100 Healing Rituals for Chamorros Suffering from Homesickness and Diaspora

This poem is dedicated to every Chamorro child whose left our islands because their parents decided to migrate. This is for every Chamorro who migrated because they lost their job, their land, their house, their faith that things would get better for them. This is for every Chamorro who migrated because they were drafted and/or enlisted into the military. This is for every Chamorro family who moved from base to base because family is just as important as geography. This is for every Chamorro who is deployed far away from their family, may you return home safely and be re-united soon. This is for every Chamorro who migrated for health care, who left because they couldn’t afford to keep traveling back and forth for treatment. This is for every Chamorro who migrated for college, who returned home for the holidays, who excitedly waited for graduation to return home to their families. This is for every Chamorro graduate student writing a thesis or dissertation on Chamorro identity and migration. This is for every Chamorro author writing a novel or poem or song about being off-island Chamorro. This is for every Chamorro who was born in the states, who only know our home islands from pictures and stories told to them by their parents or grandparents who migrated long ago. This is for every Chamorro who migrated for love, who stayed in the states for love. This is for every Chamorro family who can’t afford the plane tickets to take their whole family home for a funeral. This is for every Chamorro family who only hear their parents or grandparents voice over the phone. This is for every Chamorro family who knows that they will never return home to live, that they will always live with their bodies in one place and their hearts in another. This is for every Chamorro who’s still trying to figure out where they belong. This is for every Chamorro who no longer has relatives back home. This is for every Chamorro who returns home only to find that all their friends from the old days have passed away. This is for every Chamorro who has lost touch with their friends and family back home. This is for every Chamorro who wonders what life would have been like if you stayed, if your parents stayed, if your grandparents stayed. This is for every Chamorro who wonders if you will be welcomed home, find a job, be able to afford a house, find love, or find a purpose if you returned home tomorrow. This is for every Chamorro who is seeking out other Chamorros stateside. This is for every Chamorro who organizes and runs a Chamorro group to connect diasporic Chamorros to our culture, language, and people.

  1. Open a can of Spam. Follow your instincts home. 
  2. Make fina’denne and pour it over everything.
  3. Call your Chamorro grandparent(s) and ask them for a story about home.
  4. Read the Pacific Daily News online.
  5. YouTube Jesse Manibusan’s song “Forever Chamorro.” Sing along.
  6. Build an altar using shells, coral, postcards, photos, or other souvenirs.
  7. Call your Chamorro parent(s) and ask them for a story about home. 
  8. Read Guampedia online.
  9. Open a can of Vienna Sausages and a can of Budweiser. Call that dinner.
  10. Google Earth your village.
  11. YouTube Jesse Ruby’s song “Guam take me back.” Follow their voices home.
  12. Make kaddun pika, even if it’s hot outside.
  13. Explore the Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project. Follow this map home.
  14. Close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.
  15. Open a can of Corned Beef. Cook two eggs, any style. Eat with two scoops white rice, fina’denne, and Budweiser. Call that breakfast.
  16. Read Michael Lujan Bevacqua blog while eating breakfast.
  17. Lather coconut oil over everything.
  18. Read the Hale-ta Book Series. Follow your roots home
  19. Sport your Fokai, Crowns, or Magas apparel!
  20. Call your Chamorro godparent(s), and ask them for a story about home.
  21. Tell your non-Chamorrro friends taotaomo’na stories. Tell your Chamorro friends how your non-Chamorro friends don’t understand taotaomo’na stories.
  22. Read Faye Untalan’s “An Exploratory Study of Island Migrations: Chamorros of Guam” (1984).
  23. Buy the Chamorro-English dictionary on Amazon. Hold on to that moment when you open it for the first time.
  24. If you don’t speak Chamorro, learn a new word of our beautiful and endangered language everyday. Hold each word carefully, as if you were holding the last of our beautiful and endangered birds. 
  25. Youtube K.C. DeLeon Guerrero’s song, “Kustumbren Chamoru.” Dance your way home.
  26. Make red rice.
  27. In order to make red rice, you’ll need to buy achiote. Drive to the closest Asian grocery store. Look for Mama Sita’s powdered achiote from the Philippines, which comes in thin yellow packets. Remember your grandma’s red-stained hands after she harvested achiote seeds from her yard.
  28. Go to the nearest KFC and order red rice and fina’denne. Act surprised and disappointed when they give you a strange look.
  29. Read Tanya Taimanglo’s book Attitude 13.
  30. Go for a hike that ends in a waterfall. Close your eyes and call this place home.
  31. Chew the pugua you’ve been hoarding in the freezer.
  32. Buy a round-trip ticket home for a holidary, wedding, christening, graduation, or funeral. Worry about credit card debt later.
  33. Google “Legends of the Marianas.”
  34. Wear your Chamorro bracelets and let them clang like your grandma used to.
  35. Bump JD Crutch’s song “Bente Uno” really loud on your morning drive to work.
  36. Date a fellow diasporic Chamorro (make sure you aren’t related before going on a second date). Or date a non-Chamorro and enjoy the temporary pleasure of being exoticized.
  37. Listen to Dakot-ta Alcantara-Camacho’s song, “Where you From,” on his All Life is Sacred EP (which you can find on Soundcloud).
  38. Visit the Spam Musuem in Austin, Minnesota.
  39. After the Spam Museum, visit The Herbivorous Buthershop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the first ever vegan butchershop, which was founded by two diasporic Chamorros.
  40. Play bingo.
  41. Fanginge’ every Chamorro elder you meet. 
  42. YouTube Island Trybe’s, “Blow ya Mynd.” Lowride your way home!
  43. Wear your Sinahi everywhere.
  44. Read any book by Peter Onedera.
  45. Get a Latte stone or plumeria tattoo.
  46. Read Robert Underwood’s essay, “Excursions into Inauthenticity: The Chamorros of Guam.” (1985).
  47. YouTube Erica Nalani Benton’s song, “Back to Guahan.” Replay your way home.
  48. Buy a Chamorro language children’s book and imagine your parents reading this book to you when you were a child.
  49. When someone asks, “Where are you from?” Point to the empty space on the map and say, “I’m from this invisible island.”
  50. Cha-cha-cha everywhere.
  51. Youtube Melvin Won Pat Borja’s poem, “No Deal.” 
  52. Recite the “Inifresi.”
  53. Drive to the nearest military base. Close your eyes and imagine Angel Santos and the entire Chamoru Nation flying over the barbed-wire fence.
  54. Just Tabasco everything.
  55. Read Michael Perez’s essays “Pacific Identities Beyond US Racial Formation: The Case of Chamorro Ambivalence and Flux” (2002).
  56. YouTube Jesse Bais’s song, “Guam on my Mind.”
  57. Make chicken kelaguen.
  58. In order to make chicken kelaguen, you must first buy a coconut. Drive to the nearest Asian grocery store. Crack open the coconut at home only to find that it is completely rotted inside. Drive back to the grocery store with your machete. Get into an argument with the Asian owner, who won’t exchange the coconut. Go back to your car and get the machete. Walk back into the produce aisle of the store. Crack open the coconuts until you find a good one. Pay for the coconut, machete in hand. Say, “Keep the change.” Drive off like the most bad ass islander who’s ever lived in an American suburb.
  59. Blame it on the cha-cha-cha.
  60. Buy a round-trip ticket home for no reason. Worry about credit card debt later.
  61. Eat at the Chamorro restaurant and/or food truck that opened in your area. Try not to ruin the meal by comparing the food to your parents or grandparents cooking.
  62. Recite the novena in Chamorro using the rosary your grandma gave you at the airport. If you can’t say the novena in Chamorro, YouTube “Chamorro rosary.”
  63. Read Vicente Diaz’s book, Repositioning the Missionary.
  64. Give chenchule’ every chance you get.
  65. Watch the Muña brothers documentary Talent Town.
  66. Cook Calrose rice. Use your fingers to measure. When you smell the rice steaming, close your eyes and call this home.
  67. Get your clan name tattooed across your back.
  68. Youtube Jack Lujan’s song “Inifresi.” 
  69. Wear your “Prutehi yan Difendi” t-shirt.
  70. Close your eyes and remember the last time you hiked to Pågat. 
  71. Place a Guam or CNMI Seal sticker on your truck and drive on the freeway until another diasporic Chamorro spots you.
  72. Visit the Waikiki Spam Jam in Honolulu, Oahu.
  73. Read Keith Camacho’s book Cultures of Commemoration. Remember what your ancestors survived.
  74. Tell yourself that you will return one day, you just have a few more things to take care of out here.
  75. YouTube Flora Baza Quan’s song “Hagu.” Hail the Queen of Chamorro music!
  76. Go to the closest zoo that houses a Micronesian Kingfisher. Tell the bird, “Soon it’ll be safe enough to return.”
  77. Attend the nearest Liberation Day party, which you can locate using the guamliberation.com website.
  78. Read my poetry books (no refunds)!
  79. YouTube Chamorro Mixed Martial Arts fighters Jon Tuck, Frank “The Crank” Camacho, “Baby Joe” Taimanglo, and Pat Ayuyu. Fight your way home.
  80. Call any one of your Chamorro aunties and uncles. Be thankful to your grandparent(s) for having so many children so that there’ll always be someone to give you a story about home.
  81. Learn how to craft a kulo’. Blow the kulo’ everywhere.
  82. Read Jesi Lujan Bennett’s MA thesis, “Apmam Tiempo Ti Uli’e Hit (Long Time No See): Chamorro Diaspora and the TransPacific Home.”
  83. Youtube Jesse Bais’s song “Uno Hit.” Remember that off-island and on-island Chamorros are one! 
  84. Get “Dandan I Paneretas” stuck in your head all December and air stick dance with an imaginary partner.
  85. Attend the nearest Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.
  86. BBQ everything.
  87. YouTube “Malafunkshun.” Laugh your way home.
  88. Look at your American dollar bills. Find the word, “Gumataotao.”
  89. Read Lehua Taitano’s poetry book, A Bell Made of Stones.
  90. Wear zoris everywhere.
  91. YouTube episodes of Nihi! online and imagine watching them with your parents when you were a child.
  92. Buy a one-way ticket home.
  93. Youtube Johnny Sablan’s song, “Nobia Nene.” Dance with someone you love.
  94. Remember that migration flows through our blood and this is just another stop on our epic itinerary.
  95. Join the nearest Chamorro, Marianas, Sons and Daughters of Guam, or Hafa Adai Club in your state. If there are none, start your own Chamorro club in your church, community center, military base, high school, or university.
  96. Attend the Chamorro Cultural Festival in San Diego. Call this gathering home.
  97. Build a Guma’ Chamorro in Balboa Park.
  98. Shout, “I exist! I exist! I exist!”
  99. Whisper, “mahalang,” the only word built to carry all this longing.
  100. Drive to the ocean. Take off your zoris and step into the salt water. Return your tears to the sea, where they belong. Close your eyes, and call your body home.
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