Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saipan

Well we have been here for 2 1/2 months already! On one hand it feels like we have been here forever, on the other it feels like we have been here only a few days.
Saipan is a lot of things. It is paradise. But it is also a third world country. It is breathtakingly beautiful. We are so blessed to be here. One of my favorite things here is to sit in our living room and read with the windows and doors open and feel the ocean breeze on my skin, and listen to the waves crash, and watch the birds fly. It's incredible. We are adjusting. It is a difficult adjustment for most people, and we are included in the "most". It is so hard to describe it here. All of the Americans here seems to agree with that. There aren't many of us. The island is mostly locals (Chamorro), natives from nearby islands, and Filipinos. I know most of you are probably thinking "You live on a tropical island! What is there to adjust to?!" It's not the tropical island part.. That is the blessing that helps us get through everything else. It is truly a different world, in a third world country. Working internet, reliable cell service, hair appointments, and house decorations are all luxuries of the past. We actually don't even HAVE internet at our house, because it isn't available. And the cell data is "3G", but speed wise, is 2G at best. We have shrews that come into our house, and the ONLY thing we can do about it is get a cat.. so we are getting a kitten for Christmas. Shrews/rats/mice in the house... that is a first world "problem" and is just life here.  And geckos? We welcome them in and sometimes catch them and bring them inside to eat the bugs. haha :) And grocery shopping can be very frustrating. You go to the store to get ingredients, only to find that they are out. And it could be months until a new shipment of it comes in. Groceries are extremely expensive. $8/gal for shelf stable boxed milk. Milk that needs to be kept cold is $12/gal or more. I don't want this to sound like complaining, because I am Not complaining. I'm just trying to describe it here. Decorating your house? Definitely a first world thing. It isn't a thing here, and one I am getting used to. I like having things on my walls. Though really, they are completely unnecessary. And maybe that is what it boils down to. Unnecessary things like nice vehicles, new clothes and working internet aren't actually a necessity, and therefore not a part of life here. There are some great things about it that go hand in hand with that though! Consumerism and materialism are pretty non-existent, and "Keeping up with the Joneses?" well, there isn't anything to keep up with! We are enjoying that part of life and living here makes it clear how blessed we are, even here with so little. Most people have less than us. We have neighbors whose houses and all of their belongings blew away in the typhoon (western pacific name for hurricane) a few months ago. It is humbling to see.  The people here are so good and kind and put family above career. You don't see people here working 60+ hours/wk to get ahead. You see people taking off early to spend time with family. They know that family is more important than things. And another of my favorite things: I RARELY see people hunched over electronic devices. I'm sure that is mostly because people can't afford them here, but it's so refreshing to see people constantly engaged with each other, with their full attention, not constantly checking their phones. I love it. So there it is. Life in Saipan in a nutshell. It's amazing and frustrating and beautiful and we will do a lot of learning and growing here. We have a lot to learn from these beautiful and humble and people!
View from Capitol Hill of the lagoon side of the island.
Above picture is our view from our balcony- Lau Lau Bay
Pau Pau Beach, on the lagoon side of the island. We LOVE having the lagoon-- no waves, so the much less dangerous for the kids to play in!
 
Jacob and I on Managaha (a little island in the lagoon) Saipan is in the background
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The view from the apartment the hospital put us in for a month. You can see Managaha in the lagoon there :)

Rainbow at Ladder Beach

                           Morning sunrise from my bed.

This one I took when we went to Lau Lau Beach, Jacob took the kids to collect shells and I laid down and read.

1 comment:

Tara said...

I don't think it's complaining at all. I love hearing your description of the island. Sounds like a completely new cultural experience for you!!!

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