Friday, January 3, 2014


Hagåtña.  1930s

Told to me by a woman in her eighties.

Annai dikkike' yo', guaha un palao'an giya Hagåtña ni mampos eskurosa.
(When I was little, there was a woman in Hagåtña who was overly squeamish.)

Ti ya-ña ma bisita gi gima' sa' ti ya-ña taotao.
(She didn't like to be visited at home because she didn't like people.)

Yanggen ma dilingding i kampåna gi pettån-ña, siempre ha saosao i batunes sa' guaha taotao pumacha.
(If someone rang the doorbell, she would definitely wipe the button because someone touched it.)

Yanggen ma nå'e gue' nengkanno', siempre ha chåhlao pot no u nina'pinite i munå'e gue', lao an må'pos i taotao, siempre ti u kånno', sa' kånnai otro na taotao fuma'tinas.
(If she was given food, she would accept it not to hurt the feelings of the one who gave it, but when the person left, she wouldn't eat it because someone else's hands prepared it.)

Todo i un pacha seguro na u saosao, ya ti u fan nangga asta ke må'pos hao pot no un li'e, lao ha chocho'gue gi me'nå-mo!
(Everything you touched she would wipe, and she wouldn't wait till you left so you wouldn't see her do that, but she would do it right in front of you!)

Sa' pot i sumåsåga este na palao'an gi entalo' i gimå'-ho yan i gima' i bihå-ho, sesso yo' maloffan gi me'nan i gimå'-ña.
(Because this lady lived in between my house and my grandmother's house, I often passed in front of her house.)

Hekkua' ti hu tungo' pot håfa na rason lao ya-ña yo' este na palao'an ya kada ha li'e na maloloffan yo' gi chalan gi me'nan i gimå'-na, siempre ha kombida yo' para in gimen chokolåte. 
(I don't know for what reason but this woman liked me and every time she sees me on the street going past the front of her house, she would invite me to drink chocolate with her.)

Pues fiho ha faisen yo' kao malago' yo' maigo' gi gimå'-ña lao ma'åñao yo' sa' ni håfåfa ya-ho pumacha gi halom gumå'-ña sa' siempre ha saosao.
(Then she often asked me if I wanted to sleep at her house but I was afraid because I didn't want to touch anything at all inside her house because then she'd wipe it.)

Pues hu oppe gue' na mungnga yo' maigo' gi gimå'-ña sa' esta guaha kattre-ko gi gimå'-ho.
(So I answered her that I didn't want to sleep at her house because I already had my own bed at my house.)

Buente pot i kasao este na palao'an lao ti siña gue' gumaipatgon na ya-ña yo' ya ha espipia yo' todo i tiempo.
(Perhaps, because this lady was married but couldn't have a child, she liked me and was always looking for me.)

Man manman i mañe'lu-ho yan amigu-ho siha na ha kombida yo' hålom gi gimå'-ña este na palao'an para in gimen chokolåte sa' siha na famagu'on ni ngai'an u fan kinembida para u fan hålom gi gimå'-ña ayo na eskurosan biha.
(My siblings and friends were astonished that this lady invited me into her house to drink chocolate with her, because those kids would never be invited to enter the home of that finicky old lady.)


Eskurosa.  The word is borrowed from the Spanish asqueroso, which means "disgusting, yucky, loathsome, repulsive" and so on.  So, in Chamorro, we've given the word a new twist, because for us it means someone who is easily disgusted; in other words, someone squeamish or finicky.

Chamorros also pronounced it their own way, askuroso/askurosa at first, but now most people will say eskuroso/eskurosa, the first way for a male and the second for a female.

Chocolate.  The lady didn't ask the girl to come in and eat chocolate, nor to drink hot cocoa.  The old lady was following an old Spanish tradition of drinking actual melted chocolate.  Bars of chocolate were put to the fire and drunk hot.  The Chocolate House in the present-day Plaza de España area was so-called, supposedly, because it was where the wife of the Spanish Governor served chocolate drinks to visitors or among the Governor's family and associates.


This amusing story is based on a real lady who lived in the capital city before the war.

I know her identity, but since her extended family is still around, I won't identify her.

My informant, now an elderly lady herself, told me that this lady's story ended on a sad note.  By the time of the war, the lady was by herself, her husband was out of the picture and she had no children.

During the march to Mañenggon right before the fierce battle to take Guam back from the Japanese, the lady died somehow.  Being alone, people don't really know under what circumstances she died.

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