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On the night of Sunday, August 2, 2015, Typhoon Soudelor made landfall on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Though officially recorded as a "Category 5-equivalent super typhoon," speculation continues that Soudelor's winds far exceeded this category. Cars and even trucks were overturned, and it was later discovered that the wind speed recording equipment was destroyed during the storm; the highest speed recorded before the failure was 180 miles per hour. At the time, it was the most powerful storm to make landfall....ever...anywhere that year. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular region of mostly calm weather, typically 30-65 km (20-40 miles) in diameter, located at the center of strong tropical cyclones. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather occurs. Soudelor's core-the eye and eyewall-was smaller than the island. That's why the devastation on Saipan was so intense, and why the neighboring island of Tinian, only two miles away, was virtually untouched by the storm. Riza Ramos, her husband Ferdinand, and two children survived the devastation of that typhoon, during which-at one point-they were actually outside and unsheltered. Drinking Seawater is that story. However there is more. A metaphor and more Along with about half the population of 48,000 on Saipan, Riza Ramos is an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). What is it like to live and work over a thousand miles from home, family and loved ones? What is it like to provide for a family of four on a contract worker's income? What is it like to experience the storms and challenges of such a life choice? The answer to those questions is: seawater. , br> According to the rules of survival at sea, if you ever find yourself adrift in the ocean, the last thing you should ever do is drink seawater. It dehydrates the body and brings on death more surely than anything else. However, according to the rules of survival in life, as Riza and her family discovered, sometimes drinking seawater can be the only way to save your life. "Drinking seawater" is a metaphor for survival. Sometimes, survival requires that you courageously drink seawater as you cross oceans in pursuit of your dreams. Sometimes, you drink the seawater of your own tears of despair far away from your family and homeland. Sometimes you drink seawater when you swallow your pride for the sake of your family. Sometimes, you might have to drink seawater-literally-when disaster strikes. Drinking seawater-the metaphor-encompasses the courage, sacrifice, patience, perseverance, resiliency and compassion often required to survive life's storms be they figurative or literal. Drinking Seawater-the book-from heart-breaking pain to heart-stopping terror and back again, peppered with flashbacks of how it all came to be, is a peak into one woman's and one family's survival through life and storms of all kinds. I hope her adventure touches you.--Walt F.J. Goodridge, editor and author of several books on Saipan, including Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan)
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About the Author

Riza Oledan-Ramos grew up in Cabucgayan, Biliran, Philippines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Martinez Memorial College in Cabucgayan City, and is currently a staff nurse at the Commonwealth Health Center on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. She has written dozens of poems, and her books include: The Boy Who Dreamed to Be With His Parents on Saipan, Germ Stopper Boy, and Drinking Seawater. Visit Riza's website at Walt F.J. Goodridge is known as the "Passion Prophet." A graduate of Columbia University with a B.S. in civil engineering, Walt walked away from his career to purse his passion for music, writing and coaching others. He is author of over twenty-five books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit, and Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan and collaborated with Riza on this project. Walt is originally from the island of Jamaica.

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