I remember first arriving on Guam, the air was warm and a soft breeze carried the smell of the salty ocean, sharp and energizing. Although it was late at night I felt a rush of energy and a thrill at the realization that once again I would have the opportunity to explore somewhere new. As most military kids experience, moving had become part of my lifestyle and I was ready to seek a new adventure that the small island had to offer. It was 2008 and although I was young, my experience of Guam will forever be ingrained into my mind. It's true, even the magnificent island brought a few discomforts originally, such as adjusting to the warm climate and the insane 14 hour time change. The island of Guam is located 7 hours by plane to Hawaii and is part of the Marianas islands.
The culture of Guam is amazing to learn about. The natives of Guam, the Chamorro people, descended from Indo-Malaya peoples. The Chamorro culture was altered by European influence when Spain claimed Guam as their territory and brought missionaries to establish Christianity in Guam. Additionally, due to Spain's influences, the language spoken by the Chamorro people shares similarities to the Spanish language. After the Spanish American war, Guam was ceded to the US and stayed that way until WWII when Japan took Guam for four years. After the war, the US had regained their hold on Guam. While living in Guam, I went to a DOD school that taught classes about the culture of the island and it was definitely my favorite class to go to. The history of the island is fascinating and I learned so much about it while there.
Guam, although small and only about nine miles wide and thirty miles long, the island is a location many tourists visit. Guam holds a variety of natural wonders such as underwater caves, countless beautiful hiking locations, waterfalls, amazing beaches and places to snorkel, and the beautiful blue ocean. Hiking and snorkeling had to be some of my favorite activities to do on Guam. The oceans are warm and beautiful. There are so many unique fish and the coral in Guam is amazing!
Additionally there are countless man-made commodities that make it a great place to visit and an even better place to live. Guam has an amazing aquarium called Underwater World, a zoo, many shopping locations, beach clubs, and water parks. There are also a number of luxury hotels located along the beach referred to by the people on Guam as Hotel Row. Due to its many cultural influences, Guam is constantly having festivals and celebrations that both explore the culture of Guam and its past as well as being a great way to spend your time. The mango festival is one festival I particularly recall being extremely fun.
In Hagatna, the capital of Guam, there's a place called Chamorro village. Chamorro village is always packed full of people due to its large variety of cultural shops and stalls, local restaurants, dance halls where bands play and people would dance. I loved going to Chamorro village because it was so inviting and had such a fun atmosphere. Not to mention the food is phenomenal!
And everyone is so nice on Guam. Guam is literally the only place that you can see random people walking around with machetes and still feel safe. They are most likely just trimming back the vast growth of plants or chopping coconuts from trees. The greenery on Guam is breathtaking, and there is wild tropical fruit everywhere you look. I recall many walks my sisters and I would take to go gather fruit from trees in our neighborhood. There are quite a few unique animals on Guam as well such as the carabao, geckos, brown tree snakes, black drongo birds and fruit bats. Overall, I would have to say living on Guam was definitely one of the most astounding things that I will ever experience and hopefully anyone who moves there enjoys it just as much as I did.