The girl’s cries drown out the sound of the sky’s anger. Snow, hail, and rain decided to pay the Star-Spangled land a visit, when the baby girl is born. Her unaccustomed ears hear the faint call of Tagaloa, but the city sounds muffle his siren song. In the Star-Spangled land, buildings scrap the sky, blocking out the stars. Seasons change, snowy winters turn to bright springs then to sweltering summers. Reds, whites and blues surround the girl as she goes about her day. “Proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free!” her superiors chanted, and for a second she believes them. The girl grows, acclimated to the indifference of the Star-Spangled people and the fast-paced lives they live. Yet Tagaloa’s voice still calls to her, “Come home.”
As the girl begins her first steps, her parents take her to sail across the seas, the flag of stripes and stars waving her goodbye. They arrive in the land of Alewanisoso, the Fijian goddess of travelers. The goddess peers down from her place in the clouds, her watchful eyes curious and warm when she looks upon the newcomers. Alewanisoso greets the family with the words “Bula Vinaka,” soothing the girl’s palpitating heart. New sounds, smells, and sights engulf her: towers that once dominated her sky replaced with glimmering stars, the smell of burgers and fries now replaced by the spices from Indo-Fijian curries of all kinds. Coups and a baby’s coo are memories of this land. But still, even as a child, she can hear Tagaloa summoning.
When the girl begins growing taller than her mother, she helps her family sail to the island ruled by Qat, the Melanesian god of morals. The Melanesian gods take interest in the family, they teach them the ways of the Ni-Vanuatu. Pele, Ra, and Santo call out welcoming words to the girl and her family. Tana’s smoke brushes across her cheek. Seashells, turtle shells, kava shells and more sustain her family on the familiar shore. Rowing by pristine beaches in endless lagoons is a luxurious normality in these islands. The girl’s soul settles here; the call of Tagaloa is softened by the blare of the cruise ship’s horn and bustling crowds of tourists. The girl makes new friends, and she comes to love the place she now calls home. But Tagaloa is too close not to be heard and heeded. The call is strong and must be obeyed. Short malaga back to and from the girl’s homeland will have to do for now. The girl knows she will eventually leave the totem-filled island, her parents following industry and development, as they do.
And despite her love for the lessons of the Melanesian gods, her family becomes restless, wanting to move to an unfamiliar domain. The land of Ala offers the girl’s family a rest from the Pacific’s volatile seas. The West African earth goddess who looks after the land welcomed the family with open arms. Ala proudly presented her colorful land; the girl is again bombarded by her new surroundings. Peanut oils, peanut sauce, ground nut shells and Sahara sand are her new friends. The West African heat is dry and unforgiving, completely different from the island’s soothing humidity, yet she adapts and learns to find comfort in the sandy roads and bustling markets. Breathless with the oddity of this new land, awed at the fact that the same blood flows in her veins, familiar yet so different. But still there is something missing. The girl rifles through her thoughts grasping for the reason behind the aching in her heart. And then there it is again, Tagaloa’s steady voice, “Come home”.
Her turmoil comes to an end as the girl decides to follow Tagaloa’s call. With the help of her family, she sails across the harsh rolling seas, passing the Star-Spangled nation, Alewanisoso’s warm smile, and Qat’s watchful eyes. And finally.
The girl arrives on the sparkling shores of Tagaloa’s domain. His call echoes in her ears, as she travels farther into the island. “You belong here” he says, “You have come home.” She travels deeper into Tagaloa’s island, offering tender smiles to people, her people, she comes to realize. Her people, her land, her sky, her shore, her shells, her food, her aiga, her aiga. The call has stopped now. She is where she belongs. No more wandering beneath star-filled skies. Only the lovely ease of gazing up at her piece of the Universe. The girl wonders at many things within the land. The calm crystalline waters, the gracefulness of the taupou’s movements when she dances to the incessant sounds of the drums, the mighty coconut trees, and the spirited morning markets find refuge inside the girl. Her Samoan family greets her with sincerity and enthusiasm, the ache she found in heart slowly dissipating as her love for her Tagaloa’s land grows. The girl feels at peace, she is home, her calling she has answered. The girl, however, does not forget the Star-Spangled nation, or Alewanisoso’s hospitality, or even Qat and the Melanesian gods’ instruction, for the girl keeps these experiences close in mind, soul, and heart. They help her navigate the harsh journey called life. The journey is not over but this is a journey of a lifetime that will span generations of Tagaloa’s kin, hearing the call, making moves and coming home.