This is sort of a state of the union post. Because I’ve now been in the United States of God Bless America for over two weeks and some of you are getting extremely angry with me that I basically haven’t told you anything about my life in those two weeks except that I now live with someone who sets up furniture in the elevator and apparently hasn’t bought into the whole “cat scratching” thing yet.
These two weeks have been a ridiculous roller coaster of all things. Every time I try to gather my thoughts and update you on what are some of the biggest life changes I’ve ever had, I feel an immediate information overload and find myself unable to concisely get it all down in words. So instead I end up writing about cats. Add to the overwhelming nature of the life changes, I have been so incredibly busy getting my affairs back in order and starting a new and demanding job that I haven’t had the time that I hoped to have to sit down and write.
So this is my sad attempt at giving you some updates. Because it’s been hard for you guys to stalk me lately since I’ve been so off the map. And when you guys can’t properly stalk me, NONE of us are happy.

Who the HELL is this Kurt person and why is he ruining our lives?

Ok. There’s more to him than getting near human poop all day. Kurt and I have been friends for a couple of years and we decided to be roommates when we realized a few months back that we were both looking for a place to live at the same time. We attended the same Mormon congregation in Salt Lake City just before I moved to Palau and that's how we met. Kurt is one of the coolest people that has ever existed on planet Earth and he is also EXTREMELY weird. I did not know this until we moved in together. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my findings. The details of his quirks will unravel before you in the coming months and you will all start to feel like you’ve left reality, just like you used to feel when you read Stranger. One interesting tidbit about Kurt, he also served a Mormon mission in western Ukraine a decade ago. We did not meet at that time because he was there just before I was and our paths never crossed. But it’s been fun to speak Ukrainian at home and compare TB and parasite stories.

So, did you really start a new job?
I did. Less than seven days after landing in Salt Land I was in my new office, jet-lagged and thoroughly confused. I work on the 16thfloor of a giant building in the heart of Salt Lake City and just a block away from my apartment. So far I love it. Although I spend the majority of my day politely nodding and taking notes while inside my head all I can hear is terrified screaming. But I really love the law firm I’ve gone to and I feel extremely fortunate to be where I am, terrified screaming and all.

What about the Queen of Colors?

Is Paul Cyclemon still around?
He is! And he is SO happy to see me again. I’m pretty sure he started crying when I walked into the room he was in. And I was like, “STOP CRYING PAUL CYCLEMON! YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TEAR DUCTS!”

What’s it like to go from the land of coconuts to life back in the United States of God Bless America?
I’ll share much more on this in a separate post, because there is a lot to say. But I’ll just tell you for now that it is a really crazy experience. The best way I can describe it is to tell you that I feel like I just moved into the future. There is so much about my simple life in Palau that I miss and that I’m sure I’ll always long for. And my heart aches that I don’t get to see the church kids every day. But I’m happy to be back.
I am really really happy right now. As you know or have gathered, this has been an extremely difficult year for me. I haven’t shared every failure and heart-ache with you (much to the chagrin of a loyal and vocal few), but I have shared some and alluded to others. The past couple of months in particular were some of the most trying months of my life. But as I’ve settled into my new routine, reconnected with long-lost friends, and made some hard but necessary changes, I have felt huge burdens lift off of my shoulders. I will always be so grateful for my experiences in Palau and the lessons I learned along the way. But I will be equally grateful that they are over.

Is Daniel alive?
He is. And I know you all miss him. If he read Stranger, he would probably even feel good about how much you miss him. I saw him briefly while he was in Salt Lake when I first came back. He, too, is getting his life back in order and gearing up for his next adventure, whatever that may be. I hope you won’t be too angry with me that you won’t hear much about him anymore. Companion to the strange is always the change. Change keeps us interesting, even when the change is difficult.
On a side note, Kurt religiously reads Stranger and typically quotes the most recent comments at me from people who want to have his babies or have him nurse them back to health. He’s less excited about the angry comments about him not being Daniel.

Did the cats survive living in the storage unit for a year?
No. They are all dead.
~It Just Gets Stranger