This is just a post full of pictures from around the island.
Living overseas can be really cool. I see all kinds of new and different things, and that’s always neat. How many people get to go to a Buddha’s Birthday parade in Seoul or swim with a sea turtle? I know that I am lucky.
On the other hand, there are a lot of things that you just can’t get in other places in the world.
Fun Fact: Did you know that cocktails were invented in the United States? Some claim it was in New Orleans, and some claim that it was in New York, but no one disputes that they are a uniquely American invention.
This means that it is also pretty uniquely American to find a wide variety of alcohol and things to mix with it. (For non-US friends, I am talking about things you mix with alcohol like bitters, grenadine, and vermouth.) So, it is cool to see things like that on the shelves.
Then there are produce options!
In South Korea there is a poisonous berry that grows wild. It looks a lot like a raspberry. As a result, they do not think raspberries are food and do not import or grow them. This is a shame, as they are my very favorite fruit.
In Guam we mostly don’t have fresh fruits and vegetables. Everything has to go through customs in Hawaii (as per US law,) so by the time it gets here it is rotten. And unlike Hawaii, we are not a volcanic island where it is easy to grow things. We are a coral island, which means that the soil is harsh and infertile.
So it’s apples and oranges, and broccoli. That’s what can make it here, so that is what we eat.
I also miss things that are hard to explain. For example, we have Chinese food in Guam. However, we are very close to China and so we have Chinese Chinese food here. As it turns out, I don’t really like Chinese Chinese food. I like American Chinese food.
Fun Fact: Fortune cookies are American.
Another thing I really miss is good tortilla soup and carnitas. The people of Guam have some Spanish influence in their culture, but it’s not the same.
I went all through High School and College in Arizona, and every now and then I am just dying to have some really good Mexican Food.
Thankfully, I can get good Korean and Thai food on Guam, so at least there is that.
I guess the hardest part for me living overseas is shoes. Even in the US, I have absolutely broken down crying while looking for shoes.
See, I wear a size 12 or 13 in women’s. Yes, that’s right, a size 12 or 13.
Don’t bother leaving all the jokes in the comments. I have heard every single one. Yes, if I am in a hurricane I won’t blow over. I don’t need skis to go skiing. I am probably related to big foot. Ha. Ha. Ha.
All I really want to cute shoes like girls wear on TV. I want sexy pumps and cute boots and adorable sandals.
However, no one makes cute shoes things in my size.
In Asia I can’t even buy plain or ugly shoes. There just aren’t any. I tried ordering online, but so many places have sizes that “run small” and they don’t tell you. I ordered a pair from Chinese Laundry because I was so excited to see a size 12 on their site. I don’t know whose idea of a size 12 it was, but I could have cut off all my toes and still not fit my foot into it. So, I have to buy shoes in person.
I was excited to do this while stateside.
I went all the places that folks had suggested to me, like Nordstrom’s Rack and DSW. And I have to tell you: I have nothing nice to say about those places or the people who work there. Same for Target, Walmart, Journeys, and every other shoe store besides Payless.
Not only is Payless literally the only store in the United States that still carries shoes in my size, but the lady there was nice. I have no idea why shoe salesmen in other stores have to be nasty, act shocked, or ask if I am transsexual (I am not.) However, there are some mean and rotten shoe salespeople, and I think I talked to all of them.
Anyway, I think a lot of times people look at my blog and they think that it’s really glamorous living overseas. And yeah, it has its moments. But I do live a life without raspberries and shoes, so maybe keep that in mind before you think my life is “perfect.”
Hamamoto Fruit World is a tourist attraction on the island of Guam.
It’s really geared towards Japanese tourists, but anyone is welcome.
I am a real lover of plants, and I thought it was exciting to get the chance to learn more about the plants that live on the equator.
The park it basically a long, looping road.
You can use your own car, or you can take the park shuttle.
I recommend taking your own car. That way you can take as long as you want to see things.
We actually ended up stopping and getting out of the car a lot, so we could have a closer look at the plants.
In particular the coffee plants (above) were fascinating to my husband. He loves coffee.
Of course, I like the agave, since that is what is used to make tequila.
The park is located off route 16, and the road there is a little rough.
Once you get there, you can enjoy the small garden before doing the looping drive.
Also, there are places to take picture with the very of the center of the island.
You will see all kinds of flowers, bushes, and trees.
My favorite is the ginger. The plants are beautiful, and they come in red, pink, and white.
Ginger is used as a spice, but it can also be used in tea.
Some of the best fruit on Guam is the Dragon Fruit and Mango, but we also have star fruit and other exciting things you don’t find outside the tropics.
Hamamoto fruit world is a wonderful place to see what kind of plants live in “Zone Nine,” or the equator.
We also have pineapple, wax apple, herbs for tea, and all sorts of other exciting things.
Remember sunscreen, since there are places to get out and walk.
When you pay, you will get a small information packet so you can identify the fruits.
It was $3 per person to tour the place, so it’s certainly the most affordable thing to do on Guam.
It’s fun trying to figure out what plant goes with what picture.
Some I had seen before. For example, coconuts and bread fruit grow all over the island.
Other plants, like the sugar apples, were new to me.
Before you leave, be sure to stop at the gift shop.
They make their own honey, Popsicles, and other products from the fruits in the park.
Plan on spending about an hour there, although you could spend all day if you really like plants!
After that, I moved to Oregon to visit family from 2014 to 2015. These are some pictures from my year in Oregon, before I moved to Guam.
The art galleries at Cannon Beach are amazing. I love art, and although I don’t buy pieces very much, I enjoy just looking at it. It’s like getting an insight into the mind of another person for a moment.
For example, this person saw a canvas and thought it would be three dimensional, so they added sand and rocks to the painting.
I think it’s interesting that many people look at the same thing, and they can all see something different.
In this case, I actually did buy a piece. I really enjoy metal sculptures. I saw this, and I couldn’t help getting it.
Of course the best part of Cannon Beach is going over to Seaside and listening to the waves.
Sea grass always looks so amazing to me. I am not sure why.
I guess because my dad’s parents had a painting of the Oregon Coast on the wall in their living room, and I always liked to look at it and imagine myself there.
I love painting that you feel like you can walk into. And it’s amazing to go to the place where the painting was done, and walk into it in real life.
Plus, there’s something about a cold beach that is so refreshing.
Plus, the Oregon coast has so many cool rock formations to enjoy.
I love the west coast. I know that the east coast has more history (well, white history) than we do.
However, Oregon has a lot more too it than just the beaches at the coast!
I went to a pumpkin patch in the Fall, which was something I really missed when I was in South Korea.
Pumpkin patches and hay rides are such an American thing, as is Thanksgiving and turkey.
And of course, we have Christmas traditions too, because we spend it with family instead of as a “date night” like they do in Korea.
And then, of course, there is spring.
I went to a tulip festival at the Wooden Shoe Farm, which was a new experience for me.
It was really beautiful, and I had the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” song stuck in my head the whole day.
Then there was berry picking out at the farms on Sauvie Island.
Koreans don’t consider raspberries to be food because there is a poisonous berry in Korea that looks very similar. I really missed them while I was away!
When I was very young, my parents and I lived in Northern California on a small farm. We moved to Arizona before I started Middle School and Arizona is “home.”
But, I do love farms. It reminds me of a childhood spent dragging bails of hay to the horses before school and learning to mow the pasture and the yard.
The hiking is wonderful as well. I went everywhere I could, from Babgy Hot Springs to Silver Falls, and everything in between.
Actually, there were waterfalls all over Oregon that are quite stunning.
Sometimes I wasn’t even looking for one, and just came upon one.
Other times I went out of my way to see them, like my trips to Multnomah Falls, which is a beautiful spot.
On some of the trails, I was surprised to find rocks stacked up in the same way that you find them outside Buddhist temples.
I am always surprised by the beauty of nature, and I find that it is healing to the soul.
But of course, I am a city girl in my heart. I love to visit nature, but I also love to be able to go buy eggs at 2am. It sounds weird, but that’s how I am.
And as far as cities, Portland is a great one.
I did get rained on a lot. It’s absolutely true that it rains all the time in Portland. However, that really doesn’t keep it from being beautiful.
Besides, when it’s usually rainy, we enjoy the sunshine that much more. It’s special.
Of course, Portland isn’t all gardens. It’s also a big city full of clubs, bars, restaurants, businesses, and everything else.
But for me, I like a Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo donuts on the rare occasion that I want sugar.
Definitely try out The Tardis Room, and eat all the food. Food is the best part of travel, after all!
And if you’re ever in Oregon, send me an email and I will suggest places to see.