Saturday, December 19, 2009

O Night Divine

If any of you ever decide to come visit us here in Guam (the welcome mat is out and waiting to be stepped on), after tonight I would HIGHLY recommend you come for Christmas.  First off, the weather is pretty spectacular, we're getting trade winds again, which keeps the temperature and humidity down.  But mainly, if you come for Christmas you could go to Rota Walk with us!

Tonight, since this is our first Christmas on Guam, was our first Rota Walk.  I've been hearing about it since practically the minute we found out we were moving here.  It totally lived up to and (incredibly) surpassed my expectations.  Rota Walk is held every year on the Saturday night before Christmas. Rota Drive is the nicest residential street on base and winds up a mountain hill.  Pretty much all of the base leadership lives on Rota Drive and they decorate their houses for Christmas.  Rota Walk is the night when all the lights have to be up and everyone walks from the bottom of Rota Drive to the top of the hill.  Along the way, there are choirs, bounce houses, people serving hot dogs and cookies and even hot chocolate.  It's basically a huge block party/street festival.

My description above doesn't really do it justice, and the pictures below probably won't either.  But, it was a great night. We kicked the evening off by having a rather impromptu dinner party (on the menu chili dogs and tater tots- that just reeks of Christmastime doesn't it?  Maybe not, but I think it's the start of a new Michael family tradition, we will serve chili dogs and tater tots and have a pre-Rota Walk get together every year we are here) at our house.  After all 15 of us finished eating, we headed out to Rota Drive.  It was a beautiful night out:  no rain, perfect breeze, no frogs were seen, no shrews were heard- couldn't ask for more. Price rode in his wagon and he spent the night looking at all the lights and watching all the people.  He got to ride a carabao and even got snowed on.  He saw Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman and bulldozers and big trucks.  I saw Christmas through his eyes.  I heard the carols and felt the tropical breeze on my face, and I realized why my mom always loved taking us to look at Christmas lights, I am pretty sure it wasn't for the lights themselves, but for the lights reflecting in our eyes.

The Carabao started walking off after being hit in the behind with a glowstick. I guess I was laughing about almost being trampled by a huge animal.  And no, contrary to what the picture may lead you to believe, I am not pregnant, I have just been eating a lot of cinnamon rolls.

Once again, I feel blessed to feel a sense of wonder and watch Price experience things for the first time and also be experiencing things we never would have if we hadn't moved to Guam.  It was a hard move and it's hard to be so far away from home this time of year.  But tonight was a reminder that we aren't alone here, that someone recognizes that being on this tiny spec of land could be tough this time of year, and goes out of their way to put on an event like Rota Walk so we can feel closer to home and closer to each other by sharing one, dare I say, magical moment with our friends and neighbors.

Guamanian Nativity Scene

Santa travels by a dolphin guided kayak when delivering gifts to Guam.

Bubble Snow and Palm Trees, it's a Corona commercial in the making

I'm pretty sure that those are Price's gifts on that bulldozer based on what his really generous grandparents, aunts and uncles have shipped to him!


shelly_finn said...

Terrell, it sounds like you have really found a "family" there! I'm glad that this christmas was so wonderful for you. It is indeed hard to be away, but the most memorable holidays are sometimes the ones that you aren't at home. I only wish that you guys could have been a part of our "family" here for a bit longer. We really missed you!

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