Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saipan Holidays

My December started out pretty good. As soon as it rolled around, the festivities began. On the first day of December, we had our talent show and celebrated Eva's birthday.
Eva has been one of my closest friends here on island. I'm truly glad to have her in my life and thank the Lord daily for her. I call her my Island Angel because she has helped me through some of the tough times. So Happy Birthday to you. Te Quiero Amiga!

Eva and Me
After that, my first order of business was to decorate my room and make it more "Christmasy". Thanks to my elfs in Miami (aunts), my room was able to have the Christmas spirit. It truly allowed me to feel the spirit a little more.My Christmas Corner

Our School this year was involved in a competition with all the schools in the area where we had to make Christmas ornaments out of recycled items. It was lots of fun to do, but also a lot of work. Since Eva and I have the young ones, we spent a couple of sleepless nights working on it, but it was quite worth it. Our "Recycled" Christmas Tree

About mid December, we had our staff Christmas party. Instead of giving each other gifts, we bought presents for the children at the hospital. Then we went (with a couple of students) and sang Christmas carols. It was a GREAT way to spread the holiday cheer!

Our Staff and some students at the hospital

After the staff party, all our efforts went into the school Christmas program. This year we had a Mission Impossible theme. It was truly a GREAT play and the students did an AMAZING job! My kiddos were the sheep and also were little spies as part of the K-4 choir. We spent probably the entire week practicing with a dress rehearsal the morning of the program. The students (and teachers lol) worked really hard and the turnout was an amazing performance with a really great message behind it.

My sheep waiting patiently at the dress rehearsal

My personal spies!

Our the half-way point!

The next day was the last day of school. We had our class Christmas party. It was a REALLY crazy day, because our pizza order could not be made so I had to go out and buy some frozen pizza's and returned at around 11:00 and school was being dismissed at 12:30. Eva and I combined our parties and although it was a crazy day, it all worked out really great!

My kiddos with their antlers

Our class in front of our Christmas tree just before they ripped through their presents

Just as they started ripping through their presents.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I do have the most AMAZING parents in my class. Thanks to one of them, I was able to have all these great pictures with my kids! Thank you Lord for my parents!

The following sunday (day before Christmas Eve) I spent the entire day baking cookies and wrapping presents for the kids of the island. As I had mentioned before the Lord allowed me to collect gifts for the children here who otherwise may not have had a Christmas. It was a lot of fun both preparing and actually handing them out. I baked about 20 dozen cookies and wrapped about 30 something gifts. I truly felt like an elf! lol Then on Christmas Eve day, we went out and distributed the gifts and cookies. That night we went to the Paez's house and had some yummy food and games.

Christmas cookies for all

Some of the kids with their gifts.

(The cards are specially made by Kindergarteners in GA. Thanx Allison!)

Tali Paez with her sparkler (cool pic huh?)

Christmas day started to feel a little hard since I was alone for the beginning of it. Then the Lord gave me an AMAZING gift. I was able to spend about 3 hours on the webcam with my family back home while they were having their Christmas Eve dinner. It was a true blessing. Later that evening, I went to the church for our Annual Christmas Party. I was in charge of games for the little ones and we played 2 games one of which was called a Rudolph Relay Race. Later we had a gift exchange among the adults where we played the game "White Elephant". It was fun to see the adults become kids again while they "stole" each other's gifts.

Our church kiddos with their red noses!

During this time, our school hosts a winter school where students from Korea come down to learn english for about 2 months. I decided to start tutoring them during their time here. I have 3 boys in my current group right now and they are a blast to be around. I really enjoy spending time with them and helping them learn english.My three boys after our last class

Finally, as we all tend to culminate our holiday season, we come to the end of the year. This year I spent New Year's Eve with the Maycocks and Riki's parents. First, we went to The Garlic Restaurant. It was really yummy food and we all shared plates so we could try everything. Later, we went to the Mandi Spa and just relaxed around lazily talking and getting to know each other better. It was awesome to be there at night and was just a great time. Finally, we welcomed the new year at the top of Mt Topochau. After a very fun and rough ride to the top, we met up with Virle, Joeie, Girle, and Antonee. From this point, we could see the entire island. It was really cool because we could also see all the firework shows being displayed throughout Saipan. At around 11:50 p.m. Sean brought out some glasses and bubbly cider and we welcomed 2008!

Happy New Year to all!

So as look back at this year, I thank the Lord for His many blessings that He's poured down on me this year. Whether I've counted them blessings at the time or not, I know that everything has worked perfectly for His will. As I sit here in my living room floor on my little island in the Pacific, I pray that the Lord pour down His many blessings on you and your family this upcoming year. Whether you're a close friend or just an acquaintance, I thank the Lord for you because in someway, you impacted my life this year. Thank you for your prayers and support. I love you all and many blessings in 2008!