While we were living in Guam, my husband used to be away from home for about a third of each month flying around to Palau and the Philippines for work. It was during those times when the infamous Pacific typhoons would hit our home where I was alone with our 1-year-old daughter at the time. Though it was not easy for me to manage all by myself the “man’s heavy duty work” to protect our home, I feel nostalgic to look back to those days and remember when I was young and could do anything on my own - because I had to.
I kept myself busy with projects even when we were amidst raising our children. From holding and teaching European flower arrangement class, attending and interpreting at international conferences as Vice President of my husband’s company, editing and publishing external and internal newsletters for Duty Free Guam, to directing PR for Pacific Island Club. I sometimes had my husband bring our daughter to work, in an effort to make her feel that she was with her mother.
Prior to starting my life in Hawaii, I had left Tokyo and moved to Guam and lived there for 3 years due to my husband’s work. I was pregnant with my first child, my daughter, but this did not change how I dealt with my work. Believe it or not, even while I was struggling with contractions in the hospital, I was diligent enough to complete proofreading English and Japanese newsletters for DFS Galleria, my client at the time.
After delivery, I continued to work on PR projects, and in addition, I started a flower class at home leveraging my European flower design license. It was rewarding to see Japanese wives enjoy learning different flower design other than Japanese style.
Having been tired of going back and forth between Palau and Guam, my husband finally built a Palauan style house near our coconut oil factory. We enjoyed our life there just like the other local people would do, welcoming neighbor children at home, who would teach us local Micronesian games.
On our “Luttrell Island”, which the Palauan government presented to us, we used to welcome foreign dignitaries and enterprises’ top executives, where we would teach them how to swim and dive.
“Luttrell Island,” which Palauan government presented to us was mostly flat soil terrain with short trees and rocks, enabling us to build cottages for a long stay. The local boys used to navigate my boat for me so that I would not hit the large coral reef surrounding the islands. Also, they were the ones, who taught me how to clean, cut and prepare fish, and we used to enjoy “all you can eat” sashimi party.
While Palau is republic, they still have a traditional “Tribe Chief” system. When we were expecting our first baby, Chief of a tribe near the capital Koror invited us to a special ceremony wishing me for a safe and easy delivery. They gave me a necklace made of their tribes ancient coins, which I hope to have my grandchildren pass down to many generations to come.
My late husband Guy Luttrell was an entrepreneur, who built the world’s largest coconut oil plant in Republic of Palau, and was called “Coconut King of the Pacific.” I was PR director in Tokyo, when we met in Guam, and after a long-distance relationship, we became engaged, and my life in Palau started.