Oh yeah! We are about that expanding our horizons life!
Truth be told I can be a bit of a social recluse. I love to go see movies alone. I like to sit alone in my car on top of the Los Angeles mountains and read my Bible. I am a thinker. My job is almost exclusively about solving problems a.k.a. thinking. I can get lost in my thoughts which is another exercise in mental isolation. Being alone is something I enjoy. It refreshes me. Here is the problem. It is also very boring. My beautiful wife and my sweet babies don’t want to spend Saturday watching Daddy think or read or watch boring T.V. They want to get out and have some fun. So when our good friend, Uncle Freddie, invited us down to Oceanside for something called a “Chamorro Festival” my visceral response was “ugh, no thanks” but then the voice of wisdom nudged me. “Perhaps a weekend in Oceanside at a festival would be fun. Perhaps your family would enjoy themselves. Perhaps you should get your lazy recluse behind off the couch and go do something fun this weekend”. I may not always be or think wisely but I recognize his voice. So in spite of myself I rallied the troops, booked a hotel room and announced to the family…”We are going to the Chamorro Festival!!” But wait! (enter tire squealing sound here). What is a “Chamorro Festival”? What is a Chamorro?
I was born in Amarillo, Texas. Raised in Tempe, Arizona. I grew up traveling to Mexico very frequently for vacations and weekend get aways but that is as far as this red blooded American has ventured outside of my homeland. I have never had a real desire to travel. I don’t exactly know the reason but I have gone as far east as New York and as far south as Cancun but that is the extent of it. As a result of my lack of international exposure I am learning in my late thirties that I am shockingly ignorant about other cultures. This trip to a very random festival would become a bit of an awakening to me of my own narrow mindedness. I knew Uncle Freddie was from Guam. I did not know that made him Chamorro because I had never even heard the word Chamorro before. I literally had to ask Marquita to look on Wikipedia during our drive to Oceanside so we wouldn’t be completely ignorant when we arrived at the festival.
The Chamorro people are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands; politically divided between the United States territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia.
Yes man! An entire people group that I had never heard of one time in my entire life! What the #$%^! How is that even possible? It is though. The Mariana Islands are a small cluster of islands about 16 hours by plane from L.A. by way of Hawaii.
The Mariana Islands are situated south of Japan and north of Australia.
The Chamorros, Guam’s indigenous people, settled the island approximately 4,000 years ago. Guam was colonized in 1668. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded Guam to the United States on December 10, 1898. On December 7, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was captured by the Japanese, who occupied the island for thirty months. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to beheadings, forced labor, rape, and torture. Guam endured hostilities when American forces recaptured the island on July 21, 1944; Liberation Day commemorates the victory. Since the 1960s, the economy has been supported by two industries: tourism and the United States Armed Forces.
The Chamorro Festival is an annual gathering of this beautiful people group from the Mariana Islands(Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian) . They come together to celebrate their culture and to honor their heritage. There was music, dancing and some off the chains delicious barbecue.
The festival was a blast. The weekend was a hit with the family. More importantly we all got to make some new friends and learn about their culture. It made us want to meet more people from more places. I think I might actually want to travel internationally which is a big deal for this Texan/Arizonan/U.S native. The Chamorro people opened my eyes even more to the beauty of diversity. The music was different than mine (check out some artists I have since fallen in love with: Tenelle, Fiji, Sons and Rebel Souljahz). The dancing was different, the food was different but at the end of the day the similarities were impossible to ignore. We all like to listen to music, dance, eat, drink and spend time with the people we love. Their prayers before dinner sounded a lot like mine and their love for one another was tangible and real. Getting to know the Chamorro culture left me genuinely humbled by the creativity and awe inspiring beauty of our creator. How beautiful his creations are. What a blessed weekend. Thank you Uncle Freddie for the invite. Thank you Chamorro Festival 2017 for hosting us. See you in San Diego this summer for the Pacific Islander Festival (http://www.pifasandiego.com/)!!!