Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Land We Borrow From Our Children

The more blessed you are, the greater your responsibility to your community. It seems pretty obvious to most of us, but very few people really take this to heart. I'm not saying we all have to be budding philanthropists. I think that what Beautify CNMI!, MINA, CAMI and other organizations have done is spark a dormant need for our people to look around ourselves, appreciate the wonders that make up the CNMI, and move into action.

This was so apparent during my last trip to another country. I loved the location for the cheap shopping, its friendly people and the unique culture, apparent at every turn. I also, however, realized that there are great lessons we can learn from being away. What I saw was extreme wealth living side by side with extreme poverty - and it struck me. The rich took care of themselves and got increasingly more detached as well as wealthy. The needy watched helplessly as their neighbors prospered, locked into a socio-economic stratum . It was more than a zoning problem, it was a problem of the heart. I may be presumptuous in thinking so, but when you find yourself surrounded by good fortune, even if you've worked your way up to get to that point, wouldn't you want to help ensure your community flourished too? If not for your sake, for the sake of your kids? If not for their sakes, then how about the sake of future generations?

Not everyone needs to join a community organization or give tons of their own money away, but everyone can do SOMETHING. I vow to use and re-use my own coffee mugs and water bottles, buy more local produce and not let the faucet run so much. I also promise to be more aware of the issues that affect my home and speak up when I have something to say.

These is the inheritance I want to pass on to my children - habits of mind and heart. They are ultimately more lasting than money and a more valuable birthright than gold.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail

It will take a few more weeks until we quit pointing fingers, playing blame games and commiserating about our impending doom. But, what after that? What we really need is some folks who aren't willing to just talk about what's going on and start getting stuff done. Look at me, talking.

I spent a couple of days in an unnamed medical facility on one of our three islands in the CNMI learning that the sign "Emergency Entrance" should really read "Quick! Get in here fast so we can kill you". There. I've said it.

One more, 'cause I'm in the mood to complain: who cares what we name the roads as long as we fix them?!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Can You Swing It?

Lately I've been asking myself if we (the CNMI) can really make it through the days ahead. The new year brought us more challenges than we could anticipate. Sure, we knew the minimum wage thing would happen eventually, but like this? Sure, we knew our renters would one day move out, but with such little notice? Sure, we knew shipping rates would go up, but how can lettuce cost this much! Tony says we'll get through this. "We can swing it," he says. Okay, so in my heart I am doubting. That's human right? That means I have to find something superhuman, something supernatural to keep my focus. When everything else has failed, God has always come through. I guess I'll look up then. Tony's right - with a little push from above, we CAN swing this.

Sunday Bunch

Aren't they cute? Not ten minutes ago they were all ready to launch their own version of "Gomez Family Preba Hao" in the back seat of the car.
Kids really are nicer on the playground. All of a sudden, they were hugging each other and laughing like the sweet kids we brought them up to be.
This is why I love Saipan. Not ten minutes from the worries of the day you can find peace. The beach was absolutely perfect. The sun shone on life as the wind blew our cares away. So what if congress is out to get us, power and gas are squeezing our wallets empty and all my best friends are moving to Texas- there's no Austerity Paradise here.

Some Uncle

Thanks to paintball and his Uncle Jack's expert aim, my 14 year old son now has an extra nipple! What's worse than how it looks is how proud he is of it. "Hey mom!" he says in his half-laughing, half-bragging way. "You wanna see something sick?"

It used to be kids skinned their knees playing tag. Now we pay $15.00 to have our child disfigured. GROSS

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Date Night

The tsunami did more damage to date night than to the island itself. After heading down the hill at the "all clear", the nice folks at the local theatre explain that the 7 O'clock shows are all cancelled. What!? I'm thinking we need to pack an emergency date night basket and hide it away in the trunk next time. The late show is not an option for tired parents who worked all day and just need some relaxation. So, we drive in search of food! Almost all restaurants along Beach Road were closed, so Tony and I scouted the Garapan Area. Wild Bills shown in the distance like a beacon of light welcoming us to our usual Saturday Date Night. Great food and good company always beats a tropical disaster. By the way, we got some free drinks from two very experienced gift givers who walked out the door before we could thank them. So, thank you Uncle Jesse and Auntie Meng! You guys are slick:) I guess our evening turned out swell after all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This is one of the first pictures I took of Sommer after her godparents abandoned us and moved to Texas. Even though she's smiling, she's really thinking that it would be a nicer day with her nina around. That was a nice day at the beach, and today is equally as beautiful, but I can't help feeling like things are going to progressively get darker around here. This makes me sad because its the best place in the world to raise kids. I guess we'll all have to buckle down and try to get through the worst part of the next few months. After that, well, we all have to do what's best for our families don't we?