Sunday, August 19, 2007



I've never quite understood why Guam has always been the brunt of jokes.
Johnny Carson would poke fun with some type of reference to Guam for certain of his one-liners.
I suppose that it is because Guam is a United States territory, and more importantly, that this territory is so far, far away from the U.S. mainland.
I spent six years on Guam.
I came there with a 2-year contract to teach English at JFK High School
(Yes, a public high school---not military.)
My return trip to the U.S. would be paid for if I stayed the duration of my contract.

When I arrived on Guam, it was a beautiful and sunny morning.
Coming off of the 747 felt like I was walking into a sauna.
In the airport I just happened to meet a young woman who had also come to Guam on the same 2-year contract.
We rented a car so that we could find the main offices of the school district.
Marine Drive:
The main artery of the business side of Guam.
Should we head left or right?
I forget which one of us said to go right, but that's the direction we went.
After driving for about 5 minutes we came to a stop when a military officer and his guard dog approached us.
"This is private property. You will have to go back."
We were on Anderson Air Force base property.
We explained who we were and what we were looking for.
He told us to go back the other direction.
I guess I asked what was ahead on Marine Drive in the (wrong) direction that we had been going. He told us that it was the marine lab of the University of Guam.
That's where we went next.
The marine lab wasn't far, and we came to a road that went down a hill.
This short road went to the lab that was located on a shore of the Pacific Ocean!
A friendly man greeted us.
He asked us if we'd like some coconut crab.
Within minutes he brought to us some delicious crab.
What a delectable and warm welcome to
Guam this was!
The young woman and I didn't stay long and we returned to Marine Drive to get to the school administration office.
We arrived.
I registered and found what school I would be teaching at.
A man drove me to JFK high school.
The sunny sky had turned into buckets of rain.
The downpour made it difficult to see the road.
Finally, I arrived at the high school, and the rain ended just as quickly as it had begun.
And that's what Guam is.
I lived in two different apartments and in one "jungle house" my first four years on Guam.
The ocean was serene and warm most of the time.
People can joke about Guam, but unless they have lived there they will never know just how special Guam and its people are.
And that is no joke.

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