Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CHANGE? We'll see...

Dear Barack,
How are you? I am doing alright, just listening to you address congress. I admit, you are a remarkable orator. Your powerful way with words (well, your writer's powerful way with words) is just what the nation needs to rally together and become united. It is true that without that unity we will not defeat our economic crisis and become, once again, a nation of true predominance. However, Barack, I find that you are talking the talk, but have yet to walk to walk. You use the power of your words to frighten the abstract concepts of homeland security, economic recession, health care, and education. I want you to harness the power of action to fight for or against these things. You have few concrete plans of action. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the efforts of your stimulus bill (though I don't think it's going to work) and your support of education, both in regards to reform and expansion. These are concrete plans of action, but what about everything else you've mentioned? You're stimulating the economy now, but how are your going to alter it for the better in the long run. What occurs when all of the new roads are built and those millions of Americans lose their jobs again? Where is your plan to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Fixing credit, beginning lending and finding sources of renewable energy sound like a great ideas, but how are you going to carry all of those out. Show me a plan that works, Barack, and then you will have my unbridled support.
Please do not misunderstand my words. I am excited for your presidency, Barack. You have so much potentional, and I adore your enthusiastic and fresh approach to policy. I do not agree with you on everything. In fact there are a few key points I disagree with you on, but your intense desire to act is what gives me hope. Please carry out that desire and start proposing policy. PLEASE.
Thank you so much for your dedication and effort to bettering the nation. How I felt about you before the election is now a mute point. You are our president despite that opinion, and as long as you act swiftly, justly and in the country's best interest you will have my support. Do not let me down.

Sincerely,
Jessica Rebecca Davis

p.s. You might want to cut back on the pomp and circumstance... it makes it seem like you're trying to cover up the fact that you have nothing concrete to say.

p.p.s. Oh, and tell Nancy Pelosi to SIT THE CRAP DOWN! Jumping up every time an inkling of support is offered nullifies the honor in the action. She's more like an excited puppy than the Speaker of the House. That goes for the rest of the senate too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

So Cool!

So this afternoon has been kinda lame. First, my job description didn't list my pay rate and Sis. Bunker (my boss) is off island so she can't inform them of it; this means I STILL can't get properly hired. I got the job at the beginning of the month and I still have not been able to become an official employee of the school due to one thing and another. No hire slip=no pay=no good. Then I get back to the room and wireless is still down (I've been using my roommate's cable when she's not here). It went down this morning, and still hasn't been fixed. This means I'm probably going to be spending the weekend without the internet (mock me if you will, but I live a simple, techno-dependant life). Finally, I couldn't get a ticket for the musical (which I was going to watch with my roommate, Karuna and her sister, Kevita) because it sold out, so there goes my Fri. night plans. I realize these aren't the worst things that could happen to me, but they are no fun, and did make me kinda cranky.
There was, however, something that took away the crankiness. I was calling Karuna to let her know she didn't need to save me a seat anymore since I couldn't get a ticket (congrats, by the way, on selling out; that's awesome for the cast) when I see one of the little girls I worked with last semester at the elementary school. She got all excited and wave at me when she realized I recongnized her. I waved back and listened as she turned to her friend (and fellow classmate) and exclaimed "See! That is Auntie Jessie from school! She was so nice!" She then gave me a wonderful little hug as she left the building (apparently she couldn't watch the show either). How flattering to be remembered and liked by the students. And I wasn't the "cool" student observer that just sat there and let them do whatever either. I definitely helped with classroom control (aka kept them in line) and tutored as well. I only spent a few hours in their classroom a week, but apparently I made some small impact. It might seem silly to you, but I think it's awesome to make even a little difference, and it makes me REALLY excited to be a teacher...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President's Day in Pictures

Talk about a great day! Monday was absolutely fabulous! Now, as we are all aware, I have the tendency to be a bit wordy, so, instead of boring you with my "floral verbiage" we're going to talk about the day using pictures. Fabulous idea? I think so...

After much planning and anticipation, these crazy kids and I went whale watching. It was something we've talked about doing since we got back from break (since it's "the season" and all), and we finally had the chance to get out there and do it.
(Wolfgang and Jaimie)

(Ben)

We sailed out Monday morning on a 40 foot catamaran called the Ho'o Nanea. Ho'o Nanea means "to pass the time in ease and comfort" and boy did we ever! The boat was awesome; it was a double hulled ship that can be powered by engines, by its sail or by both.

Sailing on a catamaran, we had some unique privileges not afforded to other boats. First, it's a smoother sailing ship. This means no seasickness. Second, because of its design, the boat is very open. Pretty much every surface of the boat provided for a picturesque view of the ocean and of our whales. My favorite part though, was this huge net that connects the two hulls. It was very comfortable to sit or lay on. Just feet from the water, you could peer down and see below you, the glass-like, rolling sea. It was gorgeous.
Once we got out to sea, we began our search for humpback whales. We sailed out with a nice little family and an older couple. The husband of the little family was the first to spot a whale. He saw, way off on the horizon, the whale's blow, or the water that it shoots out of its blowhole. However, those whales were much to far away to sail towards, so we continued on searching. The next person to spot a whale was me! I saw a pod blowing relatively close and we headed out in their direction. By law we can't come closer than 100 feet to them, so our first encounters were at quite a distance.
Here is the whale's signature hump. Please excuse the poor quality of these photos. They have been cropped and zoomed in on so you can clearly see the whale's features. These were the first glimpses of the whales we were given. We watched a couple pods come up and dive down.

When you see a whale dive like that it means they're going deep, so as exciting as it was, there is some dead time after you see their majestic tales. We had no idea where they were headed, so we began moving again. We stopped to search once more, hoping to see another pod. Little did we know but there was one right below us! As we sat searching, two whales came up out of the water well under 100 feet from us. At this point in time, I'm so engrossed in the experience that I'm forgetting to snap photos so I'm sorry. However, we were blessed to have Ben filming the experience and, according to him, he got quite the "money shot." You can expect a video of the day to be posted in the near future with some AMAZING footage of our adventure. Having the whales come so close was such a blessing. They are such gorgeous creatures and seeing them like that was very uplifting and so humbling. They were so large and beautiful! This was definitely a dream come true.

Our adventures didn't stop there, however. After whale watching we headed to Costco and Walmart! Hooray for Costco! Food and toiletries are VERY expensive on our side of the island. You see, we live in "the country" and because of this they like to double the price of goods. They know we without cars have no other choice but to pay. For example, at Costco, I bought some laundry detergent. I bought 105 loads worth for $16.00. Ben and I went that evening to Foodland (the local market) and checked out the price of detergent there. It was about $10.00 for 32 loads worth. Hello amazing savings! I spent about $20 for a case of 48 V8s. At food land I have to pay $6.00 for 6. It was a bit overwhelming to drop $85.00 in one shot, but when I think about how much I'm saving in the long run my blood pressure settles down and I'm grateful for our little trip. Hooray for Costco! Thanks Jaimie and Wolfgang for renting the car and thanks Ben for getting us into Costco with your card! The above photo is of the middle of the island. It's much flatter and more "deserty" that on our side. The mountains between the coast and inland block the storms cut the rainfall in half. Even without the down pour we receive, the middle of the island is still gorgeous!


After Costco and Walmart we stopped along the North Shore to take a look at this sweet little thing. Ben, in all his years of schooling here, had never seen a sea turtle or "honu" as they are called in Hawaiian. I was lucky enough to see one on our own beaches here one of my first trips down to the shore. Seeing these turtles were a bit different however. They show up on the shores of Turtle Beach like clockwork. Their arrival is so predictable that they have a turtle patrol that makes sure tourists don't disturb the animals (which is wonderful). As you guessed there were tons of people with us photographing them and a rope preventing us from getting too close. This experience wasn't as reverent as the one I had on Temple Beach over a year and a half ago, but it was fabulous none the less and Ben got to see his turtle. Great idea stopping Wolfgang and how freakin' cute is that turtle!

Our last stop was Shark's Cove. The waves on North Shore were quite large that day and seeing this from the road, we couldn't help but stop and enjoy the beauty. In the summer months, when the water is MUCH calmer, this little cove is a great place to snorkle. The large rocks you see on either side block out the much smaller waves creating a fabulous, and often more shallow, cove. Living on and the rocks are all kinds of creatures to see. I have yet to go snorkling here, but I've heard it's great. Obviously, Monday the waves were huge and easily pounded the 25 foot high rocks (not good conditions for snorkling). We stood there on the craggy ledge listening to the water hit the stone grateful for such an amazing day. From there we drove home. Everyone was beat; we'd left La'ie at 7:30 and it was 4:30 in the afternoon now. Personally, I finished off my fabulous day curled up in the back seat of the car, perfectly relaxed, dozing in and out of sleep. We did so much and saw so much I couldn't help it and I'm glad I ended the afternoon that way because that nap was pretty much perfect.

All in all, it was a fabulous day, the kind I'll tell my kids about some day. I definitely have some amazing friends. Thanks guys for giving me such a picture perfect three day weekend!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lifesaver!

I saved a gecko today. I often find myself releasing really tiny ones that make their way into our room, but this time I saved a big one. He was trapped in the bathroom, stuck in the puddle of hand soap that had dripped on the counter. I scooped him up and rinsed him off (much to his chagrin) to ensure that the soap wouldn't kill his poor, little, reptilian body. Once he was nice and clean I let him go on the wall under a light. I even pet him as I walked away and he didn't run! That means that remembered me! Well, either that, or the poor guy ingested some soap and the chemicals have destroyed his nervous system. We're going to hope for the first though.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Listen to me because I know EVERYTHING!

Okay, so anyone who knows me well knows I was born to take care of people. Do I do it well? I don't really know, but my instincts and desires don't revolve around me as much as they do the people I love most, and believe me, I realize what a blessing that is. With that said, I understand that I am an odd duck. What I'm about to say might make some people a little frustrated or upset, but before you go sending me hate mail, realize that I know what I'm about to say doesn't apply to everyone, nor do I expect everyone to meet this standard in the same way I do.
First, read this article to understand what I'm upset about.
Now, I asked you to read the article because the author's tone and jargon are SUPER important to understand why I'm upset. However, for those of you who do not feel like expanding your world view, the article is by a woman who is basically saying, "I don't really want kids because they will take so much of my life away. I'll have to feed them, clothe them, listen to them and put them first. I wont be able to do whatever I want. My body is gonna freak out. I really like sleeping. Etc."
Why does this make me upset? Because it is SO SELFISH!! Granted I do have the one up on this chick. I understand the purpose of my life here on this earth (to work towards and create eternal families) and actively live in that direction, but what about all of those folks without the gospel? Am I really going to hold them up to my standard? You bet your sweet bippy I am! Why? Because the happiness that comes in indulging such a selfish desire is fleeting and creates a degraded, corrupt society. Now, I know there's some idiot out there who's like "Well look at communism! Isn't that all about living for the community and look what a crappy set up that is!" or some other idiotic comment bent on proving me wrong on a technicality. Before you leave that RIDICULOUS comment on my blog take a step back and think about what point you're trying to prove and the spirit in which you're trying to prove it. There's a reason they say constructive criticism is best.
So back to my rant. Why does this article piss me off? Because she doesn't want to become a people machine? Because she doesn't want to be a "stay at home" Mom? Because her goals and desires do not match mine? No, not really. What pisses me off is how she degrades the position of mother. Why is the thought of having children so disgusting? Is it okay to want to experience life and accomplish certain things before you have kids? Sure! Go for it! Do I plan on popping out babies nine months after I say "I Do"? Freak no! Do I look forward to not being able to sleep in for 18 years? Are you joking?! But do I understand the importance of creating righteous, healthy families? YES! They are the back bone of society! It makes me upset when I see the people most fit to be parents forgoing the whole child rearing process because it is "not worth it".
Why is it the ignorant, poor folk that are breeding like rabbits?! ...but that's another post entirely.
I don't know, maybe a little bit of my problem is that I don't know how to see her point of view. I have a huge problem with thinking everyone's thought processes work the same way mine do. However, in this case, I don't want to see things her way. I don't want to ever accept that selfish of an attitude as okay.
I'm not making sense. Basically what I'm trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a mother. Your life is simply put on hiatus, it doesn't end. Having children is fulfilling and life changing FOR THE BETTER, if you go at it with the right attitude. Is it painfully hard, and does it take getting used to? YES (how could you think otherwise; are you retarded?)! Is that okay? Sure! Not everyone is born a mother or father. But when we decide that looking at a painting in Italy, seeing the Great Wall of China, having more expensive clothes, getting 12 hours of sleep a night, or having a flat belly is more important than giving your life to bear and rear the next generation, our priorities are CRACKED OUT. The simplest way to fix the world is to teach our children how to run it better. The easiest way to be happy is to unconditionally love another person and share your life with them (that right there is why we have friends, significant others and spouses). The most productive way to learn, grow and become a better person is to teach another how to live. The pros of having children vastly out way the temporary and shallow cons. Do you need to go pop out a baby right now? No, but plan for it someday. Think about why people decide to have children in the first place; it's why we're put on this earth. Not everyone will have the opportunity to have children in this life for one reason or another. But those able bodied persons who can properly create families and chose not to because it "takes to much away" from their life are going to be held accountable someday.
Okay. I'm done. I'm getting off of my soap box now; I promise.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm almost a real teacher!

I'm so excited that I actually have something to blog about! New and exciting things don't often happen for me here in HI. It's pretty much the same day in and day out, as I'm sure it is for most of you, so when I got this news I was pretty stoked. So are you ready? Drum roll please... I have just been hired on to my first job in the field of Education. I'm a part of an curriculum development team that is designing EIL (English as an International Language) courses for students studying through the University over seas. How fancy is that?! I really just layout the curriculum the Professors design, but I get to do some legit things. Like right now they've asked me to create an exercise on "self-talk," which is a form of motivation. It's part of a series of excises called "Manage Your Learning." They are designed to help the students overseas get the most out of their educational experience. Basically I do a page write up about motivation techniques studens can impliment to get through the semester when they begin to lose steam. The goal is to eliminate discouraging assumptions about one's self in order to achieve. After I do the brief write up, I design exercises to help the students understand how to utilize their new found skills. It's cool and TOTALLY applicable in SPED.
Needless to say, I'm really excited about this experience to watch, work with and learn from seasoned professors. This TESOL skills should definitely come in handy when I'm teaching in CA or elsewhere.