five years have passed since leaving Guam and i feel i've only moved inches on my distance tracker. not exactly sure what is a measure of progress. it's all relative when away from home...looking onto Guam is like watching a looped film. thirty six feels just like thirty one.
the magnet effect is when people start a business and grow their following based on where they are from.
Guam is unique in that the small population has been historically quiet in keeping their business models guam-centric when trying to gain more exposure.
however with social media, i have found that the savvy approach has worked wonders. people from Guam travel well!- we will indeed go on a pilgrimage just to support our entrepreneurs!
i am becoming truly amazed at the number of Guammies that I stumble upon on instgram, twitter, and facebook that I can't believe I never knew existed.
i wish there were some map populating the number of Guam-born entrepreneurs and the reach they have accomplished. even businesses back home are no longer limited to servicing the local market...it really is an aspiring and encouraging surge in spreading the "Guam love".
a visiting high school girlfriend from hong kong was the impetus for a group of 5 of us to get together over none else than good ol' guam food from the boonie pepper islander grill (see next bullet) in newark. it is where an architect, a corrections officer, a government policy-maker, a career market analyst, and a specialty nurse chat over dinner. i am in infinite denial about how long it has been since we've graduated.
and from that dinner....some proof of how small guam is - my visiting friend happens to be the godbrother of the boonie pepper's owner. i happened to eat here a few weeks back and have yet to write a full review of the lovely little place in my blog but i've already reviewed them on yelp!. i'm all for making food from home more accessible to the masses. by the way, i was the first to yelp this place and the first to yelp in Guam. (it's my not-so-subtle claim to fame)
i've binge-listened to the dudes from master random, i'm all over progressive guam media on the interweb. i must say i'm not used to listening on a bunch of chamorro dudes shooting the sh** but they do bring the good sh**. they are funny and bring a new perspective to that off-island-state-of-mind i've been writing about for ages...and they are ON ISLAND so even better!
my mom is so skilled at finding ways to lure me home and i'll have to admit she's done her diligence this week. it has gotten me researching my next possible adventures in that "what if i were to move home next month" possibility. crazier things have happened.
last week i unwillingly spent money to replace the brakes on the car i've had for four years...with already 183k miles on the odometer all i could think was if those brakes would actually outlast the rest of the car. on a whim i inquired about a prius that i didn't think i'd own a day later. and now here's to the next 200k+ miles of my life to be spent on my new (pre-owned) prius.
driving has always been a huge part of my life because i rarely work where i live and live where i work. the last time that happened was when i actually lived in guam. i used to have the luxury of walking to the office because my apartment building was right next to it. when i moved to guam in 2007, i actually shipped my vw golf back home. it remained there to "retire" when i returned to the mainland and true story, i befriended the new owner on facebook! i wish i could relive all the memories with that car and now it's onto uninhibited fuel consumption with this car.
speaking of spin-offs, i am more than delighted about better call saul coming to life after the end of breaking bad. i have yet to catch up on my reading and podcasts just to get fully caught up with the details. so far, the style and story line being tied in as a prequel to breaking bad is such a smart way to lure fans in.
parenthood is another series that ended much to soon. it was such an abrupt and tidy ending that made the series much more sad and harder to let go. i am going to miss not having lauren graham on my tv...i'm pretty sure I haven't gotten over Gilmore girls either....(and on a separate note, dexter).
the two shows i simply cannot get enough of and am super attached to are girls and shameless. it's always the relationship plot lines that hit home for me. i feel like in either of these shows the writers were really building up for the main characters to go through a blowing loss that needed to happen. it's not going to be pretty but the heartache will be worth it.
the only new show I've added this season is togetherness. i've given up on the walking dead, glee, and grey's anatomy.
downtown abbey has been put on the back burner and top chef, project runway, survivor, and the amazing race are all still part of my forever lineup.
my most anticipated episodes will be when mad men returns with it's final 8 episodes!
and last but not least there is the return of the baseball season! time for my dvr to fill up with those 3-hour games to watch all 162 + of the San Francisco giants!
i'm recognizing that most people probably won't have the attention span to care about everything i write about. hence, my off-island-state-of-mind has officially branched out into two separate blogs: one documenting food and another documenting family. see sidebar for deets. all still in the works while i generate more content.
before diving in to the crazies, i'll have to do that obligatory new-year reflection. now the dust has slowly settled and the new year optimism lingers. i am that cliche: more goals, more money, more ambition, more travelling, more creating, and...wait for it: better health. my 2-year old is dwindling farther away from baby-hood and breastfeeding (yes i am still trying to stop!) is becoming less of a crutch on ways to stay thin. i've started up with the bar method and hope i stick to it. i am not ready to make any outright revelations or proclaim any testimonials...just glad to follow through. some other projects are coming up and i expect to make more progress with where and how i'd like to develop my creative juices and identity into something that will be entrepreneurial and respectful to my roots. but things have also changed up in the work place - my firm that i've been working for the last 4 years has been acquired by new ownership. no longer am i part of a 30-person firm but now a 630+ firm. and that firm happens to be based in the tundra that is the upper mid-west. i am hopeful that the climate will not be an indication of a culture clash. so far the new optimism is also trying to linger at work, too.
these are the crazies that kept me busy in 2014. and it looks like they'll be making appearances in 2015 as well.
i really wanted to launch my business. i have a myriad of ideas and have yet to hone in on the best business plan. i certain wish i had the wherewithal to start all of my ventures but that would mean i'd have to entertain my craziest not-so-crazy idea: clone me.
another project of mine for many years has been to get published. i have several book proposals in the works and for now, going back to blogging will have to stave off my writer's itch. i recognize that self-publishing a series of shorter books are viable but i'd really like it done right by finding a book agent, editor, and publisher.
my other fantasy which definitely seems the craziest (especially to my hubs) is that i signed up to be a surrogate. even though i've got a house filled with 6 kids, i've only birthed twice! how fulfilling would it be to help another couple have one of their own.
last but not least is my architect's license - it has been in the works much longer that i hoped. 2015 definitely has to be the year for this to come to fruition.
not since childhood have my sisters and i been reunited with my parents altogether (3 of us+offspring + parents) to celebrate the holidays.
first, i'd like to make respectful mention of my late aunt who passed last january from mouth cancer and is the reason my parents have come here in advance to celebrate holidays before her 1-year death anniversary. before this milestone, it has been a non-stop barrage of activity: reuniting with rarely-seen family and toggling between each of our homes, overdone mall trips, and indulgent eating; it just dawned on me that we never really had any specific holiday traditions when we were being brought up.
i don't ever recall the "spirit" of christmas when i was a kid. it was all paired down to eating loads of food and spending tons of money (that aspect certainly hasn't changed!). we didn't have all the luxuries that a modern-day california christmas today would allow: up until the late 90's, a real christmas tree was never accessible in guam; there were no outlet malls giving you that satisfactory sense of shopping; and the groups of friends my parents had were friends we'd only see at christmas. quite possibly there were occasional visits with santa at the so-called mall and sporadic family portraits that could be dug up as evidence. so today i can't help but enjoy the whimsy of being a complete unit.
and today, we've officially crossed the threshold into 2015. soon my parents will fly off and our lives will reset as it were. i never ask for much, just that i make it to next year.
below is the first family picture in this history of our family that we've ever taken together. my sister's friend, was such a doll to have accommodated us on short notice.
this is an overdue entry to air out the many ties that bind me to the game of baseball, namely the giants of the fine city of san francisco.
one would never guess my crazed obsession. i boast no jerseys, bobble heads, or season tickets...just stories and many sleepless nights. my high school freshman english teacher used to preach about the glory of this game and i never understood this until finding such a love for baseball in these recent years. mind you, i did not just happen to hop on the bandwagon when those rings started piling on. three in five years is the stuff of legend and every reflection brings me back to those wise words mr. o once shared. i also happen to have a physical connection with the ballpark. when it was newly built, i toured the facility as an architect intern. it was here that my bewilderment was forged. and now more than a decade later, i stick by training camp, all162 regular-season games, the magical post season, and every bit of media to occupy my brain on a daily basis. there is just nothing like it.
the skies were overcast and our cars overloaded. yet on nearly the last weekend in september, three families that had never shared a campsite, much less a room together, were able to bask in all of nature's splendor, in the midst of the barely-sunny napa coast adjoining bodega bay.
i choraled 2 ladies that i once shared a high school with...along with our husbands, kids, SUVs, and everything under the sun we were able to make use of within that 24-hour period. that's right- it was hardly a full day (22 hours to be exact) of separating ourselves from suburbia, technology, and naysayers...but we bonded over every ounce that we had in common: all from guam, girls that shared a uniform and a school campus, kids that were uprooted from the island we will forever call home.
it would be easy to assume that growing up on guam would instantly make me an outdoor-savvy and adventure-seeking girl scout. but you could also easily argue that i would never be the first person eager to conquer a hike, sleep on a hard surface, or brave unsanitary bathrooms....but something about camping forces me to reconnect with the feeling of being back on the island. surviving countless typhoons, power outages, and elaborate spreads of food-from-a-can makes the challenge of camping all the more gratifying.
*off-island* refers to the state of being away from the island of guam. you can now follow my spin-off food blogs, off-island for everything food-related and off-island family for an insider view of my bunch*
from my lush homeland to the city by the bay and into the far reaches of the suburbs, i've made my home twice. it was fun in my 20's and even better in my 30's. documenting it all makes me feel important (to myself). here you'll find my multi-tasking adventures with food and the fashionable, my love affair with my dvr, an occasional moment of profound thought, a lot of useless yet laughable ranting, and lately stuff about my babies. i'm only fab-ulous because it's in my name. i am mother, wife, architect.
now periodically posting from my mobile phone. pardon the edits, in my haste.