June 23rd, 2011 marked the summer I would remember for the rest of my life. One day my dad said, “pack your things we are going to Guam!” Born and raised in Orange County California I wasn’t accustomed to my Guamanian heritage. Growing up I didn’t take much interest in my culture and at times it was an insecurity of mine. However as I got older I grew more and more curious about where I came from. I always enjoyed the stories my dad would tell me about his life growing up in Guam. Now I was given the opportunity to see the places and put faces to the people in my dad’s stories.
Forty nine days on the Rock is what I call my journey back to the motherland.
As I packed my bags my mind raced with curiosity and excitement. The ride to the airport felt like hours and the anticipation was killing me already. Aboard the plane my heart was beating a mile a minute. I said goodbye to sunny California and hello to humidity. As I looked out the window and gazed into the endless sea below my thoughts began to wander. I wondered how the island would look and if the people would look at me and think I was too Americanized. The seventeen hour flight was unbearable
After a tortuous plane ride, on the speaker I hear, “We have now reached the beautiful Island of Guam we will be landing shortly.” To me those words sounded like a million angels singing. The moment I stepped out of the plane I felt a sense of home. The humidity pierced my skin and I had a feeling of excitement, curiosity, and nervousness all at the same time. We were immediately greeted with Guamanian hospitality from family and friends. I could not wait to explore the island and see what it had to offer.
During my time in Guam I was able to dig deep down into the core of the island. I learned about its history, I explored caves, swam in the ocean and visited with family. There was bar-be-que’s every day and the food was amazing. I bonded with family and they took me all around the island. Nothing was better then to feel that clear blue ocean water of Guam. The water was magical and so warm and relaxing. I got to see caves both natural and hand made by the Japanese during the war. I learned that entering the boonies required a prayer to the spirits asking the Toa Toa Mona “the first people” for permission to enter their sacred world. I heard many myths and stories from the ancient days. This trip was amazing to say the least.
What did not sit well with me was that there were more other nationalities there then Guamanians. Sadly it seemed that the Guamanians would eventually become the minorities of their own island. Many other people that came from the islands of Palau, Truck, and Philippines and other islands were overpopulating the Island The Guamanian people seem to be slowly disintegrating. However, I believe that the hearts and culture of the Guamanian people are far too strong to ever die out. The Guamanian culture will live forever in my eyes.
Though my vacation was magical sadly it had to end. However I left there with a whole new mindset. I was now a proud Guamanian and all I wanted to do was show off my culture. I met amazing people and learned so many fascinating things. I may not have been born in Guam but I am a Guamanian and I am proud to say that the veins in my body will forever be connected to the roots of my island, Guam.