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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Life in Wonderland: Guam then, now, and our future

I'm very lucky to live here. Sometimes I have to remind myself that though. Or the island reminds me, actually. I'll notice the sunset or hear the sound of the ocean meeting the shore. I'm rarely more than 10 minutes away from the beach. And as much as I hate how hot it gets, I don't think I'd survive the cold.

Guam has been developed faster than the island should've been, though. Tumon as fun as it can be on a drunken night is almost grotesque in the day. Too many hotels. Too many condos. You can barely catch a glimpse of the ocean even when you're minutes away on foot. Locals often have to walk through hotels just to get to the beach. And the beaches are crowded. Because of the hotel development, a lot of the marine life close to shore is gone. There are no more shells to find. But that's Tumon. And even Tumon has the sweetest sunsets.

This is a picture I took from the southern end of the island. Isn't it beautiful? So untouched. My family is originally from the southern end of the island, but most of us grew up in the north and spent the weekends in the south. Some of my earliest memories include standing around a giant container of water, cleaning green onions. My cousins and I were my grandfather's work force. :) I remember the sweetness of the ixora flowers and my granny yelling at us to stop sucking on her plants. I remember the cliff that my cousinsand my brother would climb to get to the "big rock". That rock isn't so big now that I'm an adult. We don't go to Ipan much anymore. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was there. But more and more now I think about going back. It'd be nice to have a little house there to visit on the weekends like we did when we were kids.

Guam is my home. All my memories are right here on this itty bitty island that most people in the world have never heard of. And that's fine with me. What worries me is what the future holds for Guam and the people who live and love on this island. I'm scared because the fate of our home is being predetermined by politicians and military officials. Even after Obama pulls the troops out of Iraq, the war doesn't end for Guam. A storm is heading our way. This storm wasn't created by mother nature, either. That we'd be able to handle. A major military move is about to happen. Most of the chess pieces will be on one little square, we call home. And really we are just one little perfectly positioned square. Guam is the tip of their spear. What happens to the people here, though? Our infrastructure is already failing. And what if it doesn't work out? What if they discover they need more land? Some original land owner's are still waiting to get land back from the military. What can we do though? We aren't even allowed to vote. Our congresswoman doesn't even get a vote.

If it doesn't work out so many people will just pick up and leave. But some of us don't have that option. The people I love and couldn't live with out are here and even if we all chose to move there are some people here we can't move. I'm talking about my family that is buried here. Even my grandmother, who is Japanese and hasn't lived on Guam since before I was born, is here. Her ashes are in the ocean surrounding us. How could we leave.

I guess I'm just a bit scared. Sorry if this is all over the place. I was watching some stuff on You Tube about the military and Guam. It makes me frustrated and feel a little helpless, but I guess that's part of life. We just have to figure out what we can do individually to maintain some sense of sanity in it all. That's what my search for Wonderland is about after all.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a gorgeous picture. You are indeed very lucky to be living on an island!! The first time I heard of Guam was when I was teaching in South Korea. Lot of students and their family would go there for vacations.


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