I panic underwater.

At times, those lovely seaweeds that lend beauty to the underwater landscape scare the beejezus out of me. When I swim over it, I imagine creatures dragging me underneath the deep dark end, even though I know that those large marine algae grow exclusively in the shallow waters. Once, we were snorkeling at Forbidden Island and I had to muster all my strength to swim through a small cavern.

So here I am on a beautiful Friday morning searching online for a dive instructor. That’s right folks I am determined to overcome my inhibitions, my ingrained fear of the deep beautiful blue.

Now, will anyone help me out of my dive-despair?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why Teachers Rock!

Mr. Evangelista (aka: Double E) handed me my birthday cupcake first thing in the morning...
Mr. J Hofschneider gave me this beautiful Samoan Lei and bought me ICE CREAM! These wonderful educators sang "Happy Birthday" on the windy streets of Samoa.
Witnessing the traditional Samoan dance was a GREAT Bonus!There are a lot of uncertain things in life, but I know that teachers will always find a way to make you feel loved, no matter where you are.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fa'asamoa, The Samoan Way

With culture and tradition still preserved and practiced in their way of living, American Samoa has been a magnificent venture. A mural painted on the sidewalk

This rosewood tree is being carved for the upcoming Pacific Arts Festival held once every four years. More than twenty Pacific Island countries and territories will be present during this long awaited event, including the CNMI!
The bottom part of the trunk depicts a young man fishing, above it is a beautiful Samoana princess, weaving... the wood continues to tell a story about service. They believe that a great leader starts from serving your family, your community, and your country well.
Julian, Samoan carver (sorry couldn't remember his name), ME, Connie and Adel

Along with other amazing carvers, this Samoan man has been working for weeks to create beautiful signs to welcome each entity. He said the youngest carver is only in elementary. Men, women, children everywhere has been assigned a special task for the success of this event. The festival is meant to maintain the genuineness of Pacific cultures and is an amazing opportunity to share their tradition, beliefs, myths, legends, dances and songs.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Twenty Five Years Later

For three days now I have been in the heart of the South Pacific, American Samoa, with the CNMI delegation for the Prel Conference. The journey has been absolutely exciting, even the part where we were held at the airport for not having a visitors pass. Due to the dial up speed on the only existing computer in our hotel, my attempts to write about our Samoa adventures have been unsuccessful. Today was a bit different, it's a special day for me back home and I couldn't help feeling a hint of sadness about not being there. Luckily, Julian invited me for a walk with the intention of finding the closest catholic church. When we walked in, I felt a bit uneasy... no, not because I was about to melt... just one of those "you don't know what to expect" uneasy. The front pews were filled with these young Samoans clothed in white. The keyboard was in perfect melody while four beautiful girls sang in prayer. It was an overwhelming experience. As I fell in solitude, I thanked the Big Guy for twenty five incredible years.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I love you ECO CAMP!

When good friends are leaving, daily power outages are beyond control and monthly gas inflations are drilling a hole in your pocket, it really helps to find the positive in our lives. This summer, I was fortunate enough to join Marianas Trekking’s Eco Camp as a counselor. Everyday, I find something I am grateful for...
The $5 Brunch Buffet: Complete with salad, soup, any choice of meat and an array of scrumptious desserts, especially the famous fondue (aka: the chocolate fountain)

The Water: A child will do anything for you if your bargaining phrase is "do you want to go swimming?"

A crazy game: No seats for musical chairs? No problem. We've got counselors and older campers to sit on.

New Friends. You can't beat that!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Gratitude Game

I finally found the time to read Dr. David Khorram's book, World Peace, A Blind Wife, and Gecko Tails, last weekend. It has been proven by a study conducted over a number of years that "you just have to start thinking grateful thoughts to feel happier."

In just one day I found at least 5 things that I am grateful for...

The goofy war paint on our faces during last Saturday's Championship match.

These beautiful little people with their big slobbery dogs (Max-C , LuLu and Honey).

My pouty sister Lovelle
Winning the championship game! But most importantly the camaraderie of our team.
(What is Meaghan looking at!?)

My number 1 fan!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The HighLights of SY 07-08

ME NO WANT! My little Korean girl came to class with just a Hi and Goodbye in her English Vocabulary. She is naturally hard working and patient but she came in one day with such a heavy heart. I asked her a hundred different ways if there was anything I could do to help. Using our only means of communication, the dictionary and hand gestures, We were both struggling to comprehend what the other was trying to say. Finally, she took the book and threw it towards the trash bin and put her head down. I came home, helpless, feeling like the worst teacher in the world. Today, she could tell you what happened in the movie she watched in both English and Korean. She has also been our interpreter every time her mom dropped by for a visit.

BROKE POCKETS, BIG HEARTS. For teacher’s appreciation week, I did not receive a basketful of candles or store bought chocolate cake. I received home made cookies, freshly picked flowers and specially made for my teacher cards.

CAKE FACE. On his birthday, Brad came to class with cake for everyone to share. When he called for seconds, my naturally sugared students all yelled “ME me ME!” He engaged them in a Rock Paper Scissor tournament and finally declared a champ. But then, Brad said “you can’t use your hands.” Without thinking twice she stuffed her face on the tray and ate some. Every single kid followed. It was priceless. To top it off, I didn’t even get a call from a parent the next day.

HEALTHY COMPETITION. Diana aka: Ms. Felix and I had always competed for the fun of it, okay maybe for GLORY as well. We didn’t intentionally drag our kids along but somehow it happened. Whether it was the number of books read, the highest reading level or the kickball challenge, our kids were going for the WIN. It got ridiculously out of hand that our students assigned spy’s and gave us, the teachers, a daily report. It was too late to stop until a kid got suspended for cheating (he took a quiz for his classmate who couldn’t pass the test). His reason: I just wanted to beat their class!

CONFLICT-RESOLUTION. The same boy kicked at least 3 balls to the building roof. They didn’t have any other ball to play with for days so he asked me if he could use what he learned in our class meetings: Problem-Solving. I was so stoked to hear that, and I assumed he would either borrow a ball from a different class or ask the maintenance men for help. He came back a couple minutes later with two balls in his hand while kicking the other. I asked “Good Work, did Mr. S help you out?” He replied calmly “No, I climbed from the back of the building and took all the balls down.” I stood frozen for a couple of seconds and yelled “WHAT?!” He looked at me and said, “You told us to try to fix our problems without asking an adult.”

And just like that... another school year ends.
I know I am going to miss those little monsters who drove me insane some days but gave me a reason to smile in most.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


FINALLY! After three years of knocking our heads together to find a perfect book to portray, we won the Rotary’s Parade of Books! Fake Fat Frugal Felix came up with the idea of dancing thriller. For some reason she started listening to MJ again, maybe because she bought the CD for 50 cents in Bali (if you know Di, anything below a dollar is worth buying or when it's free it's worth keeping).

So we brainstormed a couple of scary books and decided on “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. Between Flipflop, Frugal and I, the Fish-lover, we have never read the book. So as responsible teachers, we “googled” up the summary and figured we could create our masterpiece from there. To our surprise, Frankenstein was not the monster! He was actually a scientist who wanted to solve the “riddle of life.” He wanted to create a man that would be a symbol of the power of science, a science that would determine life and death. But when his creation came to life it was extremely hideous he ran away from it, leaving his monster forlorn and unwanted. The story continues on with revenge and death… pretty scary actually… so we just told our students the “kid’s version” and the lesson to be learned (which is: don’t run away from a monster). We did encourage them to someday read the book when nightmares are not an issue.
Anyway, after weeks and weeks of rehearsals, the 2nd and 4th graders were able to pull off the dance without bumping into each other or obtaining forehead cuts.
A big shout out goes to our chunky monkeys, “princess lea, smart alek” and “tiny curly!” Your head bops and zombie portrayal gives us a reason to smile everyday. We are proud to be your teachers!
To Mr. Ar-tis who drew gravestones and ships on cardboard as realistically as possible, our hearts go out to you.
To Mr. R who recorded, narrated and made us laugh till our stomachs ached, you know you are our hero!
To my co-best directors, it wouldn’t have been as amazing if we didn’t gather our creative minds *tear*. Side note: we need to start planning our director and friends’ party since the cast is too young to drink magic juice.
In the end, it was all worth it! It was an incredible feeling to see the outcome after weeks of shimmies and dealing with irate parents. Whether we won or not, we made the crowd roar!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Uuugly!

The Good: Kids looove sitting under a tree or laying on the grass
The Bad: School wide AC shutdown for 2 hours daily, not including power outages
The Ugly: The stinky “fa-fa” smells once we head back to class

The Good: 75 crunches every morning to warm up my body
The Bad: Early morning cold showers
The Ugly: The water heater and air-conditioning are off limits this month, and it’s only the 8th day!

The Good: New faces for the Women’s Football Rec League
The Bad: A good friend is leaving next month (What will you do without Diana, Kathy?)
The Uuugly: JUDGE GOVENDO (I know it's mean to talk about other people, unless you have something good to say... but I had too, at least I didn't draw on his face.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Happy Teacher's Day

I like Ms. Kathy because she is teaching us so we can be good people and smart people when we grow up. All the things that Ms. Kathy is teaching us are so-so-so wonderful. Ms. Kathy loves us because she wants us to learn a lot. We like to do art and we learned about Pablo Picasso and about Paul Klee. Every Thursday we play Jeporty so we can study and have fun. On Fridays, we do do centers like Computer, Game, Art, Science and Math. We also learn different songs and Ms. Kathy plays the ukulele. My favorite ones are Sea Bird, Here's a little song, and Baa Baa Bamba. That's why Second Grade is a great place to be in. I wish I can stay here.

- The Greatest Place to be
by Isa Rabago 2nd Grade(unedited)

My student teaching mentor, Ms. Elaina Weimer, said that if she becomes worn-out, she would simply quit this profession. "A person risks a lot when one stays in this line of work if she or he can’t sacrifice the time, the energy and put in the heart a classroom has to have." Thank You Ms. Weimer for making me realize how much my daily mood makes the weather.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Find time to thank or remember "the teacher" who made a difference in your life.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cunctation, Somnolent and other 50 Cent Words

A recent conversation led me to look up an old blog. We didn’t even call it “blog” back then, more like journal or diary. I had to look through the archives since I’ve long abandoned this site.
As I read through the opening entries I wasn’t too sure if this was the right journal. It had words like “cunctation and somnolent” I would’ve never thought to use those 50 cent words unless Microsoft thesaurus recognized them, and it doesn’t.
Then, when this came up I knew it was me ...
I Drove off with John, Paul, George
and Ringo this
I was trying to beat 7:10, its
Tuesday, supervision again.
At the
same time I was hoping that NX
wouldn't have the
audacity to screw up this time… been' cranky lately”
I loved listening to the Beatles on my way to work (still do) and I referred to my first car (Nissan NX) as a being. He even had a name…
As I read on, I laughed about my grievances and objections that came with adolescence. Although I seldom swore, I was quite a potty writer and said weird things like “obey the cow god and goodnight moon.”
I’ve forgotten that I also had “in the depths of despair” phase and found some entries quite alarming…
I need to stultify and dampen certain senses.
I'll probably fall into a stupor, have
convulsions, and even slip into a coma.
But it’ll leave me less aware and
alert... and that's just perfect.
If I had a Gun, Id shoot
whoever said writing down
the Pros and Cons of a situation would
I lost sight. No ones there.
The idea of Anguish.
From anguish to outrage.
Rue. I hate you… but despise myself more.
From a distance
her smile signifies content
From a
different angle
she hides behind that fair facade
Then of course entries about love lost and love found made me smile
I just drove. I kept reminding myself
about the promise I made.
But there was this deep-hollow feeling
that just tore me apart.
I tried to keep an optimistic
but I could just feel my tears
gradually flow..
So, I tried to keep my eyes and mind on
the road…
yet I could solely feel your gaze.
I wanted to hold you so bad and tell
you not to...

The boy- just like some,
he'll have to go.
And just like the others, the reasons were
clearly set.
But unlike the others, a light of hope has
been lit...
I don't know if I should blow it or let it
flicker until it flickers no more.
Yet the memory remains of "Velma and Darthvelma"
and the little sand prince whom she loved
But I knew I wasn’t such an unhappy and desperate kid because of entries like this…

If there was an altoids dance,
I’d dance it.
If there was an altoids song, I'd sing it.
Absinthe!!! We have altoids and a
constant supply of King Car.
We have Soy Sauce too and some
Breakfast Pockets
that would last the whole day

I considered the stick as a
priceless possession
even if it implied, "runner 107 was here
30 minutes ago.”
And for the rest of the day, I ate enough
turkey and pie to last me 'till Christmas.­

The thought of me cooking just puts a
silly grin on everyone’s face.
I, on the other hand, am very proud of this
despite the unbearable taste of my

Reading through my entries was like a blast from the past but it also made me realize how much of my life changed and remained the same.

Some things like my addiction to altoids, daily breakfast pockets and calling kids aliens, has changed. But certain things like the Beatles, my passion for teaching, and using my favorite tool, the thesaurus, to make my adventures sound exciting and my confessions moving, remain the same.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Marianas Cup 2008

The CNMI National Teams brought their A game this weekend. The women held strong, played their hearts out against Guam and ended with a victorious tie during last Saturday’s match. It was undoubtedly a success story after last years 7-0 defeat. The men, who played on Sunday, made that day a moment people would be talking about for a really long time. From headers that ended in head collisions to power kicks, it was by far the most exhilarating game I have ever seen. I was watching the entire match through my video camera and I bet the crowd’s roar was recorded way better than my attempt to film the game. It was not only a showcase of athleticism but also of dedication and team work. Although Guam made the winning goal during the last 30 seconds of overtime, we, the spectators, knew that our men gave it their all.
You guys and gals are truly an inspiration!
Go Team CNMI!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Battle Wounds

It was five past five. We were trying to beat the sunset as I drove up to the radar station with my mountain bike crammed in the back. Brad, on his bike, held on to the Rav for a joyride. This was going to be a great downhill ride, I thought to myself. I got on my bike and glanced around the unfamiliar path. To my surprise, we were heading the opposite direction… no pavement, just some good ol’ dirt and loose gravel. I felt unsteady on alien ground and focused on things that I didn’t want to encounter. Eventually, I skidded and fell off. Aside from busting the front brakes, I didn't really hurt myself but I held on to my hunny for dear life as he gently helped me up.
I finally gathered up the courage to shake off the shock and got back on. Oddly enough, I felt more confident and went whizzing downhill. But before anyone could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious I flew off, hit the ground hard, face and all! I knew I wasn’t superwoman because this time I was hurting all over… I couldn’t even tell where the pain was coming from. I had my face buried on my knees and was crying like a little girl. As I struggled to stand up, I examined the injuries I’m sure I obtained. My right calf was as swollen as a bruised peach, my thighs were bleeding mercy and a tiny piece of skin was hanging out of my thumb. My black clothes were filled with dust and dirt while my watch got all scratched up! It was one of those unfortunate moments where I couldn’t help but laugh in between tears.
We continued on our adventure with extreme caution and saw some amazing sights. Somehow because of the pain, i overcame a steep hill that I use to bike-walk. I’m glad I rode on.
Three days later, with a body filled with battle wounds and discoloration, I rode with the dream team (Vince, Rhonda, Tawny and other crazy bikers) up the dusty Far East Hill and down the paved road.
Riding is definitely a new thrill!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Goodbye Lola

The last conversation I had with Lola (grandma in our dialect) went something like this “for shame, I have a boyfriend and you don’t!” this was spoken in Visayan which made it sound a lot funnier. Lola always made sure that she had her hair combed before picture taking and had a full on smile. At the age of 90 she still wore a bathing suit and joked about meeting guys.
Lola Cheding, as she was fondly called, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 92, she has 10 children (whom she named alphabetically from A-J) and has numerous grands and great grands. In the past months, our family back home said that she had been in bed and could hardly open her eyes. The Lola I remember would walk up a flight of stairs and had great eyesight. She could spot us from her house to the plaza and would yell if we were hanging out with the wrong crew, she was feisty too. When we visited her, she would unload her imported chocolates and goodies so we could enjoy a special treat (most of the time they were expired, but who cares, it made us feel loved). Whenever she stayed with us in the city (Philippines) or visited Saipan, she always worried about her grandchildren in the province and made mom find out if they were doing okay without her. I especially loved her stories about the Japanese era and how she was a guy magnet.
It’s hard being far away from home in times like these but I know she lived a full life and was where she wanted to be…surrounded and remembered by people she loved and people who loved her.
We will miss you dearly Lola.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crazy Hat Day!

The best thing about teaching is the unexpected highs,
especially when you're just about to give up and consider waitressing

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kickin' Back

Kickin Back Players:(Top) Alleny, Lovelle, Connie, Gayle, Noi, Mel (Bottom) Rhonda, Toi, Fong, Natalie and Me!

I Love FOOTBALL! This season the women’s recreational league played 7 aside. I was a bit disappointed at first since I've always enjoyed the team spirit of a larger group (okay, and the subs) but now, I wouldn't mind playing seven on seven again. We used a much smaller field but it made us RUN! By half time we've soaked our shirts and guzzled our drinks.
Alleny and my sister Lovelle were our team captains, both had high spirits and the determination to win and have fun. The team also decided on getting shirts, on the back it says "Seven days without soccer makes one weak." It was dorky but we pulled it off (we're purty like that)... we even had a team cheer everytime someone scored a GOAL! (courtesy of Rhonda's attempts in bicycle kicks).
Another season has ended but Kickin' Back will always be remembered by our unmatched socks and self-cheering abilities (Go Rhonda GO!)

Monday, March 31, 2008

What a Beauty

What a beautiful day. The sky and the water spilled shades of blue, it would’ve been a sin to stay indoors. So I gathered up the courage to ride to Wing Beach. I packed a couple of sports drink, some good ol’ sushi, oranges, and a book. I had my favorite poncho liner stuffed in the bag as well. As I rode to the beach, I realized how much more independent I’ve become. Although I love going on adventures with others, I was never brave enough to do something alone. Fear of the unknown always held me back. When I got to the beach, I found a perfect shade and knew I was going to be okay. What a great way to end Spring Break. I’ve been reenergized, ready to tackle those little monsters with a big smile and a firm NO!