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.