best of luck to the new gig Alexandra - don't worry, it won't define you completely unless you let it.

it's a worthy entry into the contest, also. a few points if you don't mind. I'm more of a poetry editor, not big on essays, but: (a) Tahitian should be capitalized (b) I'm thinking, if I'm a judge looking thru 100s of entries, I might find the single block of text off-putting, maybe split it into a few paragraphs? up to you, if stream of consciousness fluidity is what you're going for ...