The most beautiful thing I saw in my life was the Ypao Beach on Guam. My dad went to Guam to work as a construction worker in 1984 when I was 4 years old. My mom, sister, and I lived together in Korea. My family’s dream was to reunited and live together. That day finally came 8 years later in 1992. It was one of the happiest days of my life living with my dad and moving to Guam, which back then we called it America. The next day we got there, the first thing we did was driving to the most popular beach on the island called Ypao Beach. We drove along the Ypao road and down to the beach where you can see a scenic view of the ocean. It was vast. It was full of bright colors and deep translucency. It was uplifting. It was overwhelming. It was beyond what my eyes could process.
Since then, Guam has been flooded with tourists probably looking for that same beauty of the ocean. Ypao Beach has lost that same luster and has been suffering from tourist activities. The corals are dying and the fish less abundant. Mother Ocean has been suffering. To a tourist, it still is a beautiful beach, but I saw its radiance when it was untouched by massive human interference. Whenever I went back and witness its degradation, it pained me. I wanted to pray for the healing of the ocean and stopping the tourists just for a while, but I couldn’t do that, because the entire livelihood of the island depends on the tourism industry. My family and friends they all depend on it one way or another.
COVID-19 happened. No flights are coming into Guam. The tourism industry is decimated. My family and friends lost their jobs and their businesses are shut down. But Mother Ocean can rest now. For the past 30 years, it provided for the people of Guam and the tourists. She can take a little break and heal.