Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lions and Typhoons and Tsunamis- OH MY!

I woke up this morning and immediately checked the National Weather Service forecast for Guam since a tropical depression was supposed to drop in for lunch today. I wanted to see when we could expect the weather and what the forecast was as far as severity (living in a place without the Weather Channel to blow every instance of weather out of proportion is nice, but we don't even have weather people on the local news to tell us what's up, so I really rely on the NWS- I am also a bit of a weather junkie and due to my new relationship with the NWS I have discovered the forecast discussion which explains why they are making said forecast- and let me tell you, some of these folks definitely have a knack for prose, if not fiction).  Sorry for the digression... what caught my eye instead of the TD update was that we apparently were or recently had been under a tsunami warning. A whhhaaattt??  Yes, a tsunami warning.  Hmmm..... so I read more and found out we had been, but it had been canceleld and we were just under an advisory.  Of course, after further investigation I found out about the earthquake and tsunami that had hit Samoa.  Guam is pretty far from Samoa, we didn't feel the earthquake and we didn't have a tsunami.  We have actually read and been told that tsunamis aren't a big risk in general for the island and we live on high ground. So many of our friends and family were concerned for us- we are fine, but it's nice to know so many people were thinkning of us.

In addition to no tsunami, even after the TD turned into an unnamed Tropical Storm, it went away. It never made it.  In fact, it was pretty funny listening to a NWS meteorologist talk to a reporter about when to expect the storm (it was 30 minutes late) and she said they had lost it, they could no longer find it and it seemed to have disappeared.  Of course, there's another storm headed this way, but at least I have 9 bananas and 8 half gallon cartons of milk in case this one makes it...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Your Typical Monday

Today we woke up to a Tropical Storm Watch. This is our second one to be under since we've moved here. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, tropical storms don't scare me too much, but they do require some preparation. One thing I know for sure is they don't always stay tropical storms and they don't always go where the meteorologists think they may go or come when they are expected. So, once we were up and about Monday morning, I made a list of supplies we should pick up from the self-help (kind of like a teeny, tiny Ace Hardware for people who live on base- we can get roach spray or a/c filters or a myriad of other similar items): generator cord, duct tape. I also made a list of a few essentials to get from the commissary- milk and bananas (we had already stocked up on canned food and water the first time we were under a watch, so I figured we were ok in those departments). We were set to leave, but I looked outside and it was raining really hard and very windy. I figured we were getting some of the outer bands from the storm, so Price and I just waited until the weather broke and we left to go on our errands. On our way out, I noticed that our neighbor's car cover had blown into our yard, so I took it over and she told me that the base was under TCOR 3, which means a storm is expected within 48 ours. Everyone was being sent home to change and secure their homes (ie clean up coconuts and close their storm shutters). I told her we would close ours after I ran to the store and self-help when I remembered it was Monday- both are closed on Monday! I started to have a minor freak out (we REALLY needed milk and a generator cord) when she told me that both were opening for storm prep. So I headed off to the self- help to get the 2 items I needed.

I was the first person to arrive, so was able to get what I needed (plus about 4 other things that I wanted). As I was signing out, someone came in asking about sandbags. He was told the sand and supplies were out back and he could start making what he needed, I asked if I should get some and was told, "it's not a bad idea." I called Don to see if he was going to get off work and maybe he could come make sandbags- nope. It was either I do it, or no bags for us. I looked down at my clothes (why had I decided to dress kind of cute on this day??) and my flip flops and the pile of sand and the shovels and decided to give it my best! I put Price in his stroller and embarked on making sandbags. Luckily an airman offered to help, and he did the hard part and all I had to do was tie up my 4 bags, get them and Price into the car and off we would go. As I was carrying the last bag to the car, two other spouses walked up and they were trying to figure out if they had enough bags- I offered them my left over sacks and one of the women told me I should make all 10. So, being mom of the year, I left Price in the car with the windows down (hoping I wold hear any screams over the wind and the sound of shovels hitting on sand) and went back to making sand bags. This time, I teamed up with another woman and she and I made 16 bags- we took turns shoveling. By the time we finished and I carried the bags (with the help of another airman) to my car, I was a dirty, sandy mess. Thankfully, I had some wipes and was able to get most of the gunk off of my hands and feet, but I still needed to go to the Commissary. I thought about going home to change and then said, "Screw it- you don't know anyone here, go dirty!" And away we went- wet, sandy clothes and all.

Somehow, my list of 2 items turned into about 100 as I turned into a Tropical Storm Hoarder. All of a sudden, I felt the need to buy more canned food, more macaroni and cheese, more junk food, more, more, more of everything! I had visions of us being in mostly powerless house, for days on end with no provisions at home or in the stores on the island. I was not the only one with this compulsion, especially as we stood on line wrapped around the entire Commissary (it reminded me of a subdued Kohl's Black Friday sale). The longer we stood in line, the more items ended up in our baskets.

We now have 10 bananas and 8 half gallons of super pasteurized milk, plus a whole bunch of other stuff- and I don't know what to make for dinner!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yay for the Weekend!

This weekend, we decided it was time to do some exploring. We have been here almost a month and if it wasn't on Marine Corps Dr. or down by the hotels, we hadn't seen it. Every weekend since we've arrived we've either been jet lagged, prepping to move into a house or scared of the car we had at our disposal, and we also are trying not to do everything all at once so we don't run out of exploration spots any time soon. But this weekend, we had nothing but time and a full tank of gas.

Friday night, Don worked late (again), but made it home in time for us to go to Bamboo Willies, the base's beach bar and grill, for dinner. Food was ok, but cheap and the sangria was exactly what I needed! We had a really nice evening, and once again felt blessed to be here- eating dinner outside by the sea.

Saturday, we wanted to run some errands and I wanted to go to Jeff's Pirates Cove for lunch. I have wanted to go to Jeff's or The Cove, as the locals call it, since we found out we were moving here. So, I convinced Don that it wasn't that out of the way (hahahaha) based on our errands for the day (he wanted to go to Ritidian beach, but we'll save that for another weekend). Before we left base, Don wanted to show me the lookout point he had just found about the day before. It was a great view!

Looking down from the scenic overlook on base.

After the lookout, we went on a beer run, Don was hoping to find some Sam Adam's Cherry Wheat but we discovered a new beer, Black Butte Porter. Oh my goodness- it is chocolaty deliciousness!! Perfect after doing yard work and while eating black bean burritos. After the beer run, we headed down to Jeff's Pirate's Cove.

And I discovered, that once you get off the beaten path, Guam's interior is quite lovely. Guam is mountainous, not volcanic, but formed by plate movement. In fact, according to Wikipedia (if you can trust the source), the tallest mountain on Guam may actually be the tallest mountain on the planet because it goes so deep beneath the sea. The drive to Jeff's was, in places, spectacular. I firmly believe that even on really bad days, I will always find solace in knowing that I get to see the ocean every day that we live here. Jeff's was, as expected kind of touristy, but still great. It was so nice to eat outside and watch a rain storm blow in off the ocean. Cool breeze, good food, excellent view= great lunch!

View from our 2nd table at Jeff's (we had to move inside after a brief rain shower blew on shore)

Everyone who visits Jeff's (and especially those of us who blog about Guam) have at least 1 picture in the silly cut outs- it's the law

After Jeff's we wandered across the street to the Ifit wood sculpture showcase, they had some amazing pieces. The artist's wife, Veronica, gave us fresh limeade made with limes that grow on their lime tree. We will definitely be back to eat at Jeff's and buy some Ifit artwork. We left that part of the island and headed to Big Navy. Of course we got lost and had to turn around. But, had that not happened we wouldn't have seen a chicken fl;y across the road. It was the craziest thing, and I was glad Price was asleep because I yelled, "Holy Shit (sorry Mom)!!!" when I saw it. I grew up with chickens, but we kept their wings clipped so the furthest I had ever seen one fly was from the roost to the yard or up to a stump, but I swear this bird flew from high in a tree, down and across the road, then came to a stop and started pecking around like a "regular" chicken. Although I probably won't find solace in seeing chickens everyday, they crack me up and I have gotten in the habit of saying, "chicken" every time I see one just wandering around somewhere. I'm trying to break that habit, because I say it often.

Sunday, we went to church on base again. Price became a little ridiculous about half way through- he wouldn't sit still, he wouldn't drink from his cup, he spilled Cheerios everywhere. He was driving me CRAZY and I wasn't getting anything out of the service at this point because I was so distracted, so we left. We went back to try to meet up with some people to go to lunch, but missed them, so we decided to go down to one of the hotels for brunch. I told Don it would probably be a little expensive, but we wanted to get off base and eat, plus I somehow had it in my head that the USO was having an Oriental rug sale so we headed downtown to the Fiesta Hotel for brunch because it was close to the USO (which it turned out wasn't having a sale, which we found out after walking a mile to get there) and because we had heard nice things about the buffet. We were SORELY disappointed in the brunch. I let Don look before we committed, but I should have looked- it was kind of slim pickings, especially for how expensive it ended up being. We were both disappointed in the food and the cost, but the view out to the ocean was great, so we couldn't complain too much.

After brunch, we went to Kmart. It was our first time to experience Guam's Kmart, which is purportedly the largest Kmart in the world. It was VERY large. It was crowded, but I think that was due to the time of day we went. They had a good selection of things and prices were pretty reasonable. It might be worth the trip every now and then if I can't find what I want at either our BX or Big Navy. It made me really miss Target (which doesn't even ship to Guam by the way, the letter writing campaign will begin shortly).

We bought Price his birthday present (2 months late thanks to the move and our awesomeness as parents) yesterday and took him for a walk in it. It was a really nice way to end a wonderful weekend....

Chillaxin' in his new ride

The view from the golf course at the end of our street

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's A Small World

There have been several days recently where I've felt like I was all alone in this transition to life in Guam. In my very Terrellcentric universe, I tend to think (despite the evidence of all the other people around me), that I am the first one to EVER leave behind great family, friends, restaurants and shopping ( Target, how I miss thee) and move half way around the world to support her husband's career. But, I am constantly reminded that this is not the case, and I have my blog to thank for this.

I have been reminded that my sister in law has moved three times in 5 (I think that's right) years with one more kiddo in tow each time- NJ to Colorado- no nieces, Colorado to Ohio- 2 nieces, Ohio to Massachusetts- 3 nieces. And they're not even military! And while they haven't moved to a small island in the middle of the Pacific, she too has had to pick up her life and start it over again in each new place. Dana has been reading my blog and sending me words of encouragement, which I really appreciate.

And then I'm reminded that I am DEFINITEY not alone in this particular experience since there are soooo many women who have come before me and are soon to follow as well. The internet has connected me with several fellow bloggers who are in various stages of their Guam experiences (one of whom actually lives just a few houses down from me). It's refreshing to know people have done this before and people will do this again and I'm just part of a cycle. I will get my bearings, I will make some friends and I will be ok.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On a Lighter Note

Yesterday's post was a little Debbie Downer. But, in an attempt for full disclosure the whole week wasn't rotten and has ended on a upswing!

We did in fact purchase a Guam Bomb early last week. We are now the proud owners of a 1998 Nissan Altima with 115,000 miles, bad tint job, a crazy rear window sticker (that I am convinced is some marking to identify us as drug dealers or gang members), and deployed airbags. Pictures will be posted soon- but honestly it doesn't look bad on the outside- it's the inside that is super scary- cigarette burns, a strange smell that the can of car deodorizer only covers with a sickeningly sweet smell, it feels dirty and grimy, did I mention the already deployed airbags? Oh, and if you want to ride in it, I'll probably charge you a quarter... it shakes so much whenever you're stopped, well let's just say you should pay me a quarter...

We bought the car on Monday night (note of advice- buying a used car in a dimly lot parking lot at night- not a good idea!!). We had seen it in the daylight a few times and it looked ok, but Don was only able to test drive it at night. Although the guy we bought it from told us it hadn't been in a wreck (and nothing came back bad on Carfax), we came to discover, it had to have been since the front airbags have been deployed. Of course, we didn't discover this until 2 days after we bought it. Why would something that obvious take so long to figure out? Well, in Guam it is de rigueur to outfit car dashboards with dashmats. I am not sure exactly what purpose they serve (is it to help keep the car cool, is it to prevent the dashboard from cracking, is to cover deployed airbags?), but many cars around here have them.

As the proud owners of a "new" car in Guam, you have to register the car in your name within like 24 hours of taking ownership. So, on Tuesday it was up to me get the car put in our names. I was really worried about doing this because I thought I had to drive all over Guam to get the registration taken care of. In addition to having to navigate these unfamiliar waters, I had to bring my little co-pilot, Price with me. I just envisioned hours of DMV hell with a 13 month old in tow. But I put on my big girl, being a military wife is my super power, panties and dealt with the task at hand.

I loaded Price up and we took off (luckily we still had the rental car, so I wasn't driving the unsafe vibrauto all over). We made it to the DMV right as the sky let loose, I took it as a good sign that the storm passed as quickly as it arrived. We got into the DMV and I went straight to the driver's license window to get my temporary driving permit. I had read some where that you had to get a one day permit to drive, and assumed it was a driving permit. After standing there for about 5 minutes trying to explain to the guy what I needed, I realized I was an idiot and didn't need a temporary driver's license, I needed a temp registration permit. So, I got into another line and found out I didn't need that either, I just needed a copy of my insurance and to fill out a form and they would change the title over. Granted, I didn't have an insurance card with me and they wouldn't accept the email Don sent me with the insurance info, so then I had to figure out how to get a copy- I could drive 15 miles back to the house, hook up the printer, find paper and print out the card or I could take a risk that the USO which was just a few miles away would have a printer and let me print it off. The risk paid off! The USO was awesome (if you are military and in Guam, I HIGHLY recommend going- it was so nice, I wish we had taken advantage of it while we were staying in our hotel). We left the USO and headed back to the DMV and took care of our business. The whole process only took 3 hours.

On Wednesday night, we found out that my car- the GOOD Altima had made it to Guam. We were hopeful that we would be able to pick it up on Friday, but they didn't release it for pick up until too late in the day to get everything done that we needed to do to get it (I will have to get a temporary registration permit and a safety inspection, so I'm expecting this process to take 5 hours). We think it's funny that the car showed up a day after we bought the bomb. We bought the bomb so we wouldn't have to rent a car for 6 more weeks- it was just cheaper to buy a car. Oh well... now we're free to roam about the island again!!

We had a nice weekend after I threw myself a pity party and had a good cry and then got over the blahs. Yesterday, we went to a party at the base pool and today we went to church at the base chapel.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reality Check

One of things that I struggle with when blogging is how much I should share. I use this blog to let family and friends know about our Guamanian Adventures, but it's also an outlet for me to vent, think "out loud," and clear my head. This is one of the head clearing posts...

I've started and stopped this particular entry about 4 times. Originally I was going to post about our Guam Bomb, but we got it when I was having a really bad day. Tuesday (which started off bad, but got better), followed by 2 days of rain, one car, crossed wires and cancelled plans led to me having a rough week. By Saturday, I was looking for a shovel to start digging myself out of the rut into which I had fallen.

I think this is the hardest time of a PCS. We've been here long enough to be mostly settled into our house ( as settled as we can be without having our stuff), so as I start to feel settled into my house, I guess I feel like everything else should start settling into place too. I feel like I should know my way around, the commissary should make sense, I should be (desperately wish to be) making friends.

Much of the blame (not sure if that's the best word, maybe problem is better?) falls on me. I am my own worst enemy! I had 4 chances to get out of the house last week and work on 2 big goals I have right now- meeting people and getting back in shape. But I was able to come up with an excuses 4 days in a row (some legitimate, some not so much) and never made it. I don't know what I am so afraid of and where this shyness comes from and why I am so afraid of rejection that I am scared to go to an exercise class for moms that is probably full of people like me- just trying to get in shape and get a life.

So, I've been praying (a little more than usual) for help to get over myself and get out the door and get going! No more excuses! I cannot sit around here waiting for a Welcome Wagon full of potential gal pals to show up at my doorstep.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Darkness, There is Light!

Today we had the fortune to experience the first (of what we have heard will be many) power outages. Apparently, there is also a tropical depression churning our way. So, we thought it might be a good idea to buy a generator. We looked at the B/X and then decided we should go to Home Depot to see what they had to offer.

Somehow, it made sense to us to leave our relatively safe (albeit hot and dark) bubble of a house and head into town. I don't know why it didn't occur to us that if power was off here, it would probably be off elsewhere on the island... but it didn't so off we went.

Driving in/on Guam is always an adventure. People pass on the right (that's the law, not just my hubby's driving strategy), the stop lights don't hang over the actual lane they are controlling (for instance, the turn arrows hang over the middle lane), the roads are usually wet- it rains A LOT. When the power is out it's even more of an adventure than usual because the stop lights don't work, so it's just kind of a free for all. I think we almost died about 5 times on our way to Home Depot. Again, I'm not sure why we continued to think it was a good idea to keep going into town...

We finally make it- in one piece- to Home Depot. People are walking out with their purchases, so we think, "OK, maybe everything is fine." Boy, were we wrong! In one of the biggest ironies I have experienced in the past 2 weeks of being here- Home Depot was just as affected by the power outage as the rest of the island- it was completely dark. Yet, they were still allowing people in to shop. Have you ever been in a huge warehouse in the dark? Surrounded by who knows how many people wandering around in the dark? Potentially carrying sharp, pointy things? I HAVE!!!

It was crazy- Don and I had Price in a buggy and we were walking through the store, trying to light our way with our iPhones. I was holding on to Don's belt loop for dear life. I had visions of Katrinaesque looting outbreaks and stampedes... but nothing like that happened. In fact, some nice person gave us a flashlight they had been using to shop with and we proceeded to "shop" for a generator and some other items we needed for the house. After stumbling strolling around for a few more minutes, word went out via the associates' walkie-talkies that maybe allowing customers to remain in the store wasn't safe and that we should be escorted out of the building. Of course, we had already decided this for ourselves and were heading out. Right when we got to the car, the lights came back on.

This is why I am falling in love with Guam, and yet another reason why it feels like I am living in some kind of alternate universe. It was hysterical to be walking around Home Depot, with a flashlight during a blackout, Don and I kept cracking up over it- and how no one really seemed to care- they were just going about business as usual- just in the dark. It was great, but it NEVER would have happened at home.

I can't wait to see what other adventures we have over the next few years....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Catching Up

It's been a week since my last post, and what a week it has been!

Lots has happened over the past week, so I'll try to highlight the good things and get us all caught up with what's been happening to us in Guam.

The biggest news, and the reason why it has taken so long for me to blog is because we have moved into our house! The hotel was lovely, but we are so happy to be in our house (even if we are living on borrowed furniture- more on that later) and getting back into a routine and on a schedule!

I guess the last time I posted anything, we were heading into the long, Labor Day Weekend. Honestly, it being a weekend didn't mean much to us because Don wasn't working and well, living in a hotel kind of makes every day feel like a long weekend day. All of our days were kind of blending into one another at that point.

Don knew I was going stir crazy (even with frequent trips to base and down to the pool for fresh air, I needed a change of scenery and pace). He could tell, and he was right, that I felt like my world had shrunk and consisted of car walls driving back and forth to the base and hotel walls. So Friday, after taking a load of stuff to the house, we went to the base's Labor Day Festival. It was HOT!! It was the first day that it was uncomfortable to be outside, but I think that was because there was no shade and there weren't a lot of clouds to give us any relief from the sun. We saw some folks from his flight and chatted with them for a few minutes, but decided to head down to the "Strip" and have a nice dinner. We went to a local Italian restaurant, Vitales. It was really good. It was so nice to be eating at a non-chain, non-hotel restaurant. After dinner we walked around a bit....

Guam is a crazy juxtaposition of things. On The Strip you will find Chanel, Ferragamo, Cartier, Tiffany, etc. It's like Micronesia's version of Rodeo Drive. But then, on Marine Corps Dr. (the main drag that gets you from one end of the island to the other) people sell their wares under tarps along the road. You can buy fish, fruit, brooms and get your tires fixed. You will also see chickens roaming freely (everywhere) and Boonie dogs (feral dogs that roam the island in packs), you might even see the occasional Carabao (water buffalo). These two streets are just one example of two worlds colliding. I think that's one of the things I like about living here and yet prevents me from feeling truly comfortable here. Things that I think would feel comfortable because I am used to them from home are not really what I am used to, so I feel unsettled. Don't get me wrong, this place is truly growing on me and I really know that I am falling in love with it- it's just like a flower blossoming and revealing itself to me little by little.

Anyway... back to our weekend. Saturday we decided to walk over to the beach next to the hotel. I wanted to finally dip my toes in the ocean that I had been looking at for a week. It was nice, I can't wait until we go swimming/snorkeling. We also decided to drive to southern part of the island to check out the Navy base. (Andersen, where we are, and Naval Base Guam are at opposite ends of the island, about 20 miles apart- about a 45 minute drive from point to point). The drive to the base was gorgeous, we could see the Philippine Sea out my window pretty much the entire time. We saw lots of places that we want to go back and explore. The Navy Exchange is way better than our Exchange (which isn't bad),but I think we'll probably head to Big Navy once a month or so to do shopping.

Sunday, we had a nice relaxing day. We hung out at the pool and watched the surf. It seemed like a storm was coming in,but no rain ever materialized- just clouds and huge waves. Sunday evening we went to dinner at one of Don's NCO's homes. It was so great to eat a home cooked meal. We also had great wine and it was good company. I love Don and Price, but it was nice to talk to someone else for a change. We learned more about the base, the flight, the island. It was just a good night.

Monday, we decided to head to the house and clean it up before we received our unaccompanied baggage and temp furniture. It was a good thing that we did because we found many dead critters- a frog, several lizards/salamanders, gnatty ants, a roach. We also discovered that our a/c wasn't working, but the maintenance department was quick to respond, especially since it was a holiday.

On Tuesday we said goodbye to the Hilton and headed to our new house. The movers arrived shortly after we did and delivered our unaccompanied baggage. Price's crib had some damage to the paint and we didn't receive one box (of toys), but other than that everything is in good shape. Our temp furniture is pretty dingy! But I am thankful to have couches to sit on, a table to eat at and a bed to sleep in. The bed is REALLY uncomfortable and we are sleeping on it funny. Our heads are in the middle of the room, at the end where our feet should be. This is all due to a crazy animal chirping noise we heard as we were falling asleep- I was so fearful that this critter was going to crawl up the wall from under the bed or come in through the window, I refused to sleep with my head under the window. Don thinks I am nuts, but very sweetly agreed to sleep with his head at the foot of the bed. I also forgot to send pillows ahead, so we filled pillow cases with beach towels and random articles of clothing to serve as makeshift pillows until we get some real ones.

We also were blessed with a cable installer in the neighborhood who finished his scheduled jobs for the day earlier than expected so he squeezed ours in and we got phone, Internet and TV a day sooner than we thought we would.

All in all it's been a good week. Don is back at work and I am just trying to get Price back into a routine and on a schedule. I think Don is feeling better about the decision to live on base and things are going well.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We have a house!

After much searching (both of the soul and of the local neighborhoods) we decided on the 2 bedroom house on base.

Call us crazy, but yes we picked this....

Over this....

This view....

Over this one...

As much as we liked the condo in the tower, we decided being on the 14th floor with a dog and a baby probably didn't make a ton of sense. I was also concerned about meeting people here since we couldn't tell which units were occupied or vacant and we didn't see any postings in the lobby about building get togethers or anything. However, we are going to keep it on our list of possibilities if we decide to move off base next year.

We also have cell phones again!! I'll send out an email with our contact info- if you want the info don't get the email, just leave a comment and I'll send it to you.

We get to move in Tuesday and our first shipment of unaccompanied baggage (Price's crib and high chair, my cast iron skillet and wooden spoon, the good computer) will be delivered some time that day, as will our temporary furniture to hold us over until our household goods arrive in October.

In Priceless news... he definitely takes after his mother in the favorite food department. He is officially a starchaholic just like me. Being in the land of rice for breakfast, we have started giving him steamed rice whenever it is available (which is pretty much all of the time), he especially likes sticky rice. I also made the mistake of giving him a piece of croissant at breakfast one day and now he throws a fit if he sees one and doesn't get to eat it. Finally, we gave him some french fries yesterday- and of course he loves those too. In fact, I got him to sign "more" for the first time today because he wanted another fry. As soon as we get into the house on Tuesday and I am heading to the grocery store to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies so I can get all of us back on track to eating well!! Oh, he has also learned how to unfasten part of his diaper (he gets this from his dad and his uncle Trey), we discovered that he learned to do this when I noticed a pile of poop on the floor and half of his diaper hanging down. He now has to have clothes on over the diaper at all times- fun, fun, fun!!!
This picture was not from the poop incident, this was taken after he took another diaper off later in the evening- hence the always in pants rule

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home is....

a. where your heart is
b. where you hang your hat
c. all of the above

If the correct answer is a, then home for us is still back in the states. Of course, that is to be expected since, if the correct answer is b, we are hanging our hats in a hotel room.

Home, housing, houses have been the main topics of conversation for Don and me the past few days. I think we have come to a resolution, but it was a rough journey to get there.

On Monday, during in processing, Don found out that he was not put into a combat deployment bucket (yay!!). Instead, he has been assigned to the HARRT team. The HARRT team is is a humanitarian response team and will deploy as needed to offer humanitarian aid in the region. So, while we don't expect that Don will have two long (six months each) deployments while we are here, we do expect that he will be gone for several weeks at a time a few times each year. (In fact, he was actually slated to leave today to participate in a week long training exercise, but luckily someone pulled him from that). Knowing this, I became a bit more resolute in my desire to live on base.

Don, while being slightly open to living on base IF we were offered a 3 bedroom, still wanted to look at some off base options. I agreed and hoped for the best. We met with Housing and were told we would only qualify for a 2 bedroom. This didn't make either one of us happy- me because I really want to live on base and felt like 3 bedrooms would be the only thing to convince Don and also because of what we had heard from EVERYONE was that we would probably be offered a 3 bedroom so when we didn't, it was really disappointing. We went and looked at the 2 bedroom, it was actually nice and larger than either one of us expected. The lighting fixtures were AWFUL, but it had a full dining room, decent kitchen with lots of cabinet space, a sunroom/office, ok bathroom, great laundry room and 2 small bedrooms. It was a stand alone house, which was nice. And after what we've been living in for the past few weeks it seemed ok to me, but Don, not so much. Below is a picture of base housing, but not of the unit we looked at, or even from the same area, but wanted you to get an idea (we forgot to take pictures ourselves, this picture is from the local newspaper).

After looking at the house on base, I tried to put on my brave face as we looked at some off base options. The first house was in one of Guam's few western style neighborhoods. The houses are all new and there is still a lot of construction going on. And, I mean- a lot! There were construction workers everywhere, the house we looked at was finished on the inside, but still needed to be landscaped. The house was nice, it was big, it was new. I hated it, of course Don loved it. He (as I am from time to time) easily swayed by the clean, spacious, newness of it all. What jumped out to me was the fact that the owner was installing a security system, (Don thought this was a positive, I saw it as a negative- they wouldn't install it if it wasn't necessary). The houses were really close together and they all looked the same. Basically, it felt like unsanctioned, off base military housing. But, something about it just struck me as bad and not a good fit. Especially with expecting Don to be gone from time to time.
Not the exact house, but similar- again the only thing that is different between the houses in this neighborhood is the exterior color.

We have one more house to see, and by this point, I know that Don and I have reached a stalemate. I will also admit, that by this point I am a mess and unable to discuss housing, because it reduces me to tears. I am so concerned about not making friends and not having a support system here, and I'm so tired and jet lagged that it's all just too much. I am at my limit and adding a housing conundrum to it all just pushes me over my limit and the tears start to fall.

So, again as we head to the next house, I try have an open mind. This house is even farther from base and in a traditional Guamanian neighborhood. We pull up to the house and it's nothing spectacular on the outside- but there are trees and grass and I have a better feeling about the house than the first one, even though the neighborhood seems a little sketchier. We walk into the house, it's a split level with the living areas upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs, nothing too impressive until you look out the back windows and see the ocean. The back patio has a covered lanai and an outdoor shower. Of course, of the 2 off base houses, this is my choice, but not Don's, and as awesome as the view is and as much as out of town guests would love this, I still want to live on base.

front of house

view from back porch

We tried to talk about it at dinner (which consisted of croissants and mudslides) to no avail and the mudslide led me to slumber even earlier than usual. We woke up at 2 am and talked about, but again ended up no where- knowing one of us was going to be disappointed and both of us being afraid of the consequences of putting our foot down on one house over another.

Over breakfast, we opened up the talks again. We decided to look at the house on base again, and ask again if we could get a 3 bedroom. Don realized (or at least verbalized for the first time) that he could only be happy if i felt safe and secure. I also told him, that I was very much open to looking off base in a year, once I felt more comfortable with the surroundings. we both had valid reasons for wanting to live where we wanted to live. so we told the housing office our decision, and then she dropped a bombshell that we may not even be offered the house or type of house we looked at! My optimistic self is still holding out that we may be offered a three bedroom, but if the choices we are given aren't at least as nice as the original house we saw on base, then it'll be back to the drawing board.

I am not really worried. I know we will end up where we are supposed to end up and I will do everything in my power to make whatever house we end up in feel like a home. I am just ready to start hanging my hat in a house and not a hotel room.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guam, the list

This is the start of our 4th day in Guam. I haven't seen enough of the island to have a true impression of it.

Here's what I can tell you so far:
1. The water is gorgeous, and I can't wait to get to the beach.
2. The people here are warm and kind.
3. The interior parts of the island that I have seen are not all that nice.
4. Housing is going to be a problem and is already a point of contention between Don and me .
5. The base is nice and small.
6. I have cabin fever- I am sick of living out of a suitcase.
7. I am homesick- not so much for the US or family and friends (thank God for technology), but for having a home, a routine, a meal that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and that contains a vegetable.
8. I LOVE having rice with breakfast- there is something delicious about eggs and rice that cannot be described until you taste for yourself.
9. There are LOTS of Japanese tourists here.
10. It's funny to watch the Japanese eat strips of bacon with chopsticks while I eat my rice with a fork.
11. You can also get seaweed on the breakfast buffet.
12. The clouds are amazing, it's the sun that is hot, not the air.
13. My body is becoming accustomed to falling asleep asleep before nine and waking up by 4.
14. Can't find all the groceries I am used to, may have to start making my own yogurt.
15. The houses are weird.
16. I really, really want to like it here and have a good experience.

Related Posts with Thumbnails