01 November 2009
Happy Birthday, Leh & Halloween 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEHUALANI!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!
Leh, thank you for always being there for us. Your kind heart is one of the best qualities we love about you. May you have a wonderful birthday and many more to come. God bless you! Now come over and cook for us. Ei adai! Munga tai guenao sa' tai guenao is not like that!
We recently went to the Wittlich Pig Festival this year. When we first got there, we came across this protest. Initially we thought it was a parade but after seeing the pictures and the way their voices were resonating, it became clear they were against the celebration. Here are some pictures of the march:
And below are pictures of the festival:
Zee slaughtered pig...LOL.
Another angle of the another pig.
Workers prepare the pig sandwiches for the festival.
Tino and the elder twin with the Pirate.
The twins and their "Bongebob" balloon.
Reach for the sky!!! Yes, and that's a stain on her shirt from the chocolate covered strawberries she ate before taking this photo.
The classic "Big Wheel"
Our eldest is holding tight to her beloved Pokemon balloon.
And now the other stuff...
A makeshift fiesta plate just so we can feel closer to home.
Tino enjoying his malasadas...
Yep, she likes it...
A Virgin Mary statue on our way to a surprise destination.
And we ended up here... Vianden Castle, Luxembourg. It is so gorgeous.
27 July 2009
Ma'agan i Korason-hu para i Gima' Mami, Islan Guahan
Translation: My heart is calling me to our home, Island of Guam.
It feels like an eternity since we left the island back in December. I thought our month long vacation would be sufficient to get our "island fever" back. Truth is, I think it made us realize how much we miss it and our family. All of a sudden our new adventure seemed to be a jail sentence and even experiencing new cultures seem uninteresting. If you know us well, that's not really us. Our family likes to embark on new things so that we are more open minded and our three girls will appreciate all kinds of cultures.
I admit that I feel as if I have become close minded during the past 7 months since we've been here. Reminiscing home has become more than a habit but a need. It is how I have been keeping my sanity. Tino is sincerely my rock. He keeps me grounded and deeply rooted to the island. The values we share and our customs passed on to our daughters is my beacon of hope that I have not forgotten where I'm from.
Being away has made me wonder whether or not I will maintain this passion for my culture. The distance from my roots have opened my eyes of how fortunate I am to have some. I know that the Chamoru culture is threatened by modernization as many cultures, but I am pledging when I return home, I'm going to hone in what my family has taught me.
The Chamoru culture continues to evolve. It evolved from the Ancient Chamoru ways with Spanish, Japanese, and American influences. I have read many blogs and comments from many sister islands criticizing Guam for trying to find its identity and how the culture is fading. Dances have been adapted from other island nations and food from all over the world. Guam truly is a melting pot. When we went back home, we saw more our younger generation chanting and performing Chamoru. It wasn't Polynesian for a change. Our island is simply lost but we are finding ourselves back. Through all the oppression, the respect for one another has stood the test of time.
It's funny how even our sister islands are quick to judge us when they face the same fate. The Pacific island nations all have one significant issue in common... the reality of modernization becoming the deadly poison in maintaining culture. Guam has fought centuries upon centuries trying to maintain our culture. The Pacific islands have learned to adapt and overcome survival in a isolated place. All Pacific Islands (Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia) have cultures based on tribes, fishing, hunting, and family. We all made use of the coconut and pandamus trees - making homes and clothes; aquatic animal bones for weaponry. We all ate similar food such as fish, bananas, mangoes, and coconuts. We all surrounded our lives around unity, family, and respect. Modernization of our islands have made us forget our commonalities.
I miss home so much. I miss the happiness and the strong sense of family. Being so far only brings the brutal truth that Tino, myself, and the three girls are so alone out here. We have no one to depend on. On the island, family is your very core. We remember growing up and our parents always reminding us that family is more important than money... for it is better to be poor and have a family than to be rich and have no one.
Guam is where America's Day begins! However, our home is also where our culture thrives. Though it may not be the culture before Magellan's landing in 1521, we'll cherish what's left and build upon it. We love our island, culture, and people. Through all the oppression, our people remain hopeful and we do what we can to keep our culture alive.
Video Courtesy of Latitude13 :: Song: Home (and I'm staying this time) :: Artist: Cecilio & Kapono
04 July 2009
Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it
I know it has been a while since I have made an entry... what can I say, I am pretty bad at this blogging thing. However, during the absence of my posting, I have been doing some self analyzing. I know I am not an ugly person but there are times I feel like I am. I find myself comparing my features to the girls on the television, internet, and magazine covers. So I started asking myself, "What is beauty nowadays?"
It's so easy to get your body sculpted to what society thinks is beautiful. But if you do get all the plastic surgery done, at the end of the day when you look in the mirror, would you recognize your own face or body? Is it really our obsession with our outer appearance that really defies the definition of beauty? The world is full of beautiful people. It amazes me when society classifies someone as "the hottest female" or "the hottest male". I can see how one would want to strive for it, but it is rather vain. What does that say of the rest of the world's population when we do that? Are we not as beautiful as the next guy or gal?
Ever since I had the twins - I have rebuked my body. Granted I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight, but the way my body changed bothered me a lot. I am not sure if it was part of post-partum depression, yet it took a while for me to accept the way it looks now. There are times I still find myself disliking the way it has all changed. I am still trying to accept this how God wanted my body to be. Sometimes my thoughts contradict where I wonder what a mommy make-over would be like or wishing I had my body back before I got pregnant. However, Tino says every change is beautiful. I don't have the Hollywood silicone or the tall spidery legs of most models, but I am beginning to ask myself if I would really want it.
(Females) can plaster on make-up that when it comes off, we're almost unrecognizable. The people on televsion and magazine covers have layers of make-up on. I admit that makeup is nice - as I can see it as a form of art. The only problem I have with the whole caked-on makeup is that it gives the rest of us a false sense of beauty. My dear husband despises it when I put make-up on. When I ask him, 'Why?', he always responds, 'Natural is always better.' I admit, I practice the whole make-up thing. I am awful with it for the most part. I don't know how concealer works nor which foundation to use; how to apply eyeshadow or blush. Although confessing that I barely know about girlie products is embarrassing, I must admit I am content that I don't have to make myself up to be considered beautiful.
I've only written about the beauty of outward appearances. However, the real beauty I want to focus on is a person's character. We are so quick to revel in other people's faults, but what about the successful moments in their life? Do you sincerely give them praise when they are succeeding or do you mutter bad things? It is not just about being the bigger person or more righteous one, it shows how beautiful you really are.
There is so much evil in this world that I have almost convinced myself that the world that it is filled with ugly people - not because the way they look, but because the way they act. It seems lately a lot of bad things are happening to people and others celebrate in their pain. Why are we so selfish nowadays that we can't help one another during another's downfall? It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in God, being kind to one another is key to combatting the constant violence we face. Which leads me to my next outlook on beauty: being nice.
When someone is nice, why do we look at it as a weakness? Since I've been in my current job, I've heard it too many times, "You're too nice." Growing up on the island, I was taught inafa'maolek. To us Chamorus, inafa'maolek means peace, love, harmony, family, good neighbor and most importantly, respect. Does this make me a weak person? If you are saying "yes", I say you're wrong. Society is so hardened that we forgot what respect is. Does this mean we should be rude in all our ways?
So if society is calling for us to be walking plastic, have a face of caked on make-up, exude being vain, constant selfishness, and rude to be considered beautiful - I'd rather be ugly. However, I know in my heart and my husband's eyes that I am beautiful. As the Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I end this blog with one question... Are you beautiful?
23 May 2009
Happy Birthday, our Dinga's (Ding-ats)!!!
Dinga's means twins in Chamoru. Our dinga's turned two yesterday! I can't believe they're two now. LOL. Having dinga's at a year old is already like going through the terrible two phase. I guess we're about to embark on the feroucioius four phase since our dinga's are Gemini's.
We put on a little barbecue for them. Our parents would be proud. The menu consisted of the following items: Rice, Teriyaki Chicken Shish kebabs, Chamoru Ribs and Steak, Shrimp Patties, Potato Salad, Lumpia, Chicken Kelaguen, Pancit, and Taro. We also attempted to make little chocolate cakes for them with whipped topping and vanilla ice cream without the right tools. We guess it turned out alright. I'm still amazed that we pulled it off. We're extremely tired from Diveristy Day which happened on Thursday. We sacrificed our whole week prepping for it. As a family, we worked on the head and shoulder pieces, shirts, posters, and face paint. Not to mention decorating the truck. I guess everyone had a good time. I know my eldest did. The twins... not so much. LOL. They were bored even though they were rocking the cute little Bob Marley shirts we made them. So here are the pics from the parade. My work was in charge of the Caribbean region.
Our eldest walks during the parade waving a spectators.
Here is she is again.
The Dinga's waiting for the festivities to commence.
So that was our week. It was very eventful. Most importantly, my children had a blast. There is nothing in this world that is better than their smiles and them knowing how special they are to us. Everything else is miniscule compared to their happiness.
08 May 2009
Mother's Day is Every Day in the Iosefo Home
Today, technically yesterday... Tino surprised me with my Mother's Day present. Some women like their flowers, nice decor, jewelry, and/or chocolate... I on the other hand, love my techie gadgets! I know I sound like an Üb3r g33k now, but I confess - electronics are one of my vices. I love seeing how technology constantly evolves.
Anyway, the Bamboo writing tablet is one of the most enjoyable peripherals I've tinkered with in a long while. The points are pretty much exact and it works extremely well with Photoshop! I still have to get used to controlling my strokes in Photoshop with a pen, but honestly - it is quite easy. It even allows the user to navigate with the pen. I love this thing. I'm not the best artist in the world, but here is my very first drawing on the tablet:
It's been ages since I've doodled like this. I thought that the points were going to be off. Geez, I was insane trying to draw with a mouse. It's what I did in the marriage clipart. Wow... the possiblities! I really love my gift. It's almost as great as the camera he got me for my birthday. However, it still doesn't beat the four most valued gifts from the start: Love and my three girls. Thanks, Love. I really do love it! Oh and guess what... now I can end each entry with a quick signature! Like so.
We are a strong family unit. Our center of our world is our three precious little ones! We take life one step at a time. We are far from home but our hearts are always there.
We are Pacific Islanders and are proud of it!
We love God, food, music, and most importantly, each other.
Remember that what you read on these blogs are opinions. So if you disagree, that's fine. The ability to disagree is a small part of the beauty of democracy.