4| My New Home

M246
Sulani is so different than Del Sol Valley.
M247
It’s lonely, wild…and utterly beautiful.
M248
Time to start the garden.

Let’s talk about logistics. I bought this little island plot for about 4,000 simoles. My entire life savings was 5,000, and it took all of my savings to buy this plot and get out here to Sulani. I have some possessions with me, but essentially…I am out here with no one to help me in case something goes wrong. As far as I am aware, no one knows I am here. I got my high school diploma early, and didn’t tell my folks. I don’t plan on attending university. I am out here, alone, with just myself to look out for…and I have no financial means or a way to currently acquire money.

M249
I do have a neighbor, who I don’t intend on meeting.

I have never felt more alive.

M250
I can’t stop staring in awe at my new world.

I have wanted this for so long, I can hardly believe I made it happen.

M251
I’ve not really fished before, but I am an intelligent woman, I’ll figure this out!

Now, I know that I am probably a spoiled brat…and very selfish…and yeah. A whole bunch of bad stuff. I do feel bad alright? I know my parents want nothing more than the best for me. It’s just…I gotta get out from under the Brooks looming legacy shadow you know? It’s not for me. It never was for me.

M252

I do worry about them but…I decided to be horrible and selfish. I am trying to work through that, I really am. I will get into contact with them once I get my footing under me you guys. I promise. I have to prove to myself I can do this.

M253

The first thing I have to prove to myself is that I can catch some fish for me to sell to the passing fisherman and possibly for a campfire roast for myself. I can do this.

M254
First catch from the sea!
M255
I finally feel at peace.
M256
Digging for seashells…the ocean air is lovely!
M257

I absolutely love this. It’s just me, the water. and the occasional passerby.

M258
Until I get settled, fruit is it for my food!
M259
Lightning and no cover – uh oh.

Time to be an adult. It’s just lightning Mar, get over it! As you can see, I brought some solar-powered lava lamps from home…did I mention there is no electricity here? So far I am not experiencing withdrawals.

M260
Lightning strike one…
M261
Lightning strike two…I feel kinda funny.
M262
I feel SUPERCHARGED!
M263
I AM…
M264
LIGHTNING!
M265
This is amazing!

So yeah. My memories of that night are a bit…electric. Hehehehe…

M266

The rest of that night I fished. I cannot put into words how much I love my new home.

M267
M268
M269

I cannot WAIT to get a bed. Beach life is a bit rough!

M270

I finally sold enough fish to trade for a tent from a passing boat salesman. Yes, apparently they have those here! It’s quite convenient!

M271
Yet the beauty is marred by trash in the waters.
M272
No shower, I am STANK.
M273
After a swim around, not so much! Just smelling quite salty.
M274
Thankfully, there are bathrooms nearby.
M275
M276
I love Sulani.
M277
Seashell collecting!
M278
M279
I do miss home though. I wish I could share this experience with my family.

Despite the wonder and amazing experience this has been…did I do the right thing?

M280

I distracted myself by trying my hand at snorkeling.

M281
M282
M283
Ah. The warm waters does wonders for my pysche.

I feel better now.

M284
M285

I keep seeing these blue spirits around Sulani. I wonder what they are?

M286
“Er…hello?”
M287
I wonder why this is roped off…am I allowed to fish here? Yikes!
M288
They are really cool fish though!

But eventually I went back home.

M289
M290
This is gross…seriously. How does this happen?!

It’s so nice to just go and swim and do whatever I want, whenever I want!

M291
M292
“Hello again…are you following me?”
M293

I’ve decided it is a life goal for me to get one of these boats, but I may be one hundred years old before I make enough money for one!

M294
I miss my shower back home…no. At mom’s home. This is my home now.
M295
But this is a really nice substitute!
M296
Although who can say they like showering with frogs? ME!
M297

Bonus, this lovely waterfall is only a short swim across the canal…and in the few short days I’ve been here, my swimming skills have gotten so much better!

M298
Splish splash! Panda would love it here. I wish I could show him.
M299

Yet it doesn’t seem like I’m the only one who knows of this little spot…who is that? Hey, wait up!

M300

Hot stuff’s name was Atoni Moho, and yes, he was quite nice.

“Hey, nice to meet you. New to Sulani I take it? I’ve not seen you around here before.”

M301

I hope he couldn’t tell my heart was pounding. I mean, my birthday isn’t quite here yet…and he definitely didn’t need to know that I technically ran away from home…

“Yeah, I just moved here a few days ago! I’m Marin. I live just over there on that island. You?”

“Oh, my family and I live over in Lani St. Taz. You should drop by sometime, we can do a cookout! You out here on your own?”

If my palms could stop sweating, that would be great! “Yep, just me. It’s kind of a soul-finding adventure, but I am loving it so far!”

He nodded. “The islands take care of their own. This place is great to find yourself and to grow. People come from all over to find things, but it’s often hit or miss. You gotta just take care of the island, and you will eventually find your answers Marin.” His smile was easy and kind, but it did nothing to the horrible feelings of self-doubt and loathing in my stomach.

M302
Could I really do this?

Atoni left after saying goodbye and reminding me to come by his family home sometime. I just wanted to cry. I missed my family. I felt so guilty over just leaving…but now, I truly had no options. I was basically on a deserted island with no technology, I had left it all behind. I had no money, no way to get in contact with them, not even Panda or Cayson, even though I had sworn I would.

M303
AN: I thought this was hilarious!

I was stuck in my choice, and it really sucked. I am so sorry Mom, Dad. I really am. I hope I can reach out one day and tell you that.

M304
Apparently, my fishing spot is popular.
M305

I’ve really screwed up.

M306

There was nothing to do but continue on. I fished without abandon for a while, so absorbed in my sorrows I didn’t realize that there was someone fishing by me for a while.

M307
This stranger needs some sun…he’s as pale as the dead in those movies!

Despite how scary he looked, he was nice, if not a bit aloof.

“You alright?”

Am I alright? No. I really am not. I miss my family. I regret so much doing this to them. What if I die and they never find out what happened to me? What if the mansion catches on fire and the dogs die? What if Panda goes to space and never comes back? I will never know. Neither will they. I am not alright. But I couldn’t just tell that to a stranger. That would be a bit much, right?

M308

Finally I decided on what to say. “No, but I will be. Eventually.” I will eventually figure this out. I have to.

M309

He listened and fished. Eventually he responded. “Alright. Good luck…Marin.

I swore I could hear him say my name, but he was too far gone in the water, I bet I hadn’t heard him correctly.

M310

I didn’t have a lot of time to think on it, because I was hungry. I had enough money to hail a boat taxi, and I had seen some boat advertisements about some little beach shack restaurant. I think I’ve been in isolation long enough, at least for now.

M311
Being around people was weird. I hope that isn’t Dad’s friend Caleb…
M312

I felt like I was being watched…maybe this is a bad idea.

M313

This guy wasn’t happy with me. Was it my dirty clothes? Or the fact I was coloring?

M314

Pfffft, he’s just jealous! I got the confidence to color where he has NONE!

M315

This food is better than the fruit and veggies I’ve been scrounging, by far! Be jealous dude, be jealous.

M316
I decided to look for more seashells…
M317
Where are you little things…
M318
I can definitely do this. Being around people is great.

I heard some commotion over by a ruined temple structure thing. Is that a big cookout thing? Let’s go explore…

M319

Surprisingly, I met this lovely woman named Nohea.

“Hello! Welcome to Sulani! Want some food, hon?”

She was quite nice!

“No thank you ma’am, I just ate. I’m Marin, it’s nice to meet you.”

M320

Her eyes positively sparkled. “Marin did you say? My son said there was a new girl in town by that name. You didn’t happen to meet a young man called Atoni by chance, did you? He’s my boy.”

“I did actually…he was very welcoming.”

M321
How small is this place!? Atoni is her son???

“Oh, that’s so very nice to hear! I do do my best to instill manners in my children…well, you are always welcome in our home! You should come over sometime, we have plenty of food if you ever want company!”

M322
Oh great plumbob…she was so nice and how can I get out of this???

“Uh yeah sure, I can come over sometime…”

You can betcha I got out of there quick! They know where I live now…oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

M323

Still, it was nice to know I knew some friendly folks around here. Mom would be proud.

M324
Hey you guys, I made some friends tonight.
M325

I was doing better though. Catching bigger fish, making a small amount of money. My garden was getting bigger.

M326

The stranger kept coming by, no idea why.

M327
M328
My first fish meal I made myself!
M330
Eventually I will get a shower, but until then this will do!
M331

I still feel horribly guilty, but I will make up for it, one day. I hope.

M332

I hope.

Marin Brooks

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