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Sheila Yangilmau

Pohnpei and Palau, Federated States of Micronesia

Sheila Yangilmau

Hello. My name is Shiela Yangilmau. I was born and raised on Pohnpei although my father hails from Palau. Born with parents from different backgrounds, I've discovered, has its benefits. The insight that comes from having different cultural backgrounds helped me to develop into a thoughtful observer (as I like to think). Both sides of my family have played key roles in preparing me for adulthood and challenges that I've been faced with, and conquered. Mom, Dad, Granny and Granpapa have all been driving forces during my childhood and early adulthood—without them, I would not be who I am today. I also want to acknowledge the professors of the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo for giving me the opportunity to write my own texts.

Earlier this school semester (Fall 2005) we were asked to acknowledge the things that are of importance to us as writers and I specified all those things: family, friends, ethnicity/home/culture, teachers, peers, etc; however, I realize that just about every minute detail of my everyday life has played a significant role in my thought processes and ultimately my output.

The issues that I've briefly touched upon in my work refer to specific times in my lifetime that are encapsulated in my memory bank, only to be revisited through nostalgia: family life/history, childhood, travels, and poetry that I've studied and which has left a lasting impression (i.e. the sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Milton's Paradise Lost, etc.).

Excerpt from Making Waves

Origins

(Pohnpei, on a rock)

Once upon a time they say
Dwelt a creature on a bay.
In the distance he was seen
Beck'ning those at sea
To discover his foundation
'Pon the rock sat he covetous
Though his time can be no more
A coral reef dest'ned for more.
Relinquish reign he must perform
A task of which he must inform
"Truth to be told of the rock on a bay
Nations of people shall rise to reign
Flaying storms and rain cannot contain
What scorching sun cannot prevent
For a nation of people shall rise
Out of the welling waves and winds
Pohnpei is emerging—a whirlwind."
His destiny now fulfilled
Into the depth of sea he keeled.
Upon this rock sits our bedrock
Piles of sand, sticks and rocks
The rock of the bay is now
What we call our own—Pohnpei.