Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Grand Opening:
What’s This Blog All About, Anyway?

Right now, this blog is about our personal experiences as we dive into the unknown. You may notice that much of the content you’ll see in the posts will be written within a context of an intimacy one would share with a friend or family member. This is deliberate as my wife and I, as of July 2, 2007, will be sending a link to this blog out to our friends and family so that we can raise a little money for moving and offer a central point of communication while we are in Rota, CNMI.

But, just hold on a second!

Upon our arrival (on July 25, 2007,) this blog will undergo a dramatic, although gradual, shift toward the inclusion of content based on enlightening the world and specifically the Continental United States about the CNMI, its people, and hopefully a lengthy list of reasons why you should come and visit Saipan, Rota Island, Tinian, or all of the islands in the Northern Mariana Islands (Guam, even) and go through the process of helping local artists, crafstmen, and retailers share online growth with what we hope will be the growth of this blog. Further, we hope to offer a diverse and long list of profiles and links pertaining to artists, hotel owners, fishing and dive services, and the full gamut of entrepreneurial ventures that individual citizens and families of the CNMI are working on. Sans megacorporations, that is.

Because Saipan and especially Rota Island have small populations, we feel that if we can get merely 100 more people to endure the long travel time from the Mainland (US) and visit the Northern Mariana Islands, the people of the CNMI will benefit. And by the way, from all accounts thus far, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and specifically Rota Island, is a tourist’s paradise.

From our current perspective and based on the perpetual Where is that? I never heard of the CNMI? we get when we tell people where we are moving, it is clear that exposure is in high demand in the CNMI. After all, it is a United States Commonwealth and therefore is richly deserving of the same awareness that the typical American holds with Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands. Otherwise, we feel strongly that this important island chain will remain under the thumb of what historically results from the dangers of mainstream ignorance: the tipping tree in the woods, so-to-speak.

It should be noted that our perspectives might are very, very likely to change after we have arrived. We feel it is crucial in both our lifestyles and in this blog that we approach this adventure with deliberate objectivity.

We are firmly opposed to the imperial or missionary ideology and feel no duty to pursue any quest based on some sort of ‘cultural superiority.’ After all, if you’ve paid attention to the last century or so, especially the past six years, you’ll know where that road leads.

What we intend with our new lives and with this blog is to be a blessing to our new surroundings, which is best served by assimilating as guests rather than pursuing the blatant idiocy of dissimilating via some baseless notion of cultural, religious, or moral superiority. In fact, I’ll guarantee you that within hours of arriving in Rota, I’ll have met someone who is thrice the person that I am; thus, it will be I that will require the moral repair.

A last critical point of note is that while my wife is working, I personally intend to generate some income from this blog. Because of the huge move from Pennsylvania, I will be losing a good portion of my income as a freelancer from local business. However, I intend to generate income based on my own store here and through Google ads, etc...; and not through links and ads from small businesses and retailers of the CNMI. Large corporations who wish to advertise here are another story; but whomever I find in the CNMI, Guam, and (possibly) Micronesia who wishes to be profiled and possibly linked here, upon review, of course, will be linked for free and hopefully profiled in a blog post. More on that later.

And so, we invite you to venture with us into the unknown. We sincerely hope that you answer the questions and gain the knowledge about Rota and the CNMI that we will as we go along. Further, we hope that the people of the CNMI benefit greatly from our presence there. We pledge to approach this venture with objectivity and the utmost respect for the people who have graciously invited us into their Commonwealth. We shall make our best effort to make our presence positive and productive, doing so in the absence of historically foolish notions or intentions. Therefore, we pledge to dedicate this blog to the specific benefit of the people of the Island of Rota and the other populated islands of the CNMI, both economically and socially, hopefully contributing the growth of the former and growing ourselves from the latter.

Please visit this blog off and on in your spare time. Granted, you may feel a little bored watching us pack, but better things are ahead. We promise you. Just hang in there until we arrive. That’ll be when the real excitement begins.

Best wishes and thank you for visiting Operation Rota!


Andrew & Suz


Robin said...

Hey there... just read your exciting diary on dkos. I just lurk there .... obsessively. :-)

Your new life sounds exciting as all get out. Good for you and your wife.

Now, I have this dream to teach English as a Second Language, but everytime I try to search for a good training program, I get lost in a sea of probably not so legitimate programs that would be expensive and would hinder chances for placement overseas.

So, would your wife be willing to give me some tips on where I should study ESL? (I have a bachelor's degree in Spanish, btw). I want to go to Venezuela!

I would appreciate any insight into this. I have been ready to leave the states since 2003. Ugh.

robin at localgirlfriday dot com

And happy bon voyage. I am sooo jealous.

A G Gatto said...

Hi, Robin,

Thx for stopping by.

My wife is currently teaching her SAT prep class and won't be back til about 5. I'll definately ask her and we'll get back to you.

I'll tell you this, ESL is in high demand in the Peace Corps. You don't get to directly choose your destination there, but you do have some say over the geographic area you want to serve in.

I'd recommend going over to The Peace Corps Website and checking it out.

Thx! You are my first named commenter. I think I'll print out your post and frame it like a first dollar.



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

Hey Blogger,

There is already a very active blogger community on Saipan. Check out

You, however, are going to have what I believe is the first and only blog about life in Rota. That rocks!

I have not been to Rota in about 12 years, but I look forward to visiting the island through your camera and your words.

Angelo Villagomez
aka The Saipan Blogger

P.S. I'm going to write about you on my blog.

A G Gatto said...

Thx, Saipan Blogger..

I was planning on emailing you to see if I can put you on my blogroll.

I have been looking at your blog for about three months now.

Any help would be much appreciated. Plus, now you've got a reason to come down to Rota!



Winter Park Fords said...

My son Angelo talked about you on his blog, so I checked you out. I live in Costa Rica part of the year and in Florida the other part. I lived in Saipan a lifetime ago when Angelo was a baby, and visited Rota many times. Best of luck in your new life there!

A G Gatto said...

Thanks, Winter Park Fords!

That's quite a son you have there!

If you don't mind, may I add you to my blogroll? I am goint to create a global blogroll and place it below my CNMI links.

Thanks for your kind words. It means a lot to us.