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.StoryA Goofy Movie, by Arianna ReesProduction by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger