Several of you have asked how I came to Guam. I hope this answers at least some of your questions. It may answer more than you want to know. Sorry.
I came to Guam in August ’64 to go to college for two years and then go with my eldest sister and her three teenage daughters around the world. At least that was the plan at 19 almost 20 years old. The College of Guam had gotten its four year accreditation a few years before so this was a way to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher.
Best made plans of mice and men can soon go asunder. The second semester I was here a young man walked into the classroom of our new class. A little over a year later we married and eventually had three sons. We lived in what is now called Chuuk, Pohnpei and as well as Saipan but eventually divorced.
In ’73 I came back to Guam with my sons and enrolled in the University of Guam getting my degree in December ’75 and started teaching in the Guam Public Schools in January ’76.
One of the things that had occurred during this time was I fell in love with the islands especially Guam. I like being warm and I like the friendliness of my adopted home. Guam is an US territory so our students pledge to the American flag and there is a great deal of patriotism on the island.
I taught for over 30 years and retired. This is where I plan to stay. Two of my sons and their families are here and one son is on Saipan. Thanks to one of my sons I have been able to travel and visit siblings, nieces and nephews and cousins in Oregon and Washington where most of my family is now located. I have also been able to visit friends all over the nation.
I enjoy traveling but especially enjoy coming home.
Thanks to SP the traveling has gotten easier. One of my pluses is I no longer need the seat belt extension at least on flights from Guam.
This is the last of my pictures for the trip to Japan. After leaving Nikko I stopped at the city of Kanuma to view the blossoms there. There was a large park on a hill a few miles from the train station so I took a taxi there. On the way I saw a Shinto Shrine that had several different types of trees.
The taxi dropped me off and I took took off along a path that looked like it went around the hill. Below is a picture of this path. The trees were all around me.
Here is another tree that has dark pink blossoms.
Because of the late hour the rides were closing down but is was possible to see the many families who had spent the day at the park enjoying the blossoms, rides and picnics they had brought. The Japanese have a special word for viewing and picnicking under the blossoming trees. It is hanami. There had been a child's birthday party there that day that they were playing the traditional American "Happy Birthday" song. I think it would have been neat to have gone up in this ferris wheel but it was closed by the time I got there.
The next picture shows the stairs I went down as I left the park! I did not go up it but had done a lot of climbing before this.
From here I started walking into the city trying to figure out where I could make a phone call from. A few blocks later I came to the shrine I had seen before and went into the garden and took pictures of the different types of cherry trees. This first one is a Weeping Willow Cherry Tree.
This last pictures shows three different types of Sakura in a row. i was so delighted to get this picture.
I left the shrine and walked a short distance and went into a shop and the proprietor graciously called a taxi for me. There were three people in there and I used the hand up to the ear with pinky and thumb extended and said taxi.
The trip I took was a dream come true. I am still amazed at my endurance during this trip. Thursday was wet and cold so i took the train up to Fukushima and then down to Tokyo and Nariata and flew home that evening.
An afterward came from my daughter-in-law who told me that it snowed in Tokyo on Saturday! I am so glad I was home. (It does not snow in Tokyo very often even in December or January! brrrrrrr!)
The park shrine in Nikko is beautiful with lots of hills and stairs! I went there on the train from Utsunomiya, took a bus from the train station and then walked! The main building is under remodeling in the back but you can see the steps going up.
This park was started around 1638 or even earlier. My family came to America in 1639 so it really blows my mind. The picture below is a walk into another part that is tree lined with trees that three of us would be needed to put our arms about it! No Sakura along this route but so beautiful.
After the walk there were Sakura and many beautiful buildings.
Some of the trees are young. Not sure how old these are.
This garden was constructed for the ruler who was also the religious leader as were his decedents. It has a 400 year old Sakura tree and one that is 200 years old. Below is a picture of them with me standing in front.
Below is another view of the garden with the pond that can be walked around. There is a museum next to this garden that I went into. You can see it in the background of the picture.
The last picture is of a bridge that has a story behind it. The person who founded this retreat needed to cross the river but was hampered so two snakes formed an arch so he could go across. I did not walk down here because it was very steep but did take pictures from the bus.
I could not have done all the walking when I started SP in November 2009! And this was not all the walking I did on Thursday. I will write more about that later.
One of my goals when I joined SP was to be able to travel more easily so I chose as a reward to see the Cherry Blossoms of Japan when I lost 50 pounds. That happened last fall but the cherry blossoms occur in the spring so I had to wait. Monday morning, April 12, 2010, I left for Japan from warm sunny Guam. I arrived in Japan at mid day and found it cold, wet and cloudy. It was cold enough that when I got out of the train station at Utsunomiya that I could see my breath. (I know why I live in the tropics!) Checked into a nice hotel near the train station and hoped for better weather on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning the sun was shining and it was much warmer. I got directions to Hachiman-yama Park and went there to see Sakura. It was a beautiful park with many Japanese enjoying Sakura also. There were several classes having field trips as well as families enjoying the day.
This picture looks down into the park with many of the trees in full bloom.
This is the observation tower that you can see much of the city and surrounding area including the park.
Two different trees with different shades of pink.
A suspension bridge that I could view ponds and trees from.
Students enjoying Sakura. I took pictures of the group for the teacher so their she could be included.
These are only a few of the pictures I took Tuesday.
(I had trouble downloading these pictures so hope they turn out.)