This may appear to be a rambling train of thought, but hang in there, okay?
Many years ago my sister married a serviceman (Air Force, not milk delivery), and found herself boarding a plane to join him in Guam. She was in her last trimester of pregnancy, waddling off to the other side of the world, a whole day away (on the clock and in transport) from the hometown she’d lived in until that day.
It can’t have been easy, especially before the internet and Skype made round-the-world virtual visits possible. In fact, she could only speak to us at home via crackly HAM radio-phone patches, and even that occurred rarely.
Despite geckos climbing the living room walls, (before insurance commercials made them appealing), and having to tiptoe her way through masses of snails, she made Guam her new home for the next two years. Along the way she also made life-long friends, learned new skills, including sailing, and developed inner resources.
Many years later I met a nun who had spent years on Guam as the head of a school. She laughingly told of doing the snail-dodge walk on the way to a graduation ceremony one Sunday morning. The path had one snail too many and she landed on her keister, slid down the hill, and arrived at the bottom with her long white habit covered with snail slime. Despite that, she spoke of her time in Guam as some of the best years of her life.
Those stories came to mind when I learned that Kirby Larson was taking a ten day trip to Guam, sponsored by the Guam IRA (International Association of Reading). Guam is the location of the military monument to the War Dogs of World War II. Kirby’s latest release, DUKE, incorporated her research about these dogs in the story of one young boy and his dog. I wrote about DUKE in a recent post, here.
Kirby’s travel and experience make excellent reading, and I urge you to see what she has to say about the trip. First, her anticipation. Then, listen to this interview with her while visiting the island. Finally, share her thoughts after returning, along with some delightful photos of her trip.
The bottom line is that every experience holds potential adventure and learning, but some choices ramp that possibility up exponentially. Guam seems about as far removed from mundane as you can imagine. It offers plenty in the way of the unexpected. But it also offers eye-opening and heart-stretching opportunities to meet new people, experience new things, and discover inner resources.
This year is my Guam. I’m moving through unexplored territory as I navigate the process of having Odin’s Promise published. I admit to feeling awkward and uncomfortable at times as I plan to give myself and the book a party, to engage in interviews, to call on friends for support. But I remind myself that it’s not as hard as picking geckos off of walls or dodging snail slime. Along the way I hope to make plenty of new friends, too.
And if I should end up on my keister in front of a crowd, I’ll remember to laugh at myself and try to learn from it.