Aug 17, 2007

The New Team

First Photo in Hawaii: (From L to R), Eva Abelado our 1/2 Teacher from Spain; Jessica Lee our Bible, P.E., and ESL teacher from California; Veronica Perez our Kindergarten teacher from Miami, Florida by way of Southern Adventist University; Amy Foote, our preschool director from Washington state: and Riki Untersherer, our preschool teacher from California by way of Walla Walla College.

In Saipan, on the island tour last Sabbath, August 11, 2007

Well, I feel like this is a little late. All the "other" blogs. . .Mai, Bev, the Pierson's etc have already covered this ground, so this entry seems a bit redundant. But, what can I say, I too want to welcome the new team to Saipan!

They've been here for just over two weeks now and they are settling into their new home on Saipan and adjusting to the rigors of their new jobs. These young women are serious but fun, hard workers with kind and gentle souls. The works seems a bit daunting, almost overwhelming at first, but they press on gamely anyway, determined to give their best. I have a feeling we are in for another amazing year.

First Friday night, August 3, 2007 (my birthday!): Riki, Eva, Amy, and Mai at our house for dinner and worship together.

Roommates Jessica and Veronica: They both live in the "Girl's Apartment" where Brit and the gang lived last year. Mai still has her space in the loft and these two have the big bedroom to themselves. Jessica and I work closely since we share teaching responsiblities in the upper grades. She's way cool and we've had lots of fun trading music and talking. Veronica, I am also working closely with as she and Mai are both co-directors with me for REAL Christian Theater. Veronica is full of positive energy and beaming with love for the Lord.

"Batwoman" (seated) & "Robyn": My nicknames for the Dynamic Duo that keep this ship afloat, Babs, the principal, and her right-hand woman, the amazing, the unstoppable, the multi-facted,multi-talented, Virleshay!

Mai and Kimo: I feel a special bond with Mai this year. It's funny because, though we went to the gym with Graves a couple times a week and generally hung out a lot, it's only this year that I feel like our friendship has taken on an added depth. Last year she (and I) had the others--Grant, Brit, Layla, Missy. They were off adventuring, doing the tank swim, playing volleyball and so on, and I cheered them on from the sidelines. Also, both Mai and I were particularly close to Grant, though generally those friendships were largely seperate. She hung out with Grant. I hung out with Grant. But beyond the gym we rarely hung out just the three of us together (though I do remember one Saturday night when the two of them hung out with Babs and I at our house). Now Grant is gone and we both miss him. Now Mai and I share memories of our friends that have moved on, and together welcome the new team members. We relate to each other because of those shared memories and experiences. I'm really glad she's here with us again this year!

The Pre-School Veterans: Kathleen, Shirley, & Janelle. These women are the backbone of the preschool!

First Sabbath: The new teachers introduce themselves at church on Sabbath, August 4 as Babs looks on.

Rosana, we barely knew ye! Rosana, what a woman! She came when everyone else was leaving, left when everyone else was arriving and yet managed to have a blast and even develop a reputation as a teacher who meant business and made summer school run like a well-oiled machine. I really didn't get to know Rosana well, but I'm grateful for all that she gave to our school this summer. A lot of her former students ended up enrolling in our school for the full year. If that's not a testament to the difference she made, I'm not sure what is!

Last Sabbath, August 11, we took the teachers on the traditional Island Tour. We weren't able to do it the first weekend as it was pouring rain, and plus the Pierson's were gone so we didn't have the requisite Pierson's Truck, which, as we all know, as a necessary part of all Island Tours. Some pictures:

Mai with the new gang at Last Command Post

The Veterans: Crystal, Bev, & Mai. They've been there and done that, but are more than willing do go there and do it again for the benefit of the newbies on the team!

Riki at her battle station. I hardly ever see Riki, sadly. She works down at the preschool and lives over in the Herjoy's apartments, so it seems I'll only see her on Sabbath. I hope she's doing well!

This is the Grotto as viewed from the overlook. It's hard to tell from this picture, but you are not looking into the mouth of a cave. You are looking down into a cove we call the Grotto, one of the premier swimming and diving spots on Saipan. To reach the Grotto you have to descend a long stairway.

Grotto Blue: This is a photo of the Grotto looking straight into the water.

The Grotto

Jessica is debating whether to jump into the Grotto. After all she didn't bring a swimsuit. Check out the video below of her decision.

Views from Suicide Cliff, on the far northern part of Saipan


Mai said...

Great overview of the newbies - so far, so good! They all seem pretty cool! I'm also glad that I decided to come back......once I made that decision I never doubted it - and now I know this is where God wanted me for another year. I'm glad I have you and all the other veterans, too - the deeper connection and shared memories keep me from feeling lonely and missing the others! Thanks for being such a great friend!

Mr. Graves said...

You should have jumped in Sean. Take real good care of Mai for me this year. I really miss you two. In church we sang a song from our Friday Song Services and the words were on a screen with beaches in the background. I honestly couldn't sing. I just had chills and blinked back a tear. I miss you guys alot. You're doing great. Keep up the kick butt work! Go get 'em.

Rosana Amanda said...

i LOVE YoU gUYS!! Enjoy the New Ganag!