While reading this one must remember that I grew up in the average american middle class house hold. Even in our travels we had decent housing, power, water etc... the simple things in life that I always took for granted. Then I got married and life changed.
Upon returning to Guam from the US after getting married my husband announced that he had found the perfect place for us to have a family and raise kids. I admit the setting was something from the movies; rather deep in the lush green jungle, yet close enough to the rest of the world that it was easy to get around. Palm trees, coconut nut trees, canapy trees - absolutely breath taking. It had two bed rooms, a living room, both an inside and an outside kitchen. Of course I fell in love with the setting... the house itself hmmm had a tin roof and I loved the sound of rain on a tin roof.
Shortly upon moving in I discovered that he had no intention of us purchasing a bed within which we could both comfortably sleep; but rather we would be sleeping on the floor... hmmm I thought, this could be an adventure I hadn't anticipated. Then his bed ridden father and his mother moved into the second room. Fred, his father, spent most if not all of his time strapped to his bed because other wise he would pull out his catheter and i-v's and bite and spit at anyone he pleased. hmmm I thought.
What else that was interesting was the fact that there was enough power to run the refrigerator but nothing else at the same time. There was water, but only cold water. I tried hard to adjust to this new way of life. The shack was open air with chickens and goats just wandering through at their convenience. Remember I moved here from the mid-west where we had doors, and farm animals although around had their own houses outside. One didn't need to check where they were going to sit in order to be safe from cracking an egg. Surely life had changed. Was I happy? Absolutely not, but I was determined to make the best of things.
Shortly thereafter I found out I was expecting my first child. I was excited because afterall that is why I got married - I wanted kids and I knew his island skin would make beautiful children with my white skin... besides I was afraid of being alone - truly alone for the first time in my life.
Things progressed as normally as one could expect considering the living conditions and being a new teacher. I had gotten used to the geckos jumping off the ceiling and walls even though that still grossed me out, I no longer screamed like a little girl - just shivered and thought - Dad? What was I thinking? I must have been out of my mind. Then one warm, balmy evening I was sleeping on my nice, uncomfortable, hard as a rock floor; probably about 4 months pregnant when a cockroach decided to climb upon me. Now in order to get the full effect here - I am deathly afraid of cockroaches of any type but 3 inch cockroaches was much more than I was willing to sleep with - so of course I got up like any normal 4 month old pregnant woman would and screamed and ran through the house. My husband of course slept through all of it, my mother in law just laughed and said it was a cock roach for crying out loud - relax... Relax I did ... in the car with my pillow and blanket for the at least the next three weeks.
I begged to move, I begged for a bed, I begged for warm water and the ability to use a microwave and an oven - things that were nornmal in life. Then one night I was leaning up against the wall while sitting on the floor making lesson plans and was like "Hey, what is that sound? It seems to be coming from the walls." "Oh, I was told, that is just the termites." Five months pregnant by now it took all I had not to throw up right there on my school books. I eventually accepted the sound as I had all the other adjustments in my life. I was trying to be a good sport - when a few days later the termites swarmed the house. It was like being in a black blizzard. These bugs everywhere and the sound defening... I once again found refuge in the car - where else was one to go for crying out loud. They were in my hair, my ears, my nose... I was hysterical. My mother in law cleaned up all the dead termites because of course after they swarm they die... disgusting... picking them out of her bed ridden sick husband... I stayed in the car. The next morning I walked the two miles to school - or most of it anyway before one of my student's family picked me up and let me ride in their truck to school. I was mad as hell to put life mildly especially when my husband drove right by me and didn't even stop to offer me a ride.
Eventually before Franz was born we moved in with his sister - I was due anyday... and came home from the hospital to an almost normal setting although still sleeping on the floor - those days I remember so clearly - as if they were yesterday rather than 13 years ago. Oh the places I have been and the roads God has led me down to get where I am today - the lessons learned.
I remember my girlfriend asking me sometime early in my marriage after we moved to the tin shack if I wanted to go camping with her and her dad and go diving off Rota. I said "Hell no, a five star hotel maybe, but I camp eveery dam day of my life."
The other memory I really have of that time is when my dog slightly broke the neck of a small kitten. Asking my husband to take care of it since the vet wouldn't be able to take care of it; he just looked at me. I remember saying "Just pick it up and twist it's head - put it out of its misery." He was shocked that I would say such a thing... obviously not growing up around animals in the mid west... having no gun I set out to the garden with the kitten and a shovel. Dug a hole and chopped of it's head with the shovel. I can only thank God I was a good aim... and it didn't even freak me out... he on the other hand wondered how he could have married such a savage... hmmm life is interesting.
So those, my friends, are my memories of living in a tin shack in a very beautiful jungle setting in Guam. Days gone by but not ever to be forgotten,