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  • Writer's pictureMichael Roman

The adventure continues

One hot afternoon in Tamana, Corey and I were imagining bringing our friends to the United States. What would Biita think if he saw a real garage? What would Uriane think about the track and field sports complex by my house? What would Corey’s counterpart think about the motorcycles in the USA? We wondered what it would be like for them to be in our shoes, as migrants in a foreign land.

We joked about taking them to malls, ice skating rinks, and amusement parks. Corey was convinced Biita would love roller coasters. Both believing it could never happen, we went on and on laughing at ridiculous ideas. Ten years later, hell froze over.

It happened.

I found myself on a Fulbright scholarship to study the transnational migration of Kiribati citizens in the United States, Fiji, and New Zealand. Much of my Kiribati family was living in New Zealand at the time.


The nearly thirteen-hour flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand was a dream come true. I was reuniting with my Kiribati family. In New Zealand. For ten months!

As I exited the airport’s immigration zone, I looked for my family in the crowd. There were so many waiting for their loved ones, friends, and relatives or relatives that I could not see one single familiar face. MIKE!!! I heard my name coming from across the hall, and there they were, my aunty, uncle, and little niece (who was no longer small). It was everything I hoped for, family again. We loaded my stuff into the car and headed to the city of Hamilton.

We arrived at Tracy’s house, who was now a mom of two handsome boys, ages eight and six at 10 am. Her husband was mowing the lawn as their two boys timidly peeked through the windows.

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