by: Josh Tyquiengco, GVB Public Information Officer
After several years of living in the U.S. mainland and being away from Guam, returning home suddenly felt new again.
My senses were enhanced as the first thing I noticed after stepping off the plane was the humidity. The air felt slightly dense and beads of sweat started to form on my forehead. Of course, the hint of warm weather was met with the cool air of the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority. It was a good reminder of how the vast majority of local residents love their air conditioning. After picking up my luggage and going through customs, I walked into the arrivals entrance and was greeted to the smiling faces and full hugs of my parents and extended family. That's what I missed about most; family. Guam is all about family.
My first meal off the plane was at Denny's. My family loves to eat and talk about the latest events happening on island. As I ate my chicken stir fry dish, they talked about who's getting married, who gave birth, whose birthday they attended and whose funeral is coming up. They also planned on attending my cousin's basketball games. There was already so much to do. They also started planning a barbecue at my grandma's house to celebrate my uncle's birthday and my return. Immediately, my taste buds were excited at the thought of eating red rice, barbecued spareribs, chicken kelaguen and pickled mango.
As I settled into being home again, I couldn't believe the different shades of green that were displayed along the mountainous landscape of southern Guam. The air smelled crisp. The ocean water was crystal clear everywhere and the different hues of blue were so vibrant. I took time to sit on the beach in Tumon and planted my feet in the water. I finally understood why people visiting Guam said it was like bath water to them. The sunsets also became surreal, high definition paintings. It was nothing I experienced while living in the states. When I heard my parents and Grandma speak the Chamorro language to each other or our relatives at church, it felt comforting. It reinforced my unique identity of being a native Chamorro boy in a modern, westernized world. I just couldn't believe that I grew up here and didn't see that I lived in paradise. I thought to myself, "This is what visitors must experience when they come to Guam."
Nearly 7 years later, I continue to remind myself of the way I felt when I first returned home. It's my hope that the local community continues to fall in love with Guam over and over again, like I do. I hope you will too.