We got cut by Noni leaves, chased by hornets and even got my car stuck out in the jungle for a bit, but it was so, so worth it. My love for photography has just been reignited and I couldn't be more excited about it.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Recently during a workshop I was given some advice: to do a shoot just for me. Not for anyone else. Full creative freedom to capture whatever I want, wherever I want; to take risks and go with any crazy ideas I had. Immediately I complied a list of shoots I wanted to do by the end of the year. Some were normal and some were totally crazy. I decided to start with one that was just a tad bit crazy and this is what came out.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
And not as in Edward & Bella. I'm talking Nat King Cole crooning, "Twilight Time," with this glorious sunset as a backdrop as we swim near wild banana trees kind of Twilight Time. It's always been my favorite time of day no matter where we are. The sun as it sets, the shadows it creates, the warm glow that turns everything to gold. I remember begging to stay outside and watch this golden effect even as a kid and my love for it has remained almost three decades later.
And I guess that's the lesson I needed to hear. Wherever we live the sun will rise and set. We will still get that golden light. It may not be Saipan, but it will be a new home with new possibilities and new sunsets to watch our children grow through. Until then, I'm going to enjoy every golden hour I can before it moves.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
We live in a crazy amazing place. I know that. There's good and bad about Saipan but it's mostly good and we love it here. Unfortunately, we will eventually have to say goodbye to it. Next summer we plan to move from this tropical treasure and it's got me going a little crazy. Some days I can't wait to jump start our move and get things rolling, look at houses, plan a new home, a new life and other days I'm feverishly trying to find ways that we could make Saipan our permanent home. I guess that's the downside of traveling all over the world--you come to love too many things and it's impossible to have it all in one place. I tried to make a pro's and con's list once to try to help me sort it out in my head---it didn't help.
Here was my list before I quit:
-The internet here is laughable. It's not dial up but boy is it slow, and crazy unreliable.
-The schools here aren't great. Even the private schools have issues you need to deal with from time to time and with Owen's speech delay it just makes it harder.
-There is one hospital and it is adequate but it's really hard to get in, and very political.
-Because it's a small island there are a lot of "small island quirks." Such as: Our government buildings only take cash, our drivers licenses look like fake IDs, most stores don't open until 11am, prices are higher, availability is low, etc, etc.
-Directions are hard here. There aren't many actual street names so finding places becomes a landmark puzzle. It works fine after you've been here awhile but it was complicated in the beginning.
-You have to rent a PO Box since there aren't any physical addresses (or mailmen!) and mail is suuuuuuuper slow.
-We have some amazing restaurants but they're mostly asian. I miss Mexican and Italian food.
-There are no seasons. It's truly an endless summer here. That's usually a good thing but I do miss Fall sometimes.
-There aren't many indoor things to do. Which isn't a big deal since there are beaches galore but during rainy season we can only do crafts inside for so long.
-Bugs. Fire ants, cetipedes, cockroaches, and on and on. And I'm not just talking about outside, oh no, they will get into your house. It's how life is here. There are always ants in the house and my kids are always getting bitten by fire ants at the park.
-Availability here is low so you have to order online a lot and most places won't ship here.
-No dishwashers. You wouldn't think this is a big deal, heck-- my first 3 apartments didn't have one, but having to do dishes at least twice a day gets old, and fast.
-It's expensive. Lots of things here are cheap but things you need like food, gas, electricity, etc are really expensive and it adds up fast.
-It's stunningly beautiful here. It's just beach after beach and lush forests.
-The sunsets. We get KILLER sunsets here and almost nightly.
-The hiking. There's so much beauty here that hiking is a dream. Plus with all the history of WWII on island you almost always run into an old tank or old shells or a hidden bunker. It's pretty neat.
-Pedicures and Massages and Seamstresses. Holy cow, I had never been so spoiled in my life. Spa services here are insanely cheap and I can't take you how many dresses I've had tailored or custom made because of the low cost.
-Snorkeling and Diving. It's amazing. The colors and abundance of the wildlife here is just insane.
-Tropical fruits. Super cheap, grown locally and so delicious. Mango season is my happy time.
-Culture. There is so much of it here.
-Community. It's such a small island that you see friends everywhere. You become friends with the cashiers at the grocery store because they see you so often, you know your landlord, your waitresses, even people I see on the running trail everyday know my name. I have strangers come up to me all the time and say, "Hey! You're the lady I saw on beach road running with her kids in the stroller!" Boom. Friends made. It's pretty amazing.
-It's so chill. Seriously. No one cares what you wear, what you look like or even if you wear shoes. I can't tell you how many grocery stores I've walked into with no shoes and no one even bats an eyelash. It's so nice to be away from the States for that reason. Even when we visit I feel the pressure to get dressed, put on make up and look "presentable." Here, I throw my hair in a bun, put on a maxi dress and flip flops and it's totally cool.
-The travel. Oh, the places you can see! We've been to Palau (home of the world wonder Jellyfish Lake), Japan for the famous Cherry Blossom Season, Managaha (a neighboring island I can see from my window that boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in THE WORLD), Tinian (another neighboring island with tons of WWII history and amazing cliff jumping), and Guam. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! We'd love to go to Thailand, Bali, India, Austrailia, Taipei, China and Singapore. Obviously, with our time frame we won't get to all of them but it's been insanely fun so far.
-The people. I don't know what it is about being in such a small place but you all just band together. The friends we've made here have become our family.
So you see, it really wasn't helpful. The things I love about this island and our home here hold such huge weight but the reasons for leaving are so permanent and unchanging that I'm left feeling a little stuck. We love our island home but I do look forward to making a new and more permanent home somewhere else. Until then we will be milking it for as much as we can here.
I know--it's almost February. But that's how it goes when you have a newborn, a full house and a full schedule. Nevertheless, these moments were great ones.
Christmas was fun. The kids are old enough now to start to get a little excited and ask questions about Christmas and Jesus. I was getting so giddy this year picking out pajamas and watching as Tim stayed up past midnight to put together their kitchen set on Christmas Eve. These are the magical Christmases. I got a little too giddy and went a little overboard on presents. I just get so excited thinking about their happy faces when they open it that I just buy it on the spot. I need to tone that stuff down, ha! Plans for next Christmas are already commencing in my head. Simple, much more simple.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
-He is still WAY into karate. Anything with karate. Anime, Ninjago, Power Rangers, anything.
-Loves baseball and is actually quite good at it. He's got a pretty good arm and when he's paying attention he hits the ball almost every time.
-His speech has really improved! It's not quite up to his peers but we understand the majority of what he says now. It's amazing! And he learns new words all the time!
-He just performed in his first primary program! He was so good and well behaved, sang every song and wasn't shy about saying his part. We were so proud!
-Still loves horses. He is so interested in them and will watch youtube videos of them forever.
-Likes to play with army men and swords.
-Is SUCH a good big brother. He sings to the baby when he cries and watches very carefully how we handle him and tries to do the same. He loves to see the baby in the mornings and is always keeping an eye out for him. He notices the minute we put him to sleep in the order room.
-Hates to run errands with me now. He always wants to "stay here, stay in car." It makes the experience a little more trying.
-Has given up naps completely. He will take one only about once every 2 weeks or so.
-Has taken to scolding us and often. Ha! Its a little frustrating but we're trying to teach him to use "nice words," and that we are his parents so we scold him when he acts naughty.
-Loves to play with his best friend Clark. He asks for him almost every day.
He is so much fun! Still a super giggly boy and we just love him!
-Loves preschool. It took her about a month to get used to but now she loves it and is doing very well. She is especially good with her writing.
-She is still mainly left handed but every once in a while tries out the right hand.
-Loves to sing. She often sings the ABC's and "Give Said the Little Stream."
-She's got quite the attitude. You can often hear her saying, "Stop it!" or "Don't touch!" We've been working on teaching her to use "soft voice," instead of yelling, ha!
-She loves the baby. She's always asking to hold him and whenever he is near her she will kiss him and say, "S'okay." (It's okay) It's adorable.
-She can count to ten.
-She knows all her ABC's.
-She knows so many words now! She can name at least 20 animals and knows people by name.
-She has gotten very particular with what she wears. Her favorites are: her skirt for Thailand, her dress from Bali, the socks she got in Japan and her pink saltwater sandals.
-She LOVES pink. She always requests the pink cup or pink plate at dinner.
-Is really into princesses. She calls them all Cinderella.
-Still loves Little Mermaid and all ocean creatures but is afraid of going into the water at the beach.
-Her favorite foods are: chipees (chocolate chips), fruit snacks, "ice cream" (frozen go-gurts) and nutella.
-Has gotten SUPER tall. She really sprouted over the summer and somehow grew into some super long legs.
-She destroys EVERYTHING. We can't leave anything in her room during her nap time because she just breaks or tears it apart.
-She finally learned to ride a tricycle! She gets lazy though after a few pedals and goes back to her Flintstones way of riding.
She is seriously so funny. We just love having her around!