Why my mom called me at work and other Chamorro mysteries

 There were three separate calls my mom made to me at work yesterday. My mom doesn’t talk on the phone like a normal person, at least not with me. It’s always: LISTEN TO THIS URGENT THING! then I listen, then there’s an “okay” then click. No goodbye! Like normal people do when they communicate. 

And yesterday, my mom made three separate phone calls, of no real urgency but still of utmost urgency.  
Two of the reasons below:

1. I did not buy the right apples. Did you know that there are the good apples and then the ones I dared to bring into the house? I did not assess them one by one, hold each apple into the light, ask if this came from an orchard belonging to a good Catholic family and if they watched the Pope today. Instead, I carelessly bought a pre-selected bag of apples and who knows what kind of apples were in there? Bad apples! That snuck in, that look like they did not receive all sacraments and instead only go to mass if it’s wedding, funeral, or a fiesta with a big roasted pig offered to celebrants. Get it together, Mona.

2. My mom and the Pope both have sciatica. Every medical word and condition my mom learns becomes the condition everyone must know about. My mom has shared with my coworkers, neighbors, and anyone who unknowingly opens the pandora’s medical co-pay box when they say, “Are you finding everything okay?” without thinking this woman is going to share that she has sciatica. And then the Pope explained he limps because of his sciatica which is all my mom needed to hear before she called me to proclaim the way they announced the new Pope or that Duchess of Cambridge had a baby boy or to please bring all your purchases to the front of the store because KMART is closing.  

Thanks apples. Thanks Pope Francis.



Typhoon Soudelor and Saipan

For two weeks, Nathan and I basked in island life on my tropical home of Saipan. We swam. We laughed. We played in the sand. We lived Saipan.

It was a vacation of dreams–the kind you grasp at while packing your bags to head home, time like gossamer threads slipping through my fingers.

Two weeks after we arrived back to our Seattle home, Saipan was hit by Typhoon Soudelor. A typhoon that was wildly underestimated, one that was predicted to build up over days took took only hours to completely ravage an island where my son and I had just visited, one where my family, friends and heart still live.

This was right in front of my house in Susupe.

The devastation was immediate and is still being felt every day. There is no electricity, except for the hospital. Water is only available for a few There are hundreds of people living in shelters. There are thousands waiting.

There has been an enormous amount of support for my home, from people of Saipan, from people who have never even heard of my tropical home. It’s incredibly hard to restore a kingdom after it has been toppled and I sing the praises of everyone who is doing their part.

I wrote this article about the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been experiencing, the guilt of living life here in the states where I have luxuries like water that doesn’t turn brown with rust, beer that is tundra cold and batteries that aren’t the cost of a car payment. I’ve been trying to figure out my role, what I can do best, something more effective than crying and pacing and grieving.

I am a comedian. I am here to make people laugh. So let’s do more of that–more of the punchlines, more of the crazy dances, more of making my mom worry what kind of daughter I am.

If you are in Seattle, please come down to my show on August 19th at the Rendezvous Theater where your ticket sales will go to Saipan relief. Bring canned food donations and seventy friends. Also a hug for me because I need it.

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