The Big Move
By Carmen Waszak
My first memory of Yap, a tiny island in Micronesia, was the landing of the plane.
The airstrip on Yap is extremely short, so short that the pilot needed to brake hard, so hard that my small eight-year old frame felt like it was going to fly out the front of the plane.
Once the wheels were touching the ground and the plane was level, the flight attendants walked the aisle spraying a sweet smelling spray.
Later on I found out it was Plumeria, a popular flower on the island that the natives used to make leis. I still love that smell.
Finally the plane came to a complete stop. The flight attendant opened the door and we disembarked. The sun was bright and the air was so hot and moist that I could hardly breath.
I looked outside and saw the strangest sights -- a waiting area with a thatched roof and a small building with a tin roof.
And people who looked so foreign to me -- boys my age dressed in thongs with their bottoms exposed. Topless women wearing grass skirts -- a few of them carried naked babies in basket purses.
We had come from Point Loma in San Diego, and I knew life was going to be completely different.
My only thought was, "Where did dad bring us?" I felt so many emotions at once, excitement of living in a new place, fear of not fitting in, and a longing for something familiar.
Little did I know that this island would change my life and my family forever.
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