The first year I was out here, every once in a while I would stop right where I was standing and think back to the last time I stood in that exact place.
I hadn't eaten good chicken kelaguin in 5 years. It had been 11 years since I'd hiked down to Forbidden Island. It had been 19 years since I'd hiked the Banadero Trail.
Some of that novelty is beginning to fade.
Just the fact that I can think that thought tells me that I need a vacation.
On Thursday I will have been here for exactly 18 months. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that I've accomplished a lot in that short amount of time.
I was the starting forward in our EAFF qualifier against Guam. I was also the center referee for the first high school soccer game to ever be played in the Marianas.
I painted the Navy Hill Lighthouse. I planted a lot of trees. I picked up a lot of trash. I even organized a cleanup with over 3000 participants in a single day.
I was on TV. I was in the newspaper. I was on the radio.
I helped create the We Love Saipan Network, where over 100 different Saipan bloggers write on a regular basis about real life in paradise. I've published to The Saipan Blog, the Beautify CNMI blog, and the Unofficial NMIFA blog, among others, on a regular basis. In doing so, I helped change Saipan's online image.
I got arrested for underage drinking and driving. I learned to SCUBA. I even went to my first professional conference (I'd been to one before, but I was being paid $6.10/hour to dress up like Rafiki the baboon from The Lion King).
I was made the Chairman of the Beautify CNMI Restoration Committee. Beautify CNMI won an EPA Environmental Award and was named the Saipan Tribune 2006 Person of the Year. Friends of the Mariana Islands, another group to which I belong, won an USDA Earth Team Group Award. I was even named one of Guam Magazines "35 under 35."
I made new friends. I fell in love. I learned the true definition of having a "big family."
I also stepped on a lot of toes and I pissed a lot of people off with this blog, my sense of humor, and my "go get it" attitude (feel free to insert your own adjective to describe my attitude).
I'm tired; I need a break.
My next post will be from Thailand.