Wednesday, August 6, 2008

100th post - Island Life Assessment

This is my 100th post. And I've been blogging for almost exactly one year now. A while ago, I took the time to look back through all of my posts. I have to say - wow, what a year! There it is, all recorded, the ups and downs, the fun times and the sad times. I am thankful for this past blog year. I have learned alot and grown alot in that year. Midway through, I paused for about a month and reviewed what is really important to me. I'd like to say I shifted my priorities to match my assessment. But life and circumstances don't always allow for that.

Something I did do recently, was an assessment of not just my own life, but life in general on this island. I have not lived in the states for 12 years now. I'm guessing I wouldn't fit in that well over there anymore. But then, I don't really "fit in" here either. It's not for lack of trying. I've put on many dinners, invited many people out to different events or to our home. But the cultural groups tend to stick to themselves, and an outsider is always an outsider. Yep, even after 12 years. But like every place you go to live, you have to adjust into the lifestyle, work to fit in, offer what you can of yourself to make your surroundings a better place to live. Over the years we've made many friends. Most of them are gone now. Friendships out here are very "come and go". For a woman (and some men) that is a hard way to live. You invest yourself in a relationship, build it, nurture it, and the person leaves two years later. I can't even count the times I've been to the airport to say a tearful good-bye to my latest departing friend. So in my assessment of life on the island - that was my first and foremost thought. Relationships don't fair very well over here. Actually I've seen a number of marriages end over here, too. It's just somehow tougher to maintain a good marriage relationship out here than in other places. One of my friends moved back to the states, without her current husband. He stayed behind and married a guest worker. There are many similar stories. So what is the solution to the "relationships" problem? Good question. Sadly, I don't have an answer. Actually, since the federal takeover of immigration, I'm likely looking at losing many friendships and co-workers in the not-too-distant future.

My second point of assessment was the island itself. While I enjoy the physical beauty, structurally we seem to be moving into 3rd world territory. Thus the reason for the higher rate of departure, I think. I guess there is no point in bringing up the power problems. Many have relayed that situation in brighter and more interesting verbal candor than I can muster. Suffice it to say - it gets old, and it is discouraging on a daily basis. But many issues fit into that description - the lack of law enforcement, lack of integrity, corruption, etc. Sometimes it's hard to process the constant loss of potential. This island has so much to offer. But it seems to be stifled at every angle. I thought about going for a swim on my lunch hour today, but nine beaches have posted red flags. I guess I'll just go for a walk. Something that doesn't seem to let me down so far about the island is it's scuba diving. Being underwater with all the amazing creatures is so peaceful and relaxing. I'm thankful I can still enjoy that.

I think I'll end sharing the assessment at this point. I'm tired of thinking about it today. Below I've posted a few pictures of friends. Some were only visitors to the island, some have already left, some are in the process of leaving - and a few are still hanging in there. To all our friends -thanks for the laughs and shared good times. You have enriched my life over these last 12 years.


Jeff said...

Well said Kelli, but I think more friendships start out there because you are so likely to bump into that person at the post office or grocery store, beach, etc.

KelliOnSaipan said...

True Jeff - there is definitely that "small town" appeal to the social life.