Post typhoon…

This pic was taken less than a week before the storm. I can’t upload more pics right now, my data is being a jerk, but I will when I can.

My coffee sipping sight this morning:  a rooster hightailing it into our portico; a few seconds later it’s a boonie dog zig zagging its scent.  In what used to be the jungle, a few chickens squawk while another boonie dog heads toward them.  There is nowhere to hide.  

A dog’s gotta eat.  But, there are so few of the chickens left.  A friend said maybe they’re in hiding somewhere, but me thinks only the lucky survived — now they just gotta keep surviving.  

It’s kind of where we are right now.  We’re happy to be here, but some of us have an advantage that others do not.  While I’m no boonie dog, I am living in a condo that has water and air (thanks to the building generator).  My friends a few floors higher do not have water (pump can’t push it up that high; something in it is damaged), so they built a tent around the pool shower.  Our pool is now a sludge of bacteria that we don’t even want to use to flush our toilets. I suspect a new species will emerge from it by next week. 

It’s been a week since the typhoon began tormenting our island.  School is now out for the rest of the school year, work is sort of done from home —- it’s kind of hard to do when you’re living off of spotty data (sometimes it works, mostly it doesn’t, but we’re so grateful when it does).

We’re in a heavy rainfall warning now.  Our streets are flooding, which they do when it rains, but now we’re saturated, have bald cliffs and clogged drains, so yay flash flood warnings.

Communication basically is a bitch.  Radio stations are finally back on air, which is so much better than hearing Poltergeist static.  People are working around the clock to restore water and power, but from the latest report I’ve been able to see basically most of us are still without.  It’s hard for any of us to know what we need to know because the posts on social media are slow, and we all have issues actually getting to social media.  At least now we can hear reports on radio. 

The updates I do get to see tell us trash is getting picked up —- we’re still waiting in my area —-and that there are landfills where we can dump our green waste.  It aint the shrubbery we need to get rid of.  Garbage bags are now sandbagging dumpsters, so no one needs to worry about dumpster flooding. 

The National Guard and police are escorting fuel trucks to gas stations; they are also directing traffic and monitoring the long lines at gas stations.  Cash is in high demand.  There are some stores and restaurants open, some even manage to take cards, but most tell you cash only.  I’m down to $6 and have mooched off of my neighbors. Everyone on this island is grateful to others who have helped them with something during this time — we have our uglies to report, but we also have our good.

Apparently some people are breaking into cars and siphoning gas; shit I guess I should check my car for that.  A few of the broken windows we see might be from looting, or people looking for a dry place to sleep.  There’s a bubble tea shop at the bottom of my street; I saw the owners sleeping in it when I took a morning walk.  Many mom and pop shops are doing this.  

The chickens aren’t the only ones who found refuge in the jungle, apparently there are more people living in abandoned structures than I knew.  There are four structures within feet of my place that also have abandoned cars.  People, including children, live there.  I see them now from my balcony.  According to Guam Homeless Coalition (can’t verify sources with this damned slow service) there are almost 800 homeless people on island, 92 households with children, and almost 53% of Chomorro, Mariana island natives (I need a better word because that one feels like it has negative connotations), are homeless.

Before, when I walked and met the few regulars I see on the beach, I just assumed they lived this life because of drugs or alcohol — and I’m sure many do —- but whatever the reason there’s impoverished living in rain and mud while listening to generators churn away the voltage that keeps some of our air conditioning going.  I don’t feel guilty for being where I am, I earned it, but I do feel something is very wrong with this balance. 

In essence the typhoon blew away our fairy tale of paradise.  Behind the plumeria and palms hid some of our inhumane truths.  I can no longer unsee it, so I’ll do my entitled bits of good here and there, but damn.  Mama hugs to all of us; the wet, the dry, the greedy and the giving.  May we find the strength to do better. 

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Mawar Mayhem

Our beautiful beach a week before the storm

I just came in from sitting outside watching the violent waves pummel my bay.  The beautiful beach I walk on daily has turned from a tropical paradise with plumeria, coconuts and jungle right up to the turquoise water to a barren vat of debris, rocks and shredded fauna.  The water is still blue but it’s tainted with black silt and mutilated tree and building bits viciously torn from their foundation.  The jungle that is everywhere on this island is shredded to a scene from the apocalypse.   Our paradise has been plucked bare and is as sad and ugly as a featherless bird.  The chickens are still in hiding; I hope they made it.

We saw a drowned rat in the debris, so the animals fared as poorly as the plants.

I don’t know when I’ll get to post this (internet, along with everything else, is down), but we are in our third day of wind and rain from Ms. Mawar the super typhoon.   Her outer bands reached us on Tuesday, but it was Wednesday that was the worst.  Today it’s still gray with rain and wind gusts that previously I would have called ‘big ones.’  Now, I know they are nothing compared to Mother Nature’s fury when she’s on a roll.

Our building rocked and swayed while she punched and whipped it with her 140 plus MPH winds.  And she did this for about 8 hours.  Prior to the 140 she bitch slapped our little island all day long with constant wind and powerful gusts.  The rain, oh my goodness the rain, was horizontal, and it bore right through our sealed windows and doors. 

There’s a lot of buzz that surrounds the whole idea of a typhoon heading your way.  For those of us who have never lived through this kind of storm, it’s exciting.  We run out to the store, stock up our adult bevies and food —- and drinking water, lots of drinking water.  We fill up our bathtubs because seasoned folk tell us to, and we button down the hatches —- learning that those metal typhoon shutters we normally ignore are not so easy to close and lock in place. 

In my case, since my husband is out of town, I buddied up with my neighbors on the 7th floor.  We have a lot of fun together and never hesitate to turn anything into a party.  So whoop whoop Typhoon party time.  Tuesday night we ate a feast (that we spent Tuesday making) played games and drank enough to sleep through the pesky outer band winds and rain.  We also packed up a goody bag to bring to the weather station, since one of us works there and he was going to be there until today.  We giggled at how wild and crazy we were taking a field trip during a typhoon —- the outer bands, my friends, are not a proper typhoon.  They are the fun but non memorable aperitif.

And then on the drive home, we heard the report of just how monstrous our reason for a party was going to be.  It didn’t damper our mood, but we each snuck off to send our loved ones the messages you send when you’re not so sure you know what you’re in for —- and then we continued to do what we do best.

Wednesday we made fun typhoon-themed cocktails and sat outside (in a concrete corner that protected us from the winds) to cheer on branches snapping off (in hindsight we were the gladiator spectators, but we didn’t know it at the time).   And, we witnessed this (my fellow species isn’t the brightest on the planet)…

Keep in mind we were having gusts up to 75 mph at this point lol and then he swept his balcony off. Sadly the drainage pipe to the left of him did not make it.

We got to toast other neighbors (above is in another complex) also stepping outside to feel the wind, and, overall, we had ourselves a great time.  When the winds and rain got too strong, we went inside and watched Twister because is there a better movie to watch during the ultimate twister (and our generator was working great at that point)?

The winds got stronger; the noise was unbearable, feeling the floor sway beneath us was unsettling, but we kept each other in good spirits.  Each of us had our doubts and secretly prayed the building would hold, but we did not fail our companions by focusing on what could happen. We told our stories and embraced our moments of quiet.   When our generator went out, we lit candles and enjoyed the ambience despite the banshee pounding on the shutters, and the loud bangs of things falling apart.  We went to bed early —- really just hoping to sleep the storm away —- but Mawar made sure we heard her tantrums.   The news told us the eye wall finally returned to sea around 2:30 a.m. but the winds were feisty long past that —- we’re still getting gusts of it now.

You can google to see better pics; I just don’t have great cell service right now. One day I’ll post more.

And, now we sit in the aftermath.  My neighbors and I are incredibly lucky.  Our building is built the way a building in the Ring of Fire and Typhoon Alley should be built —- it’s tough and while I don’t like it swaying, I do know that’s what I want it to do.  It’s built to move so that it doesn’t break.  I like this. We also have a generator that keeps us and our food chilled.  Our apartments got wet (I lost two rugs), and one of my friends lost an entire railing from her balcony, but we are unscathed.   Those are minor things that will be replaced. Our cars also made it without injury.  Too many on this island will not be as lucky.  And, while, we will all pull together to rebuild and help each other, it will take us weeks, maybe months, to repair what one three-day storm has done.  

I want to end with something pithy, but all I can come up with is, pay attention people.  Mother Nature is a bad-ass bitch and we are all but fleas on her back.  Embrace the good she gives and do your best to keep out of her wrath.  And thank all the powers that be for the friends we make in this world —- they help make the ugly beautiful.  

p.s. it’s Friday and I hotspotted my phone. screw my data plan… please forgive any typos, since I copy and pasted and uploaded as quickly as I could.

Land of morning calm…

Ahhhh it’s a cloudy, windy day in Guam, and I am loving some quiet coffee time. I’ve been on the go. Late March I flew home to meet my adorable granddaughter Isla, and to play with my rambunctious grandson Torin (oh how I love our time together), then I came home for a busy week of work, and then I was off to Korea for a week to watch student journalists in action (they never cease to amaze me).

Aren’t they just the cutest little monsters! I loved time with my own monsters too, but I’ll share more when I visit this summer.

Work has brought me to South Korea three times this year, and it’s about time I dedicated a post to it. I’ve been four times — once as a bona fide tourist and the other three as a work tourist — and I can only write about the areas surrounding Seoul.

It cracks me up that the country is called the land of morning calm because Seoul is anything but … the hustle and bustle and wtf of the big city and its nearby neighborhoods has its own vibe and quirk, none of it would be included in a how-to manual of calm the eff down. It does have its beauty. One of these days I need to include a day trip to the countryside of South Korea, so that I could experience more of its mountains and, possibly, clean air.

I love Seoul; I have a great time and see something new every time I go, but I could not live there. That air quality is something else. On two of my trips the air quality index was above 300, which was not pleasant. It made me dizzy and I had a metallic taste in my mouth; the air has a sepia filter. It’s such a shame because Seoul and its surrounding areas have so much to offer.

First off there’s the idiosyncrasy that is Korea’s flavor of Asia. LOL OMG there are so many Only in Seoul moments — and the love of K-pop and weird cartoons is real! Most of my fun pictures include friends I haven’t asked if I could show off, so the pics below don’t show the fun we had visiting a Selfie studio, the touristy but funny Nanta show, or the weird space lift off to the top of Seoul tower. And then there’s the shopping! So much shopping — ladies, you just can’t leave without a stack of facial masks and a purse.

There’s also the food — oh my tastebuds the food! I’m lucky that Guam has so many Korean tourists and expats, which means we have lots of Korean food on island. I love me some Seoul food! Korean BBQ is always a fun experience, and the fried chicken is top notch, but please do try the stuff you can’t pronounce. Its winters are cold, so there are a lot of yummy, comforting soups and stews. lol and if it’s red it’s spicy. It’s all good because a big, cold bottle of Cass or some shots of soju will take care of the sting.

My last night on my most recent trip was spent with friends in an Air B and B in the Yongson area, which is close to where I was for work. We most definitely were the only Americans in a very Korean part of the city, and I loved every minute of it. At first glance our apartment was, um, not up to my I-can-now-afford-luxury standards, but it was clean and in the heart of local. It was tiny — with a bathroom you could pee, shower and do the laundry all at once, and a one-burner stove, but it had access (through a maze of treacherous stairs) to an amazing view. The people we met on the street were curious (because three loud blondes isn’t their norm) but all friendly and welcoming. I don’t know how pedestrians and cars survive the area because there is a lot going on in very narrow spaces.

For the most part it’s an easy city to navigate IF you bought a local SIM card and have the Korean navigation app (I didn’t use it since I just followed my friends) and google translate at the ready. The train system is great. Most cab drivers do not speak English, so you definitely want to have your addresses in Korean, but communicating with body language, broken words and your phone is always part of the fun of exploring a world so different from your own.

Kamsahamnida (you have to sing song it) Korea for always showing me a good time. I don’t know when my next work trip is, but I’ll be sure to leave lots of room in my suitcase and add a few extra days to experience the morning calm part of your world.

Rain

We’re in the midst of Guam’s dry season, but it is most certainly not Phoenix or Arabian desert dry.  Like everyone else, I have my list of talents, but the one I excel at is sitting outside sipping and staring.  The rain, which hasn’t gotten the “dry” memo, tends to enjoy keeping me company most mornings.  This morning it snuck up on me like a child holding back giggles attempting to startle me, but then full on laughter when realizing the gig is up; I know it’s there. It tags me and then darts off to taunt others.

I hear it wake the starlings (oh my goodness we have birds!  Something the island almost lost thanks to the hungry brown snake), and then the roosters (with their loud sore-throated look-at-me I’m awake!) and their hens squawking to shut the eff up.  Like any child, it can’t have its moment without a mess, so our morning song includes the spillage from our balcony and roof drains flushing the geckos out of their beds.   Later in the day the rain might decide to throw a temper tantrum and douse us while we’re enjoying the island’s beaches and jungles.  But, it’s all good because we know that when there’s rain, there will almost always be the birth of a rainbow.  

almost here

Ta da! There she is showing off her colors.

While the dry season, thankfully, does not end the rain, it does bring on the trade winds.  These are adolescents who wake later in the day and amaze us with their coolness and then frustrate us with their unruliness.  They do what they like, when they like, regardless of what we do to try to prepare for them. 

So, we live our days alongside the ebb and flow of celestial children.

It is a beautiful existence.  It is an almost perfect life, but as magnificent and magical as all that I am blessed to embrace, it does not replace the love of being with my own.  I am lucky to have the internet and an income and vacation days that allow me to buy flights home.  That said living so far away has its cost:  I miss being physically present for my own children’s magic.  

I am so incredibly proud and thrilled to announce that my daughter has given birth to her daughter, appropriately named Isla.  Originally I wasn’t going to see her until this summer, but I booked a last-minute flight yesterday. In just a few blinks I’ll be in the midst of all the chaos little ones bring with them, and then, too quickly, I’ll be gone again.

Torin is amazed to now have a sister to hold!

Because my working days include travel and glimpses into lives I fantasized about in my youth, my retired life will focus on being back with family, where I’ll enjoy the bruises, the tears, the sheer joy of children’s laughter.  In between the play and fights, I will introduce my grandchildren to the places I’ve visited and lived.  I will, hopefully, pass on the desire to know the world and cherish all that it has to offer.  May they too spend their years marveling at the many gifts life gives us.

However, I am not yet in the retired world (and won’t be for a few years), so until then I am grateful that I can share my bits of wonder with all of you.

May 2023 be full of oohs and aahs and acts of kindness!

Oh my goodness my blogger self sucks. I began writing a post entitled “Acts of Kindness” Thanksgiving weekend, and I never finished or posted.

Long story short my ship of shit arrived in phases. On Halloween I received 5 of my 8 crates of furniture — sadly it was mostly bits of bigger pieces, so I had a TV but no plug to go with it, dining room chairs but no table, half a day day bed, etc., etc. Soooo my place was a disaster for quit a while. Then while I was on a work trip to Korea the rest came in, which was exciting, but also overwhelming to try to unpack and do the new job, etc. etc. My car finally arrived right before Thanksgiving, and that came with its own level of stress, which came close to breaking me, but thanks to the support, help and compassion I received from new friends and complete strangers I survived with my sanity intact.

Joe was in Arizona for three months, so I was super busy trying to get apartment in order while learning my new job and taking care of pay issues (which are finally resolved). On the one hand, this was my most stressful/frustrating move, on the other I’ve been so incredibly lucky with the new people in my life. My coworkers and my neighbors are all just great people to be around, and once again I am blessed to add new members to my ever-growing family of friends. Joe came home December 2, so my life here is almost complete — if only my kids and grand babies (yes there’s another one brewing!) could also be here life would be perfect.

And while the holidays are always bittersweet because we’re so far away from blood family, we managed to have a lovely holiday season.

So, I begin 2023 at peace with where life has led me. While I’m certainly not rich with the dollars, I’m prosperous with love, laughs and mini miracles just about every day. I think my biggest takeaway from 2022 is that we forget how kind and giving we as a species can truly be. We all give and receive gifts from others all year long, so keep encouraging, keep offering support, keep smiling at strangers and keep doing whatever it is your loved ones (and strangers) need you to do at their times of need (even if that means telling them to get a grip). It holds more weight than our wars, our politics, our crises.

Happy New Year Everyone! I’ll end this post with some more pics of the miracles I witness on Guam — may some of you be able to come visit us here this year!

Sailed the ocean blue

A glimpse of what I saw on my morning walk

I have another long weekend thanks to Christopher Columbus, although here it should be called Magellan day since around 100 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Magellan’s crew landed in Guam, leading to Spain calling dibs on owning it. I’m pretty sure the Chamorro and Native Americans had the same choice words for their conquistadors, but here we are celebrating the discovery of what would become America and America’s territories.

It’s a day off, and I’ll take it! I love that I get these long weekends, which I haven’t had since I’ve moved overseas (don’t feel sorry for me, I also had a lot of extra breaks that were a week to three weeks long). There’s something extra special, though, about having a Monday off. Fingers crossed it’ll contain less rain than the weekend that led to it. I had every intention of spending a day on the beach reading and sipping, but Mother Nature had other plans. Luckily, I’ve managed to fit in morning walks before the rain swooped in. We are most certainly not suffering a drought.

All is well in my little corner of the Marianna islands. I’ve been super busy with work, discovering my own bits of new or purpose in our ever-changing seas of academia. I’m enjoying it.

The last week of September, I was in Tokyo for an instructional specialist summit, where I learned a lot and got to meet colleagues who are based in South Korea and Japan. We were busy, so the only time we actually got to see the city was at night when we went out to dinner. Japan is opening up for tourism this week, I believe, so Joe and I will plan a trip as soon as we can (he’s in Arizona until December). There is so much, especially the countryside, that I’d like to see. The food that I did get to taste was amazing.

Shibuya Crossing on a weeknight when the city is closed to international tourism. Imagine how much busier this will be next week.

You know what I didn’t get to eat? Sushi! The week flew by, so I never got the chance to have sushi in Tokyo. It’s okay it’ll happen next trip, and the day after I returned to Guam I walked to a sushi place and had amazing sushi and miso. All is right with the world.

Mostly when I get home from work, I’m too beat to walk (okay too lazy), so I whip up something and sit on my balcony to watch the changing of the celestial guard.

It’s pretty spectacular.

Speaking of which, it’s about that time where I need to do that. But first, let me share that we have not one, not two, but three Ross stores here, where I’ve spent too much of my money buying frivolous stuff (I’m so desperate for my stuff to get here!), but the mug below is awesome and worth every penny of that $3.99. I don’t have to work tomorrow, so what goodness will she hold for me tonight?

Send me shipping vibes — if the stars align, the cargo ship containing my shit will land upon Guamanian shores this week (if a month-old email teasing me with an early arrival is to be believed).

Cheers my friends.

Cocka doodle do

My days almost always include some time sipping and staring from my balcony. Yesterday morning I was too lazy to walk (I’m soooo off of my walking routine right now it’s ridiculous), so I sat in the breeze, sipped my coffee and watched chickens taking over our parking lot. Today, I listened to them cackle complaints at the rain, which has been going on all day.

I don’t know what this says about me, but these feral fowl fascinate me: so much so that I invested way too many minutes googling Guam chickens. Apparently, they’ve become a nuisance and have managed to hatch some headlines. One of my favorite quotes comes from a 2021 article in The Guam Daily Post, which focused on the demand for authorities to contain chicken shenanigans.

Mangilao Mayor Allan Ungacta complained, “How do you police chickens? … Do we tell them [citizens] not to go catch a chicken because that’s private property? That’s what I want to know now. How do we police chickens? We police the stray dogs, the feral pig, the stray cats and then now you got chickens too.” (for more on this check out Chicken article)

Hunting birds here is actually a bigger deal than temporarily trespassing on private property to catch your Sunday roast. Besides stray pigs, dogs, cats and chickens, we also have an issue with the prolific, egg-feasting brown snake (accidentally brought onto the island via ships). Since the brown snake population decimated the local bird population, causing some species to go extinct, it’s agains the law to kill birds.

But, the chickens are thriving, and just this week legislation was discussed on making it legal to kill wild poultry (don’t know what the final verdict was). I’m guessing by all the chicken being grilled at fiesta barbecues that perhaps folks aren’t really concerned about the legalities of catching these chickens.

I, for one, hope they’re still protected because I am totally entertained by them, and I’ve come to realize they’re not as stupid as I thought they were. I have yet to see chicken roadkill. I witnessed a few almost get hit while crossing our busiest street, but midway through they saw incoming traffic, did a 180 and hauled feathers safely back to the curb.

Watching chickens run also gives me joy — only two feet and no arms to pump makes it funny (because, apparently, I’m also cruel).

So while I won’t give up eggs and KFC, I have developed a whole new love and respect for chickens. Hahaha and on cue: a rooster just made it clear he’s not happy with my diet.

Dark and Stormy

If only my stuff were here, I’d pull out the copper mugs and whip up a dark and stormy to sip while listening to the howling wind. One of the things I worried I’d miss the most was snuggle weather. I love those cold, dark nights where it’s scary outside, but warm and safe inside. They usually include me making hearty meals and baking something or other.

My video sucks because it’s just not capturing the palms whipping and the wind whistling through our rafters

Well guess what? We get weather here too. The a/c is still on, but oh my goodness the rain storms can be intense. Driving my little rental (with bald tires) up the hill to my building is like riding a wild tadpole up a waterfall. It’s been gray and windy all day, so other than my morning walk (which was pleasantly calm) I haven’t left the apartment — and I’m freaking loving it. I’ve got my tea, my wine (which I’ll open soon), my candles and my books.

A view of my building from the main street below. It’s 10 floors, so you’re only seeing part of it. It’s a steep little road that leads to it. You can’t see it, but our balcony is on the left (absolutely love it!)

I tried sitting on the balcony to read and sip tea, and let’s just say it’s a good thing no one else was outside. Not only did my buddha belly show herself to the world, but also one of my boobs played wind sock while the other did a whip around. My hands were full and it happened so damned fast (those little t-shirt dresses are not your friend).

No one has closed their typhoon shutters, so I’m guessing this is nothing in the way of really bad storms. I can’t even imagine what a typhoon is like.

Joe is missing out because he’s in Arizona having fun with family and friends. A few days before he left we also experienced our first real earthquake. A 5.7 not too far from us. I was getting ready to slap Joe and tell him to calm the eff down in his sleep, but then he said “earthquake,” and I realized it was better to grab onto his arm than bruise it. Our whole room shook, but absolutely nothing got damaged — no cracks, no broken windows, so yay our building is well built.

Mostly, though, it’s amazingly relaxed and beautiful here. Mother Nature throwing us the occasional curve ball keeps it all real. You can literally just pull off to the side of the road, walk a few steps and go swimming. When you get bored of the beach (like that’s ever going to happen), you can drive up into the mountains, which are green and lush and, you guessed it, breathtaking.

I haven’t done much touring around. I’ve been mostly learning my job and making new friends. I have some fun things planned for October, like (lol can you believe?) a beer fest and a waterfall hike. And, I’d really like to learn how to paddle board (even if it means me just sitting on the board) and do the nature canoe trip. It’s all good, I live here now, so I have plenty of time. When Joe gets back we’ll do some snorkeling and then take diving lessons. Apparently there is a whole new world to discover under Guam’s waters, so stay tuned I will eventually also share that with you.

But, for now, I’m enjoying all the new and waiting for my stuff to get here. I so miss my Rav 4; it’ll handle these roads and rain no problem. Fingers crossed all that will arrive in October.

Will ya look at that. Guam has a heart too.

Home Sweet Home

Current view from my balcony

We found a home, and we’re moved in already. Our unaccompanied baggage (suitcases and duffle bags of things like towels, more clothes, sheets, etc.) is expected to arrive September 9, our car in October, and our furniture, dishes, etc. sometime in November. Sooooo, we’re borrowing sheets and dishes from friends. The landlord left an old couch for us to use, and we got rid of our master bed in Mons, so we bought a new one here. We could borrow more furniture from the Navy base, but I’m good with our camping phase for now. It’ll be a long while before our place truly looks like our home, but we love it.

We also don’t need keys since we have a digital key pad for front door. We’re within walking distance of restaurants, resorts, bars, the beach! It’s a 10-story complex on a hill, so we have to drive up a tiny, windy road to get to it (turns into a waterfall during our intense rain storms, which don’t last long, but man do they let out the water). We love where we’re perched because we also have lots of rogue chickens (seriously they should be Guam’s official bird) greeting us in our parking lot. There are also some stray cats and dogs (not in packs like we see in mountainous area), so I’m sure we’ll have them all named in no time.

I haven’t dived in yet, but I totally plan on testing out our pool this weekend.

View of the pool from my balcony. It’s tempting me.

Basically we’re shopping, exploring, making friends and loving life right now. I’m also really enjoying my new job. It’s interesting to be on the other side of the education curtain, where I get to experience what goes into supporting what happens in the classroom. I’m a little overwhelmed and have a lot to learn, BUT I am so freaking happy that the number one expectation of me is to support teachers. Yes, I represent district and school/district/HQ goals and mandates, but I understand more of why and what they are, etc., etc., etc. LOL I’m sure I’m boring you … so long story short, I love that I am getting to help people like me get what they need, so the kids we love so much get what they need to learn and grow. I was concerned that I might not like giving up teaching, but I think I’m actually really going to love this job. And, I’m really lucky because I swear I’m not lying, there isn’t a single coworker I’ve met that I don’t like. Not a one! How freaking cool is that?

I don’t know why I was stressing so much while we were packing out of Belgium. Joe and I both worried that we were giving up a good thing, and we were, but woo hoo we moved right onto another good (maybe great) thing. So lol we heart Guam too.

Some more Guam pics for your perusal. I just realized that I didn’t upload the best, but oh well I’ll have prettier pics for next time. That last guy is a small coconut crab. I met him and some of his buddies last night while we were having fun at a friend’s pool.

Well, that’s all I have for you now. We’re off to visit a beach and do some more shopping for apartment — throw out extended-arm-for-shower vibes lol because we really don’t like flooding our bathroom.

Have a great weekend! I’ll post some more info about Guam and its history and culture next time.

Hafa Adai!

At Magellan monument in a gorgeous area of Guam. LOL we felt like that tree when we landed.

So, dinner time tonight Joe and I will have been on the lovely island of Guam for one week. It was a trek getting here: Brussels to Chicago to Los Angelas to Honolulu all in one day. We, our six suitcases (two carryons) and two backpacks made it safe and sound (albeit a bit bruised and a lot tired). But who is going to complain when you have a 4-day stopover in Hawaii?

That said dealing with all the timezones and travel is still wreaking a little havoc on our sleep patterns. When we were in Hawaii, our kids in Arizona were three hours ahead of us; Brussels was 8 hours behind; Guam was 20 hours ahead (what?!). Guam is also a little over a 7 hour flight from Hawaii (again, what?!).

Now that we’re in Guam the kids are 17 hours behind us, which works out easier to chat because my day is their night. I have no idea what timezone my body thinks it’s in because by 7 p.m. I’m fighting to keep my eyes open and by 2 or three I’m struggling to keep them closed. That said I managed to stay up until closer to 9 last night and slept (on and off) until after 6 this morning, so I’m getting closer to being normal again.

And that is way more than any of you want to read about jet lag. My co-workers here are all so welcoming and friendly, which seems to be the norm for the island. We have yet to meet anyone grumpy (other than each other when tired). We’re staying in a hotel apartment until we move into our new home, wherever on the island that will be. It’s perfect with a kitchen, washer/dryer, two bathrooms and a balcony that overlooks the busiest street in Guam and the bay. We are so happy to have a little home versus hotel/suitcase living.

We put an offer on an apartment that we were really excited about, but it fell through (so now we’re really bummed about it), but hopefully that means an even better one is waiting for us. It is a diverse island in that there are gorgeous ocean views, and then there are gorgeous mountain views, and also gorgeous backyards with lots of tropical plants and fruit trees. There are also lots of moldy concrete views, which is the only view we’re not going for.

It’s been raining a lot (it is rainy season), but tomorrow promises good weather, so we bought some beach towels, chairs and an umbrella. Fingers crossed tomorrow will be our first beach day on the island. We have more homes to check out on Sunday, and then it’s off to my first day of the new job on Monday. Until then, we explore and keep pinching ourselves because (despite the apartment setback) we live here.

And while we will miss our old home and being so close to our friends there, we’re excited to face all of our new!

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