Thursday, January 31, 2013

German Couchsurfers

I get couchsurfer requests relatively often in Palau. I have an account on, which is a site that exists so backpackers can find like-minded people in the cities they will be visiting and meet up with them or stay at their place for free. Sometimes I refer to couchsurfing as "licesharing" because that name occasionally feels more accurate. 

There are a wide range of views on what the purpose of the site is. The most snobbish turn their noses up at anyone who doesn't consider couchsurfing a "lifestyle."

But I'm just going to tell it like it is: couchsurfing is a way to get free boarding. Yes you meet a lot of really great people along the way. But you also increase your chances of being slaughtered in your sleep or getting human trafficked. And all in all, most people wouldn't do it if they weren't trying to save a buck on their travels.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gchat with Bob & Cathie


My three-way gchat with Bob & Cathie today

Bob: Son. How are you? I have been so worried about you since reading your blog post.

Eli: Oh dad, don't worry about me. I'm doing really well actually. Just trying to be better about talking about my struggles.

Cathie: How's my boy?!?!?! [12 different emoticons]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trials Make You Grow?

As many of you have figured out by now, my time in Palau has been sort of a roller coaster for me in a lot of ways. This experience has been so much more difficult than I ever expected it to be. I've talked here about sometimes feeling isolated and lonely. I've also talked about the anxiety I have had recently from not knowing where my life is going next.

As a result, about every two weeks Stranger basically turns into a Lifetime movie. Except less teen pregnancy. And no drugs. No affairs either. Also no breast cancer, domestic abuse, amnesia, sexual assault, cougars, or abortion. Ok, so maybe it's more like a Disney movie. But one of the serious PG ones that could totally be PG-13 if just slightly edgier.

Overall, I'm a pretty happy person. But some days I can't help but feel the effects of going through one of the toughest experiences of my life. On those days, I'm full of anxiety and my stomach feels like it's tied up in knots. And I want so very much to do something to get back the control I have usually been able to find in my life, even when going through a difficult experience.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nobody is in a Hurry

One of the strangest parts about living in a tiny tropical island nation for me is the slow pace of life. I mean, I know I didn't move here from Times Square. I came from Salt Lake City. Life isn't incredibly fast-paced there either. But there was stuff. I had stuff going on. Things happened. I had a schedule. Sometimes I had deadlines. I raced from things to other things.

In Palau, nobody is in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything. I swear to you if you called for an ambulance in Palau, this is what would happen:

1. Nobody would answer the phone.

That's it. Just one. No other steps to the phone-an-ambulance situation. It would end right at nobody answering the phone.

Are there people on the other end hearing the phone ring? Maybe. Are they busy? Definitely not. No. Not at all busy. So why didn't they answer the phone? Because it's hot. And they weren't close to the phone. And it's hot.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. Today I give you another set of pictures and distractions. Have a safe weekend and please be careful on those roads.

Oh, and since it's been a few days and maybe it's not stuck in your head anymore:

Sooooo tell me what you want what you really really want!!!

Rainy day, from my balcony.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yahoo! Answers VII

Hi Strangers. Today I have a new set of Yahoo Answers for your reading pleasure. It seems like only yesterday I posted that first question about how to alter a Snuggie to make it more fashionable. Sometimes I can't believe how much time I spend on this crap.

Question 1: How can I dye my cat without making a huge mess? My cat is a natural ginger, so obviously I have to dye her a different color. The problem is, every time I do she freaks out and makes a mess all over the house. I don't want to have to give her away. Is there anything I can do?

1. Report yourself to the SPCA for animal cruelty! ~Elizabeth

2. DO NOT DYE YOUR CAT!!! Aside from the experience traumatizing her ("every time" you do "she FREAKS OUT"---does that not tell you that it UPSETS her?!) It is also toxic. Her skin not only absorbs the dye but she also ingests it from licking herself. This is animal cruelty & you ARE breaking the law. You should not have her or any pet at this time. This demonstrates great immaturity & insensitivity. You are causing her great mental stress & physical suffering. Please, please stop. Please find her a safe home where she won't be forced to endure this any more. ~T

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Awkward Recovery

How are you guys feeling?

I'm feeling much better. Thanks for asking. Unless you didn't ask. In which case RUDE. I always ask you how you're feeling.

What? I didn't today? Shoot. Well, I'll add that in at the very beginning of this post. And you'll read that first and won't ever know that I typed that part later just to prove a point.

Now, don't you feel bad for not asking me how I'm feeling?

It's always really awkward for a few days after you've been very sick. The awkwardness comes in two parts. The first part is a result of people knowing too much about what happened. Returning from an embarrassing sickness is the Mormon version of getting really drunk at a work party and having to show up at the office the next morning. Because when you're really sick you share a lot of information about your life and otherwise do things that you might not if you were in your right frame of mind. Like, throwing up on Daniel and texting people "w;alek'2w3;?"  I assure you, I would not have done those things on Saturday if my brain wasn't frying. Other things I would not have done in front of other people had I been thinking clearly?

Conversation with Daniel

Daniel: So guess what song I heard on the radio the other day that I haven't heard in years?

Eli: Soooo tell me what you want what you really really want--

Daniel: No. It was--

Eli: Myyyyyyy milkshake brings all the boys to the ya--

Daniel: No! They were playing--

Eli: Dun-da-da-da-da-da-dun-dun. Da dun-da-da-da-da-da-dun-dun. Ice, ice baby. Under pressure!

Daniel: NO!

Eli: I put my hands up, they're playing my song, and the butterflies fly away--

Daniel: Ok, stop please.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Puking in Palau

This weekend a terrible thing happened. I got sick. And not the good kind of sick where you're just barely down enough to have a few days of justified rest and ice cream eating. Like, the Ebola virus, you'd rather be eaten by the Queen of Colors than continue living, kind of sick.

I got the stomach flu. And everything you've ever heard about the stomach flu all happened to me at exactly the same time for an entire 24 hour period. Plus, it was really HOT.

Mom, you should stop reading this. It will only make you worry.

She's totally still reading. And preparing to yell "eww! Gross!" a whole bunch of times. And she's already cutting out articles from the newspaper to mail to me about the stomach flu and highlighting the parts that say you need to drink lots of water. And she's also slipping one in about how I need to get married. And she's covering the outside of the envelope with colorful smiley-face stickers.

I know you, Cathie. I know your moves.

Anyway. It all started Saturday when a small rumble began at the bottom of my stomach. Three hours later I was curled up into a little ball, groaning on the floor. Then the hot flashes started. Yada yada yada. Skip to the good part.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, dear strangers. This week has been a fun one with you all. Enjoy some pictures and distractions. Have a good one, and remember: either laugh so hard you cry, or cry so hard you laugh; either way, make sure laughing is part of it.

Made borsch again. And as always, it was heavenly. And that stove clock is always 25 minutes ahead, no matter what I do. Always. No matter what.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Messaging Krishelle

There's a recessive gene that stops people from understanding technology. Those people can't help their ignorance and should be given extra, nonjudgmental, help. G-Mac has it. My dad has it. Despite being relatively proficient with technology, my mom is apparently a carrier because I have it, too. It looks like this:

Bob: tt
Cathie: Tt
My Sisters: Tt
Eli: ttx*

*x signifies a mutation that enhances the features of the gene it trails.

This problem has led to many nonsensical conversations with my oldest sister, Krishelle, similar to the one we had via gchat a few days ago:

Gchat with Krishelle

Eli: When I move back to the US, will you help me get one of those phones that you can do internet on from anywhere?
Krishelle: Um . . . A smart phone? You know you already have one of those. I gave you my old one about 6 months before you moved to Palau. Remember? I taught you how to use it? We had a whole lesson one night. You asked me to show you "the ways of this so-called phone magic."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TMZ Emails

A couple of weeks ago I asked you all to email TMZ and politely demand that they release any information and photos they have received regarding Eli McCann. For 2 weeks you have been wondering what that was all about. Fine, I'll tell you.

Daniel had the idea a while back to start emailing TMZ some scandalous information about me to see how they would respond to getting a lead on someone who isn't actually a celebrity. We argued about whether or not they would even reply to such an email, and the next thing I knew, TMZ was receiving correspondence from the likes of Peter Hansen, June Snapple, and others.

The trick was to write the emails in a way that made it sound like TMZ should know who Eli McCann is. The following transpired:

From: Peter Hansen
Subject: Eli McCann Photos

Hey TMZ! I have access to Eli McCann and I am quite sure I could get you some incredibly scandalous photos. Where should I send them when I get them?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Little Guy, Big Map

Oh no, guys. Here comes another chapter in the Eli McCann Book of Learning. Learning is the worst.

One of the most difficult things I'm experiencing right now is the unsurety of where my life is supposed to go from here. Guys, I thought people were supposed to have this experience at age 18. Not 28.

Like, you turn 18. Then you get into a car and drive across the country "finding" yourself. On the way you pick up hitchhikers, run out of money, sell everything you have with you, eat, love, pray, and end up on top of a mountain with a new resolve to save the world. Then you move on and do everything you discovered that you needed to do for the rest of your life and you never feel lost again.

I think the day I was supposed to have that "finding myself" experience something really good was on TV. So I didn't go.

And I wish I had because here we are, 10 years later. I'm done with schooling. I'm a couple of years into some kind of career. I've traveled and lived all over the world and met all 7 billion people in it (besides Paul Simon--errant tear). I should know where my life is going by now, right?

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Best Things Ever, 2013

Happy Monday, dear strangers. Last week I posted The Worst Things Ever list for 2013. And I decided that maybe this year I would start an annual Best Things Ever list so you will all stop imagining me as an old crabby man yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.

Guys, I don't even have a lawn. I live in an apartment in Palau.

And before you start typing up another scathing email to me about TMZ, let me tell you: I have every intention of explaining myself this week. Wednesday, probably. Maybe Thursday. But it's coming. I swear on The First Eye. Double scout's honor. Try not to get your expectations too high in the meantime because, hello, what if it turns out to not even be funny?

But since we're all friends now, I know that even if it does turn out to be kind of lame, you'll all fake laugh super hard so that everyone else thinks it's funny. Because that's what friends do. Every time you leave a comment that is supposed to be funny, I always laugh way harder than I should and yell at the computer "That's SO true!!! That's SO SO true!!!" I do that so that everyone else who reads the blog will think that you are way more funny than you are.

You're welcome. All I ask is that you do the same in return.

And now, for the list. PLEASE leave your additions in the comments.

The Best Things Ever, 2013:

1. Cold feet in warm socks that come straight from the drier

2. When you're eating cookies & cream ice cream and you discover an entire Oreo in the middle of it

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Another week concludes on planet Earth, where we all live.

Guys, it was a week ago I asked you to send those emails. And can you believe that I STILL haven't explained myself?! I should be at the top of the Worst Things Ever list.

Next week. I promise. Cross my heart. Pinky swear. Scout's honor with the three fingers up (Eli McCann: Eagle Scout, 1997. I can show you my card to prove it. I'm sure I got a card for that, right? All I remember is I had to learn how to tie 5 billion knots and hate camping).

The post is not ready yet. Have you ever tried to eat a turkey before it was done cooking? Exactly. You don't want that to happen here, do you? I'm practically protecting you from getting worms. You're welcome.

Gosh, maybe I should be on the Best Things Ever list.

My two pairs of shoes. I wear the flip-flops to and from work (and everywhere else). When I get to work I change in to my "business" sandals, pictured on the right. Truthfully, most of the day I walk around my office barefoot. Life is hard in Palau.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

And here's another thing about Palau. (I'm starting this post as though we're in the middle of a conversation. Which, if you just got done reading yesterday's post, we sort of are, and it makes total sense that I would start this one by saying "And here's another thing about Palau.").

It's SO tiny.

Like, everything about it is small. The population. The land mass. The selection of items in stores. My patience.

What this means is that living on Palau is basically exactly like living in Cheers. Except, as previously noted, WAY hotter than cheers. In the sweaty way. Not the sexy way.

You wanna be where you can see, that troubles are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name . . . , business and a whole bunch of other crap about you that you don't even remember sharing with anybody ever.

Guys, I'm not kidding. In Palau you can't even sneeze without it making it into the newspaper and then getting included on "most memorable moments of the year" lists the following December.

People at the court on Monday know what I ate for dinner on Sunday because someone told them they saw me at the grocery store on Saturday buying the only bag of frozen peas.

So, The Equator is Kind of Hot

I've learned a lot of things since I got to Palau. But the very biggest thing is this: it is so freaking unbelievably hot on the equator.


Man is not meant to live this close to the sun. We didn't evolve this way. I actually don't think man can evolve to be able to handle this. Because the locals' families have been on the island since the dinosaurs and they seem to think it's just as hot as I do. That's why the men walk around with their shirts rolled up over the top of their bellies and why everything takes so long to get done.

I haven't yet dared to join the belly-shirt trend. But every day I get a little closer.

Because it's so so so hot down here. And the last thing anyone down here wants to do at any given time is anything. Because when it's hot, doing stuff is uncomfortable. Even stuff that didn't seem that bad when I was living in winterland.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Worst Things Ever, 2013

It's already time to make our Worst Things Ever list for 2013. I have thought very hard about this list and made sure to only include truly the most awful things. There is something so vindicating about posting publicly for the world to see a list of the things that are seriously the worst. So I invite you to add in the comments the things you think should be part of the list.

The Worst Things Ever, 2013

1. Glee

2. Sweaty armpits when you don't even feel hot

3. When your socks get wet and you have to wait a while to change them

4. Animals

5. T-Mobile

6. United Airlines

7. Gold's Gym

Monday, January 7, 2013

Water in my Face

On Friday I asked you to email someone and I gave you pretty much no other information. And you guys have come through like champs. I swear I'm not trying to keep you in suspense by failing to explain the whole story today. It's just that, I have been cooking something up for a while now and I needed you all to be part of the process. It should all be over soon and hopefully I'll have a funny story for you as a result.

Guys, I know. I'm excited for the whole story, too. Like, you remember how excited you got when you were a kid and watched The Price is Right and they announced they were going to play Pinko? I'm at least that excited. But we're all going to have to wait for just a minute.

In the meantime, I have some serious health problems that should be addressed.

I'm not sure whether they're related but two very strange things are occurring on my face:

1. When I plug my nose and blow, air comes out of my right eye socket.

2. Somewhere around 1 pint of water gets trapped inside my sinuses every time I swim.

Here's the thing. I'm not that worried about these conditions because they don't affect anything I care about, i.e., the ability to eat a lot of ice cream and animals.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pictures from My Phone & Weekly Distractions

Hey Strangers. Let's enter this weekend in style with some pictures, distractions, and one odd request at the end.

This, and the next few pictures, are taken of an advertisement for a club we came across today. Check out the English translations.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cat Owner Emails

I emailed some cat owner advice blogs as "June Snapple" to get advice on a serious problem. Below is the best of the exchanges. Pay attention to the "from" and "to" on each email header. There are multiple people corresponding here. Also, I'm not sure who "Tom" is in her last email, but I get the feeling he and I would be good friends.

From: June Snapple
To: Cat Owner Blog
Subject: NEGLECT?!?!?!

Hey guys! Or should I say "meow!?" ;-P.

So I've got a really serious problem and I have no idea what to do. I recently took in some new cats and now my original cat, Trixy, seems really sad and I think it's because I can't spend all the time on her that I used to. I'm just wondering whether it is ethical for me to keep the new cats or whether I should just release them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reality Check

Nothing says "Happy New Year" like going back to work on January 2. I am so grateful to have a job. But guys, it isn't right what they do. The people who control the holidays. I would like to find them and give them a good talking to. And the first thing I would say to them would be:

"Hey! Why did you place ALL of the holidays within the last two months of the year!?"

And they probably wouldn't even respond because they obviously aren't great planners so they're probably super disorganized. But if they did respond, I bet they would say:

"Um . . . sorry. We were trying to spread them all out so we started out really conservatively but then we got to November and realized we still had like 10 left."

And then I would back down and tell them they did a great job, considering. Because I'm a softy. And I hate making people feel like they failed. But then the next day I would go back to work again and immediately become full of rage and would try to have another talk with them. And this time, they for sure wouldn't respond because they're probably really busy and they can't keep having the same conversation with the same person. Which I totally understand.