We're here! I won't go through the details of our journey right now. I've tried to sit down and encapsulate our journey here a few times, but it just made me feel exhausted and at a loss for words. Actually, I did get a pretty thorough recap of the day written up and saved to be posted at a later time...but that was on my new netbook that was subsequently left in a bag with my I-pod, run over by a car, and then rifled through, such that now my netbook is trashed and my Ipod is gone. Yes, that was a bad day and no, I do not want to expound any further. Anyhow, we truly felt the prayers of many. THANK YOU to all of you who were lifting us up! It was just about as smooth as it could have been, though there were many moments when I thought I heard circus music playing in the background as we dealt with the logistics of 3 kids, 3 carseats, 1 double stroller, 6 carry ons, and 8 large bags.
We've been here now for about 3 weeks, the first of which we spent in a hotel and the latter two in our new house. We are living on Andersen Air Force Base in a duplex shared with some lovely neighbors who have 3 girls close in age to our 3 children. It's been awesome to have kids right next door who share our yard, though this has required working with Maddie and Grant on the concept of personal boundaries. They tend to loiter a few feet away from the neighbors' back door, waiting expectantly for the chance to play with their new friends. Our household goods arrive on Monday, which will be wonderful since I've felt like we're in something of a holding pattern until our house is set-up. That being said, this three weeks has made me so thankful for the reminder of 2 important things; 1) We are home and complete when we are anywhere together as a family and 2) we can get by with very few things and be just fine. Our house does not have a garage, and is a bit smaller than our previous homes. Storage may be tricky, making the second reminder a timely one as we might need to 'shed' some items in order to organize well.
This is most definitely a different place and a totally new experience for each of us. The whole concept of how far Guam is from home started to unfold when we took off from Hawaii and flew over the ocean for another 7 hours-that was a lot of ocean. Maddie totally gets the distance concept while Grant seems to think that we could drive to Lili or Bunny's house easily if we so desired. It's somewhat comforting to me at times to see how innocent and unaware my kids can be in the midst of what feels like a lot of turmoil and change. They certainly feel the effects of the move, the time change, and the new enviroment, and yet their small and simple little world continues relatively untouched amidst it all; a sweet thing to see.
Here are a few first impressions since being in Guam, in no particular order....
- It's hot. There is not one moment when you are outside and have need of a sweatshirt, still a luxury to us after the last 2 years during which a sweatshirt was almost standard for most of the year (though that was the only slightly negative thing about the last 2 years that I can think of!)
- It's humid. I would have paired humidity with heat prior to moving here, but I have learned that there is a difference. I've lived in heat, but heat + humidity is another story.
- It's small. This island is 30 miles in length and is 12 miles across at it's widest point. It's kind of a trip when I navigate for PJ as we drive around, simply because we cover a lot of the map in a short amount of time. I will say, however, that it doesn't feel too terribly small (yet) due in part to the traffic and the speed limits. The highest speed limit posting I've seen was 40, though the street just begs for speeds of at least 60. I say street (singular) because there is essentially one main drag that we use (Highway 1-go figure) down the "busier" side of the island.
- It's a mix of Western society and developing nation. There is a lot here in the way of restaurants and stores that you would see in the US, and English is written and spoken everywhere. Of course there is also much that you would not tend to see stateside, but I'll write more about that later.
- Guam has a significant and interesting WWII history that we can't wait to delve into.
- The sky is absolutely phenomenal-it seems so huge and constantly impresses on me the feeling of being on such a tiny piece of land with such a huge surrounding ocean.
- The ocean. That's it. It just is. There are not many words to describe how marvelous it is and no pictures that will do it justice. I'm not much for water unless I'm truly comfortable with the temperature. Each time we've been down to the ocean here, I've walked right in with no problem. I'm not one for swimming in water where I can't look down and see all the way to my toes-no problem here! I'm not one for big waves unless I'm really feeling brave or either of the two criteria listed above are met. Here, there is beach upon beach where the so-called waves merely lap the shore with the gentleness of a pool disturbed by someone performing a graceful dive into the water. I'm not making any of this up! Do you want to find out whether or not I'm exaggerating? Why don't you come visit and find out?! (On a sidenote, this blog will probably be used as a shameless ploy/propoganda tool to convince our most beloved friends and family-YOU- to come and visit us)
- The weather can change on a dime. In the space of less than one minute, many times without hardly any warning, you can go from being soaked with your own sweat to being soaked by a sudden tropical downpour.
- The flies here have something wrong with them. They don't "shoo". You have to wipe them off of your body with your hand.
- If you have any predisposition to bug bites, look out. My poor children (minus Taryn, thankfully) and I continue to suffer from multiple bites-many of them fairly large.
- If you don't like geckos, forget coming here.
- If you love our family above your aversion for geckos, please do come here (see, I told ya).
- If you want to go to the grocery store and have the same selection for the same prices that you do at your local grocery store, stay where you are.
- Craving Starbucks? Don't expect to satisfy your craving on this island unless you can settle for the new pumpkin spice latte which is widely advertised and available at your local....Circle K.
- The jungle is fascinating and also terrifying to me. The concentration of plants is so great that there is just no seeing through it. I find myself thinking often about the guys who were here during the war when it was (I would imagine) even more uncleared/untamed than now. Talk about sacrifice! That could not have been pleasant or easy in the least bit.
- God's creative hand continues to appear wherever we are as we marvel over the vastly different, yet uniquely beautiful areas where we've lived-praise be to the one and only Creator!
These are just a few of the things that stick out most in our first few weeks 'on island' as folks keep saying.
Until next time....