Ninth Home – Our Guam House

How do I even begin to describe the wonderful years in this house?  What kind of paragraphs will I use to convey just how very much we loved living in this place?

To begin with, I’ll say that we were so happy on that island, and we didn’t want to feel that it was temporary, so we shipped our special belongings (from storage in Portales) all the way across the Pacific to make that house our home sweet home.

From 1995 to 2001, while we were in our 30s, we lived in our peach colored house, surrounded by gorgeous trees and foliage.  Avocados, mangos, soursop, papayas, bananas, coconuts, bamboo, ginger, bougainvillea, gardenias… I’ll mention mangos again because we were covered over in mangos! 

Eventually we both stopped teaching school, and I closed my little gift shop.  We were back to the world we know so well – construction.  Our three car garage was our workshop.  The vehicles were only parked inside when we were weathering typhoons.   The rest of the time we worked in there, mainly building cabinets.  (As a post script – now that I’ve written the rest of this chapter – I think I didn’t say much at all about working hard, so I’m bopping back up to this paragraph.  We worked hard!  It was hot, it was grimy, and I when I pat myself on the back for how hard I’ve worked at laying tile, carrying heavy sheets of plywood, being Gary’s one and only helper much of the time… these are the days I recall!)

Those were the years we worked really hard and played really hard.  Gary was in one racquetball tournament after the next, and we got to go to the World Championships in Bolivia one year.  He also honed his skills as a breath-hold-diving spearfisherman, and eventually got to compete with the Guam team at the national level.  We became runners.  Guam had an amazing running club, and we spent countless Saturday mornings running races all over the island.  We had our boat.   My fingers have stopped moving over the keyboard.  I’m at a loss for words.  My mind meanders over the grand times, out on the sea, swimming with dolphins, watching the sunset, skimming along with the wind in our hair.  What freedom!

We traveled to an array of Asian destinations, and also home to the States at least every 18 months.  It’s a very long way across that ocean.  The flights are fairly brutal, and so was the price tag.   We’re thrilled at the handful of visits we had from family members, but have always been very sad that it was just too prohibitive for people to come visit us there. 

And I have retroactive envy that social media didn’t exist.   E-mail was barely coming into existence while we were in that house.   I would have loved to get to share photos of my tropical yard, my special black cats, our little truck loaded down with cabinets, pretty beaches.   Those were special days.

Guam is a very social community.  We attended one party after another… birthdays, anniversaries, and always fiestas.   One amazing memory from this house was the housewarming party “we threw”.  Ha!  Well, we tried to throw a party.   We bought supplies for hotdogs and hamburgers to feed the multitudes.   We were unabashedly going to have an American party, and not try to keep up with the elaborate events those people knew how to host.  The morning of our party, rank strangers showed up with the pala palas (the canopies) and started setting them up in our driveway in case it rained.   Then came the men who started setting up a make shift barbecue pit, along with a huge amount of meat.   Food poured in all day while we set up for the party.   (And we had tons of hotdog and hamburger leftovers for weeks!)

We loved our church, we loved our friends, we loved that house.   But at some point we had to make the decision to move ourselves back to the continent.  We sold the house, and packed our belongings for the voyage across the deep blue.  We took one final run down our hill, along the water to the marina where we’d launched our boat so many times.  Then early the next morning our friends took us to the airport.  We watched out the window, tears streaming, as our emerald green island in our sapphire blue ocean slowly faded out of sight.


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