Thursday, May 22, 2008

The plane has been removed from its half on half off the runway location and flights are operating on their normal schedules once again, thank you Jesus! Tina, Lacy, and Rachel are flying out today.
School is now officially over, no more grading, no more lesson planning, and no more yelling "SIT DOWN!!!!!" The last few days of school were spent taking tests and practicing for the 3rd grade concert that Maribel (the other third grade teacher) and I have been planning. Yesterday was our class party. We played games and I gave out awards for good behavior, good grades, and whatnot. Then we ate lunch and blew up balloons. They ran around and hit each other with them for a while and a few helped me clean up the classroom.
Later in the evening was our concert. It went so well!! I was really nervous about it because I've never been in charge of a program and had to plan everything. We started the program with a slideshow of our students throughout the year set to music, it was really cute. The kids enjoyed laughing at their classmates and themselves. Next we had the whole "choir" (both classes) sing some worship songs that we have taught them during morning worships. Wow those kids can sing!! In the middle was a skit portion and they did a really great job with that as well. At the end Maribel and I sang "Side By Side" for our kids and that was that! It was a great success and although it was stressful and a lot of work, I'm really glad we planned it. A bunch of the parents thanked us, so I think everyone enjoyed it. Anyways, school is over and I'm still running around feeling like there is something important that I need to be doing. Hey, I guess relaxing is important too!

Things I've Learned in Pohnpei:
1.Mr. B is pretty much a superhero
2. I'm going to freeze when I come home!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Crash Boom Bang!

Friday a tuna plane didn't stop in time on the runway and is not stuck hanging part way off the runway. All flights in and out have been cancelled until who knows when. I've heard estimates of a few days to a few weeks. I'm hoping it is the former. This means that a few of the SM's may possible miss their flights home and no mail service either. So much for hearing from Loma Linda this week.... Only 1 1/2 days of school left, then the party and 2 more graduations. I can't believe the end is here, I never thought it would come!!! It still doesn't feel real yet. Nothing much else to report.
Things I've learned in Pohnpei:
1. Traveling is wicked expensive!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Final Trip to Ant Atoll

This weekend was our last school fair, which was a good time
of course. Part of the fair included a talent show spread throughout.
The lady SMs did a Tahitian dance together which was super fun.
The guys danced to an N'Sync song, which was hilarious.
Overall we probably didn't make a whole lot of money, but everyone had a good time.

After the fair we packed our camping gear and headed out for Ant Atoll! Along the way we did a bit of trolling (fishing with strong line held over the back of the moving boat). I felt a strong tug and after much struggling to pull in the line Mr. B informed me that I had a large shark on my line. We both tried to pull it in, but it stretched the line and eventually snapped it. A-Whoops!!

Eventually we drove to an island and crashed in a hut for the night. The next morning we drove to another island and set up camp the good old fashioned way, with palm branches under you and a tarp above you! After some nice swimming in the beautiful blue water and playing with hermit crabs the rain came. The rest of the day was spent lazily reading and napping whilst waiting for the rain to subside. Island camping is pretty much the best. The next morning we got up fairly early for scuba-rama! We drove out to a wall near an island called Bird Island. Apparently the entire island is swarming with birds. Anyways, the dive was fun. We swam through a sweet tunnel in the reef too.
The drive back to camp was exciting because a storm was a-brewing and the waves were pretty crazy. I can't explain what one of those boat rides are like. It's a mix between a rollercoaster and hitting severe potholes over and over again while driving at breakneck speeds. It's a good time. So the interesting part was that near the end of the ride the engine suddenly died. Hmm, out of gas. The other boat gave us some more gas, still no go. We had to get towed in by the other boat. The problem was that now we had 20+ people on an outer island and only one boat to get them back. Mr B. ended up making several trips and some brave souls stayed an extra night on the island. The ride back through the open ocean was some adrenaline pumping fun. The waves were HUGE!!! I was sitting on the front of the boat hanging onto a rope for dear life bouncing up and down like a kangaroo on steroids. Mr. B is an excellent driver and thus avoided what could have been some dangerous waves, but we still had quite a ride. My bum is a bit sore. It was such a fun weekend and things like camping on Ant make me really sad to be leaving so soon. I will certainly miss that, even the hermit crabs pinching my toes while I try to sleep (it tickles SOOO bad).

Things I've Learned in Pohnpei:
1. I will miss it when I leave
2. Hula dancing is wicked hard!!!
3. Goodbyes are no fun at all

Friday, May 2, 2008

The rains came down and the floods came up!

This week was the closest thing to winter that I’ve experienced all year. It rained and rained and rained all week long. Tuesday we had to put sandbags in front of the office to keep it from flooding. We waded through inches of water on our way to recess in the gym and all my students busted out their jackets. As a result of the rain, the temperature was wonderful, barely any sweating all week!! It was probably 78 or so most of time, which was a wonderful change, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This week was a big one for us, we had the evaluators here checking the school, it was midterm week, and I had to give chapel on Friday. The week was slow, but everything turned out well and now it’s Sabbath!! Yay for weekends! Three weeks of school left and it doesn’t seem real that at the end of this month I’ll be back in Cali to see my family and friends again!!! I’m very excited, although sad to say goodbye to the 19 crazy little kids that I will miss very dearly. The year is wrapping up and it will be incredibly busy up until the very end with graduations, concerts, school fair, camping trips, and parties to plan! The myth that 4th quarter goes the fastest is definitely false, however, the busyness gives a wonderful fa├žade of time moving quickly.

Last weekend we hiked up “Mr. B’s Mountain”. The mountain doesn’t actually belong to him, but the land at the base belongs to his family, so we still refer to it as his. “Hike” is maybe the wrong word for this excursion. There is no trail, it is more like clambering straight up a muddy slope of 2000 + ft, grasping at any living vegetation to prevent slipping back down the few feet that you just gained. It was a muddy, slipperly, sweaty good time! The view from the top was breathtaking though!! It is the 2nd highest point on the island, so we had a great view of most of the island. The wind was blowing up in our faces off the edge of the cliff and at one point it rained UP on us. Getting back down the mountain was even more interesting than climbing up. There were many America’s Funniest Home Video moments as everyone present probably spent a good share of the way down on their butts or in that not quite stable position , arms flailing and legs kicking to stay under you. It was the craziest hike I’ve ever been on and I loved it.

We just finished our last SM Sabbath at the Kolonia church. It went really well although it was a long one! We had a nice potluck afterward and are now enjoying relaxing. I’ve got to recharge this weekend to get ready for the coming onslaught of planning and parties that come with the end of the year.

Things I’ve learned in Pohnpei:

  1. when the ship doesn’t bring fruit, it’s a sad day
  2. 78 degrees can feel cold, temperature is all relative
  3. It’s impossible not to overeat at potluck, yum!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The end is near

So the idea was to post a blog a day during Spring Break, but we were much too busy doing all kinds of adventures, so this short summation will have to suffice. Break was awesome and for the most part relaxing. We went camping, scuba diving, waterfall hiking, more hiking in the rain, exploring Nan Madol, and a little bit of just kicking back too. It was great to see my mom and it made me very anxious to come home. We are now in the 4th and last quarter of the school year. It seems like time has flown by and yet gone extremely slow at times as well. Only 7 more weeks of teaching left and although I love my students dearly and will miss them, I am looking forward to the end of school.
Last weekend was a nice long one because of report card/parent teacher conference day and Cultural Day on Monday. We had to have conferences on Friday morning and then we were free for the rest of the weekend. On Sabbath we drove to a waterfall near Kitti (not sure of the name) and after a nice 45 min hike or so we swam for a while. The scary part is that in order to get in the water you have to plummet 35 ft off the edge of a cliff into the water. Believe me, 35 ft is a long ways when you are suspended in midair, screaming for all your worth. I jumped and screamed and screamed and screamed until I was out of breath and realized I was still only about halfway down. It was certainly the highest I have ever jumped from, but it was thrilling and fun. On Sunday we hiked up Sokehs Rock to spend the night. It was a very fun trip, although hauling all your gear, food, and water up that climb was not the most enjoyable thing ever. We cooked hot dogs and watched the plane land at night. It was very windy at the top and quite cool. It was nice to have to bundle up to keep warm. I'm used to sweating all night. Monday it was back to work to get ready for school the next day.
The past two weeks of school have been interesting. The students were still in vacation mode for about a week so it was quite hard to get them motivated to learn. I'm sure it'll get better now that we are back into a routine.

Things I've learned in Pohnpei:
1. Good communication makes EVERYTHING easier
2. 2 months is a very short time
3. 2 months is a very long time
4. The hardest times of your life aren't necessarily the worst times

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easter Break volume 1

My mom arrived safely Saturday afternoon. We relaxed and got caught up all evening and packed for Ant. Sunday afternoon we drove to Ant atoll and snorkeled for a bit in the channel. We camped the night on an island with no huts or anything. We slept under a tarp amidst a thunder storm. This morning we got up and went diving. Our dive went smoothly and we saw a shark and a really cool eel. Mom was a bit nervous about diving without an instructor or anything but she was a good sport and did just fine. After the dive we packed up and headed back to the main land. I tried trolling on the way back but I didn't catch anything. We just got back from walking to the store. We got caught in the rain pretty bad, but now we are nice and dry, so all is well. I'll try to keep you posted about the rest of our adventures later!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Manta Madness!

Dragging myself out of bed Sunday morning to get ready for diving
was not the easiest thing in the world. I almost decided to skip it a sleep in instead, figuring that the dive wouldn’t be that great and trying to convince myself that I should save my money for diving over Easter Break. I eventually got up though, luckily. We ended up going diving at a place called Manta Road. It is a small channel in between 2 sections of the reef. Aptly named, it was swarming with manta rays. I probably saw 10 or 12 during my dive. It was by far my favorite dive. The bottom was only about 55 feet so we stayed down for a long time. I only had 2 small rocks in my BC for weight so I had quite a time getting down. After Tim handed me a few of his weights I got down alright though. For once I wasn’t using the leaky regulator, so I actually had air to spare after my buddy ran out. I snorkeled around for a while longer using my air because I wanted to watch the mantas some more. All of a sudden I was in the midst of a huge school of fish. Seriously, all I could see were fish, well, and then down about 10 feet under us were 4 small reef sharks hunting the fish. Suddenly, 2 mantas were there to join the party as well. CJ and I were watching this whole spectacle in awe when lo and behold 3 more mantas decided to play chicken with us. They swam straight at us until they were about 2 feet away and then dove down right under us. I probably would have kicked one if my legs had been extended. They are beautiful creatures, wow!! I envy their graceful gliding through the water. And to think I almost didn’t go on the dive! It was a good time. As is tradition, we got caught in the rain for a while but then it cleared and I secured those funky tan lines at mid shoulder and knee that I know you are all envying (I also have a killer flip flop tan, really, it's quite impressive). We were back to the school by 1 which was good because that meant I could still get a decent amount done for school. This is the last week before Easter Break. Mom is flying in 5 days from now and I am very excited. I’ll admit it doesn’t seem real yet, but I can’t wait to see her.

Last week’s adventure was noteworthy as well, but I never got around to blogging about it. It consisted of an impromptu boat drive out to Ant atoll to snorkel for about 30 min (the boat drive is about an hour, maybe longer). On the way we got caught in a storm, it was pretty cool, huge waves, pouring rain. It was a little cold, but a lot of fun too. We bounced around on the front of the boat in the waves, luckily we were sitting on lifejackets to cushion our landings. I would liken the feeling to that of a rollercoaster. After snorkeling we went trolling for a while and Mr. B caught a fish or two. It was fun to get out on the boat and just chill for a while. Last week I was also blessed with 3 packages in the mail. I know, I really am spoiled. I enjoyed it though. Hopefully this week goes smoothly and we can actually get some legitimate work done in the classroom some of the time. Around vacation time it always gets a little crazy. I don’t mind it some of the time though, I enjoy when my students are excited, especially when they have been working so hard all quarter.

Things I’ve learned in Pohnpei:

  1. Manta Rays are stupendous
  2. Contrary to popular belief, roosters do not crow only at dawn. They crow all day, all night, and especially all morning, wherever and whenever they please. This includes but is not limited to directly outside my window.
  3. “Midday Sweat” is my new fragrance. Not to be confused with fragrance of choice, of course.