The rest of 2013

The adventures in Micronesia of this past Spring were unforgettable.  Pete and I have still not managed to fully express and record them, but we are working on it.  Since the late summer there have been other sources of joy and exploration that have found their way into our lives.

First off Pete got pneumonia.  The 3 years of anticipation building up to the trip must’ve finally broken through his immune system when we finished up.  He was sick for over a month and about week 3 it was diagnosed as pneumonia.  The lucky thing was we were house sitting and he was able to watch “Lost.”  All of it.  Not the most joyous of our post-trip memories,  but they get better, I promise.
I kept up with teaching yoga, community yoga at Nimitz beach park, and organized a group 15 day yoga challenge.  More recently (since being back in Maryland) I’ve been volunteering assisting a nursing home yoga class and am really  looking forward to next month’s trip to Yogaville, a yoga ashram in Virginia.
In August and September, we were able to hang out with some friends from our trip back on Guam.  Pagan friends came down for the Marianas history conference to share a bit about the island.  Friends, Lori and Paul, came up from Yap to have their baby at Sagua Managu, the birthing center in Guam.  It was great to catch up and connect Lori with some other new moms on Guam. Coincidentally, a recent conversation with a doctor friend in Saipan had reignited a long standing subtle, yet powerful interest in birth and midwifery.  I had just started re-exploring the interest when one of the Guam moms to whom I had introduced Lori divulged my midwifery curiosity.  Lori promptly invited me to the birth of her daughter and suggested I be her birth doula, or support person, since most family would be in Yap or California and I would have the opportunity to learn a lot and see if I wanted to stick with it.  I was honored, accepted, and voraciously researched over the coming weeks while I went with Lori to her final prenatal appointments and to the beach for swimming.  When the call came at 5:45 that morning, I met mom & dad at the house and then at Sagua.  After twelve hours of breathing and moaning and moving, beautiful baby Nyah was born.  It was an incredible and indescribable and complex event and shift to witness and be a part of.  Lori and Paul were so generously open.  I’ve been riding the experience for the past few months now and in early November joined a training for doulas in Philadelphia.  Now I’m working on activities, research, networking, and more reading to be a fully trained and informed doula and can’t wait to see where this road takes me.
Starting at the end of August, Pete and I spent 6 weeks at Andersen, the middle school that brought me to Guam and where I worked every other day for three years.  Pete pretty much fell in love with teaching kids (and they loved him too, one of them practically dissolved into a puddle of tears when I broke the news that he wasn’t staying for the whole year).  I realized that teaching Special Ed was way more creative, engaging, and rewarding than teaching Chinese and if I were to go back to teaching I would probably go that route.  I had some incredible para educators and specialists that were so supportive and helpful and our team became like a family for the less than two months I was with them.  Both Pete and I were very sad to leave the students in October.  But we didn’t have much time to mourn, as soon as we each finished at Andersen we were on to the next thing.
Typhoons were starting up around Guam like crazy early this season so we spent a lot of time before leaving island making sure Absolute was stripped down, tied tight, and safe in her new slip in the newly constructed marina (that now has floating piers instead of Mediterranean mooring rigged for docking).  Good friends at the marina have been keeping an eye on her while we’ve been gone this autumn.  Thanks, seawall family!
Typhoons of 2013

Typhoons of 2013

Absolute tied up in her new slip

Absolute tied up in her new slip

Pete jetted home for a family wedding and then drove down to Texas (twice) to help out with his grandparents’ move from north of Houston to the other side of the city.  I headed off to meet up with old friends at the company I worked for during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing for an event in Dubai (more on this later).
Once home it was a whirlwind of travel to see family and friends and accomplish goals set out for the trip.  Jackie: doula class and friends in Philadelphia, see family in Cape May NJ, spontaneous camping travel to WV with best friend, visit to Pete’s family in durham, Richmond reunion in Richmond, thanksgiving with family, hop down to Alabama see Guam friend (Lauren) for her birthday, stopping through Atlanta on the way to see uncles, aunts, cousins, and a grandmother, catching up with friends in DC, and it’s still not over.  Luckily, a job at Barnes & Noble kept me still for most of December and allowed me to make a bit of money and get discount on my doula and midwifery books.  When Pete got home he immediately ran up for a wedding in CT, stopped to see Jackie’s parents in Maryland, drove to TX, stayed in TX, drove back from TX, saw family and friends in Durham, drove back to TX, stopping in Alabama to rest and see Lauren, drove back from TX, up to Virginia and Maryland to see Jackie again.
I celebrated Christmas and my birthday with my family in Maryland and Pete with his family in Durham.  Birthday was fantastic with a homemade no-cake-all-ice-cream birthday cake as my present to myself and clean water systems being put in place to serve 16 people thanks to birthday donations from friends and family and the organization charity:water.  Did a lot of research about charity:water before setting this up.  Am confident the generous donations made by friends and family will be put a good use- bringing better health, safety, education, and gender equality to regions where water is an every day struggle to come by.  Check out the birthday campaign and more about charity:water here.
Picture 2
Pete and I met up on the 26th north of Charlottesville, VA in a treehouse (a Christmas surprise for treehouse-enamored Pete).  This was such a great find and the hospitality and outstanding, so I am officially sold on  Click here to check out the Standardsville treehouse.
So, the everlasting question, “What’s next?”  Pete is awaiting on the arrival of his first nephew or niece which could be any day.  This is one of the main reasons why he really wanted to be home this winter.   Everyone is looking forward to meeting the first baby in the family.
We hung out a lot with the company that was setting up volcanic monitoring systems while were up in Pagan.  Pete had an impromptu interview with them when he got lost on a hash run in Saipan and happened to run into the executive director in the middle of the jungle.  They’ve just last week offered him a three month contract engineering position in west Texas so he’ll be heading there soon.
I will most likely be heading to China for a month or two to help a friend from UR out with his education startup in Kunming and refresh my language skills.  It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve been back in China! The longest lapse by far since my first visit in 2006!
I love Beijing!

I love Beijing!

Then we will meet back in Guam in April to hopefully revisit some of the places we fell in love with last year, maybe sail to some new nearby islands, and figure out what is coming next again.  I can’t wait to find out!
Thank you for the love and support this past year as we took our big trip.  We all have more adventures to come in 2014.  Happy new year!