"It's Baby America!"

Well hello....
We've arrived in Saipan! We've been spending the last few days hanging out with the Kyonka's and the Colaizzi's (four of our friends from college- Janna and Joey Colaizzi were visiting Saipan for a week, and Laura and Josiah live here) and checking out some of the local attractions.

Saipan is beautiful. And I mean gorgeous.

On Wednesday, we all took a ferry ride to a small island called Managaha, about a mile off the coast of Saipan. Here's a picture of it:

We bought some snorkeling masks and water shoes and went snorkeling for a couple hours. It was so breathtaking under the water.

I've been scuba diving once before and snorkeling once on our honeymoon, but I've NEVER seen this many amazing fish! We saw fish of every color possible, as well as two little sharks about two feet long (non- aggressive, so nothing to worry about Mom!), and an octopus. I think the octopus was my favorite part- we were close enough to touch it.

Here are some of the fish we saw (these aren't our pictures, though):

Black and White Damselfish
Yellow Tangs

Here's some more pics of our first few days here. We've been staying in a hotel, but we've picked out our apartment and will sign our lease/move in tomorrow. We also opted to buy a scooter again instead of a car because gas is super expensive here and also it's just fun. We bought a little blue one today that we're really happy with so far.

Thanks for reading our blog and we hope you enjoy the pictures!


A Blast from the Past

Here is my VERY favorite picture of Brian when he was little.... could this be any cuter??
look at that awesome hair

Sayonara Taipei.... Hola Saipan!

Well hello....
We're here in the Taipei airport waiting for our flight to the Philippines. We said our last goodbyes yesterday :( (more difficult than I even expected!) and now it's time to move once again!
Here's what Brian's eating:
Here's what I'm drinking:
And here's our life in 6 bags... minus one that's under my feet right now


Things I will miss about living in Taipei, Taiwan

- Iced papaya milk
- Talking out loud about anything we want and not worrying about people listening ... though more people probably understand English than we think...
- having my kids tell me "I love you Teacher Rachel" every day
- the Thai restaurant 2 minutes from our house
- beautiful Dahu Park and swimming in Dahu's outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool
- riding trains, but I won't miss the Taipei subway
- Ikea
- Exercise Time every morning at the beginning of the school day with the whole school
- riding my Fever 50 scooter through Taipei City, especially at sunset
- yummy $1.50 coffee every morning from 7 Eleven's "City Cafe."
- incredibly cheap shopping at the Night Markets and cute Asian styles
- hearing about the beliefs and cultural practices of my friends in Taiwan- it's also so interesting to learn about Chinese folklore. Example: You can't whistle during "Ghost Month," the seventh month of the lunar calendar, or ghosts will hear you and follow you straight to your house!
- hearing a foreign language everywhere we go- I'm always caught off guard when I hear someone speaking English in the subway
- Using crazy hand signals and trying to act out things to people that we can't explain in Chinese. When we first got here, Brian would make the animal noise of the food he wanted to order at restaurants: "moooo" for beef... it was so pathetic but it always worked... we quickly learned the food words!
- feeling such a sense of "togetherness" with our fellow foreign friends here- we are all learning to live in this culture together- it's really cool

A new challenge...

I found this on someone's blog and love it- It's difficult to uproot yourself from the home you've built for a year and the people you've grown so close to. Taipei feels comfortable now, just like Oklahoma City was before we left. I remember having the same feelings before we left America, but the reward of moving out of our comfort zones and into a foreign culture has been so amazing. Challenging, frustrating at times, and AMAZING!

I also found this and it reminded me of Brian, my honey-


Countdown.... Saipan in 8 days!

Hello Everyone,
You all should check out the link on the post below to Brian's biking trip- the pictures are amazing and he had a great time.

Today was such a nice day: packing... lunch at an Indian restaurant in Taipei 101 (Indian food is my absolute favorite)... packing some more... then going for a swim/workout at Dahu Pool. I've been learning how to free-style swim and I've finally gotten to the point where I can make it a few times up and down the pool... it's a really big pool! I've found that I really love swimming, and I can't wait to get Scuba-diving certified when we get to Saipan. I can't wait to check out those beautiful coral reefs that people talk about there. I also want to get a really cheap little bike and do some cycling around the coast.

We received our itinerary for our flight next monday: We'll be leaving on Monday the 16th, flying to Manila (the Philippines), then to Guam, then on to Saipan. We'll officially arrive in Saipan on the 17th, and spend the next few days searching for housing, registering for my nursing classes, and getting to spend some time with our friends who live there. It's finally hit us that it's so soon and I'm starting to get really excited!

We're so grateful that we've had such a wonderful experience in Taiwan, and it's hard to leave the people here, but we're both ready for the challenge of a new place, new job, etc.

Below are some pictures for your viewing pleasure :) Rach


Central Cross Island Highway

CIMG1605, originally uploaded by BriMorris82.

2 days - 220 kilometers - 3500 meters of climbing - Cycling the infamous Central Cross Island Highway = One of the best bike trips I've ever done. I feel lucky that my pictures turned out so good. Most of my shots are taken while riding. I'd love it if you check them out, click the picture and it will take you to my flickr album - Enjoy!