Sixth Home – Green Park Condos

I think we were just about as surprised as the next guy, that after two years back in Portales following our three years of teaching on St. Thomas, we were on a plane with a few possessions, winging our way to another tropical island.  We had met with the teaching recruiters in Vegas, and we’d decided to at least take a couple of years to just relax a bit while we made some decisions about the direction we wanted to take with our lives.  So in 1992 we stepped onto the Pacific island of Guam and instantly felt at home.  I will always remember it as a night-and-day-difference from moving to the Caribbean.

We were picked up at the airport by the principal from the middle school where we would both teach.  We were housed in a nice hotel while we found a place to live.  We survived our first major typhoon in that hotel the second week we were there!  Omar was devastating to the island, and we prepared mentally for the horrific aftermath we expected.  But the island rallied together to put everything back in place, and not one instance of looting was reported.  We had found paradise.

We moved into a nice little apartment in Green Park Condos in the village of Mangilao.  Learning to pronounce this name was the first in a long list of Chamorro names and words we would come to know and love.   (It’s ma-NEE-lao by the way.)

Guam took 5 direct eye-passages out of 7 typhoon hits that year, and we weathered the storms in our second floor apartment.  The patience and resiliency of the people who live on that island… truly amazing.  It was a really wonderful year of teaching school, driving all over that island in a little red truck learning our way around, and spending lots of time at The Cliff where Gary played racquetball and I did step-aerobics.

The beauty of the island, the crystal clear water, the myriad of cultures all blending so nicely, the amazing food… we were in love with this place.  At the end of the school year we were happy to stay on the island, but we were making our way to another shore and a new village to call home.

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