Thursday, February 21, 2008

Formal Wear

Saturday night was the Rotary 40th Anniversary Dinner. The invitation said, formal gala, so Sarah and I were happy to dress up in our formal wear for the evening. It was a very lovely evening. Fiesta Resort had the hall decorated very nicely, in cream and blue. The waitstaff was excellent, as well as the food. We enjoyed violin music, Saipan Southern High School band, and some other entertainment. The program was rather long, but at the end there was a short time for dancing, so I got one short dance too. Fun night. Well, we're headed to Bali today, so I'll catch up with everyone in a week or so. Hopefully, I'll have some nice pictures from Bali to share.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunset and Roses

Harry got a new underwater camera and has been taking some amazing photos. I think he's pretty excited about the new camera, and the nice photos. I'm pretty excited about it, too, as I get his old camera. I haven't had the chance to take any pictures underwater yet, but I'm hoping to take some in Bali. As I was driving down Beach Rd the other day, I had to stop at Oleai and shoot some sunset pictures. This was the day we had the purple haze from the volcano. In the top picture you can see the paddlers in the distance. The colors were just amazing for several minutes. I'm glad I got to enjoy it.

The pictures below are the roses I received on Valentine's Day. Aren't they beautiful? In the bottom of the picture you can see a stem of orchids. It was a very nice arrangement.
Here's a view of the roses from my desk. Valentine's Day is always fun at work. The office gives out Valentines gifts each year. This year we got a nice cup with chocolates inside.
Here is the office staff, well, all of the women, that is - and Andy - who buys us all a single rose for Valentine's Day each year. Yes, I have mine in a green tea container. I didn't have a spare vase.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Good Bye to a Good Friend

This is a picture of a reunion of friends. The friendship is from over 50 years ago! The lady standing next to me ( Charlotte) and her brother (Monty) standing next to her, came to Saipan to visit Dave. The three of them went to school together just after World War 2. It was a fun reunion, and Harry and I had the pleasure of giving Dave's friends an island tour and joining them for some dinners. As fun as it was to be a part of that reunion of old friends, I treasure this photo for another reason. To the far right you see JP (John Pangelinan). Yes, he is talking on a cell phone while getting his photo taken. You might wonder why I think that is a good picture. The reason is simple. Today I went to JP's funeral. Jerry Tan delivered the eulogy. I laughed and cried, and mostly I identified with the things that Jerry shared about JP. I am a bit of a reserved person, kind of a 'behind the scenes' girl, and happy to be that. Not only that, but I'm a minority person on an island that is not always eager to get to know me. JP is a local man, very well known, and the head of his business. JP really had no obligation to take the time to talk with me about politics, frustrating medical referral or anything else. But he did take the time, and he always smiled, greeted me by name and thanked me for anything I may have helped him with. He was just plain gracious, generous of spirit. As a person, JP was a rare and welcome find in the work world, a true gentleman in any world. But let's get back to the picture. Yes, I do have better pictures of JP. But I like this one because after he got off from a long conversation and finally hung up the phone to hang out with us, he leaned over to me and said - I was talking with my daughter. I never forgot that. His daughter was more important than friends or socializing or getting his picture taken. Good for him. It made me smile at the time, it still makes me smile.

I am thankful that I was blessed to have JP in my life, as a good friend. No we weren't confidantes or close friends, but he took the time to be a good friend each and every time that I saw him. And what I heard at his funeral today blessed my heart even more. He did the same thing for everyone he knew. I heard my own story over and over. So I learned something from you, JP - every smile and gesture of friendship counts. Thanks for sharing your generous spirit with a quiet 'sidelines' girl. I will miss you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Happy Lunar New Year! I was awakened at midnight last night to the sound of loud firecrackers. Then I remembered it was the Chinese New Year. Saipan has a mix of cultures living on this tiny island. Part of the fun of living here is celebrating the different holidays with the different nationalities. Today will be colorful. The bright red and gold dragon will go to different businesses to perform the dragon dance. The Chinese Association group just came to my office, and made the circle of our company. The giant silk dragons make the rounds, gathering red envelopes containing money from inside of pieces of lettuce that hang from the doorways. The dancers inside of the dragon costumes sway around to the sound of the drums and cymbals being played by the marchers behind them. The marchers are wearing bright red silk outfits. It's a bright and loud celebration parade, that you can't miss!
I went outside of the office to watch the end of the performance, and was greeted by my friend, Rose Chan, from our ballroom dance group. Rose is a great ballroom dancer, and she looked lovely in her red silk Chinese blouse.
2008 is the year of the Rat. I am apparently a Rat year (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996) person, so I guess this is my year for good things. Fellow Rats, we've been billed as charming, so we best live up to it. : )
So - Happy New Year (Kung Hei Fat Choi) to my Chinese friends.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Diving with Turtles!!

Sunday morning I enjoyed a great dive with Harry at Lau Lau. Besides the usual fun critters to watch, I got to see 3 turtles! The first one was very small, so cute. He let us swim with him for a while then ducked down into some underwater tunnels.
The second turtle was very big. He also let us swim along with him for quite a while. He seemed in no hurry to get anywhere. Both were hawksbill turtles. What an awesome experience! Check out the new fins. They are great! I don't have a picture of the third turtle. He was swimming away from the direction we needed to go, and I was getting low on air, so Harry had us head back to the rope instead of trying to follow him. The last turtle was a green. So it was fun just seeing the two different kinds of turtles and getting to watch them swim near me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the underwater world with Harry.