Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review

2008 was my third year in Saipan. It was a good year. I started a new job and worked on a project that earned international attention. I became a member of the Saipan Rotary Club. I traveled a bit and went to some new places. I also got my first dog, Oreo.


I started off the new year with a hike with friends down to Forbidden Island. This was the second year of what I hope will become an annual hike. I finished my contract with MINA and started work on a new project. I also visited Pohnpei at the end of the month and got to see Nan Madol, a place I've wanted to visit for decades. On a sad note, Zoe, Susan, Bree, Doug, and Litcelle left Saipan in January.


EJ left Saipan in February. We broke up the day after she left. The monument project got started and we began work talking to people in the community. I also started planning a trip to the Northern Islands of Asuncion, Maug, and Uracas.


We launched the monument campaign this month with a blitz tour of leaders and decision makers around Saipan. I also attended the (illegal) WESPAC meeting in Guam. As I was quietly sitting in the back of on one of the meetings, one of the WESPAC guys found out that I worked for Pew and got his panties all in a twirl. Oh yeah, Manny Duenas called me an "idiot" with "coconut mentality," too. We finished up the month with a concert by Jake Shimabukuro to celebrate the two year anniversary of Beautify CNMI!


I did a lot of traveling in April. I went to Chuuk for a Natural Conservancy Conservation Action Planning meeting and went back to Guam for a Micronesians in Islands Conservation retreat. I continued with the public meetings on the monument and then on Earth Day the Legislature passed the first of three anti-monument resolutions. Three separate individuals on the hill told me that it was given to the Senate by our local WESPAC officials and then toned down by one of the senators before it passed. At the end of the month, CNMI played Guam in the Marinas Cup. We lost 3-2. After the game I started my meteoric rise to fatness.


William Aila visited Saipan in May. The CNMI also got federalized. The monument was on life support and Pew canceled the boat trip. Only a lot of work and a huge showing of support from a lot of brave locals kept the project going. On a sad note, Bev and Yoshimi left Saipan.


My family visited me which turned out to be my highlight of the year. The coed soccer league started with me at the helm for the first time. Pew also released a monument economic report, which meant we had a whole bunch of meetings and presentations. On a sad note, Diana left Saipan.


We made presentations on Tinian and Rota and the coed soccer league continued to chug along. The Tribune also endorsed the monument which was a huge boost. At the end of the month I traveled to Hawaii for some meetings and to visit Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. On a sad note, Jeff and the family left Saipan.


The monument really picked up steam in August. We opened an office and held several weekly meetings that were announced in the newspaper. Hotdog-gate changed the way a lot of people viewed the monument. Coed continued and finished after twelve weeks and then on August 25 the White House finally announced that they were going to do a monument assessment.


I spent most of the month collecting signatures in support of the monument. I gave a presentation to the chamber of commerce on the monument and began giving classroom presentations. I would eventually talk to over 1000 high school and college students. On a sad note, Mylene left Saipan.


I turned 30 and the monument hit a fever pitch. The White House came out to Saipan and did a public hearing. Over 400 people showed up.


I went back to Florida for Thanksgiving. It was great seeing the family again. It had been three year's since I'd seen Tiana.


I went to DC at the start of the month .

This is boring me. I'm done.

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