An Orphan Thanksgiving

This year we spent Thanksgiving with a few other orphans living in Guam without family. Good times were had, yummy food was devoured, and delectable desserts were savored. We all missed spending the holidays with our families, but these folks are as close as it comes to family out here.

Please meet our orphan crew:
From left: Diane, Robert, Tina, Sam, and Baldo

Our dinner didn't start until about 7:30 because we had to wait until Baldo and Tina were done with the news show. Tina let Baldo fill in as co-anchor that night. He did great!

Sam spent all day giving TLC to the turkey...and it was amazing.
Yum, yum, turkey drum!

Finally, the moment to chow arrived.

Can I get a "what-what" for how svelte my main squeeze is looking these days?

What holiday celebration isn't complete without a little Martinelli's? (but literally a little Martinelli's...get it? The bottle is little.)

Because of all the wonderful food, I changed into my comfy clothes about 10 minutes into dinner. Skinny jeans should be prohibited on Thanksgiving Day.
Go Devils!

Please meet our new friend, Black Forrest Cake.
He's definitely the reason I had to change into my comfy clothes.
And yes, I'm eating some leftover cake as I write this post. You would be too if you knew how good it was.

We survived our first holiday away from family, but we thought of them often. This year I'm grateful for the technology that allows us to communicate often with our families. I'm comforted knowing they are a Skype session or a Gmail call away. These luxuries make our long distance from home easier to bear.

We hope your Thanksgiving Day was enjoyable, although we know it's nearly impossible without us there.

I'm only kidding.

Sort of.


Tales of a Scooter Sass

I think my bad luck started when I woke up this morning and found a gecko scurrying across my kitchen floor. It was an omen...I should have known.

On my way to school I passed by a dead dog. Gross, gross, gross. If my misfortune had ended there, the day would have been considered a success.

But if my misfortune had ended there I would not have written this post.

Lauren's Scary Scooter Story

My story is based on five true events.

Event #1
After grading a six-inch high pile of papers (progress reports are due Wednesday) I finally started my journey home. I rounded the first corner and remembered the dead dog I saw earlier this morning. Enter paranoia. I felt uncomfortable driving by the dog without the protection of an enclosed car because I knew it would be surrounded by flies. Convincing myself not to looked failed, and no sooner were my eyes glued to the putrid scene. The dead dog was still there, but so were about a hundred nasty flies. I managed to pry my eyes away from the dog just in time to dodge a horse fly that probably would have knocked me off my scooter if it hit me.

Event #2
Thanking my lucky stars I continued driving on the windy road until I spotted some stray dogs a short distance ahead. I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent another road side fly feast, so I positioned my thumb over my scooter horn ready to sound it if needed. The dogs stayed out of my way, thankfully, but a few moments later I lost myself in deep thought and forgot my thumb was on the horn. Then for some unknown, unintelligible reason my thumb pushed down on the horn startling me to the point of almost falling off my scooter.

Event #3
With my heart racing I zoomed into the jungle canopy and started noticing how windy it was. Naturally this lead me to think about the probability of a snake falling from the trees directly onto my head. Out of nowhere something fell and hit me right on my chest! Maybe it was a huge leaf, a butterfly, or a flying squirrel? It fell so fast my chest felt it before my eyes saw it.

Event #4
Certain that I had seen the worst of my drive home I turned up the hill towards my street. A few yards ahead I saw a man walking a dog on a leash followed by, yet again, another stray dog. As I passed the trio the stray dog wheeled around and started chasing me! If we had been on a flat road that dog would have eaten my scooter dust. Sadly for me, my scooter maxes out at a whoppin' 10mph uphill...so did the dog. In case you didn't know, I am not a huge fan of dogs. I was sure my life was ending at that moment, but my trusty thumb once again found its way to the horn and blasted the dog off my trail. Once more, a crisis was averted.

And finally,

Event #5
Surely I was out of harm's way. Or so I thought. I scoot-scooted my way to the back of our house timid and shaken. All that was left of my journey was to park my scooter on the back porch. But after all the excitement from the fly feast, awkward horn blow, falling unidentified object, and dog chase, my motor skills were impaired. I rode up the ramp and ran my moped right into the wash basin! I definitely won't tell you that I also almost ran into the water heater. Now my candy-apple-red scooter bears an ugly white blemish; a scar that tells the story of Lauren's scary scooter ride.


Here's an Idea... Swass it up on the Beach!

(If you have never heard of Swass, don't worry it means nothing.) I uploaded all these pictures from our young men campout, but then noticed they are in reverse chronological order.

You leave these kids alone for 5 min. and they start doing crazy push-ups.

We drink it straight from the nut, coco nut that is.
Even Cpt. Dr. Pres. Stan Kimball does! (He has a lot of titles)
Camping with these guys is not for everyone.
But views, like this, make it all worth it.
Young Men from the two northern branches went on a morning hike.
Northern coast of Guam.
The hike was more like... a stroll on the beach.
Yigo Branch Young Men.
Old water-well built in the 40's
This was the only water source in the 70's after a major typhoon.
Super clear water.

Part 2 of the stroll.
Cpt. Dr. Pres. Kimball motivating the troops to press forward.
Okay the Night Before: Spent the night playing on the beach and catching...
A flesh-eating baby pre-historic shark fish (or that's what I thought.)
Crazy creatures every where on the beach, and look there's also a crab.
Crab only has one arm, after the kids got to him.
Hunting fish and things in the rocks.
They could have done this all night if we would have let them.
You don't know where that crab has been, don't eat it.
On Guam food is everything. So an overnighter must have a delicious spread.
Bro. Besich provided the super hot Habanero Sausage.
Add some rice (because you add rice to everything) and bbq chicken and you are living the Guam life.
It was 90 degrees all day and all night, aka Fun. But on a side note... these boys are pretty amazing and it is more than a joy to serve them.

Chapter 5: I Saw the Sign

Fact: Politics is a big deal in Guam.
Fact: Political signs are an even bigger deal...

Can you believe this? The inside of this a-frame billboard probably has more square footage than our house.

FYI- You don't pronounce 'Gutierrez' here the way every other normal person in the world pronounces it. You say "Guh-tair-ez." Pronouncing the true Spanish way only brings snickers and scoffs. Not that I know from personal experience...



A few firsts occured this weekend:

1. This was my first Halloween without a costume. October 31st snuck up on me and I wasn't prepared. Boo :(

2. This was the first time I entered chili into a contest. I won Family Favorite!

3. This was the first time someone's Halloween costume disgusted/amazed me all at the same time.
WARNING!!! The photo you are about to see may cause disturbance to individuals uncomfortable with female processes.

Sorry, I had to show you this. Forgive me?