From One World to Another: On Traveling Home

I’m currently on my last flight (3 of 3) home. I’ve been listening to my sister’s latest playlist, prepping for our sister sessions, hyping myself up. I’m down to one granola bar. I have seven hours left and I know it’ll be the longest seven hours because of my impatient excitement to be at Sunday family dinner. It takes a whole day while I lose a day all just to be home for a week. That’s weird, right?

If you told me a year ago that I would be this stricken with homesickness that I would take a crazy short trip spring break back home to Guam, I would laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love my island. But a year ago, Boston felt like my only world. I thought that for a place to be yours, it had to be away from the familiar and unsteady most of the time. I decided to go to school in a city on the other side of the world because I felt like there was a much better opportunity to grow.

But I’m taking a short break from Boston and the “mainland” in general. Partly because I miss my family and my dogs, but also because I’ve been craving simplicity. Now, if you’re stereotyping island life in your head at this point, here are some facts for you to remember: we don’t wear grass skirts and coconut bras, we don’t live in huts, English is our common language (although our native language is Chamorro), we don’t all hunt and gather and fight for food.

By simplicity, I’m talking about the soothing sweetness of the islands. Just yesterday (one day before my 24-hour journey), I had a great conversation with my friend Sky about the island lives we’re familiar with. Although our cultures are from different regions (me, Micronesian and her, Caribbean) we found some spectacular similarities.

The best commonality we found was that every occasion is a happy one. Not in a touristy “luau all day, errday” sense; instead, it’s found in the warm smiles from people you’ve never even met or a comforting fiesta after loss and heartbreak. It’s the cliche but honest radiance you feel from the sun. It is uncorrupted, genuine love.

In a year, I’ve realized that my two worlds complement each other: Boston has given me tough love so I can learn from each experience (good and bad) that I have. Guam gives me refreshing relaxation as a reminder that work, school, life, etc. can’t keep me down forever.

I exist in two pretty different worlds. That’s the explanation for my “quiet, calm confidence” (a past employer told me). Traveling to my serene world after being so caught up in the business of the other is going to be weird. But it’s necessary and worth the anticipation I felt during my first 14 hours of flight.

 

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