Sunday, November 10, 2019

Return to Palau

I returned to the United States of God Bless America from Palau just over six years ago WHAT HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE.

I've been thinking about Palau a lot lately because I'm going back there next month. I think I forgot to tell you that. Sorry. You deserved to know.

For anyone new to Stranger since 2013, I used to live in a county called Palau for work. It's a tropical island nation in the equatorial Pacific and the specific island I lived on was one-square-mile. Also Stranger used to be a Satanic cult and like half the people who were reading this site are in prison now because of things I got them to do through subliminal messaging, like post hundreds of comments on TMZ about how I was dating Britney Spears. So it's probably good you missed some of that. Our current cult is much more docile.

I haven't been back to Palau since 2013. I actually had not planned to go back anytime soon. I thought maybe once Sky was done with medical school and we had finished raising our children and retired and had dementia and I couldn't remember what it was like to live there, maybe we would head back to see some sea turtles.

But one of Skylar's closest friends from college grew up in a place called Saipan, which is "near" Palau (nothing is near Palau) and she's getting married there next month. Sky wanted to try to go to this wedding even though it's 19 light years away.

We pulled Saipan up on the map and saw that it's only like this far [holding hands up not even that far from each other] from Palau and since we didn't have time to go on a honeymoon and since we knew we wanted to go to Palau eventually, we thought we'd make a trip out of it.

Truthfully, I'm excited to see Palau again. I love the country and the people in it. It is the most beautiful piece of this Earth I've ever seen.

But my time living there was tumultuous.

There were so many dark evenings sitting on my balcony, looking out over the ominous bay below. Bats would fly overhead. The wind made a different sound there--it was emptier, somehow. Like it was just moving without a purpose.

Taken from my apartment balcony.

Evening walk on the beach.

A dark night on the beach.

I was collapsing on myself. Closeted, and fully convinced I would always be that way. But unlike my life prior to Palau, I didn't have enough noise to keep me distracted.

In Palau, all I had was the sound of the dark wind that didn't have a purpose.

Life moved at a glacial pace, and that had the effect of highlighting the chaos in my mind.

Daniel was with me, and that was often complicated--not his fault, and in fact I'm truly grateful to him and for what his presence meant, even if it wasn't always healthy for either of us. One day I'd like to share more about that, with his permission. I know some of you are frustrated that I still haven't--I've always appreciated your patience on that.


Here I am, years later, so very different, but also kind of the same, you know? I still laugh at the same things and have the same values. But I'm happy now, and just free in a way I wasn't before.

I'm married, which is crazy. Married to a person who is somehow more perfect for me than I ever dreamed could be possible. And it's so strange to me that I'll be heading back to that other place--the place where I wasn't so free--with that person. I have some complicated and mixed feelings about that, but ultimately I think this is going to be good for me.

I'm excited to take you back there with me--a revisit that may be good for all of us.

And now, please enjoy some Strangerville, including a truly healing story from this weekend's Strangerville Live:


This time in Strangerville, Woke Twitter is ready to protect the bears from menial tasks, like driving cars. And Arianna Rees takes the Strangerville Live stage to talk about the miracles her parents performed for her with very few resources.
Story
A Goofy Movie, by Arianna Rees
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter


~It Just Gets Stranger

24 comments:

  1. Wow! First of all, that’s crazy that it has been that long. I started reading your blog when you were in Palau. What a trip. I’m glad you’re going back with Skylar. I hope it isn’t too hard.

    Amy Rose and I recently watched a movie series and part of what interested us is that Wikipedia said some of it was filmed in Palau. Eli’s Palau.

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    1. The show was called “Legend of the Blue Sea” if there are any other Asian drama watchers in the Strangerville community.

      I am pretty sure I started reading just before you left for Palau, and now I am tempted to go back and see if I can find the first comment I posted... I am that nerd that would actually try to figure that out, too. But I know I read for awhile before ever commenting anything so it might not really help. Needless to say, Palau was an adventure for all of us. And like others have said here in these comments and over the years, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us, Eli.

      And to the anonymous commenter below and Eli’s response, I would like to nominate him a “telling it like it is” award. Do I have the power to nominate people for that award? I’m pretty sure a few posts back Eli handed this whole thing over to me, anyway... have we signed all the legal papers yet?

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    2. That's really nice of you AR, but per the Stranger bylaws I'm ineligible for the award. UNLESS YOU CHANGED THEM OMG DO YOU HAVE THE POWER TO DO THAT NOW

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    3. Put her in charge of it because you deserve that award! I’ll start the slow clap......

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  2. I started reading the blog when you were in Palau -- I can't beleive it's been that long! Yours is the only blog I read religiously. Like - it's in my morning routine - I read you right after I peruse FB in the morning (or after I pay bills if it's Wednesday). And you should add "The Blogger" to your list of nicknames because if I say that everyone in my life knows who I'm talk about.

    On the topic of Daniel. Of course, we're all curious about what you refer to in this post. However, we are all incredibly fortunate that you share so much of your life with us as it is. It's weird to feel this connected to someone whom I've never met and whom doesn't feel connected to me. And (I'm speaking for everyone here - so if You're not on board with what I'm about to say I'm sorry - - no - - - I'm not sorry because you SHOULD be on board with what about I'm about to say) we are all grateful for the Stranger community which you have created. If you feel no pride for any of the other things you've done in life (and you should feel pride for those things because you've done some pretty damn (sorry for the language Cathy) impressive things!), feel pride for creating this community that supports one another in a weird, we've-never-met-but-I-consider-you-a-friend way.

    That all being said - don't feel like you HAVE to share what went down with Daniel just because we want to know. If you decide to (and he approves), I'm sure we'll all devour each and every word. But sometimes the past should remain in the past and we can all accept that (again, I'm taking the liberty of speaking for everyone because if you can't get on board with what I just said that's on you).

    I posted something on FB yesterday that I think is something we all need to hear - and I think it's something in particular you (ELI) will appreciate: No one is you, and that is your power.

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    1. I also found your blog when you were in Palau. I agree with Nicole 100%. It is entirely up to you and Daniel to decide what/when/if you ever share any details.

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  3. Palau! So much nostalgia. I can't wait to read about that trip.

    Also, Arianna's story was SO beautiful. I listened on my drive to work this morning and was ugly crying at the end when she talked about good tv and movie parents. I dream of one day being able to attend Strangerville live in person.

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  4. I have to agree with Nicole (above); I don't need to know what happened between you and Daniel, but I'm willing to "listen" if you want to share it. The thing I love most about your blog is your beautiful writing. You have a gift, Eli, and I am so grateful that you share it! A prime example is this phrase: "The wind made a different sound there--it was emptier, somehow. Like it was just moving without a purpose". You can sense the loneliness, the lack of peace you had during your time there, from that simple sentence. Thanks for making this "Stranger" a part of your electronic family.

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  5. Curious why you and Meg seem to think it’s your job to call out bad behavior...? And more importantly why you feel you are the judge of what is and isn’t “bad behavior.” Just listened to the podcast and the post-story chat has me feeling confused. Because while I’m with you on this particular behavior being unacceptable, there are times I feel that your comments on the podcast and on this blog are equally unacceptable. It’s one thing if we all are doing our best and we make some mistakes along the way and we all give each other grace for that. But I’m currently put off at your attitude that seems to be portraying that only you have the accurate judgement of bad behavior. Because let’s be honest, whether in jest or in sincerity, you’ve said some pretty horrible things about people who think and act differently than you, example: politics (but there are many others). Anyway, I’m confused. It’s seems a bit arrogant on your part and I feel surprised because I don’t often feel arrogance from your words.

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    1. I call out behavior that I think its harmful to others. Always have, always will. It's an aspect of myself I'm proud of.

      For context, you are referring to a conversation Meg and I had about two men who post videos on the internet purporting to give dating advice that I find horribly degrading to women (maybe you're one of these dudes and I've struck a nerve). Being kind doesn't doesn't mean accepting garbage decisions others make. And in fact, people who are hurt by the bad behavior deserve allies who aren't afraid to call it out.

      Unless you're referring to Meg's attack on me for putting onions in mashed potatoes, in which case I wholly agree. It was uncalled for and I'll take my apology from her off air.

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    2. *I call out behavior when I think its harmful to others . . .

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    3. You probably need to relax. Not everything is meant to be taken personally on the internet or in life.

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    4. Uh...isn't it everyone's job to call out bad behavior? Maybe don't take that out on Eli and Meg if you aren't doing that yourself. (Also, most of what they do is lighthearted jabbing. Are we seriously so sensitive we have to get upset about that?)

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    5. Just when Eli thought we were all getting docile.....

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    6. I listened to the podcast and I didn't get any arrogance or hear anything that would be considered offensive or overstepping. I appreciate it when Eli and Meg and, well, anyone has the courage to openly call out bad behavior. Now leaving vague anonymous criticisms without having the courage to put your name on it is a different story. As is putting raw onions in mashed potatoes, Eli for shame!

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    7. Oh Hi! Me again. I just finished listening to this week's podcast where my very comment was mentioned and discussed and Meg said she'd really like to hear from me. So here I am. Here's what you need to know: I'm surprised at the passion my comment seemed to spark in both of you. I honestly feel like everyone is overreacting: both you and Meg and those that replied to my comment here on the blog (which I am now seeing for the first time). It seems people are putting words in my mouth that indeed never came from my mouth. Some of the commenters have labeled me "upset" and "seriously so sensitive." Oh and it looks like The Suzzzz (whom I love!) says I left vague anonymous criticism. None of these words accurately describe how I actually feel or what I feel I actually did. For the record, I don't hate either of you, or the podcast. Nor did I "get mad" as you told Meg after you read my initial comment. Meg mentioned she wondered why if I hated the podcast, then why would I be listening (then answered her question with her own experience of partaking of media she hates). The truth is that I love the podcast and I love listening. I never indicated otherwise. Did I think you guys sounded pretty judge-y at the end?....Yup. Secondly, you failed to note that in my initial comment I did indeed agree with you that on this particular issue (the dating dudes video), I agreed with you that it was bad behavior. I guess your back and forth debating on how to deal with these people was the big put off (to me it seemed very arrogant.) My question as to why you feel you are the bad behavior police was truly my only question and issue. And truthfully, you answered it on the podcast. And it makes sense to me. I actually disagree with you, but I can now see why you do what you do. Your reply to my comment on this blog didn't explain that, it was your commentary on the podcast. Want to know my truth? (Hops on soap box) My truth is that I think we are all getting a little excessive on calling everyone out. It's lame, its overused, and unless you are in a close relationship with that person, it's ineffective at best. It truly doesn't change anyone's behavior. (Case in point: did you reading my comment change your mind about what you do? Clearly from your discussion on the podcast it did not. I guarantee the guys on the dating video would have a similar reaction if they knew you had publicly called them out. They would only find inner justification for what they do.) I find it annoying and I think it does the opposite of what people intend it to. And it extends into other social areas as well. How many articles have we read that give a list of 10 things not to say to someone going though (fill in the blank)? Don't say this to people with infertility. Don't say that to people of other races. Don't say this to diabetics. Don't say that to people struggling with depression. And people with cancer. And widows. And single people. And married people. And on and on and on. People are so determined to tell the world what is ok and not ok to say that frankly, it makes people (who would otherwise reach out to those they sense are struggling) scared to even say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing. It's dumb to individualize your pain and your situation. Everyone feels pain. Everyone can relate to your feeling of pain. No its not the same, it never can be. But individualizing your pain is just a really quick way to scare everyone around you and shut them out..basically the opposite of the what people actually want. But anyway, back to our original discussion: we feel differently. And that's ok. I listen to your podcast because I like you and Meg. We're different. But I think that's ok. I'm not sure you feel the same way after hearing your discussion on today's podcast about me but I guess I'll leave that up to you.

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    8. Nah--we love you, too. (You said "like" but I'm going to pretend you said "love" because I like putting words in your mouth. Especially if they are nice things about me.) Thanks for the comment and reply. Truly. And thanks for giving us something to think and talk about. If not for your comment we would have had a conversation about my digestive issues and no one wants that.

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  6. I'm excited for you that you're going back to Palau. I didn't realize it when I started following this blog back then, but it was clearly a really hard time for you. We all have those low periods, and sometimes it's really satisfying to revisit them when we're in a much more positive place. For me at least, it's been a chance to appreciate how far I've come as well as acknowledging the journey that brought me here.

    This does make me wonder: do you do your own laundry now?? Or did you just marry someone the same size as you?? (If so that is pretty brilliant.) 😉

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  7. It couldn’t have been that long since Palau because I started reading your blog when Snuggie texts went viral (the first time) and I was in grad school and that was, like, yesterday. What are you even talking about Eli? We are still 20-something babies. It’s fine. Time isn’t marching forward.

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  8. Ok ok ok...I'm still stuck on the mashed potatoes with onions. I'm not trying to be dramatic here, but that is a Sin nigh unto Daniel's deviled-eggs-left-in-the-car-for-5-hours. The mashed potatoes would come with immediate regret (onions and also who wants crunchy mashed potatoes???), whereas the egg salad would be a delayed regret, but still. Sinful.

    I hope your trip to Palau and Saipan is lovely and brings closure or validation or whatever the crap we are supposed to be calling that these days ;) can't wait to hear about it! And truth be told I sometimes miss the crazy Stranger days where we all trolled TMZ and etc. Thank you for writing and bringing enjoyment to my days!

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    1. About those taters- I'm sure he caramelizes the onions before he puts them into the mashed potatoes. I haven't done this, but I'm guessing they add a lovely sweetness and depth to the flavor. Honestly, I might try that next time I make potatoes...

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    2. Kylle out here tryna patch up the hole in the roof and Eli swingin' in full force to demolish it. Surely results a c r u n c h louder than 50 pots of raw onion mashed potatoes.

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  9. I started reading Stranger when Snuggie Texts went viral, and you moved to Palau at the same time we moved to Denver. Obviously not nearly as dramatic a move, but some of your feeling lonely and isolated really resonated with me. Also, the stories about Mr. Daniel made me laugh and wish I had a friend like that with me when I was really struggling. Thanks for sharing that vulnerability and humor with us, I am one person whose life you've touched.

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