Sunday, August 3, 2008

Going to Guam


I don't know exactly what to say... I'm making a big change in '09. Ever heard me talk about the Gypsy in me? I feel like I was destined to live with my livelihood and possessions able to pack and leave at any moment. I have been conflicted with following that lifestyle and "securing my future" by staying put for long enough to do things in an orthodox manner. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to live in California.... Now I can't imagine making that work for me (not that this point in my life). I came to Utah looking for --don't laugh-- some diversity(okay you can laugh) but I didn't realize I was coming to the single most exclusive society in the nation. Maybe things would be different in SLC, but it seems like everyone is either a lover or a hater around here. I was just looking for somewhere with a lot of people, expecting for diversity to follow. But I think Mormonism is kind of a blanket identity that is woven into everyone's existence and seems to squelch any real diversity in people's personality. I guess I liken Mormon culture to Kudzu in the South. Kudzu was brought to the south to provide vegetation to the area, something for cattle to eat I think. anyway, the plant took over the place, permeating the countryside and choking out all the other types of plant around it. Mormon culture is like a creeping ivy. It envelopes the area until its all you see... Sure, there may be a great variety of trees/people, but they are covered in kudzu/Mormonism so thats all you're ever going to see. Driving down 51 in Memphis you don't see any variety in scenery, in Provo, you don't see any variety in culture.

So. you guessed it, I need out. I was doing okay here because I was feeling good about going to school and accomplishing something. I've made it here this long because I made myself stay put in order to get 2 years of residency so I could enroll in school at UVSC. I was actually looking forward to this fall semester because I think I may actually enjoy school. Last semester was my first, and I had no idea what to expect... and I hated being blindsided by things that everyone else took as a given, this coming semester was going to be great because I now know how school works, what teachers expect, how to register for classes, setting up a schedule that allows me to have some free time... hell, I'm even getting financial aid this time around (hopefully)!

But just as I was getting comfortable, someone got me thinking about moving. When that happens I fixate on the idea and really nothing else can distract me from it. Suddenly my great rent rate wasn't that great. School seemed like an obligation, Utah seemed like a cage.

I'm going to try to keep this short. I hear it gets boring to read my blogs when they go too long.

After a lot of research and pondering I decided to try to leave the continent. I knew a girl from Ecuador a long time ago, she told me it was the greatest place in the world and I got kinda enamored with it from all of her stories. Ever since I have wanted to live in Ecuador, and learn spanish, ride a turtle around, learn about another culture and maybe even help them out by building an orphanage or something. It seemed like a great experience and I have been planning to make it happen for over 6 years now... and I have made no progress. In fact, I realized recently that I have enjoyed the dream of going to Ecuador much more than I ever would enjoy the reality of going, I haven't even really done much research on the country, maybe out of fear that I would become disillusioned to it.

So I'm moving to Guam. I was browsing through Craigslist, looking through all of the states looking for a viable option/alternative to Utah. right in the middle of them I saw Guam. "Guam? what the heck..." I started doing my research on the island and I can't explain... it felt like exactly where I have always wanted to live. I read stories from the residents, and even when they are complaining I can tell they have an immense love for the place. Even the ones who "got out" recount the experience with fondness. I read up on their economics, the culture, the pros and cons of being secluded from the mainland... I feel like I have exhausted my sources for new information but I continue to scour for it, and find it. I can't hear enough about it!

Don't think that this is some infatuation with the idea of leaving the country. I am pretty much dead set on my plan.

here it is.

1. Work and go to school this semester at UVU. This will give me time to find connections, iron out the details of what I need to do to get there, save up money, wrap up my obligations here, get another semester of school under my belt, find an exchange program that will allow me to start a new semester at the University of Guam in Jan '09 so I don't have to wait and waste an entire year (getting residency/tuition) before I start going to school out there. I also intend to get a job as a bartender here in Utah (I think there are a couple of bars around here... mostly I guess I'm going to just learn how to mix a ton of different drinks, but some time behind the bar would help exponentially) and in Guam, work in a hotel bar. (their main hustle is tourism for Asians).

2. In January, move out to Guam. Start school under an exchange program and get some generals out of the way. Get a job and a mode of transportation (probably a dual sport motorcycle and later, a car). Housing is relatively cheap out there, so I will probably find a place a little bigger than I need, that way you can have a place to stay when you come visit, and I 'll have room to do what I want.

3. Like I said, I will probably work in the tourism/hotel industry since that is their main source of income. If not, I will get a government job - possibly with the Forestry dept.

4. I will be taking my video camera. I intend to make a documentary on the subject of the Invasive snake species there, the Brown Tree Snake, which has had a tremendous impact on the natural eco system of the island(though they are nocturnal, and therefore not a prominent issue to life on Guam, there are over 5000 snakes per square mile on the island).

5. I will probably be there for 3 years or more. If I am able, I intend to buy a house there. Housing is cheap for now, but it's about to start going up in the next couple of years due to the influx of military previously stationed in Okinawa.

6. I intend to live life on my terms. I am not running from anything. I am running to the thing that makes me happy.

I'm not done wandering, I'm doing this all while I still have it in me to do, and when I am too tired to continue I may settle down and do the whole "grown up" thing. but for now, I'm taking advantage of the fact that I have no obligations to anyone but myself.

"I got no strings to hold me down, to make me fret, to make me frown...."

I will be keeping you all posted on this. I haven't gotten too detailed in this initial post because I have already run longer than I should. More details to come. I'm sure in the meantime you will be asking me "why guam"... maybe I'll make that a post of its own.

Thanks for reading,


Janell said...

"I haven't even really done much research on the country, maybe out of fear that I would become disillusioned to it" You just nailed why I don't put the effort I ought to behind so many things - if I don't do anything I won't be disappointed.

Right now I'm trying to figure out where to settle down. I'm liking Memphis, but anywhere without snow and outside of Utah or mormon mainstays is sounding good. Granted, being a mormon ought to indicate that I should "stick with my people" and head for "the large dating pools," but blah. Been there done that. I'm think I'm happier in bigger cities and smaller church groups.

Keep the word updated as you plan your trip!

Kelly Jo said...

If Guam is what you want, I'm sure you will love it there. Just save me a spot to stay when I come visit.
Love you.