What can I say about our very last day. We manage to sleep in til a reasonable hour, pack and decide to check one suitcase after all- since one of my cousins has given us TEN bags of Chamorro Chip macadamia nut cookies, I kid you not. My parents take the kids to McDonald’s for breakfast as Hubby and I pack everything into our carry-on’s. The sun is shining, and we wish we could stay longer. Some things is didn’t get to doing, but all in all, I really can’t complain. We enjoyed a very special, wonderful time on an island paradise with my dear parents. They will remain on Guam for another few days before heading home.
Our flight home is by way of Japan. We fly west to Tokyo for three hours, have a two hour layover in Narita, before the long 9+ hour flight home. These flights will show movies on a large screen, and serve meals. My gluten-free meals are served first, about ten minutes before the rest of the family’s. They are mostly fish entrees, and they are delicious! (Except the GF “muffin,” that was like a hockey puck.) We watched Theory of Everything on the way to Japan.
In Japan, we had to be processed for security again. Removing shoes and everything. A little annoying, as it took up some time. We consider getting Sushi, but settle for a free taste of something sweet covered in Mochi. I wait at the gate and watch our charging devices and carry-on’s as hubby takes the kids for a walk to the McDonald’s. They pay in US dollars and receive Japanese Yen coins in change. (I ask the boy to share some of the coins with his sister. He relinquishes all of ONE YEN- the flimsy plastic feeling coin.) Hubby says he pointed to pictures and the lady rang him up. He had no idea if his order was right, however. It was! Dear Daughter enjoys her Chicken McNuggets – since she hadn’t enjoyed what was offered on the plane. They also stopped at a gift shop for her to admire some Hello Kitty stationery.
On the way home, the crew starts the Movie, and it’s the same one! Ugh. Well, no matter, there’s the handy United app for streaming movies. Hubby is borrowing my tablet and his movie freezes up. He doesn’t know what to do. Our 6 year old helps him. She’s so cute. We are all four of us sitting in a row this time, with a good view of the movie screen. We get another meal. This is “dinner.” I’m currently tracking two time zones in order to manage hubby’s medication, as well as dear son’s antibiotics. The crew starts showing the new Annie movie, which is so disappointing, Dear Daughter falls asleep. I wish I had fallen asleep, as well, alas, I found myself watching the train wreck. Only the girl manages to sleep a significant amount of time. Nine hours is a long flight. We seem to be making good time, however, and should arrive home in closer to eight hours. Finally, they are serving breakfast. We awake the girl to see if she wants breakfast. Bad idea. She’s suddenly all Boo-Boo Face Grumpy Cat, and I am digging into my own backpack for the super-secret emergency calming device I’d packed in case we had such a situation. Dear Son sees me go for it and says simply, “I agree.” Fist bump.
And I bring out: a cute little stuffed animal of Grumpy Cat. The girl giggles and smiles, and the world is right again. Grumpy Cat will be her boon companion for the last hour of flight. Thank goodness it was only one more hour!
We arrive in San Francisco at 9:30 am, Saturday, although we had left Guam at Noon on Saturday. Wrap your mind around that one. And yet we had been up for like thirty hours, traveling for 17. Traveling over the international date line, we had skipped a day on the way there, and celebrate Groundhog Day all the way back. Guam is 17 hours Ahead of Pacific Daylight Time: to calculate this I always subtract 7 hours and add a day. After all, Guam is Where America’s Day Begins.
I cannot wait to get home, shower, and take a nap! We will have hours of fun reality television shows to watch on the DVR. I can’t wait to share my experiences with our friends and family. I am bursting with Chamorro Pride.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I think after we gave Aunt Betty some Chamorro Chip Cookies, we headed to Starbucks for lunch. Hubby dropped us off at home to get clean, while he went to the grocery store to pick up milk and stuff for dinner. I manage a 2 hour nap before dinner. I have no idea what I cooked for dinner for the family that night. I only remember that my twelve year old son fell asleep sitting up on the couch, something I hadn’t seen him do in forever. So we sent everyone to bed at like 8:00pm, Saturday night. Even after a full Sunday of recovery, it sure was hard to pretend to be normal at work on Monday afternoon. Happily the kids returned to their school schedule and had no problem. I suppose that last time I had made the long trek, I was fourteen years younger and had not birthed two children yet. This whole first week of being back, I’d find myself wide awake at three o’clock in the morning. Because, in Guam it would be 8pm TOMORROW. On Tuesday, my sister mentioned asking our mother to bring home more Chamorro Chip cookies. Alas, on our Tuesday, it would already by Wednesday Guam Time, which meant our parents were already on their plane.
My reflections continue as I process the whole of this journey. It was my intention to visit the island, show her to my children, and spend quality time with my parents. We did all of this and more. Visiting the island was meaningful on so many levels. There was such beauty on this little green island on the other side of the ocean. So much history: communal and personal. Sure, some of the history is tragic, but the Island Spirit remained, was reclaimed, and lives in resurrection. I’m delighted to have had the honor and privilege of sharing this journey with my multigenerational family: my parents, my husband and our children. They are the right ages where they will remember this vacation, as I recall my own vacation to Guam and Japan when I was nine years old.
Please feel free to ask me any questions about our trip by leaving a comment below.
Si Yu’us Ma’ase