Palau in America


Isabel Richey, Contributor

Abigail “Abi” Murray is a Palauan American who goes to Sahuaro. Her life is slightly different since her mom is full Palauan; her mom grew up in Palau and moved to America later. Palau, a part of Micronesia that was colonized in 1914, is an island near the Philippines. When asked about her daily life Abi said, “It’s pretty similar to most family of color households, my parents are strict with grades and we hold Palauan culture everywhere.” Abi says that when she was younger, she spoke Palauan but over time it was forgotten. The Palauan language is also very similar to Japanese, in fact, many words are exactly the same. 

Abi says, “Even though we eat a lot of it, fish never gets old.” In Palau, bigger women are considered the beauty standard as it is considered a sign of wealth. Abi’s bicultural family doesn’t believe in this tradition, but Palauans do eat a lot of rice and other hearty meals constantly, so it is important to the family to stay in shape. Currently, Abi is learning Japanese to get closer to her culture. Palauans are incredibly religious, and while Abi’s family isn’t, other members of her family are. She enjoys learning words and different recipes from her mom so that she can be closer to her Palauan heritage. Abi’s family is bicultural, being both Palauan and American, but her American father definitely tries hard to incorporate Palauan culture into his family’s life.

Palauans use a series of identities including the mother’s village, the father’s village, and so on. Abi’s family is still in touch with her mother’s village.  As with most 1st-Generation Americans, both parents care hugely about her grades. Especially with all her mom did to get to America and how hard her mom worked in school to be a nurse.  Abi wants to be a nurse just like her mother, hoping to go to a great college. Abi is also different from her family, in many ways. Abi is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, being nonbinary and lesbian, and her family is accepting.  Drawing is a favorite hobby of Abi’s, and she’s an excellent artist. Her parents support her art, but since her favorite subject is biology, they believe she will be a good nurse.  Abi’s twin sister, Zoey, also goes to Sahuaro, so her life is full of excitement as a Palauan American who lives in Tucson.