A couple of nights ago I attended a wake for a Pohnpeian youth who had been stabbed to death two days earlier. It happened in a drunken fight here on Guam outside the Hemlani Apartments–a low-end unit situated right next to what looks like might be the island dump. The Hemlani Apartments have made the front page of the local newspaper quite a few times over the past year, usually because of some minor crime or drunken brawl.
Old age and Christmas season are a tough combination. The old Yuletide favorites–with their “silver bells” and “sleigh bells” and “jingle bells,” their wistful “I’ll be home for Christmas,” not to mention the familiar melodies themselves–are dripping with nostalgia. As if an old-timer like me, head packed with fond memories, needed any more reminders of happy days past and marvelous holiday seasons!
Christmas greetings from the Bronx campus of Fordham University, where I have made my home for the past year. But my time here has always been with computer on and bags packed for forays to other places. Most of the trips have been to where the coconut tree grows and waves lap on warm shores. With five trips to Hawaii and beyond, as well as a recent spurt of trips to the islands for a total of ten weeks since September, my air travel was enough to win me platinum on United Airlines’ mileage program–a status I never achieved in all my years living in Micronesia! Read More
Dr. Joe Flear’s visit to New York for a couple of days seemed to trigger a series of reunions. Joe (standing second from the left in the photo) worked in Yap for several years during the 1980s before he moved to Pohnpei to teach at the medical school there. Since 2000 he has been teaching and doing clinical instruction at the Fiji School of Medicine.The evening of his arrival, he joined a couple of us for dinner Read More
If you’re looking for the presence of a Micronesian religious community in the US, you’ll have to go to the Midwest to find it. But if you visit during December, be prepared for temperatures hovering around zero. When I woke up this morning, the thermometer registered five degrees, but everyone says it’s even colder at night. This place makes New York City seem like Miami Beach. Read More
After all those years in Micronesia, I fancied myself an old hand in Christmas devotions: incensing the manager scene in church, and especially presenting the infant to people after mass for them to venerate. But never anywhere have I seen this as often as I have during the past week. In Pohnpei and Chuuk, we honored the old Spanish practice of presenting the image of the infant Jesus to those who attended the Christmas masses. People would come up in long lines to kiss the infant after mass, leaving an offering in the basket nearby if they were so moved. But this island has taken the veneration to a whole new level. In one church Read More