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Born in Koror, Palau |

When William was nine years old his family moved from Palau to Texas, where he would finish his schooling, meet his wife Catherine and become a father to twins. After living in several locations throughout the Pacific and the United States, William desired to live in a place that had four seasons. His first trip to Canada occurred in 2012, when a job opportunity opened up in Mississauga. After seeing how truly multicultural the area is, William and his wife agreed that they wanted their twins to grow up in the Greater Toronto Area. Currently William is a senior water resources engineer with Hatch and Hatch Mott MacDonald.

Toronto as Home

William feels particularly connected to the Niagara Escarpment, north of Milton. Water shaped his childhood, growing up on a small island in the South Pacific, and ancient waters shaped this particular part of Ontario’s beautiful landscape.

When I am returning from traveling, the sight of the escarpment gives me the feeling of coming home.

If William climbs up the escarpment and looks down towards the lake, it reminds him of his family property in Ngaraard State that sits on a quiet crest of Northern Palau where you can see the shore lines on both the east and west sides of the island.

Connection with the Past

William is holding a Palauan storyboard, something he believes is indigenous to the island.

The story depicted on the board is about two married lovers who escaped to secluded island to have a tryst. When morning came, they found that turtles had stolen their clothes, forcing them to return to their respective homes naked – and subsequently be shunned by their respective partners and community. The moral to the story being that there are always consequences to your actions. William emphasizes how Palauan storyboards depict legends that still have applicability in today’s society.

As a child in Palau, he remembers storyboards being everywhere – both in private homes and public meeting places. They depict creation stories and Palauan myths, but also stories with moral lessons. William has a few favourites; Ngemelis – how Palauans discovered the egg laying cycle of turtles; Ngirngemelas – story about a brave warrior; and Uab – the story of a legendary giant. He explains how some stories, like The Breadfruit Tree – a story about jealousy – are a little outrageous and just for fun. Other favorites include Melechotech a chau – a story of a giant with a gargantuan penis – and Surech ma Tulei – another story of two lovers.

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