Month: June 2013

Skydiving Down, Guam

I’ve lived in Guam for about a month and a half now.

From what I’ve heard about enjoying life on the island, it just seems smart to develop a healthy relationship with the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the get-go. Call it insurance against deciding that I hate it here (as if the sunsets aren’t enough). 

I don’t think I could dislike Guam if I tried. But as long as I’m young and resilient and adventurous (I’m told that one day I’ll be old, tired, and boring) I might as well try as many new exploratory things as possible.

That, and my husband told me that getting dive certified was a non-option once I moved out here.

So. The dive shop, one of my new favorite places, threw me into a class with five big military guys and wished me the best of luck. I haven’t needed luck yet…

It’s like skydiving (the BCD even feels like the harness skydivers wear), only superslowmotion and down, not up. Worth the sunburn. 

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139:9-10

24601 (The Tragic Life of an Imprisoned Parakeet)

My husband and I bought a pet parakeet.

Jean Valjean–Johnny for short. He’s about four inches tall and boasts mint green and lemony-yellow plumage. Some would say he’s jumpy and fearful; I’d prefer to think that he’s merely discerning about his environment and the company he keeps. We have yet to earn his trust.

I’m accustomed to bribing animals with food. At least it works with dogs. Cheap creatures. Give them a hamburger, and they’ll give you the world, if they can figure out how. But Johnny isn’t swayed by food. Johnny isn’t swayed by ANYTHING.

I’ve tried singing to him.

Whispering to him.

Whistling.

Tweeting.

Standing on my head.

He won’t be moved.

Something about Johnny is inherently sad. Bred in captivity and shipped to a tiny Pacific island for sale in a pet store, he’ll never know what it feels like to fly free. If, heaven forbid, he does get loose, he won’t know how to take care of himself in the wild.

I have a feeling that Johnny would become a brown tree snake’s lunch here–or, more likely, fly into a car–before he could open his beak to sing anything poetic about freedom.

So even if I set him free, he’d still be captive to his own limitations.

When my husband and I bought Johnny, we rescued him from a pet store but separated him from all his comrades. Now he’s alone, with nothing but a couple of inept humans caring for him, and a cheap plastic imitation of a parakeet on a spring to keep him company.

He’s doomed to live a sort of depressing life. It’s like, I look at that bird and think, his story doesn’t have a happy ending. 

He’ll get used to us. Realize we’re not going to kill him (on purpose) and sit on our fingers. According to petbudgie.com (and many other reliable sources), his human owners can provide socialization and emotional fulfilment.

Johnny might even learn to talk.

But he’ll still be a caged bird, and I’ll always know it, even if he doesn’t and–maybe because birds literature have always been so symbolic of ambition and freedom–there’s something almost sad about that.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

Excerpt from “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou

Wuv, twue wuv…

One of these days, I will wake up, and it will all have been a dream, from the morning one month ago when I boarded a plane to Guam to the day I stepped into a fluffy white dress and walked down a grassy tropical aisle.

I’m still trying to digest the idea that I live here, that the palm trees and bamboo forests I see outside the windows of my home are real, and that there’s often a man laying beside me in bed.

These things take time.

Lessons learned: 

  1. Creepy stalker geckos will move into your kitchen cabinets and refuse to leave
  2. 79 degrees Fahrenheit constitutes a cold front
  3. You will sunburn
  4. The ocean is big. And beautiful. And terrifying.
  5. You’re not as good a cook as you thought you were
  6. Marriage is an adventure-ful way to aim ad astra — toward the stars.

It’s weird and kind of humbling not to (a.) be enrolled in school or (b.) have a job. I’ve never, ever felt like I was born to be a homemaker–at least not my conception of what a homemaker is. That conception is changing on me, though, as fast as the Guam weather.

I’ll be the new kind of cool housewife who scuba dives, explores places, reads books, and studies Indonesian in her spare time.

Or… something.