I have been in and out of your life all of my life, but I have never forgotten you. Though I moved away in the prime of my life, I always considered you home. I first met you when I was a young child. I have many good memories of fine white sand beaches, delicious fiesta food, friendly people, good teachers, and lifelong friends. I am sorry that people who don't know you say bad things about you and make silly remarks about snakes and life on a “rock.” Some ignoramuses even have the nerve to make fun of you, and use you as a joke for something insignificant. You are anything but, if they only knew you.
I must say, you have grown up a lot since I've known you. You made a decision to be the Waikiki of Micronesia, to not be dependent on the military for your economy. I remember when Tumon was mostly beach and a few hotels, and now it's the other way around, with a lot of glitz too. But, you always knew that your beauty could emerge despite the development. And it does. It still remains a place where local families can relax. I enjoy walking the beach in the late afternoon, seeing the canoe paddlers in the bay, waiting for the sunset. And what gorgeous sunsets you have. Oh, and your skies! The puffy, cumulus clouds, provide a beautiful backdrop during the day, and a water-color type canvas at sunset.
Guam, oh Guam, how you have impressed me with your restaurants. You have taken the local food that I grew up loving, and doing creative things with it in your restaurants. An example of what's happening in the food scene is at Pika Cafe. They take Chamoru comfort food, tinaktak, ground beef cooked in coconut milk with green beans, and make a luscious burger with it. And your promotion of local produce! Commendable. There are examples of this "Chamoru fusion" all over Guam.
There's something about you, Guam. Your history - from ancient times through the colonial periods, Japanese occupation, and now in this American era as a territory - is fascinating. Your people and your culture are a unique blend of your history. Your status as the hub of Micronesia, and "Where America's Day Begins," gives you a prominent position in the region. Your resilience after being hit with destructive super typhoons in the last few decades defines your spirit.
And now, you seem so ripe. So full of energy and creativity. So bursting with pride infusing all kinds of human endeavors. A recent documentary, Talent Town, made by local filmmakers, the Muna brothers, explore the many forms of talent there and the need to support it. You can hear live music any day of the week somewhere. Even on a weekday, you have to club-hop to hear the music you need to fuel your soul.
You are not perfect Guam. There is a lot of work to be done. But people are showing up, doing their thing, contributing their gifts. Biba!