One week remains in the Land of Coconuts. I'm slowly cleaning out my office, throwing away one packing peanut at a time in my apartment, and finding new homes for Leotrix and all of his brothers and sisters. There are a million things to do in this final week, but despite it all, I'm feeling relatively calm. Reflective, nostalgic, and calm.

I recognize that a chapter is closing for you, too, who have been so kind to share this experience with me. You who stood in spirit with me one year ago on the night I first arrived in Palau and fought back tears of stress in my dark apartment with my shattered and missing belongings spread across the world. You who were practically with me during every sea snake sighting, the day Daniel sprayed vomit off of me and dragged me onto my bed, and all of the times I felt a little homesick and lonely. As odd as it sounds, as I say goodbye to the church kids who told us about "pornomography," the sunsets over the ocean, and every piece of Palau we've grown to love, I feel like I'm bidding farewell for all of us.

But amidst those farewells, here are today's pictures and distractions:

Heading out the door this morning.
I made it to the paella! A new record! AND someone figured out how to switch the treadmill to English! It's a Christmas miracle!
My apartment during the middle of box packaging. It's been three days and it still basically looks like this.
Paul Simon can have whatever hair he wants.
Cops stand out on the road during rush-hour in Palau, directing traffic by repeatedly blowing whistles and waving at the cars to keep going. This one isn't even standing in an intersection. He's just in the middle of the street, reminding everyone not to stop to talk to their friends.

*****Stranger Picture of the Week

From Steph: A chipmunk munching on a dinner roll that has a smiley face and was thrown out into the woods the day before.

Crap to distract you from whatever you're supposed to be doing:

Awkward years project. Thanks, Margee.

Yacht cats. What the crap? Thanks, Matt.

The happiest and healthiest cities in America. Go Salt Lake! Thanks, Krishelle.

Read the comments for yesterday's post and have your faith restored in humanity.

And while we're on the topic of heart-warming stories . . . Thanks, Krishelle.

Unlikely, but not impossible pictures. Something kind of soothing about this. Thanks, Tom.

Wonderful outhouse prank. Thanks, Chad.

Cat pictures you won't believe are pencil drawings. Thanks, Sarah.

~It Just Gets Stranger