1.You need fewer things than you think.
Honestly, I was kind of intimidated by the thought of not having anything but a suitcase for the first few months that we would be on island. But my eyes were opened to the kind of freedom that comes from being able to fit all of your belongings in your suitcase, despite a few things that we needed to pick up here and there. But I’m glad it opened my eyes to much more than the materialistic living that I had always been surrounded by in the city. Granted I’m not perfect, but having my eyes opened is a great first step!
2. Reading about things and experiencing things are so vastly different.
This one was a tough one for me to admit, being a bookworm who believes I can research to find majority of the answers in life. But while the research and reading may help prepare you for whatever you’re going to do in life, nothing teaches you quite like real life in real time. Good ole’ experience takes the cake every time.
3. Know where you can find medical attention.
While this one isn’t so insightful, it’s going to be ridiculously helpful down the road. Maybe it’s my fear of Murphy’s Law coming for me, but just incase something happens it’s good to know where to go before, rather than try to find out during whatever happens that will send you their way.
4. Have all of your personal documents and medical documents in your possession.
I seriously dropped the ball on this one. I didn’t get a copy of my medical records before leaving the city. It honestly slipped my mind with all the other craziness that was happening in my life. So now I face the super fun task of trying to send a medical release their way, have my records sent to me and deal with the less than helpful staff that failed to make my updated name changes I had made prior to leaving and were road blocking the whole process. Sorry I left a little animosity dripping from that last sentence. But seriously, without my mother being in the city, I probably would have been screwed.
5. Different is not a synonym for bad.
Wearing shorts during the time I used to know as winter. Making plans to barbecue on the beach in December. Celebrating New Years Eve at a pool party. Just a few things I find very different about my new home, but definitely not bad!
6. Network, meet people, and make friends.
This sounds so basic, but honestly it has made a world of difference for this huge transition. Get out of your comfort zone, talk to people, go to events, and, prepare yourself for this, talk to people at those events. I’m pretty shy by nature, so this was a new challenge for me! But, I admit that we got really lucky and met some wonderful people early on, but it makes such an impact on the quality of the adventure.
7. Get out of your comfort zone and explore your new home.
While this kind of piggy backs off of number six, it’s true in all aspects of life. Try the food, try the common hobbies, or even just drive around to get yourself acquainted with the area. I quickly found out how much I love the local food here! Kind of a fear for me that I wouldn’t care for the cuisine here since I don’t eat fish, but I am so glad to be wrong! I’m still working on this one daily, but it has definitely provided me with some rewarding experiences.
8. You find out who you are, or who you want to become.
One of the perks of moving somewhere completely new is that no one knows you. While this may seem daunting and lonely, it allows you to really see yourself without being influenced by anyone else’s notions about you. There’s something renewing in finding yourself without outside influences meddling and trying to tell you who you are or what you can and can’t do.
9. You find out who your friends are.
It sounds so harsh, but I swear it’s not, it’s honestly so very refreshing. It’s just one of those seasons in life, like after high school, college or anything other major events in your life where things are brought to light. It’s not always negative either; sometimes you can care for each other very much, but just be at different parts of your life. A good friend of mine said it best, to paraphrase, she stated “I like what we have, I feel that we have an adult friendship. You have your life going on and I have mine but we still check in and care about each other without having to talk everyday.” Quality trumps quantity in this new chapter of life.
10. You Find Interest and Better Understanding of Different Cultures.
Not just Chamorro, but Japanese as well. I’ve learned about different ideals of beauty outside of the western culture. I’ve learned different customs and practices, like how and why Japanese don’t tip (a fun fact I was educated about quickly behind the bar). I’ve been trying to learn some of the basics of the Japanese language in my down time, mainly to feed my curiosity of language and constant want and need to communicate. There’s so much more, different, scary and amazing things than what we are exposed to on a daily basis.