Indeed, the evening was different, different from previous meetings held in Missouri, Washington, and Oregon in terms of its structure, chemistry, and degree of efforts for many of the participants.
Above all, the participation level was fantastic. Several speakers shared so many "success stories" of FSM citizens doing well at various jobs -- owning businesses and chasing their dreams not only in school but also in the entertainment and technological industries. Others turned out as civic and religious leaders who are well-received at a respectable, public level in various societies.
In spite of being the last in a series of eventful and challenging hops, Pasadena energized the visiting delegation and put an end to President Mori's tour of FSM pockets in the U.S. in a high note, capturing a sense of success.
In the end, many realized that the trip was about hearing and listening for both sides. The common question that evolved out of the Pasadena meeting was, "what is your story?".The citizen unfolded different stories that culminated into what Secretary Lorin Robert exclaimed as he gave the concluding remarks that night: "We have a story to tell the nation." Beyond that, the FSMers who gathered in Pasadena felt that they also had a story to tell the leaders from both FSM and the United States as they live in two worlds in which their presence is often "blurry". Yet, their message is one of hope and confidence inspired by their love of country, faith, and "simplex" Micronesian determination.
What is your story?