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I Left My Heart in Inarajan

DSC_0070You would think that living on an island means going to the beach everyday, enjoying the sand and sun, and living a laid back lifestyle. Living in Tumon, it’s easy to forget that I’m on an island because things seem much faster. That’s why every-now-and-then we go south, where the true spirit of island life seems to live.

I first went to Inarajan when we were invited to a fiesta (Don’t Be Ashamed!) and again this year (Go Eat). It quickly became my favorite village on island. The historical part of the village is like walking down a street in the village that my dad is from in Spain. That’s what I love about it. It felt nothing like the other villages I’d been to. The Spanish influence was evident in the architecture of the old houses. The streets are narrow, the homes are dilapidated, and on some there pretty murals that depict a part of Guam’s culture. It’s beautiful and there’s no other way to put it.

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I again visited the village when my parents came to visit in February. My mom also felt that it reminded her of Spain. I think we both felt nostalgic and it seemed like she loved Inarajan as much as I do.

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As we walked through the village, we spotted this giant statue of Chief Gadao the chief of Inarajan located next to the Baptist church. Someday I’d like to walk to Gadao’s cave that is located in the area!

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(Read about the legend of Chief Gadao here)

That weekend they had a cultural festival where they taught us how to husk a coconut and throw a talaya (fishing net). Peter and my stepdad entered a coconut husking contest where they both cut their hands on the coconut grater!

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We ate red rice, with finadene and bbq chicken and stared out into the bay; we were hypnotized by the cool breeze and shining water. It was a hot day, but we didn’t care! After that we walked over to the bakery where the baker had made fresh bread. He taught us about the history of the village and the stove where they bake their breads on Sundays. Apparently many of the homes are historical houses and can only be renovated in a way that reflects their original appearance, which is too expensive for many people to accomplish. So instead, they are left to wither away. If I could, I would buy one of the homes and renovate it and turn it into a museum or something. I wish I could live in Inarajan! It would be a nice place to retire or raise kids.

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After our busy day at the festival, we headed to the Inarajan pools and watched the sunset.

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Day 2

When I woke up for my first full day on Guam, my eyes shot open and energy surged through my blood. Could this be real or had it all been a dream? “Ahhhhh, I can’t believe I’m in Guam!” That’s what I’ve been saying every day since I arrived. Due to the time change, I was up early. Barely 6 A.M. in November and it was 80⁰ and sunny! The humidity made me feel as if I wouldn’t be able to stay, “I’m going to have to go home, I can’t deal with this.”  I felt like I couldn’t breathe, “How am I going to live on THIS oxygen?”

 I was amazed that this was real, that this wasn’t a dream.  I’ve seen palm trees before, but not….not like these! It felt as if I had been in a coma for the last 20 years of my life and, up until now, it was all a dream.  As if that world no longer existed.  As I walked to the beach for the first time I thought, “This only exists in calendars and computer desktops, this isn’t supposed to be real… and now this is where I live!” The water was an unreal, clear, blue, heaven water, which stretched out as far as the eye could see and almost blended into the sky on the horizon.  I had to touch it immediately. Warm.  Just as I’d always imagined it to be; perfect in every way.

Day 1

I had been sitting in an economy isle seat for the past seven hours but I didn’t feel cramped, anxious or scared, as if the plane would fall from the sky into the sea where my body could never be recovered and my soul mate would forget about me and move on with his life as if I never existed.

As the plane descended, on to what was going to be my new life, I couldn’t see much. It was dark and all I could see were a few lights. It was a smooth landing, for the most part. It felt like another vacation, a temporary break from the monotonous; gloomy; uhhhg…. restless; stable; safe life I once had.

It wasn’t until I walked out of the baggage claim when the humidity hit me and I saw the palm trees. I thought to myself, “Oh my God, where am I? What am I doing? I quit my job and moved to Guam!”