Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spiders and Snakes and Guam, Oh My!

Before Jon and I arrived on this little island we now call home, I was terrified of Guam. When I first learned of the possibility of ending up stranded out here, it was around April 2004. Jon and I had been married a few months and the boat he was attached to at that time was planning on making its move here that December. Of course God calmed my fears by giving us the opportunity to stay in the states for a little while longer, though still on the opposite coast which I knew and loved. Apparently though, that was just the time He felt I needed to mature enough to deal with a move overseas because sure enough when Jon attempted to get orders to where we met and now call home, we were informed our best chance of getting back would be to go overseas first. Guam was were his recruiter had in mind.
Again the visions of tiki huts, beds draped in netting to keep the giant mosquitoes and poisonous snakes out, and spiders the size of small cars filled my dreams. I even began to develop a mild claustrophobia at just the thought of being on this speck of land in the middle of a huge ocean, miles from the civilization I had grown quite fond of. I never thought we would find a good church, there couldn't possibly be very many, let alone a Baptist church, on such a small island. And where was I supposed to shop??!! I imagined buying coconut bras and wearing sarongs and mu-mus everywhere. The thought of moving to Guam left me with these vivid nightmares and more!
Quickly the end of July 2008 was at our doorstep, and we were on an airplane. Approximately 24 hours on 3 different planes, plus an 8 hour layover in Japan later and we arrived on Guam at 2 am to NO sponsor waiting to pick us up. Finally we managed to reach the duty driver from Jon's future boat, and he came to get us. He drove us to the Navy lodge where we had made reservations before our little adventure all began, but we arrived at the hotel to find they had booked him as a single sailor in a barracks style room, otherwise they were packed full, of course! Well we made due with that little room with the full size bed for Jon and I. Lucky for us we had brought along in our luggage Natalie's toddler sized aerobed. Only a week and half later our car arrived and we found a place to call home. Our furniture came about 2 weeks after that. As you can tell, my initial feelings for the island, though not the nightmare I had worked myself into believing, were still not that great! I was ready to leave before the 1st month was over!
Fast forward almost 2 years later and Jon just put in his paperwork to extend! Though there are still many issues I have with Guam, mostly the awful roads and lack of shopping malls, as well as sometimes unbearable heat and humidity, I have also found happiness here. I enjoy our church as much as I could any other in the states. We have been blessed with the most wonderful friends I could ever imagine. And we live in a comfortable, spacious apartment, minus the netting and to my surprise minus the giant bugs- mostly. One part of my nightmares was true, bugs are bigger here!! The fact that we have had very few get into our apartment makes that more then bearable!
In fact, I have written all this, just so I can share with you, that we found our first spider (other then the tiny flimsy nothing ones) tonight!! Now for at least a week I will be scanning the ceilings- where this one was- and walls at 5 minute intervals for any sign of 8 scurrying long legs, but at the same moment I sit back and think, "Man, that's pretty good!". I know back home in the states there is no way I would've gone almost 2 years without spotting some big brown creepy spider running for cover across my living room floor! Guam isn't so bad after all!! Though truth be told, as long as my big strong bug killing husband is around, I don't mind the little chill of terror that rushes through me as I leap onto the nearest chair when I spot something creepy crawly! I know he will always rush in to gallantly slay the beast and save his damsel in distress!

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