Friday, August 17, 2007

The end of summer

Well, this week marked the official end of summer for our family. Here on Saipan, I think that the only people that notice summer are teachers (who are off) and parents (who are on). It’s hard for me to believe that the weeks have passed so quickly, particularly when I think back to the post at the start of the summer.

So, Mara’s mother, Carol did arrive safely on Saipan to start her life here. Mara met her in Hawaii, and helped her get her five dogs and three cats smoothly through Japan and on to Saipan. Carol has settled into her house in San Vicente, and has been struck by how nice people are here. (That seems to be a recurring theme among visitors to the Marianas.)

The renovation of two buildings at Brilliant Star went smoothly. I really wasn’t as involved as I had expected because Rob was there every day and took care of everything. The contractor, USA Builders (formerly USA Fanter) did a good job, and I’d recommend them. They got everything done in 40 days, and Rob spent a lot of time trying to ensure that the CUC power hookup happened on time. It did – two days before the start of school. We scrambled on the last weekend to get the campus cleaned up, and with the help of these parent volunteers, school opened on Monday.

Our family celebrated two birthdays this summer. For Mara’s, we took advantage of the Sandcastle special and went, for the first time, to watch the show. It was good, and everyone enjoyed it. When I was growing up, I used to really like sleight of hand, and I learned to pull a coin out of the air, and make it disappear, and I could triple cut a deck of cards with one hand. But for the life of me, I just couldn’t figure out how these guys at Sandcastle could keep making live doves appear out of no where. It was a good show, and worth the $30 per adults (kids were free), though there was a little more flesh in the performance than I expected to see at a family show. What’s up with that?

We also celebrated Nava’s birthday with a trip to Managaha, a ride on the go-carts, and she, blowing out her candle at the exact moment she was born. This was important to her. Mara and I freaked out briefly when we realized that now that she’s nine, her time with us is half over. Nine more years, and she’s gone. That depresses me thinking about it. She does say that after college she wants to come back and live in Saipan. I would love to be able to spend the rest of my life around my kids and their families, like the way families are here. But the rest of the world is a mobile place. It’ll be nice to visit them all over the world too, if that’s where they end up.

The kids stayed busy and happy during the summer, and we stayed on Saipan. We had thought of taking a brief trip, maybe to Bali or Cairns, but, honestly, it ain’t easy traveling with four kids ranging in ages from 2-8. So, since they weren’t going crazy, we decided to just say put.

Other big news of the summer was that we got our daughter, Jaleh’s passport. Hooray! She now has proof of her US Citizenship, and it will be a lot easier to travel as a family now that we don’t have to apply for the visas for her Chinese passport. A big thank-you to attorneys Glen Jewel and Rex Kosack who helped us with the adoption, all pro bono.

As an aside, adoption is a very common thing here in Saipan. At our kids school, which has 100 or so kids, there are 10 kids that come to my mind immediately that are adopted. A few of the attorneys on the island have adopted kids, and as part of their community service, they help families with adoption legal work on a pro bono basis.

Soccer has been great, and from my other posts you know I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s also inspired me to get into better aerobic shape. Last week I did something I hadn’t done since college: I ran two miles. I hate hate hate running. But now that I’m doing it for a reason, I’m more willing to do it, even though I still hate it. I find running so boring that usually after 10 minutes, I just say, “okay, I’ve had enough.” It might help me to run with someone, just to have some conversation and keep my mind off the monotony. Anyone want to run in the mornings early?

Russ has offered to take me out biking, so as soon as my “form-enhancing” shorts arrive, we’re heading out. (No cameras allowed).

Work was good this summer too. Now that I’ve been focusing on seeing the patients who are the most complicated and those who are surgical patients (while Mark focuses on everyone else in our practice), I really look forward to going to work. I love operating. Bev asked me if she could come watch some surgery, and I’m happy to arrange it for any other friends.

That’s it. The summer was good. I’ll add some pictures to this post later.


Deece said...

This year I definately noticed when the days started getting shorter again. It was nice to leave the lights off until 7pm or so - anything to cut back on our electric bill.

I'm glad to hear that your mother-in-law arrived safely. And it's also definately great news about Jaleh's passport.

Melissa said...

Hey Doc! I'm back in contacts, waaahoooo!

Also, your comment about your daughter being 9 and only havingh 9 more years with her "being with you" struck me. At 33, I am closer and more involved with my parents than I ever have been... she will always be your little girl, no matter how old or far away she is.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Regarding your time warp comment about Nava's 9th birthday:

Alexander has been with us only three years and it doesn't seem a day over 35.

I can't remember what it's like to have something that is not broken, spindled or mutilated. To just jump out of bed and not step on a rock or a toad is undreamed of now. I had forgotten there were so many ways through a mud puddle.

All in all though, I guess it's a pretty fair trade for ones freedom because every once in a while he reaches up and says "I miss you Dad, give me a kiss". (The kid is quite the salesman).

Bev said...

ohhhhh i can't wait to see surgeries! Its going to be great! i'll make my way to sign paperwork at CHC.

Sean said...

ah, the end of summer. Back to work!

I enjoyed your post, David. We need to get together one of these days.

Sean said...

ah, the end of summer. Back to work!

I enjoyed your post, David. We need to get together one of these days.