Today was an interesting day.
Right now I am looking at the “confessions,” which was a trend in the 1800s where families would survey each other their likes and dislikes, of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. I have just learned that Karl Marx’s idea of happiness is “to fight” and his idea of misery is “to submit,” while Frederick Engels favorite motto is “take it easy.” Man, makes me wish I can go back in time and smoke a joint with Mr. Engels, and talk how he and Mr. Marx were so accurate on their predictions of how capitalism would continue to ruin if allowed to grow and prosper. I’d imagine he would laugh at 1st, and then get a bit sad, and then take a drink of the closest wine cup he could find (he was known for throwing parties for leftist thinkers that would go to the wee hours of the morning). Also his response for favorite Hero, was “none,” and favorite Heroine was “too many to name one.” What a slick and smooth response, bet he was a ladies man.
This morning though, I was put into a bad mood by my Grandfather. I let his behavior, that I know and have dealt with countless times before, get to me. I was fortunate that my cousins and Auntie came over and kept him company, cooked him food, and helped him work out in the shop. I Got to do a few things for myself, but still, was unable to concentrate, just felt really trapped at home due to my Grandpa relying on me for most things still. But the day progressed, and I get a call from my Auntie to go pick up food from her friend in Agat. It is a common Chamorro practice for friends and friends of relatives to cook meals for the elderly, it is a sign of respect and overall just a good will gesture. After a few failed turns, I call her for directions and finally get to her house.
I get there, and she ushers me inside to get the food dishes. I put them in the car while she comes outside and sits down on a porch chair. I take the time to enjoy the cool ocean breeze, the village resides alongside the beach, as she starts talking to me.
1) She talks about my Auntie, and how she and her are pretty close, they talk a lot.
2) She talks about how she knows my brother and appreciates his work with culture.
3) She starts talking about food.
That is where it gets interesting.
The nice elderly lady starts talking about her family history. This exercise , when done by the older Chamorros, is a real treat to see in action, it’s something that has shaped me understand what culture is. It is what you learn from your family, parents, and the people around you. It is what you know and how you act amongst your peers. Her passion for cooking was a trait passed from her mom, who always had food on the table for her dad who tended the crops. So she picked it up by osmosis. She told me that it was no problem for her to do this, and she offered to do on a later date. We spend 20-30 minutes talking (which felt like 5 minutes): during that time I learned what the “back kitchen” was, heard a sound argument on why Chamorros need to slow down on their sodium intake, and how to properly serve yourself at a fiesta party (Start at the end, not the beginning of the food table). It was so wise yet delivered in such a playful manner, a tone that many of our old folks here on Guam have. She really reminded me of why I enjoy listening to the elderly and learning about their experiences. The baked Salmon and Mongo Beans that she cooked too was really tasty. This was just one of many events that turned my less than stellar morning into a pretty good, intellectual stimulating, and inspiring Sunday. I started this entry talking about Karl Marx, so I’ll end with a Marx quote that I've always appreciated, and one that shows his true character. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”