Sunday, December 13, 2009

Random events Fall 2009

Keiko has a pure Japanese blog and I can write quick blog entries by copying her pictures and making my own versions. Here are a few of her blogs from the last couple of weeks.

Keiko met her visiting teacher companion recently. That night, we got a call that she needed an emergency babysitter as she is a nurse and her normal babysitter and backup were unavailable. So Keiko got a taste of things to come.

I hope our kid is as well-behaved as this cute little girl.

Keiko had out kid early... not really but this is the baby of Keiko's friend, a Japanese women married to an American.
This might be a familiar site after March...

We had a wonderful dinner at their house. This was kind of our Thanksgiving since we spent Thanksgiving Day itself by going out to a restaurant. So this was our get-together meal.

It's Fall. This is a pic showing what it looks like outside our front door. It's actually much brighter since the leaves have fallen and allow the sun in more.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Decorations

Even though we have a studio apt., we never took the time to put up the few stashed Christmas ornaments last year. Since we are gone for Christmas, what is the point? was our thinking. But this year, we decided to do this on Thanksgiving weekend, to give us time to enjoy them. We don't have much, but it feels more like Christmas.

Thanks to Chris and Corie for the German ornament, and to Ryan for the tree. We have some more ornaments from my parents, but still no room in the inn for them. I imagine we'll have a bigger place next year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Birthday Blog

This is a few weeks late, but I am now 27. Keiko surprised me with a wonderful meal and home-made cake when I arrived home. Did I mention I like Japanese cakes better than American ones? They aren't as sweet and generally have a lot of fruit. As a child, I generally never had cakes at my b-day parties and preferred the giant cookies instead. But Keiko makes a great cake.

Also, she also made a wonderful lasagna dinner.
I'm such a lucky guy. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CDC Trip Final: People, Kids

In general, I really like the island culture or Micronesian culture. As you heard with my wallet story if you read earlier entries, it is a safe place to be. I felt very comfortably walking after dark alone. They highly value family, are quite friendly. Hopefully you can get a hint through pictures.

On a random note, there is a very high percentage of LDS members in these islands. They have a stake on an island of 30,000 people and several missions spread throughout this part of the world. I saw several churches on the one road of the island.

This is just a compilation of pictures that our group took of various people we met. More often than not, it is some kids who either wanted a picture or who were taken randomly.

The most popular sports (or the only sports as far as I can tell) are basketball and volleyball. People are playing them all the time. I recall in the MTC (LDS missionary training center) that many islanders were playing volleyball and basketball there too.

The rest are more random pics:

This is what it looks like in areas that have no buildings. On other islands, the flora is much thicker. They do some farming in this area.

I can't remember what type of crab, but there were many of them.

The English that does exist is close, but often a little off.

Here are what they sell at the souvenir shops. I liked the shops a lot because you would see the women making these items in front of you. You know it's authentic and not made in some sweat shop owned by a foreigner on some other island.

This is the only airplane that flies through. 3x/week for going east or west.

It was a wonderful trip. The CDC would be an exciting place to work in the future.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CDC Trip 7: The Hotel

Most of the time, I stayed at one hotel called Robert Reimer's Hotel. It is owned by a family that does everything on this island from making soap to filtering water, fishing, pearl farms, and probably anything that can be imagined.

The hotel was about as nice as are offered on the island. It had it's up and downs.

Here is the outside of the hotel.

It was on the water as everything else is on the lagoon side of the atoll.

My fist room had a fairly nice view, nice and green. But it was usually to hot and humid for me to spend much time out here.

Inside of the room. Not too bad. However, I did have my fair share of cockroaches and ants. But they are much smaller than American cockroaches, little dark red guys.

This was the restaurant across the street. Copyright laws must not be very strict here. They did sell chicken. That is KLG, but the G looks pretty close to a C.

My last week I was moved to the nicer rooms. These felt a little fancy. They were similar to the places I stayed at a fancy place in South Africa on their giant animal reservation for safaris (Kruger National Park).

You were closer to the water here. There was a actually some wider parts of the island near the hotel and other larger parts of the biggest parts of the city. So there were actually some places you couldn't see water due to the trees and/or buildings.

No cockroaches, but there plenty of lizards. I preferred the lizards.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CDC Trip 6: The Islands of Paradise

These are pics of various islands that I saw. It's a truly unique place in the world.

This is the biggest "city" or most developed place I saw. Those are the biggest buildings in the background.

This is a beach I went to. I'll mention it later in a bit of a miracle I experienced.

The next few pictures are right outside the hotel I stayed at.

I had quite the adventure my 3rd week in. The following pictures are a beach I went to for snorkeling and relaxing. I had a great time but when the group was getting ready to go back to the car I searched and searched and couldn't find my wallet. I spent a long time looking everywhere until we gave up and head back. I had bought some water on the way there at a tiny shop on the way there so we checked there to see if my wallet was there. So I had to give up and was looking into how to cancel my credit cards etc from this tiny island.

I could think of 2 places that my wallet could be: I either left it in the shop and they lied to me or I had left it in my swimming trunks in the pocket and it fell out while I was snorkeling. I felt that it was probably the latter and gave up. This meant I might be able to avoid cancelling my credit card so that I could pay for my hotel since they had my info. My CDC companions offered to loan me money for food and other expenses to last me as we only had 1 week left at this point.

That night, I developed a sore throat and a 103 F temp. It was likely influenza, so I just stayed home and had plenty time to dwell on my wallet. However, I got a call at about 11am in the morning from the US embassy. They told me a man had found a wallet on the beach. Inside that wallet, he found a card saying "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and he had a neighbor who a member of that church. That neighbor gave the wallet to the missionary headquarters for that church who passed it onto the US embassy as it didn't belong to any missionary. That was my temple recommend. The US embassy called the CDC who gave them my cell phone number.

WHAT A MIRACLE!!! I traveled to the US embassy and found my wallet: soaked, full of sand, with a little mildew and very smelly. It still had $300 in cash and all my credit cards. My best guess is that it truly did fall out in the ocean and get washed on shore. And my temple recommend (church card) guided it back to me.

I'll write a little more about the safety of the islands in the next couple of posts.

This is the beach where I lost my wallet snorkeling.