Friday, June 27, 2008

The sun sets for me in Saipan

Saipan has been extraordinarily good to me. I met my wife here, saw the birth of my daughter here, adopted my two sons here and got a graduate degree here. I taught nearly 1,000 students. I visited Bali, Palau twice, the Philippines three times, Korea as well as Thailand. Those are all great memories. But just as it seemed, and was, a good move to come here five years ago, it seems the right time to move the family back to the states now. I'll miss friends, the small community feel of always seeing people you know, the beauty of the island and of course the diving. Thanks to everyone who checked in here and read and commented for the last year and a half, and thanks to lots of folks on Saipan, especially Brad Ruszala, who has been a friend since I got here and will continue to be a friend as last night he agreed to be the Godfather of Baby Ashley Lynn. I'm sure I'll blog again from this same place in the future with a different perspective. The pictures below really are Saipan for me.

I used to go to Sam's, now Wild Bill's, most Friday nights and check out the Big Beats, where I sometimes sang or sat in on bass.
I'll spend my last dives in Saipan in this spot over at Bird Island. The underwater world was a panacea for all the bad stuff in Saipan.

I would walk with Shelby on the beach path near Oleai. She would require some water in adjusting to this hot climate. How I miss that little dog.
The Mandi Spa was always a good respite to read and relax. I'll miss that place.

I almost bit the dust on a second caving trip, but it was an amazing experience exploring those caves and seeing those World War II artifacts.

This poor dog had a crooked head and was one of the saddest living things I've ever seen. I would feed him every day and he would come running as best he could when I got home from school.
I've always enjoyed taking the kids to World Resort for the water park.

I went on a few of those sunset cruises, but never quite enough given how spectacular they are.

I went cliff jumping, not all that high in Lau Lau, which has some beautiful water.

The view over at Bird Island is always impressive.


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

My Saipan is a soccer field with 22 players from 10 different countries.

Betty said...

Quick question: Where did you come across the dog with a crooked head? Long story behind the question might tell you over drinks Tuedsay night.

Any luck selling the TV/DVD/VCR???

KelliOnSaipan said...

Thanks for sharing your Saipan. You're right - the diving is awesome. Enjoy the states - regular power, fresh fruit and veggies, potable water, etc.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

That's a nice overview, Jeff.

You and the family will have great times in Arizona too. It's a wonderful place to explore, and has sunsets that rival those on Saipan most every evening. The flora, fauna and geology are amazing. We hate to see you go, but if you have to go, Arizona is a good choice.

KAP said...

You might even consider voting McCain for Senator. He's ok for that, just not Presidential material.

Sorry to see you go.

Anonymous said...

I’ll give even money that you’ll be back within a year or two. Here’s why:
1. You’ll realize how completely ordinary you really are in a society that can actually function.
2. Your wife will upgrade when she realizes the target rich environment you placed her in and you’ll have to come back and get another.
3. Young women will ignore you unlike on Saipan, and in fact be revolted by the attention you’ll try to give them.
4. People will get sick of your Saipan stories and tire of hearing you regale about all the times you almost “bit it”.
5. You’ll realize that politicians are all the same; meaning U.S. politicians are just like CNMI politicians, the only difference being you won’t have the kind of direct access and communication opportunities like you have here.
6. The CNMI is a great place to raise young children.
7. Most U.S public schools have the same (worse in the inner cities) problems of the PSS.
8. DUI laws are actually enforced on the U.S. mainland.
The bottom line being, The Big Fish Syndrome will beckon you back.
Just telling it like it is. No malice intended.

Jeff said...

1. The overwhelming majority of us are ordinary. That won't be a surprise.

2. I'm quite secure in my marriage. I didn't marry a stripper half my age. I married a career woman the same age. It does take a certain type of creepy person to speculate about people's marriages, though.

3. I haven't been seeking or getting young women's attention here, so no biggie.

4. I've been other places besides Saipan, and have other interests besides Saipan. Apparently you aren't bored enough that you come back here.

5. Politicians are the same, true. But tolerance for failure is much higher here and I'll survive with the power staying on.

6. Some things are good and some things are bad with children here.

7. A much higher percentage of students are prepared for and actually do go to college in the mainland. There are good and bad things with PSS.

8. I'm not that much of a drinker, and my wife doesn't drink at all, so I'm not the least bit concerned. I'm also not a big fish.

Anonymous said...

I hope you do well. I think you’re prepared and hopefully ready to turn the page. It will be natural to feel nostalgia for Saipan. But you seem to be leaving for all the right reasons.
This place will be less colorful without you. Goodbye and best of luck.

glend558 said...

Always park your car with the seat in the shade, or watch out when you sit down!

Saipan Writer said...

You wrote: "5. Politicians are the same, true. But tolerance for failure is much higher here and I'll survive with the power staying on."

I'm not sure I agree with this statement. The U.S. has tolerated George W. Bush, and voted him in for a second term. That's pretty hard to compete with, even here. As for the power situation, it's bad here, no doubt; but the U.S.'s handling of catastrophic weather events may also compare, if you're looking for tolerance of incompetence. Certainly more people have been adversely effected by the U.S.'s tolerance of incompetence (and its emasucaltion of environmental agencies and other protective regulators is more evidence of a failing federal government).

There's a line from an old Eagle's song (Hotel California) that a former Saipan resident used to quote in reference to leaving Saipan: "You can check out, but you can never leave."

Think Walt Whitman/Leaves of Grass. You are a part of all you have met.

Hope you enjoy your new environment. And really, despite our differences, I'm sorry to see you go. I hate when good people leave...

Anonymous said...

Once again, brain drain. Even though you can be a bit nasty sometimes, you meant well and seem to have a big heart. Take care and us islanders want you to know that we are not all racists.. No comment on TTT. Lol!

Thank you for your contributions to our kids at Southern. My daughter said you were a hard teacher but very good and fair. You will be missed.

Jeff said...

I don't think all or even a lot of islanders are racists. In fact, among the young people especially, it's a very open and tolerant group. As for your daughter, I was hard because I want her to be able to go to college if she wants to do so, and usually, the students were behind where they should be, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

Jeff said...

You don't have to convince me W is a disaster. But he lost both houses of Congress, has the lowest approval rating of like any president ever and has been basically completely dismissed for two years. That's hard to do when you're president of the United States.

The Dems have also been a bitter disappointment and haven't done a damn thing to take on this very unpopular man's very unpopular war.

Both parties are just branches of business interests, the Republicans are just a bit more brazen about it.

The U.S. political system is very much broken, though I would agree. There is no perfect situation anywhere.

Rick said...

"You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave."

How true.

Some of the best times of my life were on Saipan.

I left nearly 3 years ago, and miss the place all the time.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Re: Mr. 'no malice' above: Jeff, have you ever noticed that all the assholes, except for me, post anonymously. i.e. They don't have the balls to tell you what they have to say, they must hide to do it. Remember, you have no onus to respond to these dick weeds.

And no, KAP, McCain makes a terrible Senator as well. Vote for Sam Steiger, Jeff. Your progeny will thank you for it.

Thanks for setting up the BI dive, Jeff. What a great day. Fun for all.

Anonymous said...

Mr. 'no malice' musta struck a nerve with The Drunken Face of Evil. No Malice’s 8 point list should include the tax advantages we enjoy here also. I don’t see Bateman leaving, so he sees the logic of the list no doubt.

Jeff said...

There are lots of good things about this place. I'll miss many aspects. I detailed many of the reasons here:

For me, the power and other personal reasons make it time to go.

Anonymous said...

The first day that you scrape seven inches of snow off your car you'll be on price line looking for a ticket back. I've seen it all before. The anon above who talks about politics etc. is on the mark. Be sure to teach your children what the real world is about. Don't trust anyone. Period.

Jeff said...

If there is seven inches of snow on my car in Arizona I'll at least feel better there really is no global warming.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Bon Voyage, Jeff and Family. Hope to see you all sometime soon.

Drink lots of water. Don't walk around for lengthy periods at first. Heat stroke/heat prostration is possible since you are all new to high temps, high evaporation rates and you are arriving at the height of summer. Take it easy for a while and you will acclimate soon enough.

Enjoy beautiful Arizona.

Beverly Mae said...

Hey Jeff,

I'm so happy that I got to meet you and Cynthia in Saipan! I had so much fun diving with you. I wish you all the best as you embark on your new journey. Hope you keep up with your blog=) Take care!


Bruce A. Bateman said...

I gave you a send off on the Saipanuvian blog, Jeff.

That picture of the family with Cynthia crying as she leaves her family members at the airport is touching.

You folks are probably enjoying yourselves in the sunny PI about now. Have fun.

Marianas Eye said...

Best wishes, Jeff. Getting to know you was one of the fun things of 2007.

Keep me posted on your comedy debut.

Vaya con dios.

Saipan Patricia said...

Take care. You'll return someday.

Boni said...

Hey Jeff. Best wishes to you Cyn and the kiddies. Wherever you guys go and whatever you do, you'll have friends in sunny Saipan. Keep the sun shining on your lives, keep the smiles burning in your hearts. Kiss my little guy Alex for me (wink).

Jeff said...

Thanks to everyone who commented. Look me up if you're in Phoenix.

D, we'll hit a comedy show on your next conference there.

Boni, Alex is getting lots of kisses from the extended family in the PI right now. He's a celebrity here.

I'll be back for a visit for sure.

Lori & Laurie said...

Dear Jeff

I had no idea you left.. I am so sorry I didn't catch up with you before you left.. it was a total BLAST doing the Master's program with you.. best of all to you and your family.. Laurie and I will be in AZ in March of 2010.. hope to look you up.. what will you be doing in AZ?

Jeff said...

Still teaching. Thanks for the note Laurie. Look me up. All my friends from Saipan as well.

chamberonomics said...

Visit often and turn the pen against McCain.