Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blinking Question Mark of Death or The Value of Backing Up Your Harddrive in a Tropical Environment

My trusty Mac laptop has finally given up on island life. The humidity, the multiple high impact trips off-island dragged through customs and security, the all night music downloads, have all done "Flash" in.

Sunday I awoke to a blank black screen. No signs of life. After a restart (like CPR on an already brain dead victim) a pulse was reestablished, but unfortunately no activity in the hard drive.

The states of grief ensued.


"Oh, that's ok!" I have a lot of stuff backed up, ok, sure maybe not everything!" Like all of 2007-08 photos, wedding stuff, my novel (thank you Google docs!). But this would mean a new computer! Sure, the frequent crashes might have been trying to tell me something ("back me up, I'm terminal") and I'd been thinking, "Oh, I'll get a new computer when I absolutely have to!"


"Oh, my god! I really need all that data! I'm SUCH AN IDIOT!"

Then Anger at AppleStore



"Please, oh please boot just long enough for me to get my files! Then I'll let you go for good! I PROMISE!"

Frantic internet searches revealed interesting solutions:
Freeze your computer!


Boot from Network Disk, boot from CD, boot from external harddrive, boot it will praying, fanning the computer, and standing it on end.

Yeah, none of that worked.

And so, acceptance.

On a whim early in the morning I turned on the computer.

And it booted and I could copy files. For about a half hour.

So every morning for the past couple of days, like a very senile Uncle, my computer wakes up, talks to my external harddrive for 30-45 minutes and then craps out and sleeps for the rest of the day.

Hopefully, by the time my new digital beauty shows up after Apple deigned to sell me a new computer after I changed my billing address to Oregon, I'll have my files.

Life lesson. If you're going to bring your computer to a tropical island (and if you don't have a computer here you'll feel 50% more isolated) you better expect it to go the way of all things here, bleached, moldy, insect ridden, and ultimately ruined.
But then you get to buy new stuff!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back in the Blogosphere

by popular demand. The clambering masses have demanded more blogging and I will comply! FYI- The photos in this blog are not of Samoa-it does NOT snow here! And they may not have anything to do with the text directly adjacent, however what's a blog without photos?

Where did January go? It was a blur of getting a continuing medical education trip approved ("Excuse me, did I mention it's in my contract?" "You see, right here, in my contract?") so that I could improve my skills on the ultrasound machine. We have a beautiful state of the art machine here and I have really enjoyed learning this new skill that I think helps the clinic and the patients. Unfortunately, the training wasn't in say, Hawaii, or Boston, New Orleans, or New York, nor Florida, California, the Bahamas, Mexico or even Las Vegas. Helloooo Dallas!

"Well," thought I, "at least it will be warm."

Weather Report: "An unusually frigid and icy cold front has descended upon Dallas Fortworth area. Forecast calls for gray dull skies, ice-like rain and generally nasty weather. Incredibly the entire rest of Texas and the rest of the nation is enjoying a warm spell with temperatures in the 80s!!" Ok, maybe the last part wasn't true, but COME ON! If I'm going to Texas, it shouldn't be threatening snow!

The perks of my trip-a great training despite the lack of models (it's hard to practice obstetrical ultrasound on one another when no one is pregnant-huh, go figure) who were in no mood to go out into the nasty weather, free ultrasound or no.

Dallas is known for it's shopping. I have posted in the past of the need to "provision" while off island. I did so. No photos of this as my hands were full.

The corporate suite was another bonus. For a change of pace it was fun to have two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen (full), three tvs, two bathrooms all to myself. And someone to clean up after me every day. We don't have TV on the island so I gorged. Wake up, click. Come in from training, click. It was a good lesson in how there really is nothing on tv and of course there was the writer's strike not making matters better. I don't think I need to watch any tv for another 6 months.

I returned to Portland after the training to visit with friends and their kids. Portland was cold and rainy. Imagine that. The Pacific Northwest in January. What was I expecting? My delicate self nearly turned into a popsical. I had to be driven straight from the airport to Old Navy (ok it was really the next day) as my sun bleached Castaway attire would not cut it. I had pulled together a few odds and ends of "warm clothing" but I still looked pretty pathetic shivering away next to the darkly clad city folk who were covered from head-to-toe.

One of the highlights of the trip was spending a few days in the mountains enjoying time with friends and their newly adopted children. It snowed and I got to soak in a hot tub. There are very few tubs on the island. Who wants to soak in a tub when you can just go float around in the 80 degree ocean? It was quite a pleasure! I miss mountains and trees and the house was gorgeous. Getting to know my friends beautiful kids was great. You can see me soaking in the hot tube fully clothed Samoa-style, I've really gone tropo-just kidding I left my bathing suit behind.

Some wedding planning, a lot of shopping, a whole lot of microbrew and eating out and I was back on island. Feeling warm and toasty and glad to be back.

February is my one year anniversary on-island. My half-way mark for my contract. It was good to get off island to realize how much I enjoy living here. I love the people. I love the land. I love the weather. I have great friends. I love the pace of life. So will I be going back at the end of my contract? I'm not so sure anymore.

There are things about Samoa that are hard and I've mostly left those things out of my blog the past year. Intentionally. To see if my view changed on things that initially seemed irksome. And somethings did become less important. There are still a few that are challenging. Since I started my blog I've been asked for lots of advice from people thinking of moving here. I think the future of my blog will include updates on my life but also will tackle what it's like to move here from another country, what one can expect, what things to bring, what to leave behind. Hopefully, people will find it helpful. And maybe it will help me to decide where I will be a year from now.