Sunday, January 30, 2005

Happenings in the Branch

We are members of the Saipan Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today we had branch conference and President Bill Steyskal was released and Del Benson was installed as the new branch president. The Benson's have been here off and on for 10+ years and Brother and Sister Benson have a great love for this branch. They're a lot of fun and are loved and respected by all the people here who know them. I know this is going to be a challenge for them, but a lot of blessings come with it, too. While we were sustaining the new presidency today (Randy Lonsdale and Roger Pelagio as counselors), I made a commitment to myself that I would be as supportive to them as possible and do everything I can to help move the Lord's work along wherever I am.

Peoples and Prejudices

One of my favorite things about Saipan is the varied peoples and cultures represented here on the island. The largest part of the population (which is somewhere around 70,000), is Chinese garment workers and Filipeno technicians and domestics. Probably the next groups after that are other Micronesian islanders, Chamorros and Carolinians (the indigenous groups), then Japanese and Americans, then everyone else. I believe the Chinese and Filipenos make up about 50% of the population.
One of my least favorite things about Saipan is the prejudice that I see in some Americans toward their own culture. It's hard for me to understand and I think it's probably puzzling to people from other nations as well. Many American expatriates have a tendency to make very disparaging comments about the U.S., I guess as a way to explain why they are living here instead of there. Why can't Saipan be wonderful and beautiful and the U.S. (mainland) be wonderful and beautiful as well? I've moved around a lot in my married life...we've lived in Maine, Utah, Florida, and Saipan. We've made a lot of friends in those places--people who are kind, considerate, thoughtful, and trying to do the best they can. On the other hand, we've met a few jerks. It doesn't seem to me like any one place has a corner on any one kind of person. That goes for the government as well...the U.S. has problems and guess what? Saipan has problems!
Enjoy where you are and find the good you can...life is too short for anything else.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Signs of Saipan

One of my favorite funny things about Saipan is the signage (there's a word for you!): "Furnitures for Sale," "We Repair Equipments," or "We Accept Food Stamp" at the Mom & Pop grocers. One of my all-time favorites is "We Reserve The Right to Refuse Service to Everyone" at the local KFC--you must be good to overcome that kind of customer abuse!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Writing

It's scary to write here. I read other blogs and they're so witty and interesting and I can't think of anything to say. In fact, the only reason I'm writing now is just because I want this to work and I have a tendency to start things and then let them go. Although this isn't the kind of thing that you actually finish, I would like to think I would put it to good use now that I've begun. I'd also like to improve my writing--I haven't done much in the last 25 years of marriage and raising kids--and I know that the best way to do that is to write! Another reason I want to have this be successful is that I feel that I need to practice expressing myself...does that sound weird? So often when I'm talking (especially on any subject I feel strongly about), I end up saying, "Well, I don't know how explain it, but I know how I feel." Well, I should know how to explain my feelings. I just need practice.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Whole Family - Maine 2004


The Whole Conner Family! Posted by Hello

Weatherizing

It's a rainy, dreary, and relatively cool tropical island today. Sometimes this weather makes Saipan look even more garden-esque. The buzz is there's a tropical storm forecast for tonight, and I noticed that at the local Toyota dealer the new car lot was vacant, so that's a sure sign that there's something brewing around here.
With all the natural disasters around the world lately, the ocean is a little more hard to take for granted than usual--like it's becoming...a being.
I've heard it said that we put the earth out of balance, and that the upheavals, i.e., earthquakes, storms, wildfires, etc, are just the effects of the earth attempting to bring itself back into a balance. Interesting...

THE World is too much with us; late and
soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our
powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid
boon!

This
Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,

The winds that will be howling at
all hours

And are up-gather'd now like sleeping
flowers,

For
this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather
be

A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,—
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me
less forlorn;

Have
sight of Proteus
rising
from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn. William Wordsworth

Okay, that's it. I'll probably never post again.