Since I'm living alone now I'm having to adjust to the quiet of my apartment. It's strange, and I don't like it much. I want my home to be full of life. I like feeling like I live in Grand Central Station rather than solitary confinement.
Don't get me wrong; I do need a small corner of my home to contain a living space that I can go to for peace and quiet, occasionally, when I've become too excitable. Everyone needs that. But I appreciate living in a place where those I love are sprawled out all over the floor, sleeping or chattering endlessly, and people I don't know are wandering in and out.
Did I just describe a crack den? Maybe I should go live in a crack den for a while.
This is probably the part of Palauan culture I can get behind the most: Extended families live together in the same house. And if there gets to be too many under one roof, they'll spill over into the house next door. Frequently, when I've gone into the neighborhoods to visit someone, I've been directed through a string of two or three houses full of the person's family members before I find the friend I'm looking for.

Recently a bunch of the church kids were over at my place and one of them asked me,
Kid: Brother Eli, who else stays here with you?
Eli: Well Daniel does but he's about to leave so it will be just me.
Kid: Why doesn't your family stay here, too?
Eli: Well I wish they did. But my family doesn't live in Palau.
Kid: But aren't you always just really lonely?
Eli: Sometimes.
Kid: Sometimes when you get lonely you should just go outside and have friends. And you could come to my house, too.
If only it was that simple.
Last week it suddenly occurred to me that I could inject life back into my home if I got a dog. And then I spent a good portion of that afternoon looking at pictures of dogs online.
I started to tell a friend about my plans to get a dog when he frantically cut me off and forcefully informed me that everyone goes through phases where they want to get a dog to fill their need for companionship and this is not a reason to take on that kind of responsibility. He then told me about his own experience a few years ago when he went through the same thing and then six months later he found himself relieved that he was able to pawn the animal off onto some family he knew.
But I was sure it would be different for me, so I carried on in my dog-searching. That's when I noticed that my friend Val was online.
Eli: So I'm thinking about getting a dog.
Val: No.
Eli: No what?
Val: You're not getting a dog. I speak for all of your friends when I say that we are not prepared to deal with the drama of you trying to take care of a dog. We're still preparing to work through the chaos of you moving home.
Eli: Give me a good reason I wouldn't be able to handle a dog, insomuch that it would create "drama" and "chaos."
Val: You would constantly have to make sure it was getting outside often enough.
Eli: I'm a creative planner. I could do that.
Val: No spontaneous weekend trips.
Eli: I'll just drop the dog off at Bob and Cathie's.
Val: You would have to clean up its poop.
Eli: Gross.
Val: Do you need me to keep going?
Eli: Nope! That did it!
~It Just Gets Stranger