“Oh wow, you are so good at English” is a fairly common response I get when I introduce myself and tell people I am from Guam. Yes, they speak English in Guam. Most people have never met a person from Guam, and I am usually their first. I take pride in that.
Guam is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, north of Sydney. It’s such a tiny island that you won’t be able to spot it in regular maps, but I assure you, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is one of the five US territories, and also serves as an important US military base.
Five years ago, I made a life-changing decision to come to New York City. Honestly, at that time, I wanted nothing more than to get off the tiny island and explore the world. I was tired of always hanging out at the same malls and bored spending my whole day at the beach doing nothing. I just wanted something different. So, without further hesitation, I flew 23 hours across the world to this city that never sleeps, where dreams come true. I never once regretted this decision, but this concrete jungle does get a bit overwhelming at times.
Sometimes, when I’m fighting my way into the overly packed subway to get home after work, and those days when I’m passing by the glamorous shops on Fifth Avenue, I realize how much I miss my island.
I miss the little things.
I wish I had known then how breathtaking the beaches are. I never knew the beach/ocean water could be so black and cold in other locations. I hate the 30-minute “short” commute because in Guam, I got everywhere I needed in 10 minutes. The Spam-and-Rice menu at McDonald’s doesn’t exist here. I miss waking up every morning knowing I will have perfect weather yet again. How can I forget the smell of the ocean when driving with the windows rolled down on my way to school, or the colors of the setting sky mixing like a bucket of paint? Of course, I can’t forget to mention, Guam is tax-free!
If I had known to appreciate the little things that make Guam so unique, I wouldn’t have been in such rush to get out. All I can do now is patiently wait for my next vacation back to my beautiful little island.
No matter where I am, and who I become in my unpredictable future, I will always be a true island girl at heart. Biba Guåhan!