Monday, June 25, 2007

Humble Beginnings

My wife has at last received her contract to teach English on the island of Rota, the southernmost island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, (CNMI, for short.) After literally months of discussion, we have decided that although there will be enormous difficulty for two late-30’s people who happen to be immersed in the many and various trappings of the supposed “American dream” to make such a drastic transition into the unknown, an ‘opportunity’ like this is one that would hold lifelong regret should we pass it by.

Over the past four months, we have quietly planned for the journey should it actually materialize as reality. While keeping it a vigorously guarded secret, we went about the millions of tiny and not-so-tiny tasks to support the potential objective: a 9,000-mile flight across the Pacific, an arrival at a complete unknown.

The main question was for me to answer: “What will I do in in Rota?” “How will I make a living?” The answer, while not complete at this point, hopefully has some roots in what I do right here in Pennsylvania.

For the past six years, I have made my living as a freelance designer and copywriter, and sometimes as a valet to make ends meet. Thankfully, I have almost fully transformed my business to an all-digital, paperless entity, which means that as long as there is electricity and a relatively fast internet connection, I could be on the moon or fathoms beneath the sea for all my clients care.

Secondly, I am a washed up boxer and I always wanted to get into training. That’s the pipe dream part of my story, though.

Lastly, I do my best to benefit my surroundings. I volunteer to do whatever I can to better my little chunk of the world. I donate artwork. I donate my time. I even walk the banks of the Unami Creek, picking up the massive piles of garbage that idiots leave behind after they’re done playing ‘outdoorsmen’ and hop in their Escalades and head home. Note to ‘fishermen,’ fish don’t smoke, nor do they eat plastic and empty beer cans, or read Penthouse, for that matter.

Somewhere in this lies what I can do there and what I have to offer in assistance to the community that will surround me. But right now, it’s all about the move: the planning, packing, and logistics.

I have created this blog for several reasons; but first and foremost, I created it to bring exposure to my future home in the CNMI, and, of course, its people, whom at this point I have yet to know even a single one. However, there is clearly a dangerous problem inherent to this remote United States Commonwealth: to most Americans, it simply does not exist. Therefore, from my current perception, the people of the CNMI would surely benefit from every ounce of global exposure that they can get. In the near future, I’ll try to lay it all out, and hopefully, I’ll do it with the help of new friends, whoever they may be.

Outside of my research on the Commonwealth, its people, and its socioeconomic conditions, I am, at this point, an empty book on the CNMI. I have and at this point proclaim to have absolutely no knowledge of what it is like to live on a tiny rural island (Rota) on the edge of the Pacific. All I have is an eagerness to benefit the lives of those who will surround me in my new community however I can, if at all.

This is a grand voyage and we have barely made our first steps. And so, I invite you to join us as we make our way. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what will happen. It could either be the best or worst experience of our lives, or perhaps, somewhere in-between. We shall see.

This post is very long and I apologize. There was a lot to squeeze in there, but I’ll close for now by saying thanks and more to come, only briefer.




Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blogosphere in this new incarnation!

A G Gatto said...


So you know, I made the blog public to sync up with some potential linkers\contributers. Therefore, this post may be removed, edited, and reposted, upon which, I'll repost your comment.


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Here is an article about the Saipan Bloggers:

A G Gatto said...

Thx again SB!



marianas life said...

welcome to PSS, i know a few teachers on Rota and you will be treated well. i'll add a link to u on my blog

i have one for writing and reading in the cnmi called you can become authors and use it for language arts classes.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Welcome to the CNMI, when you get here, that is. We hope your stay will be a pleasant one.

If you get up to Saipan please stop in at Porky's Beach Bar and Restaurant for a cool one, a good dinner and a great view of the sunset. I'm the proprietor there.

I have a small boat and if you like to scuba, I know some of the good spots around here and would be glad to take you on one of our 'blogger dives'.

I'll add a link to your site on

A G Gatto said...

Hi, Bruce... Thx!

Does your joint have a website? If so, free linkies here for CNMI businesses.

Please send it over if you like.


Bruce A. Bateman said...

No website as yet but I'll be adding one soon and will take you up on your kind offer.