well…it happened… I’m back. For a quick 4 month or so Hiatus I have returned, mostly due to the fact that I managed to log back in and got my password back.
Well to start it off, I am now a certified scuba diver, just got our licenses last week so we are looking forward to going on some beautiful spots around Palau
We are now in the championship game of the Soccer tournament, so if we win, I will be a national champion at soccer, which I will hold over everyone’s head. “Oh what? you went to state? that’s cool…I’m just a national champion, so…state is nice.”
We are only down to 3 months left and it is really starting to show. I am at that odd mix of feeling that the whole thing went by in a blur and yet it drags the entire time. I truly do love Palau though. The friends I’ve made and my students I won’t ever forget and will have a lot of trouble tearing myself away from them.
My class for the country and creativity fair was given Denmark. A really interesting country and nation with a lot of history. I’m just having trouble finding a Hans Christian anderson story that is child appropriate and not about witches. And after researching about Denmark I’m gonna avoid all the information that is about what is legal in Denmark….. unfortunately..a lot. So, this will be interesting.
With three months left I am at that “I really wouldn’t mind going home” phase. I do love Palau, but I do miss home, and the realization that this is almost over has intensified the feelings. More than anything I miss the food oddly enough. Red robin is the one that I am missing the most. Something about all you can eat french fries is so appealing. That and free refills on drinks. It’s the small things you take for granted that you miss the most about things.
I will try to update more often, but I make no promises because I’m awful at it. Goodbye and God bless!

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Thanksgiving

I know it has been a long time since I have updated the blog, but I feel we have finally done some things that are noteworthy enough of being blogged about.
First off, last week we went to Melekeok beach to go spear fishing for the first time in weeks. Me of course never having dealt with the ocean when it is choppy and really windy was not deterred even slightly when I saw the churning ocean right off the pier, so I just hopped on in. After diving down for a shot at a fish, I looked up from the water. Instead of being 20 feet away from the pier, I was about 80-100 and was getting further away every second. Kyle had jumped in after me and we started swimming against the current as hard as we could. After 10 minutes of kicking and paddling with no difference at all, we gave up and started swimming sideways out of the current to be pulled over to the side so we could get back. All in all it took about 30 minutes to get back to shore. I have a lot more respect and caution when regarding the ocean now thankfully. Hopefully this results with me NOT getting swept out to sea.
After that we had a short week of two and a half days of schooling, where on wednesday after we get out for a half-day, we head off to the Rockislands for camping.
On wednesday I decided my kids needed to watch Facing the Giants…you know..because it’s…educational and a good message and stuff? Well if you couldn’t tell it’s based on the Biblical story of David versus Goliath. Now I only had them answer three questions after watching the movie before they could go on wednesday. What three things did they learn from the movie, and what Biblical story is the movie based on. Now I got the run of the mill answers I imagined from the “what did you learn” question. I got the “I learned about Football” or “I learned that everything is possible with God” even the “I learned that people can become good” thrown in there. But for the Biblical story question, 14 out of 17 said the movie was based on Abraham. Two kids put David and Goliath, and one person took a stab in the dark and went with Jeremiah. I guess I should give more hints after I ask questions like that next time.
Now after school everyone was having their afterschool-thanksgiving parties and the 8th grade had a water fight so Brandon and I ran outside, got control of the hose and water balloons and just soaked all the 7th-8th graders for the remainder of the time.
At about 3 or 4 we had packed up all the gear, as many of the teachers were coming with us, and we loaded up the boats and headed off. It was a 45-60 minute drive on the boats to get to our Island where we arrived a little before sunset. We jumped off the boats onto the beach that stretched out for hundreds of feet in either direction, the tide going out so the beach was still wet, our feet sinking into the sand like snow. After unloading all the gear we headed up the mountain on the island right next to ours. After climbing up to the top there was a small watch tower being built still under-construction and we watched most of the sunset.
After we came down we had to deal with heavy winds all night so luckily no mosquitoes but unfortunately no real campfire with it being too windy. We had a shelter that we could cook and sleep in, but the guy SM’s all opted to stay outside in hammocks.
After a night of wind and light drizzling rain we started our morning by making some banana pancakes. Another great recipe I can add to my arsenal of good tasting food things. After breakfast all of us went out and played soccer on the beach, played in the ocean, and just relaxed until lunch time. A little into the afternoon they took us out to see snorkeling spots and go spearfishing. Turned out to be a great day for spear fishing and got three nicely sized fish.
After we headed back we cooked up our catches.
This thanksgiving will always stay in my memory as the time I caught my dinner for thanksgiving on a tropical island in Palau. A bit out of the usual for my normal thanksgivings I’ve had for the past 21 years.
The next day we got up early to pack up everything so that when the boat arrived to take everyone out around the Rock islands we’d be ready to go. I’d show you some picture of the sunrise I took, but unfortunately my internet doesn’t feel like being cooperative tonight. But back to the sunrise. The fun thing about living on the equator is that it’s always the same. There is no daylight savings time, there is no sundown shifting from 5pm to 9:50 pm. it stays at about 6. just 6. every day. And not to mention just being 70-90 degrees every single day. Also going 2 days in a row without rain feels like a drought. Palau gets about 150 inches of rain a year. Now that doesn’t seem like much, but compared to my home of Indiana which gets about 40 inches, it’s a big change. Now after the boat had arrived, we loaded it up with all our gear and headed off to what my sister still hates me for “jelly-fish lake”.
Now jellyfish lake is a lake filled with millions of jellyfish who got swept into this inland lake that is fed with saltwater and freshwater, so it is “brackish”. But the jellyfish actually don’t have stingers. They just lost use for them and stopped growing them. So you can swim right up and just put em in your hand. The best consistency I would say is..jello..or jelly. An amazing experience to be swimming and literally swarmed in all directions, where you just have to be careful where you kick your feet or you might hurt some of them. Jellyfish are very fragile.
Next on our adventure we headed over to Milky Way, which is a site famous in Palau for having white sulfur mud that is amazing for exfoliating. Yet again if I had working internet to post them I would post pictures of them. We all got down into the water and dived the ten feet or so down to the bottom and coated ourselves in the mud. All the water because it was so clear was a light pale blue. With the white sand underneath making it a beautiful color of light blue and green.

But after Milky Way and Jellyfish lake we headed back up Koror and got ourselves unpacked for the weekend. Sorry again for the extended gaps between blogs and updates. I realized I just am an awful blogger.

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It’s November, would you look at that!

Hello again dedicated readers who have no doubt been enraged and baffled by my lack of updating my blog for a month. I am really sorry about that, honestly, I blamed it on us not doing anything exciting, but then I thought of all the things I did and I realized that I did actually do some exciting things.
FIRST OFF!
I am now in a soccer league. The soccer team the “New Stars” are the church soccer team playing in the Palaun soccer league. Meaning if we win this league, I will be a national champion at soccer. I would like to be able to brag about that. Now if they asked me about how many teams there were….and I have to say that there were only 6 teams it will become less impressive.
I am the goalie on the team, and in the last 2 months of practice I have really improved. I can say that safely because the first practice game I was the keeper for the ending score was 1-6. Yes I was the team with the 6. But since then in the official matches our team is now 2-0. I even got an award from the Pastor for “most improved player since first league game”
SECOND!
I should be dead right now, and it is a miracle I am alive! Some of you have already heard this story but here it is again
Alright, so we were having a pathfinder lock in here at the Elementary school, and I was setting up my hammock to sleep in. So while I was setting it up, I suspended it on a pillar and a handrail beam that stuck out, so basically I was suspended about 9.5-10 feet above flat concrete
Now it was taller than I could jump into,so I climbed a pillar next to it, sat myself in, but held onto a handle above me so about 80% of my weight was in it, and it was okay. So then I just decided to trust it, and I put my full weight in, and the knot holding my head-side snapped. I then fell 10 feet straight down and landed flat on the concrete and slammed against it where people could hear my ankle slapping against it from a couple hundred feet away. After I fell, my body felt tingly and I checked to makesure nothing was broken, and nothing was, and of course everyone was running over because I just fell. Couldn’t breathe very well because I just had the wind knocked out of me.
Now the reason this is a miracle story for me, is that a bunch of people were watching me set up, cause I was setting it up kinda high and getting into it, and they don’t understand how I fell how I fell. By physics, I should not have fallen how i fell. I fell flat. I should have landed on my head. The reason it snapped is that I trusted in it and leaned back, all my weight was going back, and then the rope behind my head snapped meaning it should have sent my head straight down towards the ground, because the other side stayed connected. The thing is, my head didn’t touch the ground, at all. I’ve come to the conclusion that my guardian angel held my head all the way down and kept me flat. Probably saying something along the lines of “don’t put your hammock up so high..you idiot” as he cradled me down. So yeah! I should be dead, or just broken up pretty badly. But instead I have absolutely no injuries and just really sore.
So I really should be dead..but instead I get to live to tell you guys this awesome miracle story!
THIRD!
I have taken up baking and cooking. and coincidentally I have been taking pictures of me baking things to pass the time.


I have baked bagels, honey wheat bread, pumpkin spice cinnamon bread. I’m really into this as of late and loving it. I’ve also made some fudges.
But for now that is the majority of what I have been up to. I appreciate all of my dedicated readers. But for now I must go, I’m letting the dough rise in my new batch of honey wheat with chocolate chips, but a rat actually came and took off the towel and started messing with my bread, so I have been sitting guard with a machete ready to take that vermin down.
I appreciate all prayers that anyone is sending my way and I appreciate all the support I have received from home, thank you so much.
God Bless

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Palaun Independence Day

It has certainly been quite a while since I updated this. I consider 3 weeks a long time, and a lot has happened since then. I really don’t know how to go about talking about all the things that have happened here in 3 weeks but I shall do my best to go about naming random things that have happened. First off
We went to Melekeok beach, and I ended up killing a massive puffer fish. I felt bad, and I named it jeffery. I have gotten better at spear fishing and have had slight success in that category, but most of the time we haven’t been able to go spear fishing for the past few weeks.
My classwork has been going okay in my opinion, but I need to involve more interactive exercises for my kids. Little is as disappointing as asking your kids to name 3 things they like about this year and they all stare at you silent…with those dead fish eyes, knowing in your soul that they think you’re boring. Sad thing is, I’m an interesting teacher, I just don’t let them do anything fun. So I have resolved to fix this and let them have the best 4th grade year ever, and hopefully their only 4th grade year.
Here are some more quotes from my kids:
In a story turned in by Neiana
“I went home and took a really hot bath but it wasn’t that hot it was a little bit cold and a little bit hot so that means it was a warm bath. I didn’t take a hot bath at all.”

“Did you know that it’s illegal to put a scoop of iceream in your pocket on Sunday in Idaho?”
“WHAT? Why would someone keep ice cream in their pocket on Sunday! It’s the hottest day!”
I like this simply because they don’t question the ice cream in the pocket. They act as if ice cream is okay in the pocket as long as it’s cold out.

“hey mr. Michael Look!”
I look over to see Jung-woo with 2 pieces of paper stuck to his face
“they stick to my face cause of all my sweat!” He says with unearthly excitement
then I kid you not, he did creepiest laugh ever and walked away

4 of the students walk up with a dictionary
“mr Michael, what is this thing?”
the students had looked up the word grotesque and the picture was of Jabba the hutt
“you guys don’t know what jabba the hutt is?”
“nope, it looks fat and ugly. And old.”
..my childhood just got called fat ugly and old…sadness wells up inside me

Back to more things I have done.
We actualy ended up making it to the rock islands. They were just as gorgeous as everyone said they were. I only wish it had been sunnier when we were there, but it was beautiful all the same. We traveled from island to island, going from the Giant clams that you could fit inside, to shark city.

For the Palauan Independence 3 day weekend a bunch of activities were planned, but then slowly got cancelled. What originally started as a planned camping trip on the rock islands turned into a camping trip to another island, which turned into a day trip to the rock islands, which turned into a potluck on saturday, which turned into a trip to a waterfall on saturday. And upon getting to the waterfall area, the SM guys and I decided we didn’t wanna go to the water fall so we just set up hammocks and sat around having a good bro time for a while. The next day was the official day for boat racing and the Food bonanza, yes, food bonanza. There was chicken kebabs, and burgers, and barbeque, and burritos and cookies and ice cream. and all cheap, more or less. But due to wind and the waether the boat races were canceled. Actually we were told that was one of the worst Festivals they had ever had, and it closed early at around 5 or so. Realizing that our day done early, David brandon and I wanted to do something, so we found out one of our church riends had a beach up near Melekeok. So we got his permission, grabbed food, firewood, and sleeping/mosqito supplies and set off. Also we siphoned a liter of gas from a truck that had been sitting in PMA parking lot for a while. We got there long after dark, and set to starting a fire and exploring the area. The beach house shelter was perfect for what we wanted. We didn’t bring tents and only brought hammocks to sleep in, which were protected by the authentic shelter made of logs and leaves that covered the top. We liberally coated our fire with “boy scout juice” and watched it’s flames rise high, and then die down as the fuel burned up but the fire hadn’t caught. We then had to use actual fire making skills and made kindling and smaller limbs to get it going. After cooking our dinner of hotdogs we walked out into the ocean, which was waist deep for a good half mile out into the ocean. We made spears out of tree branches and tried to hunt fish, but it was a fool’s errand. We headed back into the camp and a van with several of our friends showed up and kept us company till late in the night, where we sat and did all the familiar camp things, made the fire bigger, tell stories, played with gasoline, coated a machete in gasoline and light it on fire, accidentally catch a girls leg on fire, captured a stray kitten. All that fun stuff. But after they headed off, we stayed up till two or so, relaxing, then got some sleep in our hammocks. The perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold and right next tot he ocean, watching the tide come in. We woke up early the next morning as some of the other girls decided to come hang out with us for the day while we had a slow easy morning, eating hotdogs for breakfast. I took a nap for a couple more hours and headed out spearfishing in the afternoon. Which was walking a good half mile in kneedeep water before getting to deeper water. After we packed up, we headed into town, dropped off david in Koror and I am now comfortably sitting in my chair typing this all out. I know, exciting stuff, and I would have pictures posted, but internet is not helping me tonight. But I hope this has been slightly helpful in letting everyone know how I’m doing. I”ll try to post more updates that aren’t a literal step by step interpretation of how my days are going and are actually my musings about things on this island.

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Sea Kayaking and More Ocean based adventures

Last weekend, for our glorious 3 day weekend that we got, because Palau celebrates labor day..I’m unsure why, but 3 day weekend? I’m not gonna argue with it. Now for sunday, us SM’s have been working on our scuba diving certifications so that we can go to some of the legendary Diving spots that everyone tells us about such as Blue Corner, the “mecca” of all diving. And the person who is teaching us is Mr. Francis, the man who discovered Blue Corner. This man is inducted into the diving hall of fame. he is that good. He knows many of the other diving hall of fame people, such as Jack Cousteau. This man has had an amazing life and has accomplished things that I really could only dream of. He has had dinner with JFK jr. He was quoted in Newsweek because of it also. But I digress….
Now Francis was going to take us out and get us used to snorkeling around and diving down in deeper waters with a tank and have us practice, but on sunday, it rained, so we cancelled due to the weather, but on Monday, our boss Jesse took us to a diving/tour shop to rent us all kayaks for the day. We then got to spend the next 6-7 hours kayaking around gorgeous crystal blue waters, intermingled with aquamarine and green pathways through the channels surrounding islands. We essentially kayaked into a massive lagoon that is filled with dozens of large islands, that almost make a labyrinth style area of islands where you could easily get lost. Just islands and crystal clear water. The SM’s paired up in their kayak’s and headed off into the lagoon.
We paddled for 30-50 minutes around the islands at first, everyone just enjoying the bright sun shining and the water beneath us as we cruised towards our first destination. We arrived at a small lagoon with a dropoff of coral, where the guys eagerly jumped into the water, and started passing around the pole-spear and hunted the fish while the girls sat on the more shallow coral, snorkeling and looking at the view beneath them. Then jesse took us to an island in the center of this small inlet and showed us an expanse of coral that was 5ft below the surface, perfect for snorkeling. Underneath the shimmering water was a rainbow of color in the form of fish and coral. The fish ranged in color and size from bright cobalt blue to fiery red or yellow. We spent 2 hours at least snorkeling around and exploring in the area until we had lunch and headed off to our next destination. We paddled along, I paired up with david, who thanks to his Gopro camera fastened onto a ski pole, would take pictures of the water beneath us by lifting the camera above us and taking pictures straight down. I’ll make sure to put a couple of those pictures in the update this time

We made our way to the next destination, the sea cave. A hole in the wall part of the lagoon, literally. We spent out time there leisurely, jumping off the top of the cave into lion-fish infested waters (poisonous fish). And after we had had our fun, we started heading back to the shop to return the kayaks. The guys and girls had to mix up so a guy/girl would be in every kayak so that we would get back in time, the tide that flows into the lagoon would be strong enough to easily send someone out to sea if they weren’t navigating it right. After an hour of paddling, we finally arrived back safely. But wait, what’s this? lo and behold, I had become sunburned by 7 hours of direct sunlight. You’d think that I would have realized that 1 layer of spf 50 would not be enough, but nope. I tricked myself into thinking I was a tall dark and handsome fellow who didn’t need no more sunscreen. A decision I regretted for several days to come.
The week following the 3 day weekend was relatively uneventful, I like to focus on the weekend adventures to keep you guys updated and knowledgeable about all the cool things I do, so that you can live out your lives vicariously through me of course.
But I am keeping a quote book of all the things my students say that I consider especially funny. here are a few

After I announce that here will be a Social Studies test on Thursday one proceeds to wiggle her arms like a jelly fish, up down, chanting to herself with a dead serious face “I’m gonna study, I’m gonna study, I’m gonna study…”

“mr. Michael, When you talk to us, you sound like a news reporter, but more tired”

“mr Michael, are you going to vote in the elections?
No no, I don’t want to, I’m not a citizen”
what’s a citizen?”
a citizen is someone from palau or who lives here”
oh….do kids get to vote?”
no they don’t ‘get to vote”
RAWWWGGGHRRRRHHH walks away roaring like a dinosaur and swinging her hands violently

I really do love my kids, my 17 little munchkins. I grouped them up into work pods of 4 students each, and one group of five. I had them vote on names for themselves, so the group names in my classroom are, Black Eyed Peas, Fluffy Mr. Michael, The Assassins, and The Snorkelpuffs. They are a great bunch of kids and I’m really pumped about seeing them grow throughout the coming year.

Now onto this last weekend. Saturday was uneventful, or similar to most. David and I did song service for Friday night vespers and sabbath school. And all the guys kinda sat around until pathfinders, where I can now teach my group of Companions (6th graders) all the fun things about being a pathfinder, the pledge, law, and how to march. Never thought pathfinders would stick with me for how long it did, but what do ya know, still going strong years later.
Saturday night after pathfinders, all the guys decided that we were going to have a bro night out, so we went out to Kramer’s a new restaurant we hadn’t tried, and I had the best tuna-melt I had ever had in my life. I kid you not, it was literally a fishsteak, on bread. It was mouthwatering. Unfortunately I could not taste it very well because right before, I’d been talked into getting hotwings. Now I love spicy food, even if it hurts me. And we decided to be men, and get the thermonuclear spicy wings. Yup, could not taste that tuna melt at all. It’s a tragedy. I’m pretty sure poems and heartwrenching songs have been written based on the level of sadness I was feeling. After that the guys headed back to the apartment to watch a movie, and wake up early the next morning because David, our local hawaiian SM with us, was making loco moco. Now if you don’t know what this is, this is a life altering breakfast. This in my opinion, not only rivals steak and eggs, it blows steak and eggs out of the water. You start off with a rice, then you put a hamburger patty on top, then a fried egg on top of that, and then any vegtable or ingredient you want on that, then you pour gravy on it all. It tastes as good as it sounds. After all the guys had their fill, we grabbed the girls and headed out to a new beach, melekeok which we hadn’t been to before. Now all that I said before when I was talking about spear fishing at the KB bridge? that was all a waste now that I have seen the greener pastures out there. The fish were bigger, the water was cleaner, and there were more fish too…much much more. We spent 4 hours just floating around, taking pictures, spear fishing, and swimming.
We all headed back to the apartment afterwards and David, Ryan, and I headed down to Koror to go to soccer practice, where I get to continue practice on being the goalie for my soccer team, which the Coach is convinced that we’re going to be national champions…and either he is blinded by his optimistic views, or he is setting me up for some terrific failure, I’m gonna need a LOT more practice to be as good as he wants me to be. And after all that soccer I headed back to the apartment, worked out, and now I am sitting here comfortably in my chair, about to go to bed and start the week all over again. Already almost halfway through september, I don’t think I’m going to realize how quickly this year is going to pass us all by here. I appreciate all of you who have been reading my blog and I appreciate any and all prayers for our work here. My mission this year is the kids, and I plan on giving them my everything.
God Bless 🙂

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The year continues!

I write this from the comfort of sitting in the guys apartment, casually sipping purified drinking water that comes from a rain catcher because our tap water is untrustworthy. On the plus side, this results with us having smartwater/aquafina/dasani level water at all times, not a bad trade if I do say so myself.
This last week went quite smoothly in my opinion, classes happened, came and went and the weekend happened, one of the best to date in my opinion. On Friday afternoon all the Sm’s decided we had had enough of hearing about how we’ll go to the ocean someday and plans falling through constantly (still have yet to go to the rock islands, which are one of the wonders of the world, a mere few miles away, but still out of reach, shame) But we all went t the KB bridge beach where there is a public beach with a coral drop off that goes down 40 feet or so. Now to put up the proper description for your mind, Imagine walking down concrete steps into water that is couple feet deep, coming up to your knees with crystal clear water that turns into a beautiful aquamarine green as it goes into the deeper depths of the middle of the channel. The ground is scattered with rocks and coral bits around the scene, and small fish swimming around, occasional flying fish passing by, skipping for 20 feet at a time. Now the best part is that we got to dive and snorkel in this area. The thought that would constantly occur to me during this diving expedition of ours was that we never see anybody in the water near the island. Nobody usually swims around the island because all the areas around the island are trash compared to the rock islands and other reefs that surround the islands. Now if this area was just the trash spot, I am very excited to see what the most beautiful diving area in the world has to offer. Now David our SM from Hawaii, being a accomplished spearfisher brought 2 spear guns and a hawaiian pole spear with him, and us four guys all took turns switching on and off, diving along the coral drop off hunting for fish for three or four hours. I made my first kill that was not a puffer fist, a small soldier fish. Now to explain why I killed this creature, I was sitting there in the more shallow part of the drop off, minding my own business, sitting with a 4 ft spear on a rubber band, looking at the pretty coral, and this little fish pops his head up and starts yelling mean things about me and my family and friends and I just couldn’t handle it. So in a moment of blind rage that I don’t rightly recall, I speared the fish straight through his cranium, ending his angry and probably unhappy existence. Now when I shot this poor creature I imagined that he’d be bigger when I pulled him out. Nope this little guy was about 4 inches long, at best. But my first kill was a kill. I also managed to take down a baby parrot fish, which from a distance looked rather brown and murky, but as I pulled it out of the water attached to the spear and line running through it, it’s scales were a deep crimson scarlet while the tips of the fins were a bright teal. A beautiful fish.
The girls had been there with us the whole time at the beach, swimming around, snorkeling and enjoying the water. Also commenting on how we were monsters for killing living creatures.
After we gathered up our kills, my 2 fish, kyle and brandon both managed a soldier fish each both about the size of mine, and then David rolls back with 4 fish that put ours to shame, easily 9 inches each. We then got the pleasant experience of gutting and cleaning the fish. Now I had never done this before…I was a bit apprehensive about the idea of opening a fish and looking at everything it had eaten that day and just removing everything that made it a living thing, but it had to be done.
On Saturday, David, Katie, Kyle and I did special music for the Church service with Phil wickham’s You’re beautiful, one of my favorites. But the pastor also decided to call us up for special music a couple more times during the service, without really warning us, but you get used to that being an SM after a while I’ll assume.
On sunday, Jessie, the Principal of the elementary school, took us out to the Melekeok waterfalls where we spent hours just running around different pools and river currents that cascaded a gentle sloping rocks. After we got our playtime in, we headed back to the Guy’s dorm and spent 7 hours just sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the rest of the day before beginning preparing for the next week.
We are already on thursday of the next week, and things have happened, but a good majority of it I don’t remember exactly right now, so I will try to keep updates usually based on the weekend events and anything major that happened during the week.
Hope you’ve been enjoying reading about my adventures, and if there are any spelling errors they are simply because I did not bother to look back and check if I spelled things correctly or not.
God Bless 🙂

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Sabbath and Crocodile Adventures!

This Sabbath, we were given the awesome opportunity by Tristan and Barbie, two of our friends here, to go visit a church that is on the other half of the island. So we all piled up in cars that had air conditioning in them, (something we had not dealt with in weeks) and made our way to this church. The drive alone took 20-30 minutes on a very well paved road, except for large huge holes big enough to fit a school bus in. These craters happened as the land just eroded out from underneath them and the road collapsed, I expected this to be a recent problem, but this has been there for almost 10 years, and is just cheaper to not bother fixing it and paving a small road to the side around the piece of road. 

After driving on a gravel road for about 10 minutes we hit the church. A beautiful completely picturesque middle of the jungle style church, no air conditioning, just fans. All us SM’s got out and went to the service where we were surprised to learn that we would be doing song service, offertory, and opening prayer. We decided on doing an impromptu amazing grace, can’t argue with the classics. After the church service we had yet again, an amazing potluck. I still don’t know how there can be so many different ways to make rice, and they all taste great. 

After this, Tristan and Barbie wanted to take us to the capitol. Now the capitol was in the middle of the jungle on a hill. The reason that it was built in the middle of the jungle was the belief that if the capitol was in an area, business and people would follow, but they didn’t, so there is this massive Washington D.C capitol building in the middle of the jungle on a hill.    After this all the SM’s disappeared to their separate living quarters to take naps, which all SDA’s enjoy their sabbath nap from time to time. We headed back to  the church in Koror for a pathfinder staff meeting, where hopefully I can be a teacher of some of the honors and teach them some good ol’ fashioned knot tying that I learned from my 5 years of being a Pathfinder. 

On sunday, our day to really go out and adventure, we decided that we wanted to go out to the ocean, so we drove down to the SDA Elementary (the reason I say drove down to sda, is that SDA is the elem. school on Koror island, and we live on Arai, about a 20 minute drive, the female SM’s also live in Koror, so we are separated) So, Brandon, Ryan, and I all decided we wanted adventure, because teaching 5 days a week and then not getting in the ocean at one of the most beautiful diving locations in the world can just make you stir crazy. So we had heard about a river near PMA that is a couple miles long that leads out into the ocean, but that there were crocodiles and it was kind of dangerous. We were so ready to do that.  We headed down to the chicken farm, where we got our canoe, and began the first step of our journey by walking a good quarter mile with the canoe before we got to the river. At this point, I was scared for my life, because I just heard that the river had crocodiles, I did not know which part had crocodiles, so I assumed as any rational human would that the ENTIRE river was infested, so I was bit apprehensive to push the canoe in, but Ryan and Brandon were ready to go, so we jumped in and headed off. To describe this jungle river perfectly….hmmm…imagine a stereotypical jungle river, and there you go. Trees hanging overhead, logs laying in the river that we’re all paranoid are crocodiles, and mud brown dirty water, that about sums it up. We headed down this river paranoid, looking for crocodiles, the entire time Brandon keeps saying “man, I’m so excited, I’m gonna jump in and catch one of the little crocs, duct tape it’s mouth shut and make it a pet in our apartment”

We continued heading down this river for about 10-15 minutes of paddling, the river was at low tide, so the roots of most of the trees in the river were exposed, and we were just enjoying the experience of having our own adventure, when we rounded a bend, we saw a few guys just chilling on a dock, drinking some beers, a couple of them had hats on or shirts wrapped around their heads to protect them from the sun, they see us coming and wave, smiling happily. But as we passed them, one of them yelled out a warning in the most stereotypical asian accent possible “you watch out! danger! crocodile in river up there!” pointing and waving the direction that we were already heading. I kinda just smiled naively and yelled back “don’t worry, we can take em” and we paddled off into the mangroves. Mangroves are extremely dense trees all who are submersed in about 2-3 feet of water. The path that we went through was about 5-6 feet wide now, and we were all waiting for that one giant 20 foot crocodile to slither into the water as we pass it. After about 20 minutes of paddling, watching ripples in the water, straining our eyes to see a croc, we come to this river path that leads off into the mangroves, we decided to not go this way because it looked like certain death. Imagine a stereotypical really spooky swamp, and that’s about it. All the trees are hanging heavy into the water, most of the light is blocked out, no air movement so the thick spiderwebs are interlaced in the mud stained tree trunks, it was not a path we wanted to go, so I promptly named it death cove. After only a couple more minutes of paddling, we had finally made it out into the ocean.

Now we weren’t released directly into the ocean, we made it into a massive lagoon surrounded, or just spotted with islands in them, towering islands that had cliffs at least a hundred feet high sticking out above the water. Our original intent for this trip was to find out if there was any good areas to spear fish or snorkel around here, but we failed to see any as the water in this area was only about 2-3 feet deep and dirty brown, there wouldn’t be any point to staying here. Off in the distance though, about 2 miles away, we see a beach on an island, and after debating about doing it or not, we go for it. Keep in mind that at this point, we had left at about 4:15 on our journey, and it gets dark about 6:30. We started paddling towards this island, and it seemed to take an eternity reaching there, traveling in the jungle river is different because you can see your progress, but paddling a couple miles on the ocean is just plain discouraging. After about 30 minutes, we get to the best possible beach you could see after being on a boat for 50 minutes paddling, palm trees and coconut trees lined the beach, perfect white sand lined the shore. We eagerly jumped off and walked around the island. I have an odd fascination with climbing things and looked to see how hard it would be to climb this what it appeared to be 200 ft mountain that towered on top of this island, but realizing we didn’t have time for it, I walked around the shore until I saw a man-made looking wall built by bricks. I walk up to it and to my surprise, this island was a defense spot from a WW2 artillery cannon. The cannon was still sitting there, rusting and growing moss, the wood that was once part of the mechanics inside had weathered away over the last 70 years or so. 

We finally realized that if we headed back now, it would be getting pitch black by the time we got there, so we climbed back in, and headed off towards the inlet we’d come from, miles away. Now I am wary of crocodiles, but I’m much more wary of crocodiles in the dark, and if it’s raining, luckily all of these factors were at play. We were heading past Death Cove as Ryan, who I decided is much more adventurous than me starts saying “guys, we should totally go into there, we’d find crocs, think how awesome it’d be!”  Brandon and I, not having a death wish, outnumbered him and kept paddling. After about 50 minutes of paddling in the dark or near dark, we started seeing massive bats flying around us, easily the size of a hawk. But we finally reached our entry spot and jumped out, carried the canoe back and climbed our way back up to PMA, where I am sitting comfortably writing this out, before I start work on setting up my lesson plans for the rest of the week of course.  I also wrote this because my mother complains I am not descriptive enough when I talk about what we do here, I hope you enjoyed my lengthy blog update. More to follow.

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