By now, most of you know we made it to Guam safely. We still don’t have cell phones, house phone, internet, cable… you know, the “luxuries” of America. It takes a little longer to figure out which company to use here because they each offer something different and it’s a headache. Do you want to reach the states cheaper through text or a house phone or a cell phone? Do you want to deal with slower internet? Do you want to bother getting cable and if so, how much? Do you want a cell phone that can call the states and a house phone that can’t? Do you want to only reach them through Skype? Do you get one cell phone plan that can text and call the states and another one that is less likely to drop calls in certain areas of the island? Are you starting to get why we are still unreachable? We really take for granted the ease of everything in the states. Everyone there offers basically the same plan, you just have to decide which one to purchase. But we are going to work on it this week. Here’s what we have been up lately and hopefully it will answer some of your questions.
How was the flight?
Honestly, it could not have gone any better. All the prayers that everyone sent our way were definitely heard. The kids were amazing, especially on the really long flight. We were not given assigned seats for some reason, so we had to sit in pairs, which I think actually worked out better. Both sets of seats were in the middle and behind a wall, giving us extra leg room. I can’t tell you how awesome this was! I could prop my feet up and we could put all our stuff on the floor. We had more movies and tv shows available to watch than ever and I watched 3 movies that I wanted to see this past year, but never got around to seeing. The kids slept a couple hours and Brandon slept a little and I got about 30 minutes of sleep. By the time we got to Tokyo (13 hour flight from Atlanta) I was really tired, so Brandon, the amazing husband that he is, let me stretch out on the chairs at our next gate and sleep for at least an hour. Then I got about another 1-2 hour nap on the next flight. The kids both slept a little more and I’m not sure Brandon did, but I hope so! We landed in Guam around midnight, walked right through customs (mostly b/c we were Americans and had small children) and on to baggage. All 8 pieces pretty much arrived together and we headed to meet the people who we were hoping would be there to pick us up. We got to our hotel, finally got to our room and were in bed asleep by about 2:00 in the morning. It was about 24 hours total flying time.
Things I learned that helped. #1, bring a stroller!!! I had ours set in the Goodwill pile at home, but we had pulled it out to carry our cooler at the zoo before we left and I realized it might be worth it to take through the airport. I think having the stroller is what got us through the lines faster. Plus it carried the kids backpacks and more. #2, if flying to the complete opposite time zone, try to arrive at your destination around midnight. You can go straight to bed and it makes easing into the new time zone much easier because you don’t have to force yourself to stay awake for over 24 hours. The only problem we have had is waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and it takes a few hours to go back to sleep. Mostly b/c we were thinking of all the things that we needed to take care of now that we are here.
What have you been doing?
We have been staying downtown in a hotel, but mostly we have been crashing at the Johnson’s house. (I can’t tell you how amazing they have been! They bought us food, let us hang out all day, fed us meals, drove us around, etc., etc., etc.) We have met new people and everyone is very friendly and they have kids around the same ages as our kids and I’m very excited to get to know everyone more. We loved living on base at Eglin so we missed having kids around to play with and moms to talk to during the day. (I wasn’t completely abandoned in AL, I had incredible family and friends there, but it’s really nice to just walk out your door and have someone to hang out with for a few minutes.) We’ve also been trying to figure out housing and cell phone/internet/cable/phone plans and Brandon has to deal with all of the in-processing he has to do. We picked up our van the day after we arrived and since it has been sitting here for almost 2 months it took about 3-4 days for everything to work smoothly. The A/C gave us a scare because it wasn’t working and though there is a very nice breeze here, it’s still hot to drive around without the comforts of air conditioning. We finally figured out we had to turn it up to 80 and that gave it the break it needed and we are comfortable again. It still has a rattling sound, but we’ll deal with that later.
What is your house like?
I love our house!!! Our house is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, with a back patio and a little sunroom in the front. (I will post photos later.) We thought it was going to take at least a week, more lik two, before we could move into a house. Brandon has already been living out of hotels since July and the kids and I have been out of suitcases and in/out of hotels since then too, so we were desperate for a house fast. We walked around looking at empty houses, made our list, prayed it would happen sooner than later. When Brandon finished his work on Monday morning, we met him for lunch and then headed to the housing office. Typically, they tell you which houses you can move into and you hate them. You can turn down 3 houses and then have to wait until other people look before you get another turn. We were given two houses, but told them that we really wanted the renovated ones if possible. She gave us two other houses to look at, we took the keys and went to check them out. One was nice, but we weren’t crazy about the layout. We headed to the other one and it was clearly the winner. We went back, told her we wanted it and asked her when we could move in. When she said, “Tomorrow if the movers can bring your stuff.” and I was crossing my fingers and praying hard! Brandon called the movers, they were free and would bring all 3 shipments the next morning. It’s moments like that when I wonder how people can’t believe in God. This never happens! Our flawless flights, mellow kids, a van, a house AND moving in within 5 days of arriving?!? So, our stuff arrives and it went smoothly as well. And we had the kids there. Of course it felt like Christmas for them because they hadn’t seen most of their stuff in months. I got rid of a good bit of stuff and left some pieces of furniture at home, so the house feels perfectly spacious. We would have had room for all of it, but I felt so cramped the last time we were in base housing and didn’t want to go through that again.
What is the weather like?
It’s a lot like the beach in the South. The sun does feel a little hotter, but there is a constant breeze so it’s not too bad. It’s humid, but after about 3 days we felt used to it. Having only lived in the South really helped. The temperature is in the low to mid-80s and drops way down in the mid to upper 70s at night. : ) You still need a sweatshirt inside because the A/C feels so cool compared to the humidity, especially on rainy days.
I hope to post on here at least once a week with photos to keep family and friends up on what we’ve been doing. I’m still trying to figure out how to use this blog, hopefully it won’t take too long.
Above photos (L to R):
Brandon and the kids at the hotel beach, Christopher with his “favorite coral” that he found on the hotel beach, Sophie being silly, Sophie climbing at the tide pools on base, Christopher at the tide pools on base, “Guam <3” written by some Asian tourists and we thought it was cute.
(Since writing this we have had cable/internet/phone set up, so hopefully we can start calling and Skyping again!!)