29 May 2010

Saipan: The good and the bad

29 May 2010
During the past few months, Eric and I have discovered a few things we really miss about dear ol' Saipan. But, there are also a few things we've survived without. See table below. :)

The people/branch
  • Obviously, our favorite part of Saipan was the sweet, accepting, loving, humble, non-judgemental people of the island. Especially those from the Saipan branch. They were quite possibly the easiest group of people to join and the hardest to walk away from.
  • And I REALLY love the youth! I can't even express how much I love and respect those kids.
The customer service
  • This was weird to me because everyone on the island was so nice - except when it came to their customer service. If I tried to approach someone at the store to ask them a question, they would literally start speed walking in the opposite direction. Maybe it was me.

Being at church for 10 hours on Sunday.

Planning Girls Camps and Youth Conferences.

The beach
  • White sand and crystal clear, WARM! ocean water
  • Snorkeling/discovering all sorts of beautiful sea life
  • Beach combing
  • There was even a beach within walking distance of our house.

Discovering sand in every crevice (of car, home & body)

Eric throwing/squishing sea cucumbers at me. Yes, "squishing". When you squeeze a sea cucumber it squirts out a liquid (hopefully, water), and a pretty good distance too.

The weather
  • Always 85 degrees. Guinness lists Saipan as having the most equable temperatures in the world.
The humidity. The sticky clothes. The worthless hair staightening and instant frizz.
The sky/sunsets/sunrises
  • The sunsets in Saipan are unlike anything else. Vibrant colors, huge fluffy, dense clouds, and the reflection on the water.
The short days
  • It was a tragedy to live on such a gorgeous island but have the sun go down before Eric even got home from work (around 6:30)
The jungle
  • Lots of luscious green EVERYWHERE.
  • Our incredible view...
The jungle overtaking our car
  • We literally had plants growing out of our trunk at one point.

Having few shopping options. Makes decision-making easy.

When I say "shopping", I mostly mean grocery shopping because we were (and still are) too broke to shop for clothes. During our 2 years on Saipan, Eric and I did both go on one big shopping spree at ROSS (!) when we visited Guam.

I wasn't tempted by home decor either b/c 1. I knew our stay their was temporary, 2. The humidity tends to destroy things, and 3. If it didn't fit in the 2 pcs of luggage that I arrived on Saipan with, then there was no point.

Having few shopping options
  • Sometimes it’s nice to have selection.
  • It’s especially nice to not have to go to 6 stores looking for cottage cheese and still not find it, and in fact, no one's even heard of the stuff!
  • Everything’s more expensive. Although, a good friend once put it this way – “Getting frozen ice cream, transported by a ship and across the ocean – that’s not expensive, that’s magic!”
Having few restaurant options
  • Again, easier to choose.
  • And, we did have a handful of places that we loved - Teppanyaki's, Bobby Cadillac's pizza, Happy Hour smoothies, vegetable lumpia and hot wings on the beach at the Pacific Island's Club (while watching the sunset).
Having few restaurant options
  • Because groceries were so expensive, we often had an empty fridge so we ate out a lot (which saved us a ton of money I'm sure!). Subway almost every day. As for American chains, they also had a McDonalds, Pizza Hut and a KFC. While we were there, they even got a Taco Bell which was a huge deal. The first few days they had a line out the door.
  • Surrounded by people from the Philippines, Japan, China, Russia, Chuk, Yap, Palau, Marshal Islands, Gilbert Islands, etc.
  • Fun to be a minority for a change
Being mistaken for a Russian ("dancer")
Fun cultural experiences
  • Food

  • Traditions
  • Dancing
  • Thur. night street markets

Not-so-fun “cultural” experiences.

  • Cock fighting

  • Betel nut (the locals are constantly chewing/spitting betel nut)
Easy access to travel
  • We were in close proximity to so many cool new places.
Constant temptation to travel

  • BUT, just because we were close to these places didn't necessarily mean cheaper airfare. Flying from a small island is never cheap.

Living in the jungle and feeling very secluded

Living with lizards, massive wolf spiders, ants and, worst of all, shrews.
  • Waking up to mysteriously half-eaten bagels, etc.
  • Having lizards fall in my lap while I worked.

Our boonie dog "Skinny"
  • Skinny was the sweetest thing. She only came around some of the time, but she was always happy to see us.
The boonie dogs
  • It was pretty heart-breaking to see the dozens of malnourished dogs all over the streets in Saipan.
Having a PO Box instead of an address
  • Having to pay for that PO Box that was only available 9-5pm.

  • Having to travel 15-20min to check that often empty mailbox

Fun island adventures

Not-so-fun island incompetence that led to a summer of island-wide dark and sweaty power outages.


AmyMak said...

Great list. My favorite was plants growing out your trunk! Love the table you made...man it's so beautiful.

taylor said...

This makes my heart happy! And also incredibly homesick! Saipan really is a one-of-a-kind place. :) On my list, I would have added the boxed milk we all drank...now that I've tasted the real stuff, I can never go back!

Cassandra said...

Very true Taylor. It tooks us a good few months to even try that milk in a box stuff, but I have to admit, it was strangely nice to have milk stored in our cupboards.

madison.anne said...

i personally love the boxed milk. we miss you nelsons! and taylor!