Lola and I have been living on Guam for close to two months, and the teacher-mom in me has been trying to find a healthy balance between routines and living on the fly. If I don’t consciously create these structures, I end up laying on the futon in the aircon, watching movies all day, too lazy to answer the phone or even eat. Lola is not having any of that! She is completely unfazed by the scorching sun and humidity, so you’ll find us out and about before noon. Every morning begins with coffee with my mama and Matt while Lola eats breakfast, I head to the gym at 8:30, FaceTime with Manny when I return, go on an adventure of some kind with Lola, (make/buy) dinner, then bed. On good days, Lola takes a nap. That’s as far as we’ve gotten with the routines. They are critical, however, in helping Lola and I adjust to life on Guam while maintaining our connection to Manny in San Francisco. Having your heart lie in two places is hard on the soul, and yet so many of us, from Guam and elsewhere, learn to live with that reality. Of course, that is only possible because of the many beautiful people who make up our support system on Guam and in the States; we are blessed.
Adventures with Lola have included going to beaches (Gab-gab, Talafofo Bay, Matapang, Ypao) and pools , flying kites in Asan Park, walking around the neighborhood, stroll patrolling with my dad, going to Guam’s Liberation Day parade, and having the little cousins over for a movie/painting/playing session. I’m looking forward to incorporating hikes, trips to the flea market, paddle boarding, and checking out different villages’ Night Markets. I have been having a lot of fun watching Lola adapt to the beach, something I didn’t think would be a thing. On our first trip, she wouldn’t even walk on the sand barefoot, often stopping to empty out her zories (flip-flops). The sensation of the sand was too much. She would cling so tightly to my neck when we got in the water, it was hard to breathe. During breaks on the beach, she wouldn’t eat anything until all the sand was washed off of her hands and legs. (Cue: rolling of the eyes) Now, she searches for less rocky paths to get into the ocean, puts her head underwater every so often, and laughs hysterically as waves bounce her about in her lifejacket or floaty. When sand gets on a cracker or lollipop, she keeps on eating it. (Atta girl, Lola!) She isn’t quite ready to pick up balati (sea cucumbers) or dukduks (sand crabs), but her curiosity is there. It’s a beautiful sight watching my city girl transform into an island girl.
Some days Lola even goes to the gym with me. She is getting more comfortable watching me workout from a distance each time. Honestly, it feels so good knowing that she’s witnessing her mom getting stronger and faster every single day, and becoming disciplined about taking care of herself. It didn’t occur to me when I started at Gof Metgot that Lola would benefit from this, too. I mean, I knew she’d have a happier/mentally stable mother because of it, but she is also learning that physically taking care of yourself is just as important as the food you eat. That’s a gift. That’s balance.