The Top Ten Things I Learned from Moving Halfway Across the World

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.

Gun Beach

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.

Passport Shot

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.

Mermaid Friends

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.

Mermaid Shelfie

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.

Keep growing!

Blogging my Ashleigh

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Mermaid in the Skies

Current City: Dededo, Guam

This mermaid is headed back home on short notice. While the reasoning may not be pleasant, it’ll be nice to see friends and family. Now just getting packed and finding a carry on friendly bag, prep cooking so Daniel eats more than pop tarts and take-out and getting everything ready and squared away. Time is such a weird thing when traveling over the date line; I’ll be flying for over 21 hours, leaving Guam on Tuesday, at 12:40 p.m. and will be arriving in Las Vegas at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. I wish it were really only four hours! Sadly I’ll be missing Daniel on our first Thanksgiving and a big milestone for our relationship, but hopefully I can make it up to him and we can still celebrate when I return.

I know it’s blasphemy to talk Christmas before Thanksgiving, but in an effort to cheer me up a bit Daniel was wonderful and got us Christmas stockings for our first Christmas together (and they’re in true Daniel style)! Excited for our first Christmas as our own little family, even though it will be my first away from my own. It’ll be nice to make memories and traditions together.

Better get some sleep. First stop Tokyo!

Good night,

Blogging my Ashleigh

Coconut Drinks and…Crabs?

Sipping some coconut goodnessCurrent City: Agana, Guam

Wednesday we made our way down to Chamorro Village once again with a little more time and free reign to explore. I was just ecstatic to get out of the hotel room to be honest, even if we were just going to Kmart! I usually walk to grab a bite on days that Daniel is at work, therefore he would be taking the truck that we have been borrowing. But today the entire morning and afternoon decided to pour heavily from the heavens leaving me unequipped to venture. So with the clear skies meant exploring!

The first thing we did of course was grab food! Daniel grabbed some of their delicious BBQ pork skewers and I tried a banana lumpia, smiles all around. Next we decided to try the fresh cut coconut. They sliced it in front of us with a single chop, throwing water on us at the same time and handed it our way after plopping two straws inside.

Coconut Crab ComicWalking around with our coconut, which became mine because Daniel prefers things on the sweeter side, we explored all Chamorro Village had to offer. Besides the rows of delicious and low priced food, there were other vendors and shops with their contributions to the culture of the island. Among all of these were two men that stood out from the rest, one with a lizard and one with a coconut crab! Let me back up a few months.

Upon learning of our move to Guam my tendency to research things kicked into high gear, which lead me to a picture of a coconut crab, more specifically the picture of a coconut crab as big as a trash can.   I had nightmares for weeks! I have a personal, and understandably irrational fear of fish, and this crab had moved its way up the ladder of my horrors!

Coconut Crab This crab was relatively little compared to what the images found on the Internet had burned into my mind. Defiantly a notable experience, especially to tell all my friends and family that have heard me rant and rave about this creature that had earned itself a role in my nightmares.

All in all, a wonderful night on the island with delightful food and fun!

Blogging my Ashleigh

Hafa Adai Guam

Current City: Tamuning, Guam

We made it to Guam! Right off of the plane we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the men Daniel will be working with and their families. They took us to dinner at Vitale’s in Tumon before taking us to our hotel that we would be staying at until we found a home. Maybe it was the jet lag setting in, or how hungry we were from the journey, but it was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had! Once we got to our hotel room it had set in that this would be our new home, right around the same time we passed out since our bodies were still believing it was four in the morning.

The view from our hotel balcony the first morning in Tamuning, Guam.

The view from our hotel balcony the first morning in Tamuning, Guam.

The next morning we woke up early and were able to watch the sunrise and walk to get some breakfast, and more importantly coffee for me! It was nice being able to see some of the island, the night before I wasn’t able to see out of the windows due to the thick layer of condensation. Also, upon getting out of the car for dinner that night, my glasses instantly fogged up, a far cry from the dry heat of the desert that I am so accustomed to! We had a good laugh about it, a “we aren’t in Kansas anymore” moment not thirty minutes off the plane.

Walking back from breakfast we noticed all the street art, miles and miles of green popping up everywhere and slugs racing their way along the sidewalk. All these things so little, but were noticeable to fresh eyes.

That night we were lucky enough to get a quick tour and some insight on the major parts of the island from our relator. Including some amazing places to eat, and beaches to explore.

Our first glance of the island from the plane.

Our first glance of the island from the plane.

After our little driving tour he took us to Chamarro Village where every Wednesday evening they have a gathering filling the grounds with food and pop up vendors representing Guam. The food and the atmosphere was thrilling, I can’t wait to go back again and check it out when have some time to mosey around and explore everything it has to offer. I guess I’ll have to add it to the growing list of places we need to visit while we’re here!

We’ve been truly blessed with the generosity from the men at the shop helping Daniel get situated at the base and even letting us borrow a truck to do some running around on our own. Which with no surprise lead us to check out the motorsports track, which I was delighted to see looks like a track I’ll be able to enjoy with Daniel. A big sigh of relief since we brought our ATVs to the island, a hobby we are both passionate about.

Things are slowly starting to fall into place as we get settled, we were able to get working phones, looking to get a ‘Guam bomb’ of our own before Daniel’s truck arrives from California and will be looking at houses today. Wish us luck!

Happy Travels!
Blogging my Ashleigh

Aloha Aloha Hawaii

Current City: Honolulu, Hawaii

We began our journey early morning, especially after one or two hours of sleep the night/morning before, leaving Las Vegas to Los Angeles where we would then be headed to Hawaii. A tear soaked morning full of hugs and well wishes, well two days in all honesty, saying good bye to my family and best friends.  A truly bittersweet moment, sad to leave such amazing people but excited to meet new friends and take on a new chapter in our lives together.

My first view of Hawaii from the plane.

My first view of Hawaii from the plane.

We’re here in Hawaii before the last leg of our journey to our new home. The view of the island from the plane was amazing. I understand now why they call it Pacific blue, it’s such an amazing mesmerizing shade. We have just enough of a layover to grab a bite, a fruity drink with an umbrella, a taste of pineapple and makes some calls before our phones go into permanent airplane mode. We wish it was a bit longer so we could see more of the island outside of the airport windows, but hopefully we’ll be able to do some exploring here in the near future, or even meet some family here as a halfway point hello. It still seems surreal that in about seven hours and a dateline crossing we will be in Guam, full of excitement and jet lag!

Happy Travels!

Blogging my Ashleigh

Capturing the Canyon

Destination: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Two weeks left in Vegas and we found ourselves early Saturday morning on a bus headed towards the Grand Canyon with good friends. None of us had ventured out to view this wonder, and with our time in Vegas shrinking quickly there was no time like the present.

Daniel and I doing our signature high five overlooking the canyon.

Daniel and I doing our signature high five overlooking the canyon.

The first stop on our bus ride before the journey to the Grand Canyon was a stop at the bridge that over looks the Hoover Dam. The bus ride voiceover narrated our drive through the suburbs that lead up to the dam stop left me very nostalgic, hearing the history of Henderson, the city where I grew up. I had a sneaky suspicion that I was the only one awake and enjoying the narration!

The lengthy bus ride out there was highly underestimated! I didn’t realize how long the drive was out there; I think we all were a bit shocked. I had a preconceived notion that it would be a short drive, no more that when heading out to Utah. Wrong! But I used it for some much loved reading time, almost finishing Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowlings pseudonym) during our turn around trip (highly recommend this book, even without my Potterhead bias!).

Overlooking the Canyon. Could you imagine running into that crossing the West?

Overlooking the Canyon. Could you imagine running into that crossing the West?

Fast forward to the canyon, absolutely breath taking. The kind of beautiful that seems unreal, the kind that made me feel that it was actually a giant green screen with this background imposed into our photos. As my childlike imagination wandered, wondering, “Maybe it was stolen by a super villain in Despicable Me and this is an over the top replica to fool us all?”

Our day of wonder and awe was extended when a tourist got into quite the confrontation with our bus driver as we loaded up for the drive home. Park rangers, cops and flashing lights were involved making our arrival time at home just past midnight. Despite the drama of fellow travelers outside of our control, I highly recommend this tour to anyone in the area looking to get out of ‘Sin City’ for a little nature and wonder. I also highly recommend going with fun friends as we did!

Happy Travels!

Blogging my Ashleigh

 

 

 

P.S. Anyone looking to discuss some wonderful reads, let’s chat!