Hangin by the Sea

Reading a good book, or chatting with a friend by the sea is the best place to be.
Blue, blue water in Saipan. It only turns greyish on cloudy, stormy days.
He's really really handsome
The best place to eat dinner in Saipan- on your front porch in lawn chairs. Around 6pm it's much breezier and cooler outside than inside, and the view is lovely too!


Our beautiful island

The weather in Saipan is so gorgeous right now. I LOVE Tradewinds season! There have been lots of cloudy, cool days, and a breeze constantly blowing through the island.
We are able to keep the air conditioner off at night, and sleep with the windows wide open. I love the feeling of the breeze blowing through the windows in the morning.
The best part- this weather will last until about April. I'm so glad that my dad will be able to visit while Saipan is at it's best.
Saipan, we like living on you.

Lime in the coconut

These are everywhere in Saipan. Coconuts in the trees, on the beach, all over the ground. If one of these things fell off the tree onto your head, it could give you a concussion!
But seriously, they are an awesome (and free) snack.

Tutorial: How to cut and eat a coconut
Step one: Chop it open with a machete (we bought ours at Ace Hardware here on the island, and it's great for hacking through the jungle trails, too)
Step Two: Pour the juice into a container, or just drink it with a straw from the coconut.
It's so good for you, too. Here's the benefits of coconut oil:
-Good for your hair and skin
-Aids in digestion
-Helps to balance your cholesterol levels
-Brian says it's better than Gatorade for replacing electrolites
-Keeps away kidney problems
-Strengthens your bones
Step Three: Eat the meat from inside. Our friends Matt and Amy gave us the idea to bake it, so it comes off the shell easier. Bon Appetite!


The day I jumped down a cliff

A couple weekends ago, my friend Liz had a chance to go repelling with the JROTC group at the school where she teaches. She asked me and my friend Laura if we wanted to go, and we jumped at the chance! Our husbands had to go to an all-morning counselors meeting at their schools, so us girls got to go and be dare-devils together.
My friend Laura was fearless coming down the cliff! She was taking big leaps and grinning the whole time. It was the first time any of us had repelled, not counting rock-climbing at OKC Rocks (or whatever it's called now) in college.
Harnesses on, ready to go... just a little bit scared!
They let us use their army gear, which was really awesome (and really sweaty from the people before us)
Looking over the edge and getting ready to repel.
Going down... ta-da!!!


Scenes from our Sunday

On Sunday, while the boys did this:
(Exploring caves, getting muddy, finding old grenades)...
The girls did this:
(Laying out, getting some sun, lots and lots of chatting).

= A great Sunday!
The boys explored the caves around Bonsai Cliffs

And came home really muddy and smelly
Had a little dip in the pool to clean off
And finished off the day with some dinner at Wild Bill's- our new favorite restaurant on Saipan. Their burgers and pad thai is so amazing.
This weekend, I'm so thankful that God has given us amazing friends in Saipan- we love them.


The boys on the beach

Hello friends and family that we love and miss!
Time for a little update.
We're back into the swing of things in Saipan. I've been back at work for a week, and took a hiking trip with my coworkers to Forbidden Island this Sunday. Brian came too, which made it even better, and we had 15 kids from my tutoring company show up for the hike.

Brian's been training hard for the XTerra race in March. He alternates between swimming, running, and biking each day. (The race is an off-road triathlon, with swimming in the ocean, mountain biking, and trail running.) I like to go sit on the beach in my beach chair and read a book while he does his 25 minutes of swimming in the ocean. My dad is visiting Saipan in March (!!!!!) and he will get to be here to see Brian race- he arrives a day before Brian's birthday!

Last week was a homesick week for me. I got spoiled getting to see my brother and mom and dad every day, and getting to spend lots of time with Kansas City friends and family. It was hard to say goodbye and know that I wouldn't see them again for at least 6 more months. The best cure for homesickness for me has been to jump into activities on the island and keep busy. Me and Brian got to spend tons of time together on this holiday weekend, which was absolutely wonderful. I'm really thankful for my group of girlfriends here, who have been so encouraging last week- they really are the best group of girls in the world!

Some things we are thankful for in Saipan right now:
- our church. we. love. it.
- having a car. It's been having some problems lately, but God's going to take care of it.
- the weather. It's tradewind season in Saipan, which means that there is always a breeze on the island. You can tell a major difference, and it just feels great to be outside, especially in the evenings.

Thanks for reading our blog, and please leave us a comment- we really miss you all! Rachel


some old pics from college :)

cheering on my little bro's band performance with some wicked Hulk fists we found at a garage sale on the way there
from a road trip to Tulsa my sophomore year
A snow day sophomore year
In Kansas City, on the top floor of the Westin Hotel at Crown Center. 2 years later, we had the first two nights of our honey moon at this hotel!
One of many roadtrips to KC- jr year
Visiting our good friends Matt and Kim in Colorado- i just got to see them and their adorable baby girl a couple weeks ago when I visited home.


Now that's some major dedication

This morning, due to some serious jet-lag, I was up at 5:20 with my husband, hanging out with him while he ate his breakfast. Why did he wake up this early? Because he biked to work (and back, 24 miles in all) of course! Brian's training for Saipan's XTerra race in march, and he was up at the crack of dawn to get some training in. That's my man!


Let me introduce...

One of the sweetest, most beautiful babies in the world!
Brinley Sue Ray Whiteaker
Brinley is the daughter of one of my very oldest friends', Ben, who grew up across the street from me and was my best friend when I was little. It was so wonderful hanging out with him and his awesome wife, Cassie, last night.
This is Kebs, and I love her to death! (Brinley's aunt) My "sis"- isn't she pretty??

As my husband and friends well know, I've had baby fever PRETTY bad for the last year or so. I cannot wait to have one of my own, but I know that we need to wait at least another year. It doesn't make it any easier, seeing all of my friends' beautiful babies while I've been home!


I miss this man like crazy

Ok, time for a sappy blog post... brace yourself. I love my husband and how thoughtful he is. I love traveling the world with him and learning to live in new cultures together. I love it how we still speak Chinese with each other and can understand it :) I love how comfortable it is to be together and that he is my favorite person to spend the day with. I can't wait to see my husband this weekend!