I'm sitting in my office.

I should be heading out to eat lunch, but instead I'm sipping a protein drink and writing to you.

It's almost impossible to find a meal in Palau that doesn't consist of white rice and breaded deep-fried once-frozen meat. There are no vegetables. Not even on the side. It's no wonder obesity is so rampant here. Anymore I feel like I have to sit in my office and sip a protein drink during lunch in order to avoid it.

There are ants crawling on me. That's not an exaggeration. There are literally ants crawling on me. My office is currently covered in them. I can feel a few walking up my legs. I just took a gulp out of my giant transparent water bottle and saw through to the bottom of it where 200 or so tiny ants were swarming all over the base. It looked like they were inside, and I almost spit a mouthful of water across my office. Are ants dirty?

This morning I woke up at 5:00 covered in sweat. The power had gone out, again, which caused the ceiling fan to shut off. My sheets were soaked and I was thirsty. I got up and realized that I had run out of clean water. I thought about chancing the tap water but it's been smelling particularly odorous lately.

Later today I'll go for a run. I'll sweat profusely. And I'll continue to sweat for an hour or so after the run. I'll have to sit on a towel in my apartment as drops of sweat pour down my face like someone is dumping a never ending bucket of water on my head. Showering is pointless until this slows down so I'll just have to wait it out.

Hopefully the power will be on again so I can cook. I'll reach into the freezer and pull out a bag of vegetables that have been frozen and thawed and re-frozen and thawed with each power-outage so that eventually it has turned into a flavorless block of ice and, suspended within it, dull-colored chunks of something that was once food.

Then I'll wander to the church to hang out with the teenagers. They'll tell me about all of the latest gossip at school and I'll worry about how interested I am in hearing more. I'll give a few of them rides home at the end of the night, wondering how they got to the church in the first place since I didn't take them there.

I'll head home and stare at the malaria garden on the balcony, contemplating what I should do with it, ultimately deciding to do nothing. Then I'll go to bed.

I'll laugh at what I envisioned "paradise" to look like one year ago when I was counting down the days until perpetual beach time and pineapple mastication.

I will be surprised to hear myself later honestly admit that I'm really happy that I came to Palau. And I'll cry my eyes out in two weeks when I have to leave, just like I did on Sunday when I had to say goodbye to some people who left before me. But the goodbyes and tears and pleasant reflections will have to wait a little longer.

For now, I'm just sitting in my office.

~It Just Gets Stranger