My Guam

My Guam: The first installment of my personal essays about Guam.

I’ve lived in four different countries, on four continents, in eleven states or U.S. territories and moved into so many homes, I’ve lost count. When asked which place is my favorite and why, without a second thought, I say, “Guam. The people and the weather are super.”

While living in Miami, Florida in 2006, my husband sat at the dinner table, looked at me and said: “There’s a job opening on Guam.”

Before he could say any more, I said: “Let’s go.”

Our son, who lived a few blocks from us, was experiencing a divorce. My father who lived in a nursing home in Winter Park was losing grip on his mind, and Mother called every week demanding we drive the 241 miles to help her. To top all that, I had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I needed a break.

Now, with all this happening in the family, why would we desert them and go to an island in the Pacific Ocean? We found ourselves pulled into our son’s business, but knew he could handle everything on his own if only we were not available to fall back on. My father was well cared for in Winter Park, and my mother had refused all the help we gave, so why not take the leap into a new place while still connecting with home via the internet and telephone? Multiple Sclerosis is going to appear whenever and wherever I lived; there are always doctors.

My husband put in for the transfer, we sold our house, packed our belongings, and prepared for another adventure. Three months later, in January of 2007, we flew from Miami to Houston, boarded a jet to Tokyo, and transferred to another plane heading for Guam, 8,207miles away. After a full day — 26 hours travel — we stepped off the plane into the A.B.Won Pat International Airport on Guam. I felt exhausted, excited, and extremely thirsty.

A wheelchair awaited me at the terminal. An Asian-looking affable young man whisked us through customs, and across to baggage claim. I was surprised he spoke English, although I should not have been, since Guam is a territory of the United States. Most everyone there speaks English. It is, however, not unusual to hear Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Chinese, and other languages. The indigenous people of Guam are called Chamorro. They are United States citizens.

Since our plane took a zigzag route over the Pacific Ocean, we crossed the International Date Line twice. We went back to the future two times. No wonder I was confused as to what day it was. Don’t be concerned about the end times. Tomorrow is already here today. Guam’s official slogan is: “America’s day begins in Guam,”

To be continued


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