Thursday, December 18, 2014

Coconut Class

Judy has a grandson who works at the Pacific Island Resort and he brought a bunch of friends down to the Flores beach for a campout. PIC has a Kid's Club and they have a bunch of different activities and stuff they do with the kids. 

Judy somehow got into a conversation with one of the club mates about a coconut demonstration they do. So, she convinced said club mate to walk on over to the house with us and do a little demo-ing. 

Meet Takeo. He's from...California...was it San Francisco? San Diego? Never mind! Not important! 
So, hopefully you all know the basics. A coconut has an outer husk. An old coconut has a brown husk. A young coconut has a green husk. Buy a young one in the Afton grocery store and it's actually white. The cashier will not know what it is. He will ask you, and you will respond with "Green coconut", he will look at you like you're an idiot who doesn't know colors. You all are smart enough to know why the grocery store green coconut is white, right?

Here is Takeo using a pick stuck into the ground to husk a brown coconut. Traditionally, you would have an actual stake in the ground in your designated coconut husking area. This was so awesome. It was the first time my kids have seen this, or even seen coconuts pre-grocery store.

Take the husk off and it looks like this. There's the coconut we all know and love!

Use the back of your machete (or strongest kitchen knife) to knock on the equator of the coconut, going all the way around. It will eventually crack and hopefully you won't spill ALL of the water all over the ground. (Or your kitchen counter.)

Here, you can see Uncle Johnny just bringing us more and more coconuts. He kept saying, "We have plenty coconut."

Now comes the really fun part. You sit on a kumyu and grate the coconut. 

No! Not like that. Like this one below. You can read this person's blog post if you want. She reminisces about helping with the coconuts when she was a kid. 

This was actually Takeo's first time to grate one. It takes some thinking to get a nice texture and to avoid the blade from flipping up like a diving board and splattering your face with coconut. 

I had to really cajole my kids to give this a try. 

Here's a grated shell I used as a bowl for big pieces. Morgan and Harris REALLY like brown coconut and Afton stopped selling them years ago, so they will just munch and munch. 

Here is a green coconut. You do not husk it. You use your machete to cut a hole in the end for your straw. Then, you cut it in half and fight with your kids to eat it. Oh, don't forget to cut off a scooper. I learned that from my stepmom, Angie, in Saipan when I was sixteen.  The water is usually sweeter and the younger it is, the softer the meat. It's so yummy. Grocery store never had any this young so this jello-like consistency was even new to my kids. Yum yum! I encountered something new, as well! If the green coconut is kind of old, the water actually develops a fizz. It's like coconut soda. I absolutely love it. 

This fresh grated coconut brought back lots of memories of my mom. She pulled out her kumyu every place we lived: North Dakota, England, California. This is nothing like store bought because this still has the milk in it. Milk, not the water. So, it's moist and juicy. To get the milk, you have to squeeze the flakes. I will have fun playing around with this new ingredient. 

Judy used part of this for chicken kelaguin which she took down to the campers to thank Takeo for the demo. 

The rest she used to show Kiki how to make coconut candy. It involves a lot of sugar and I could have fun experimenting with other sweeteners. 
I love coconut and Chamorro people do a lot with it! 

Here's a bizarre fact. People who are surrounded my millions of coconuts buy the water in the grocery stores. I can understand buying the milk and especially the oil, but the water??? Wow. Get a machete and get permission and get it FRESH. 
Barely known fact: there is one more stage of a coconut. In Chamorro it's called faha. We found one and ate it, but I didn't have a camera. I know! You're disappointed! Another time, I promise!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guam or Bust

One last seven and a half hour jaunt across the Pacific was all that stood between Hawaii and our next phase of life. We turned in the rental car, jostled weight (again) between our checked bags, and had another looong walk to our gate. FYI- the stores in-airport are not stocked well for snackage. I recommend hitting a real store on the way to the airport.
This is the dead-body bag. Kiki carried it like this probably three car lengths! It was her idea; said that was the easiest way to carry that particular bag. Then, another kid tried it and I wondered what people must think of us as parents.
There were a TON of military soldiers on our flight and a bunch of Oriental folks and some Islanders returning home. We had five seats all together in the middle section and then two directly in front of Jake.
There was apparently WiFi on this plane but I never could get it to work. Auntie Judy said that's a new thing and they're still working out the kinks.
No personal screens on this plane and they stopped giving free meals a long time ago. I ordered the chicken stir fry and honestly, it was better than anything I had in Hawaii. I was grateful for it cuz I had taken an Excedrin and my tummy was burning.
We drugged the two-boys with Dramamine and they slept the entire way. I was able to get three fourths through my book, The Hundred Foot Journey, which is not much like the movie. Stick with the movie. It's much better. In fact, I think I left my book in the seat pocket on the plane and I'm not too concerned about finishing it except that I have a thing about finishing things.
Our welcoming party at the airport consisted of my Auntie Connie (my biological father's sister), her husband Frank, and their...granddaughter? It was great to see them again. It was dark out. Again, there were many smells that were familiar to me. Even with the breeze, it was very warm and muggy. After about five minutes, Auntie Judy (my mother's sister) and my cousin, Sam, showed  up in two vehicles. I didn't have any paparazzi to photograph this grand reunion.
We are staying in Judy's guest house which used to be her house when I was a small child here. I can remember quite a lot from that time like exactly where the piano used to be and that Sam hated having to practice. And one morning we had to drink powdered milk for breakfast which was disgusting.
Have you heard of of the game mancala? In Chamorro it's called chonka. I played with this exact chonka when I was small and now my own children play it. I wonder if it's even the same exact shells?
Our first morning, I was awake at three. Everyone else was up by four a.m! As soon as it was light out we walked down to the Flores family beach.
Here's Judy's front yard. Coconut trees, mango trees, bread fruit, atis (I think it's called custard fruit in English), papaya, and green lemons.

 These are the power lines. Can you see the dots between the lines?
 Giant spiders! But they stay outside.
 Just a short walk down this road...
Then cross over this "highway"...

To this little piece of paradise. That's Harrison's name for this place.


I guess if you have to be up early in the morning, this isn't  a bad thing to do.

These are all over the beach. Crab houses.

Our first Sunday, we went to the church building for nine o'clock meeting and no one was there. The building was very different in that all the rooms open to the outside. One door to the chapel was unlocked and Jake found a program from the previous week. Stake conference that day. Different building.

Every Sunday, Judy has a family meal. This picture shows the addition to Judy's house which was actually constructed in Indonesia, deconstructed, then rebuilt at Judy's. I just love it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Memo of My Missionary

 Well we were on our way back from our pday shopping stopped at a light
in the turning lane and an old man in a Subaru Forester rear ended us.
Don't worry we are all okay. Our Ford Fusion isn't though lol. This is
the second time on my mission I have been rear ended. Maybe we will
get a shiny new Chevy Cruz or Subaru now lol.

Poor old man. I feel sorry for him.

Blowing some leaves off of a roof. Go hard or go home! That's my motto.

I make this look good!

Look who I discovered while biking around in my area! Totally made my day.

Check out my cute little gingerbread house!

Merry Christmas my friends. :)

And I "Quoth"

I forgot to add this picture. It was hanging in the food court type place at Pearl Harbor. Why do you suppose...? 


The Tomb Arizona

I have been very excited to go to Pearl Harbor. More excited for it than anything else because there is nothing scary about it! There is no cost because it's a national monument.

They start you off with a film inside a theater. Air conditioned! Then you board a sea shuttle. It's a short voyage.
This is the first boat ride for these kids. Not that big kid to whom I'm married.

The building sits perpendicular to the USS Arizona. 
I heart the ideals of American freedom which our founding fathers were inspired to author. It was, at that time, considered to be an experiment of extreme degree and risk. I believe they, as well as Christopher Columbus and the leaders in the Revolutionary War were prompted, led, and protected by the Holy Ghost so that this land, the promised land, would become the fertile soil in which the Lord could restore, in its fulness, His Gospel.
That round, white buoy marks one end of the USS Arizona. You can see some of the ship sticking out of the water. 
This is the other direction but doesn't show the other buoy. 
Rylee really appreciated the significance of this monument. 
This is an overlook where there is a hole down into the ship. In the past 20 years or so, they have interred the ashes of those who survived the attack, by going down into this hole and using a long pole to push the box into some kind of tunnel. Men who have performed this task say that there is a point when the box is pulled in, as if the ship is accepting the box into it. I think it's neat that these men want to be back with their crew. You can see here how the metal is now encrusted with nature's jewels of the sea. 
You see the design on the left? I love it SO much. It is called the Tree of Life and was designed specifically to honor the men who were killed in the attack of Pearl Harbor. Tree of Life. That is a very significant term. 
Flying my colors. 
You can read Rylee's post about this on her blog
This is the entrance. I shot this as we all reverently walked back out to the sea shuttle. 
Had to take a photo with Kiki on the boat. 
I just found these amusing. 
Each has its pros and cons, I guess. 
Guess what we found on the world map painted on the ground?
That's where I was born. 
Girls doing hair back at the house. 
Very cute, eh?
This is called musubi. Yummy.
This was when we came out of the Hawaii temple. Another one added! Woohoo!