I feel like I am Guamanian because we travel to Guam for visits for family events. I eat Guamanian dishes a lot and some of my favorite foods are Guamanian dishes. Also, I understand some of the Chamorro words which makes me connected to my Guamanian culture. Otherwise I eat American food like pizza and hot dogs. I don’t feel connected to my Spanish roots only through the language when I speak and learn in school.
Family is very important to Guamanians and decisions are always made together. In any situation (good or bad), family is always there to celebrate or guide you through the challenge.
We always celebrate birthdays, holidays or any special occasion together with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
My parents share the same responsibilities in the home, but my father does all the outdoor house work such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutter, trimming the trees, etc. He also does all the electrical needs of my house.
Our elders are very important people in our life. We treat them very respectfully and generously. When we meet an elder like my grandma, she is greeted by a kiss on both cheeks or the old traditional way which is taking her hand and saying “nora” (for males “not”) then kissing her hand as a sign of respect. Since their knowledge and wisdom is highly regarded we seek guidance from them almost all the time.
Food is a big part of my family and the Guamanian culture. We cook as if we are feeding an army. We don’t need to have a special occasion to cook so we cook for social gathering, togetherness, love and to eat a good meal.
Guamanians in our family are very generous people. When we have parties or events people donate food for the party/event. We make many types of dishes. Guamanians love to eat many variety of food so you always see a long table of dishes to choose from. Guamanian parties is an all day event.
When Family and friends come to celebrate our party there’s always plenty of leftover food for them to pack up and bring home. We call this “bollutan” and we welcome everyone to bring a container or two of food to enjoy for the following day.
The language my family speaks at home is Chamorro and mostly English. My parents speak some Chamorro but mostly understand and can read the language. I understand some of the Chamorro words when my family speak to each other only because they say it all the time and they will tell us what it means in English. Only our very elders in our household speak Chamorro more than they do English.
I am a Roman Catholic Christian. I became a Catholic when I was baptized as a baby just as my entire family were baptized before me. My baptismal unites me with God and begins my journey with Him. After my Baptismal, we had w Christening party at the restaurant. My parents with my godparents celebrate by gathering all the young children and throwing coins in the air (quarters, dimes, nickels) for all the kids to collect and keep. Every Sunday I attend church. I attend religious school once a week. The next sacrament after baptismal is receiving Holy Communion. I was 7 years old and in the Second Grade when I received the Holy Communion. Holy Communion is receiving the Blessed Sacrament during Holy Mass. The Blessed Sacrament can only be received by one who is a living human being, baptized, fasted and one who is not committed sin. After the ceremony, friends and relatives come to our home to celebrate with me. I received lots of monetary gifts which is customary in my culture. I will be preparing for my Confirmation which I will be receiving when I am 15 years old.
The way my family acts toward nature and animals is very friendly. We can have pets in our house and do what most Americans do with them. We bath them, we feed them and let them play outside. My family and I care and love our two dogs.
If we see a cat or any stray animal, we’re not allowed to go near it, because you’re never sure what decease it may be caring says my parents and safety is our first priority. Also, it’s bad luck to go near a black cat.
Now I feel that I’m 95% Guamanian and 5% Spanish. All that I do is Guamanian and the only part of me that is Spanish is just speaking what I’m learning in class and hearing some of the words that are mixed in with the Chamorro language.