Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Final Week in Guam

My final week on Guam, I made "dates" with people for one last hoorah. Sam-Apu, you and Cynthia owe me a lunch date!
I asked my Auntie Connie if her work let her escape for lunch and then I made her pick the place because she lives here and I knew she would pick a good place. Then, she gave me great directions, which I only messed up one time. Yay!

We had such a fun time talking and eating. She related many funny stories. One involved my mother visiting her at work. As mom left, she passed a bunch of guys who made some references, in Chamorro, about her. How shocked those guys were when she responded to them in Chamorro!

We went to a Chinese restaurant with a $5 lunch special. We ordered the beef broccoli and walnut shrimp. For $5, you could buy approximately 1/6th of a 4lb roast, or one bunch of broccoli. Sometimes, it's actually cheaper to eat out than to make certain foods here!

The shrimp was tempura fried with a white sauce of some kind. It was all very tasty.

I'm glad for the time I was able to spend getting to know my Auntie Connie a little better.

This hot sauce is made from locally grown hot peppers. The Chamorro word is doni, sounding like "don't eat". Morgan laughed at that and hypothesized that some mom probably named it that because she didn't want her kids to eat it. Well, I'm certain most kids wouldn't want to eat it.

I love this stuff!

Thanks for lunch, Auntie Connie!

I was so happy we were able to stay through the weekend so that I could be here for Kate's dad's baptism. It was so amazing. Her husband, Doug, baptized him, and when they stepped down into the water and Doug held his hand up to use the authority of the priesthood to baptize his father-in-law, tears welled up in my eyes because I could feel the Spirit there.

I knew that right at that moment there was a hand in heaven adding Ken's name to the records of God's Kingdom. So many more eternal blessings are in store for this entire family!

I love you guys!

What is up with Harrison's tie???? They were doing a great job of waiting reverently.

The Hagues graciously invited us over for one last dinner. Kate and the kids threw together delicious homemade pizzas, including one with a flourless crust which was actually really yummy.

We had to be out of our condo on Saturday, so on our last night I forced the boys to go for a night swim with me.

Morgan was very mad because we had to "move" again.

Our last two nights we camped out at Auntie Judy's place where the boys continued their Harry Potter marathon. It was nice to have the time with Judy and Sam's family. Without them, I could never have gotten my condo cleared out. Thanks SO much, guys!

And all you "extra" guys with the muscle!

Having to drive from Inarajan to make our early flight, we left at 4:30 am. I had the kids already in their clothes the night before. All they had to do was brush their teeth and put on their shoes. It was dark and rainy, so I didn't get to see the beautiful blues of the ocean or the amazing green of the land.

All went well with our flight from GUM to HNL, but in Honolulu our plane was broken! They said they had another plane, but that one was also broken! So, they planned to take parts from one plane to fix the other. Thankfully, they had not boarded us, they kept us at the gate where we were free to move around.

I had electronic devices to keep the boys occupied, but after I did my own "workout" using the stairs and such, I came up with a dastardly good plan to get the boys to move their bodies. I walked over to them and said, "Hey, do you guys wanna go up the down escalator?" They couldn't believe what I had said and made me repeat it. When they believed that I was serious, they were like, "Yeah!" So, they had a good 30 minutes of playing on the escalators.

After four hours of updates about how they were making zero progress, they finally cancelled our flight and we all had to go downstairs and be rebooked for the next day as well as issued hotel and meal vouchers. By this time, our biological clock was getting into the late evening.

As I inched my way along the line, I amused myself by talking with the Canadian-French couple in front of me. That was fun. They had a good sense of humor and a great French accent. I was surprised to learn that their first language was French, yet they had grown up in Canada. Apparently, Quebec is the only province in Canada which has French as the main language. Who knew!?!

I also would move my two-boys from one sitting place to another by doing a soft whistle and directing them to the next "spot". Mr. Quebec really got a kick out of this, remarking that it was like calling a dog. I said no, not like a dog, but it prevents me having to yell their names. They were impressed by how well behaved the boys were.

We went down one more floor to gather our monstrous baggage collection, went out the exit doors to shove ourselves into a shuttle, and had 3-1/2 hours in the hotel. I decided not to even try and sleep. The shower was what I was really after. Morgan was acting like a hyper active kid, but Harris fell asleep. For which, I was sorry because I had to wake him to do the shuttle again. And the counter/baggage checking again. At our gate, I held him in my lap and he fell asleep for the half hour we waited to board. Poor kid- up again, please- onto the plane where you can sleep for hours. Which he did. They both did. I... was not blessed to be able to sleep sitting up.

One plus about the cancelled flight (besides the SHOWeR!) was that they rerouted us through SFO instead of Houston. But, in San Francisco we had four more hours to wait around. I had been more than 30 hours without sleep by then. I did manage to doze off sitting on the bench. Why did they put armrests!?!

When there was only 15 minutes till boarding, I began to wonder why they weren't making announcements. So, I walked over to the desk and saw that the screen did not show our flight! I showed my boarding pass to the lady behind the counter and asked where we were supposed to be. She said, "Here.", but checked the computer and found that NO, the gate had been changed. Good grief.

So, we hustled like Chris (Will Smith's character) in The Pursuit of Happiness when he's trying to get himself and his kid to the homeless shelter before they close. We made it to gate 73 to discover that they, TOO, were experiencing mechanical difficulties and were anticipating a delay of 30 minutes. My stomach plummeted with the previous night's experience fresh in my mind and in my feet. I prayed dearly. I bought hot cocoa for the boys and Chinese noodles for myself. I almost jumped for joy when the dude announced that we would, indeed, be boarding and getting the crap out of San Francisco.

Here's the tiny plane. The boys loved being able to see the cockpit as we approached the door. On this flight's descent, the plane shook just like a giant's kid was throwing a tantrum with us in his hand. A big, beefy, tattooed kid two seats forward jumped and gripped the armrest for dear life. I guess he was a nervous flyer.

Poor Harry looked up at me with his little face full of fear. I place my arm across him and held onto the armrest just in case he would get jerked forward. I placed my other arm on the seat in front of me just in case I would get jerked forward. I very encouragingly told him, "It's fine, no worries."

The man behind me said, "It's all in Jesus's hands now." His little girl was crying and wanted to close the window, but her dad wouldn't let her. She then related to that as the "foggy part" being very scary.

Mookie did not even know we had experienced turbulence. He had been folded in half sleeping and did sit up, but I guess he never actually woke up. He was behind us one row, across the aisle, in the window seat. The man next to him was not concerned at all. Obviously, we didn't die a horrible death smashing into the ground somewhere near Salt Lake City. Once we left "the fog" all was well.

We piled our lives and ourselves into the Rover with Jake and drove through the dark cold to the hotel. The next morning, we came out to this. Snow covered mountains. Bare trees. Crisp cool air. Brown grass.

We then went shopping.

I'm 42 and I just bought my first car.

Yeah, I was giddy like a little kid.

Here was the view coming up over the south end of Star Valley.

It feels great to be back. It feels to me like we never left.

What lies ahead? Who knows!? I'm sure it will be exciting, though.

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