After a 5 week turned 11 week trip home to California, R and I are finally back on the rock.
It occurred to me, that if you’ve never spent time on a US military base, you would not be familiar with the time old tradition of Colors. Every morning and every sunset, we begin and end each day by pausing and honoring the flag. When the music plays over the loud speakers, you stop what you’re doing; whether that means you’re taking out the trash, BBQing, driving, jogging, you stop, stand, and pay your respects to the flag. We stand silently while the star spangled banner plays, until it’s over. Every now and again you’ll catch a glimpse of young children playing outside, and on their own, and even if no adult is around, they know to stop playing and stand still. Everyday we are reminded of this.
On Guam, we say “hafa adai or hafaloha.” I don’t stress out about mass shootings. I don’t freak out about a stranger snatching my child off of the sidewalk. Sure, I’m always diligent and anything can happen anywhere, but moving back home to the states later this year is going to be a huge adjustment for us. There is no Target, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Amazon prime, there are no freeways, and the speed limit is 35mph, island wide (we do however have one Macy’s, a Kmart and two Ross stores). This has been our home for almost 2 years, and I will miss it dearly.
Guam is about 8 miles and only 30 miles long. To give you a better idea, we are little bit larger than Catalina island or a third the size of Maui. There’s something about the sun shining all day and the slow living that will drive you crazy but have you wanting more. It’s hard to find the balance between feeling stagnant and embracing the lifestyle here. I can’t even begin to explain how terribly frustrating it can be at times. Think of the amount of times in a day you think to yourself “I have to run an errand to buy x,y,z.” Now imagine if the majority of the things you need or want are out of stock every time you run an errand. Literally. Or, the item won’t show up for months because it’s on the slow boat to Guam, or they cost a fortune because well... it’s Guam, it’s not like you can drive to another store location. Imagine spending $25 on one small pack of blueberries, one small pack of blackberries and a small pack of strawberries because all of the food is imported. Or going to the commissary and they’re out of most of the ingredients in the recipe you wanted to make. Then the next time you shop, they have those ingredients but not anything else that you need. First world problems.
With all that being said, we have food, a typhoon safe home, and we are healthy. Oh and we have an ocean view. The ocean. I can’t even begin. I’m going to miss hearing the waves break from our front door. The sea life is out of this world. I’m so grateful to be able to live in one of the most beautiful hidden gems on earth. I’ve hated that we are a 15+ hour plane ride from home, but if Guam were closer to the mainland, it wouldn’t be as laid back as it is. There’s no hustle and bustle. Ever.
Being so geographically far from everything familiar and 17 hours ahead of the states can be extremely isolating when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family. There’s a tiny window each day where we are awake at the same time as everyone else in the states. But, it’s been amazing to be able to sit on my front patio, and watch all the neighbor kids play and run freely around the neighborhood without a care in the world. I don’t know if R will ever get to be this care free back home. It just doesn’t exist anymore in modern day America. For now, we will enjoy the remaining time we have left here. I foresee island life again in our future….
P.S. If you’ve never had Korean strawberries, you need to make it happen. They taste like cotton candy.