Friday, January 21, 2011

Sweet sweet Ube...

So…the the other night I tried something called “Ube” which is pronounced “ oobay” for those of you who are laughing at such a word. So…apparently ube is like an Asian sweet-potato...but not. I also heard it was a type of a vegetable...and a type of rice. SO, needless to say ube ice cream is a pretty gnarly mystery food and has such a weird but amazing flavor.
It’s week three here in the sunny far-far east. I’m blamed for the rain here, apparently it’s because Filipinos find birthmarks on one’s behind as a sign of bad I’m now well aware that my birthmark is to blame for all my misfortunes…lol. But…last weekend we did go snorkeling at this ridiculously beautiful island off the coast called Managaha…(where Silvia and I had time to make 2 rap songs about Thai food to the beat of Milkshake) where we fed sharks hotdogs and they came a swimming…I went a screamin. We also saw sweet fish, huge blue star fish and bumped into an octopus! (Which our nature friendly friends left alone…after scaring it into coral)…which I later got a sweet gash on my knee from. It was pretty sweet. Battle scar. Remind me people back home to introduce you to an amazing Indo bread I ate at the street market this week…I will learn how to make its warm, sweet spongy goodness soon…and it will be earth shattering.
I’m getting pretty comfortable on this small island…being a local now has its advantages…and I’m also named the “Most impatient driver on Saipan…even more so than David.” I feel like that’s quite a title, I plan to live up to it. Got my first taste of Asian drifting up near Banzai Cliffs too... I found it pretty amusing.
My kids have given me quite a week, but they understood my drift when I made them write my class rules 20 times before lunch one day. Teacher win. Lots of crazy things have happened lately…it’s like every day is just full of pointless and very humorous events. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a while. Today I had my kids demonstrate, in English, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This was hysterical because half had never made one, and the other half flung jelly and peanut butter all over their blindfolded and un-expecting partners.
SO, I sit here, another weekend upon me…soaking up the smell of my rice noodles cooking and listening to some old school Island music blaring from my crackly old boom box I found in the closet. Getting back to why the whole blog is called “Sweet Ube” …Just like poor Ube…not knowing what it is and yet enjoying the adventure of such an odd food, I compare it to my experience here so far…I’m completely in love with it here in Saipan, I haven’t regretted one day….but I still feel like I just don’t know what’s going on…what exactly I’m doing. But…that’s where I’m at.
I know I wrote earlier in a journal that I felt like God didn’t get on the plane with me to Saipan…that I felt like I was all kinds of floating by myself…but after this week it is apparent that I haven’t been alone for one second. I have had so many amazing things happen in 3 weeks…I’ve even actually learned a thing or two about myself…which is an accomplishment for me after this past year. I feel like me again out here… off to fix my sink that exploded on me while washing dishes…and my toilet as well…well, it didn’t explode but nothing duck tape and wire can’t fix.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Be my escape.

So I’m sitting here at 2:30 am. Rain is pounding outside my window bringing the creepy crawlers right under our gapped front door. I guess it was the large cockroach that crawled into bed with me earlier that is blessing me with this late night.
So, where I’m at…on the very small, yet very exciting island of Saipan off the coast of Japan in the Marianas Islands. Smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The entire island is like 12 by 15 miles…and it’s already cracked me up how the locals here complain about the drive across the island being too long and inconvenient. Why and how I got here you may ask, your guess is as good as mine. For my close friends and family, you know my addiction for adventure and my ridiculous love of travel escapades was in high gear since I got back from Italy. So I’ve been here a week…I figured I needed to start documenting some of my stories…I just haven’t had the inspiration to write like I used to. With my book being published and world being thrown into “the real one” I’ve been hiding out. I’m hoping the sunny days and beautiful beaches here will convince me otherwise.
The flight here took 21 long hours…17 of those on a plane filled with bad food, no movies and coughing and infested plague. Actually it wasn’t that bad…BUT I did panic a bit at all the masked Asians that surrounded me. I discovered on the way over that my name in Japanese translated into “plate”. You can imagine my surprise at such an exotic meaning. But the journey was well ended when my new co-workers and oldest friend met me at the airport at steamy one a.m. on the other side of the world. The next day was spent hugging my toilet bowl with stomach flu…which the tap water here is salty and the smell is slowly growing on me…but hey, I got that over with.
So, my escape has led me to teaching 20 Korean students English at the Saipan SDA Elementary School. Probably one of the most challenging, frustrating, yet most fun thing I’ve ever gotten myself into. I have no one else to thank but God. Who I’m learning to trust more every day due to coincidences that ironically smack me in the face every day.  Enjoying life has become quite the regular occurrence here J
On the way home from an amazing hike to “Forbidden Island”  (which by the way has mind-blowing cliffs and caves leading to the ocean) the song “Be my escape” by RK came on…and it made me poke my head out the window and just wonder…is this trip my escape?
My favorite verse of the entire song is “I’m begging you to be my escape…” God, you did give me this escape, that’s for sure.