I am not the white girl who came and left. Please stop saying so; it is simply not true. Well, I am “white,” whatever that means. My genealogy is a quilted mess of English, Dutch, German, and Native American. In other words, I am full-blooded ‘merican. And I did come, twice, to this island, and I left once before and am about to leave again. But I still resent this title.
We like to identify ourselves by our origins, by our homes. Typically we do not realize the mark our spaces left until we find ourselves separated from them. The influence of a place or people group is more apparent when they are gone and their absence juxtaposed with the current place and people.
I had no idea how much being a country girl from the Heartland/Midwest defined me until I plopped down in a new place. And I had no idea how much being a converted island girl defined me until I left (the first time). So what happens when you are all of a sudden from different places? When you have homes on opposite sides of the globe, what then?
It is like all the missionary kids say, “We don’t really have a home.” The beauty of scattered love is always overshadowed by displacement. And yet, it is in being displaced, being uncomfortable, missing and being missed, that we are constantly reminded: this is world is not our home.
Darling, sweet Guam, you have been a gift to me that goes far beyond salty air and crashing blue waves. God has used you to make me brave, to make me aware, to make me open. And I will miss you more than you can ever know. Most of the people stateside don’t know much about you. So, that is kind of lonely. But instead of waxing melancholy, I will just see myself in a kind of cool, elite club of those who did not just come and go, but those who came and will always be part Guamanian. Because, I will be.
I could make a long list of all your quirks and unique aspects. But for now, just know that I love you–all thirty-five miles of packed cultural diversity and extremely humid air. You hold some of the most precious people in my life and some of my very best memories. Lord-willing, I will see you soon.
Thanks for everything,