We're Goin' to Guam
Disclaimer: To all the seasoned military families who may be cringing at my use of acronyms or terms, I am still very new at all of this but I’m learning – so bare with me. ;)
As a newlywed Navy Wife, and someone who prides herself on being ~independent on her own career path~, I’ve been on a *need to know basis* when it comes to getting fully invested into the military lifestyle - not because I don’t want to know, but I want to build my business as much as I can before you know...all the stuff that comes with being married and moving a few times over the next 12 years…
Well, that changed REAL quick. On January 25th, when we received our first orders as a married couple. We found out where our PCS (permanent change of station) was, and this was the day I’ve been anxiously awaiting since November 2018. We had been tossing around what it’d be like to live in our ‘suggested’ locations, like California, Virginia, Chicago, etc. but I definitely wasn’t thinking out of the country.
TURNS OUT, our orders were not to any of those ideal places, but to the literal other side of the world…
Yep, you could probably guess my reaction.
Here’s a little glimpse into how our conversation went:
“Hi babe...time for a serious talk.” “What now…?”
“We got our orders...it’s Guam.”
“Guam….where even is that?!” “You’re joking.” “Nope. Not going.” *silence*
“C’mon babe...just take it in a bit. It could be fun.”
“Nope, ugh...guess I better Google everything now.”
Google searches: Where Is Guam, What Language do they speak in Guam, Does Guam Have Target?
And it went on like that every day for about a week.
Fast forward to today, after countless encouraging texts, emails and conversations with our close friends and family we decided that between separating from the Navy after 8 years of service, or exploring a new country for 3 years then (hopefully) coming home – that was a much better option for our ideal family plans.
I’ve had just as many questions as you probably had since this country has never been on my radar to visit, so I’ll run through a few of them below so you can get a glimpse at the bare minimum that I know about Guam, so far. ;)
Where is Guam?
Guam is is a U.S. island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific (thx Wikipedia.) Since I don’t really know much about lat/long or how to identify an island in the middle of the ocean, if you were to look at a map, it’s East of the Philippines, a 6 hour flight West from Hawaii, and North of Australia. Basically, a 35-mile-long tropical island in the middle of the ocean with beautiful beaches, large military bases and the best diving in the world (so I’ve been told).
What’s the Time Change?
Guam is in Chamorro Standard Time or GMT, which means a 15 hour differentiation from where we are now in Jacksonville, Florida. AKA it’s Wednesday AM here, so it’s early Thursday AM there. Woah. Having meetings will be tough but I’m determined to make it work.
What’s the Demographic/Culture Like?
In Guam the main language is English and Chamorro, which is like a mixture of Spanish, Polynesian with a tiny hint of Japanese. The people are called Guamanians which is fun to say. Their main greeting is “Håfa adai!” which means, Hello or Hi Friend. Guam has also adopted the motto “where America's day begins" and I really love that.
Guam is a U.S. Territory, therefore it is very Americanized, but the locals are Filipino. Tourism is also a huge industry there, bringing Pacific Islanders and Asian influence across the island. Roman Catholic is the largest religion and our families are happy with that. These things all make me very happy along with the fact that the housing on base is near the best beaches on the island. YAY!
Now the rest you can probably find via Google, but those are the biggest questions I received that I had to look into myself. There’s a ton left to learn but I’m most excited to live the actual Island Life for a bit, add Chamorro to my languages and explore the South Pacific! Then, I’m sure I’ll update this post (or write a new one after year 1) with a more accurate account.
As I read through our book of checklists, I’m excited to learn more about the Navy life, and make the transition as seamless as possible for me and my kiddos (aka animals). Get ready for my personally designed moving checklists, and authentic stories from our journey.
P.S. Yes, Target ships to Guam!
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