Month: August 2013

Hiking Guam: Mount LamLam

LamLam Sunset

There’s something about hiking on Guam. The mountains on the southern half of the island seem like something out of a dream. Emerald peaks and valleys covered in sword grass seem smoothly and intricately carved with crisscrossing ravines.

I could stare at those hills for hours. 

According to some, Mount LamLam is the highest mountain on earth, though its peak only reaches 406 meters (1,332 feet) above sea level. Because Mount LamLam lies right beside the deep dark mysterious Marianas Trench, the distance from the peak to the ocean’s bottom is the world’s largest elevation over such a short distance.


About halfway up Mount LamLam, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another, more beautiful, world.

While most sites seem to recommend getting an early start to avoid the worst of the day’s heat and humidity, an evening hike makes for some spectacular sunset views.

Knee deep in the waaaater somewhere…

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. Day off. 

Manny pounces on me in bed, waking me up.

“You’re here,” he says, eyes big with wonder.

I mumbled something along the lines of, “Touché, and I have to use the facilities, so you’d best move your weight off my midsection.”

“I dreamed that we went kayaking and you were eaten by a shark, and I was in my kayak as I watched you get ripped apart piece by piece, and the shark ate all of you except your hand, and then I just sat in my house alone–with nothing but your hand preserved in a jar to keep me company–and was sad. And it was a horrific dream, and you’re heeeeere.” He plants a messy kiss on my cheek.

“I was getting eaten by a shark, and you sat in your kayak and watched?”

“Conclusion: we cannot go kayaking today.”

We went kayaking.

I wasn’t eaten, but it was still a bad choice.

Where bucket lists and jobs collide

I wasn’t looking for a job, but a job found me.

Diving Finger Reef, Guam

Diving Finger Reef, Guam

I’m starting to notice that whenever I find myself on the road to blissfully having a break from the workforce, ridiculously random positions throw themselves at me.

Illustration: Inventory of random jobs.

  • I have delivered phone books
  • I have worked in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich factory
  • I have written about Christmas trees and Lady Gaga’s latest hairstyles
  • I have done mystery shops
  • I have worked in a power plant
  • I have installed condensate pumps and repaired steam pipes in tunnels under the sidewalks of the university I attended
  • I have insulated and hung ductwork
  • I have sold hand-crocheted and knitted blankets

So when I graduated, got married, and moved to Guam, I was happy to relax, kick back with the books I didn’t have time to read and the stories I didn’t have time to write during my college years, sip tea, and watch the days go by with the crystal-blue waters of the Pacific lapping at my toes.

After a couple of months, I was going crazy with my books and tea, but remained unwilling to actually try to go back to work. A job threw itself at me.

I took on another bucket list item and signed up for classes to get scuba dive certified (cf. Skydiving Down, Guam). After the class was over, I stopped to speak to one of the managers of the store.

“Come work at the dive shop!” they said.

“It’ll be fun!” they said.

I couldn’t figure out a reason to turn them down.

…so here I am, working at the largest dive shop on Guam, trying to convince would-be divers and experts to jump into those sparkly Pacific waters with thousands of dollars in gear strapped to their backs. 

I’m still trying to figure out how this happened.

Hyperbolic life

So, um, here we are. I knew I needed to get it back together when I confessed to one of my best friends that I haven’t really been writing lately.

Like, barely at all. After ten (twelve?) years of consistently writing my life, suddenly I hit something I didn’t at all know how to put on to paper.

I got married, and I forgot how to write.

“You haven’t been writing?” my friend said, incredulous, during a staticky international phone call. “But… that’s not you.” 

No kidding!

So I picked up a pen to make some kind of sense out of the overwhelming adventureness that surrounds me, even though it’s been over three months since I packed up, moved overseas, and married the man I love.

I’m certain that everything coming off my pen/out of my fingers in the next few weeks (months? years?) will be either extreme overstatement or understatement, me trying to make sense of the beautiful, unexpected hyperbole that is suddenly life.

But some kind of compulsion (mental illness?) compels me to get it out of my brain and onto paper. Things are going to change around here–in my life, and on this blog. So here goes.