Fresh Air

It’s 12:25 am on Guam and the air feels heavy with humidity as I walk through the jetway between the plane and the island’s sole commercial airport. I begin to strip off layers of clothing as I make my way towards immigration. Scarf. Jacket. Cardigan. By the time I reach baggage claim, I wish I’d remembered to pack sandals in my handcarry. My knee-length boots have no place here.

It’s 12:52 am on Guam and a pleasant 78 degrees outside. When I left San Jose, it was a chilly 25 on the coldest nights. Indeed, it’s one of the coldest winters many Bay Area residents remember. We in the South Bay aren’t accustomed to discovering our cars covered in a layer of ice in the mornings, much less for many days in row…especially considering we usually enjoy temperatures 10-20 degrees warmer than San Francisco. Call me a spoiled Californian, but the thought of tropical weather is what made those recent chilly nights tolerable.

It’s 1 am on Guam as I breathe in the fresh air. I look out at the hotel-lined bay, and the Pacific Ocean beyond that. It’s not much, but it’s a pretty view. I settle into the backseat of the car as my parents tell me about recent family happenings. As we drive home, I observe that nearly everything we pass looks just as it did a decade ago. It’s oddly soothing.

It’s 4 am on Guam and the roosters are crowing. No, I don’t live on or near a farm. That’s just the way things work around here. In fact you’ll hear the roosters at 11 am, 6 pm, and pretty much all other hours. I’m wide awake because it is 10am –yesterday– in California. A gust of air breezes through the window. I take a deep breath. As I exhale, it feels as though I’ve hit “Reset.”