Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Talking About Sex, Part II

On Monday I told you about the horribly awkward conversation I suddenly found myself in with the teenage boys at church on Sunday. Last night I saw the boys again. You know how they always say you should never feed a stray dog because it will keep coming back for more? THAT.

Note: Boy 1 in this conversation is the most pure and adorable child I have ever seen (and he looks like he's about 10 years old).

Part II of a Conversation with Teenage Boys about Chastity:
Boy 1: Brother Eli, I have to tell you what happened on Sunday RIGHT after church.
Eli: Yeah? What happened?
Boy 2: He broke the chastity all day.
Eli: WHAT?!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yahoo! Answers X

Dear Strangers: You look like you could use some Yahoo! Answer advice today. Twice up the barrel, once down the side.

Question 1: How much cat food should I leave out? I'll be working overseas for the next 10 to 12 months and will not be taking my cat Trixy with me (the break will be good for both of us). How much cat food should I leave out in the apartment? She will have no outdoor access. Is one bag enough? She's very overweight, if that helps.

1. Your cat will die! Bring her to someone's house to take care for her! ~Dianne

2. Don't leave her alone! Especially if you are gone for 10 to 12 months (in my opinion, that is a little long). Find a cat-sitter and give her lots of love when you come back because she will have missed you.  ~Happy Panda

3. Just leave her the number to a delivery pizza place and she'll be fine.  ~Tom

4. You dont even disorve to have cats if i left you out with bag of cat food for 1 year! ~TLC

Monday, July 29, 2013

The iTunes

A very terrible thing happened to me. I owned one of those what the kids are calling "the ipods" and it is now missing. I left it at the massage place on Saturday because I was in a really big hurry to get out of there like I always am because NUDITY. Well in my hurry, I left the ipod under the massage table.

I called them on Monday to see if they had it.

Filipino Woman: Ok sir. I check it is under the table.

Eli: Oh! So you do have it!

Filipino Woman: Excuse me, sir Eli?

Note: they always call us "sir Eli" and "sir Daniel." We like this because it makes us feel like knights.

Talking About Sex

I've mentioned before that this year I have an assignment with the teenagers at church. In Mormon terms, I'm the "young men's president," which means that I'm supposed to be the moral compass to the 12 through 17 year-olds. We're basically exactly like the teacher and students on Glee except we're not absurd and offensive and nonsensical and obnoxious.

Lately, I have to admit, I have found entertainment in the lives of the Mormon teenagers here the same way one might find entertainment in a trashy daytime soap opera. In fact, Daniel and I have been referring to our time with the kids recently as "General Island." Everybody has a crush on everybody else and I seriously cannot wait each week to find out who is sitting next to whom. If I thought it appropriate, I would bring popcorn to church on Sundays and sit on the back row. It's like Friday Night Lights, the island version!


In the Mormon youth organizations there is an emphasis on promoting morally clean lifestyles, which includes encouraging the kids to avoid sex or compromising situations before marriage. The principle behind it all is to teach that we are to respect our bodies and others and that we can avoid unnecessarily complicating our lives by following these simple ideas.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

It’s a sad day in the land of coconuts. Krishelle, or as we like to call her now that she is an island girl, “K-Shell” is leaving us tonight. I can’t believe two weeks have already gone by. One time when I was twelve I had to go to Camp Steiner for an entire week with the Boy Scouts and it felt like an entire decade. Actually, in a way, I feel like my soul is still at that camp, being forced to jump into icy waters and not die of sadness. I wish Krishelle’s visit had been like that. Not the jumping into icy water or sadness or scouting parts but the part about it feeling like a whole decade.

Well, at least we had some fun while she was here. Happy trails, K-Shell.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

Thursday, July 25, 2013


A Conversation with Krishelle and Daniel about a Phone Call

Krishelle: Who are you calling?

Eli: This salon/spa down the street. I'm making some appointments for us today.

Krishelle: I will NOT be getting a body scrub!

Eli: Ugh. Fine. I just wanted to see if you also thought the question of whether you're supposed to be naked was a little ambiguous.

Krishelle: I don't want to do anything in that place if they know we're related.

Eli: It's fine. They've probably totally forgotten about the body scrub incident. And the haircut incidents. And the time I accidentally poured water all over the floor and tried to clean it up with a couch cushion. And the time I walked in on their staff meeting and stood around a listened until they asked me to leave. And all of the times I've sat in the lobby watching Korean soap operas even though I didn't have an appointment. And--

Krishelle: Maybe we could do something else today?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jellyfish Lake

We wandered off to Jellyfish Lake today. It's basically the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in real life. But also amazing and fun. I was very conflicted over whether I was supposed to hate or love the experience so instead I just tried to act like it was a spiritual thing for me so that others would think I was mature. But really inside my head all I could hear was screaming and "WHY IS EVERYTHING TOUCHING ME?!?!"

Jellyfish Lake is a small lake buried deep in the jungle of one island in Palau. And it is COMPLETELY full of Jellyfish. Apparently these Jellyfish are not preyed upon by anything in this lake so over hundreds of years they evolved to lose their stingers, making them totally harmless and angelic. And PLENTIFUL. 

I had heard there were a lot of Jellyfish in this lake but I had no idea there would be as many as we saw. We snorkeled into the middle of the lake after one of our Palauan friends took us out to the island on a small boat. And suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by five billion of them.

And, ok. It was pretty awesome.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. (I also took some videos but Palauan Internet is straight from Hell).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I've been experiencing logistics suffocation torture (LST) for a few weeks now. This is where you know that you are supposed to be making some plans and getting a bunch of crap figured out in the very near future so your brain is in a constant state of attempting to resolve every single geographical and scheduling conflict that could possibly exist.

As I understand it, LST is one of those torture tactics the Japanese used during World War II. They would put POWs into a small room and say, "we'll need you to get your car to Japan so you can drive to China by Tuesday. And don't forget to pick up your grandma in Argentina on the way. Also, they'll be expecting you to have a seven-layered Jell-O ready to serve when you arrive." Then they would just let the POW sit and think for a while until the prisoner would finally scream "I'LL GIVE YOU THE INFORMATION YOU WANT IF YOU JUST LET ME FLY GRANDMA UP HERE WITH STORE-BOUGHT JELL-O MOLDS!"

Maybe you don't know what I'm talking about.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Singing in Palau

Last week I posted about my upcoming plans for my life, which are a very big deal. And I was so excited to share with you what was going on and what’s up next for Stranger. And you guys were all like, “ok. BUT WHAT ABOUT DANIEL?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

Guys. DANIEL DOESN’T EVEN READ THIS BLOG. Why do you care more about him than me?!

This is totally not helping the fact that his mom apparently believes that nobody would read Stranger if Daniel wasn’t around. And I hope that’s not true because that may be one of the upcoming changes.

Daniel toyed with the idea of staying in Palau for another year when he was offered a great job as a consultant. He has decided against this, however, and instead wants to head back to the United States of America because BURRITOS and SHOES THAT ARE BIG ENOUGH TO FIT HIS GIANT FEET.

He is in the process of figuring out where to go next and currently it’s looking unlikely that that place will be in the same city as me. I’ll miss him, and worry that nobody will be around to keep him from dying of food poisoning. But I have no doubt that Daniel will be a friend for life and one we’ll still hear much from around here. I’ll update you all on his plans over the next month and give him his due time in the spotlight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. I just got back from an overnight adventure on a beautiful island nearby called "Carp Island." It was wonderful, except for the parts that sort of felt like camping. I'll probably tell you a little about it next week. But for now, I'll just leave you with some pictures of it and this week's set of distractions. Because I'm tired and cranky at the moment and probably don't have the stamina to write much more than this.

From the beach at sunset.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is a Very Small Island

A Conversation at a Bar During Lunch Yesterday

Daniel: What are we doing tonight?

Eli: Well Mark invited us over to his place for ice cream so we'll be going to that.

Daniel: Sweet. And . . . is that my shirt?

Eli: Huh? Oh this? Mind your own business please.

Daniel: This IS my business. You are wearing my clothes again!

Krishelle: So this is really a thing? He really wears your clothes?

Daniel: When he picked me up at the airport last week, every single thing he was wearing belonged to me.

Eli: Well should I have come naked instead?!

Krishelle: Why is that the alternative? Why wouldn't you just go wearing your own clothes?

Daniel: Well, in his defense, all of his clothes were dirty at the time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Next Big Adventure

I'm finally ready to share with you my big announcement of late. I'M PREGANT!

I kid. I can't be pregnant. Because I had my tubes tied.

I've talked a little bit this year about my anxiety over where my life is supposed to go next. Many of you are going through much of the same. In April I wandered off to the U.S. for a couple of weeks on the Twice Up the Barrel Tour to attempt to interview for some jobs. The plan, then, was to go to Salt Lake City and then to Washington D.C. to try to meet with as many law firms as possible. After some very unfortunate circumstances came to light, I cancelled the D.C. trip while I was basically on the way to the airport.

There was some anxiety over this, because this isn't exactly the best time in the history of job searching to let doors close. But I felt like that was the right thing to do at the time. And since I'm one of them God-fearin' folks, I usually try to do what feels "right," even if it doesn't always seem like the most logical decision on its surface. This has worked well for me plenty of times, so I carry on.

Monday, July 15, 2013

German Lighthouse

On Saturday the long awaited Mormon Youth Conference occurred. Last week I asked you all for some ideas for what to do with the kids and you were extremely helpful. So, thank you for that! I've already had a couple of friends in the U.S. mention that they raided the comments of that post for ideas for their own youth activities they are putting together this summer. And now those friends are probably stalking you and worshiping pictures of you asleep in bed. YOU'RE WELCOME.

We gathered the twenty plus teenagers at the dock in the morning and boated off to an island that has a small WWII German lighthouse at the very top of it. It was a one mile or so hike through thick jungle before we got there.


My sister Krishelle graced the land of Palau with her presence last night. Daniel and I picked her up at the airport after dark and then both simultaneously spoke at 700 words per minute on the entire drive back to our place, explaining every single thing we have ever heard about Palau.

This is the first time we have had a guest here, and it was so very strange to have someone around. I felt like a Kindergartner showing his mom his classroom. Except instead of Kindergartner, I'm practically a grown up who's probably going to go through puberty soon. And instead of my mom it's my older sister who convinced me until I was roughly eight years old that she had kidnapped me at a carnival from bad people and somehow got Bob and Cathie to believe I was their child and that she would be willing to keep the secret if I just did whatever she said.

THAT sister. THAT sister has traveled to the other side of the world to visit me in Palau.

I'm taking some time off of work to babysit show her around our beautiful island nation. Daniel hoped to be able to do the same but since he just took eleventy million days off in a row, ending late last week, so he could frolic in the meadows with his parents in the U.S., he feels like he should spend a little time in the office now.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. It's an especially happy one for me. The prodigal son, Daniel, has returned. And what's more, my sister, Krishelle, will be arriving in Palau Sunday night. I can't tell you how excited I am to have a clean apartment for two whole weeks (the amount of time she'll be here). I hope she brings rubber gloves and a broom!

And now, your pictures and distractions:

We went diving this week. And saw a billion sharks, including this one. AND, I got to see like FOUR sea turtles! I love them with every fiber of my being! Thanks for the picture, Deb.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What the People Want to Know

This is basically the laziest post of all time. I know this. It's been a busy week. There was tv to be watched.

I was googling something earlier and the Internet happened to be working well enough in Palau today that the predictor thingy on Google was actually functioning. I'm always intrigued by what Google thinks I'm about to ask, considering that this supposedly means that there are a substantial number of people searching the predictions it shows.

So I thought I would test out a few common things to see what the members of society are going to in droves to ask the world wide web. Enjoy.

Of course it licks you. IT'S A CAT.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Tonight Daniel finally returns from what is most definitely the longest business trip of all time. He left on this thing almost FOUR weeks ago. And when he gets back tonight, I'm going to drive him home from the airport, handcuff him to the apartment, and force him to listen to almost four weeks of updates about every moment of every day that I've been having to keep all to myself since the middle of June.

Well, and I guess I'll have to let him out briefly because he has almost four weeks worth of laundry to do, since I have now worn every item of clothing in the house at least three times.

It really was very irresponsible of him to leave like that and not make arrangements for the laundry.

Knowing that his return is imminent, I have been reflecting in the last few days (half of you just closed Stranger when you saw the word "reflecting." WELL JOKE'S ON YOU BECAUSE THERE'S CHEESECAKE AT THE END FOR EVERYONE WHO STICKS AROUND).

Youth Conference

This coming Saturday is the dreaded "Youth Conference" with the church kids that we've been planning for a few months. And when I say "planning for a few months," I mean "knowing that it's coming and finally meeting to talk about it for the very first time last Friday." And by "dreaded" I mean "I'm considering entering into the witness protection program to get out of this situation because I dread it so much."

Ok, an attitude adjustment could go a long way. I know this guys. Why do you always choose times like this to lecture me about my attitude and how slutty my outfits are?

Anyway, for those unfamiliar with the forty volume set of Mormon lingo dictionaries, Youth Conference is a gigantic outing of some sort that takes place with Mormon kids, ages 14-17, every summer within their local congregations. They usually happen over the course of two or three days and include excessive amounts of games and hormones. They're basically exactly like every rumor you've ever heard about fanatical Christian Bible camps in the south except way less condemnation of Harry Potter and more Jello.

Youth conferences often take the form of some kind of camp-out and I have very fond memories of them as a teenager. Never did I realize how much effort and thought has to go into the planning of one of these things until this year.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


As it turns out, I'm kind of a slob. I've never really known this because I've never lived alone before and my consideration of others is apparently a greater motivator of my actions than my laziness so I typically clean up after myself. I think this is called "responsibility."

Ok, I guess "consideration of others" isn't entirely accurate. Probably, if I'm being honest, the main reason I keep a place clean when I have roommates is to make sure that I set a standard of acceptable cleanliness so I don't have to live in their squalor. Because someone else's squalor? Well, let me use math to explain it:

My squalor < other people's squalor (except for Paul Simon's, which I would gladly let into my life if he so wished)

The moment Daniel left, however long ago it was (sometime around y2k, I think), I found myself doing a slip 'n slide stomach-jump onto the slippery-slope of sordid sanitation standards (if you read that out loud, it will help you overcome your speech impediments). It was just so easy. One day I walked into the apartment after work and threw my clothes onto the floor in the front room and I started to kick them toward the bedroom like I usually do, because I'm very clean and tidy, and suddenly it hit me: WHY?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Happy Independence Day, Strangers. I hope you all had a good one without me. Thanks for the invite to your parties, by the way. Sorry I couldn't make it. I had to spend the day by myself crying in my apartment and writing in my journal to the sounds of Norah Jones in the background.

I hope all you fellow Americans celebrated well this week. Our country is pretty awesome.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

This came in the mail a few days ago from "The Q of C Headquarters." When I tried to take it to the FBI, they just got really freaked out and told me they couldn't get involved.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Life is in Session!

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time but just haven't gotten around to it because LAZINESS.

As you might remember, if you were around then, I had a few months in Palau that were . . . a little rough. I refer to January of this year as "the black hole of my existence," in fact. Not to be dramatic or anything.

There were a lot of things going on then and that was really a time I hope to never have to experience again. I got to Palau last October and sort of settled in through my shell shock for a month or two. When December hit, Palau started freaking me out. By January I was not in a stable place.

Palau was much different than I expected. In retrospect, it wasn't worse than I imagined. It was just different, and I wasn't really prepared mentally to handle it because it was SO unfamiliar and in ways I did not anticipate. I had never lived in a place that was so isolated. Never experienced living in a VERY small town. Didn't know what it was like dealing with constant blistering temperatures and insane humidity. I felt lost as to where my life would go next. And the whole time I just kept wondering why on Earth I left the life that I absolutely loved in Salt Lake City to trap myself in the middle of nowhere.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ham & Cheese

I am now on week three of forced alone time and I have started to snap.

Not, like, Westside Story dance snapping. I mean like "going crazy" snapping. Maybe I didn't need to clarify that. But this whole story turns out much differently if you think I started snapping my fingers and dancing my emotions at the end.

For the first week of Daniel's, ok I'm just going to say it, SELFISH trip to the United States of America, things were generally fine. After dropping him off at the airport I got back to the apartment, now 1:00 in the morning, sat in a chair in the corner of the room, and had a full-blown conversation with myself where I decided that I was capable of living alone.

Then over the next several days I was surprised to see how ok things actually were. And honestly (don't tell Daniel) some things were a LOT more convenient without him here. No more coordinating schedules with anyone. No more being late to stuff. No more wondering whether Daniel is hiding in the apartment waiting to jump out and act like a murderer every time I come home. No more hearing someone complain all the time about me wearing their clothes. Etc.