I miss…something. Not sure what.

It’s been over a month since I’ve graduated and I don’t feel like I’ve moved much.  Physically, yes, but mentally I’m not so sure.  Not working has been great but the nagging feeling that I should be looking for a job weighs on me.  And I have been looking, though not all that different from graduate school, it never ends and it’s completely self-motivated.  Motivation is the key word here.

Part of my hesitation of investing more time into a job search is: a)  I am ambivalent about being a professional again (think: game face all the time); b)  I know once I start working full-time I’ll wish I had more time off; and c) I am not quite certain there are a lot of available jobs in my field in Hawaii and I’m scared to find out.

Strange being in what feels like the no-mans-land of life.  No job, no school, just sort of floating around.  Yet it’s very freeing to be in this place and still be okay with it all.  A few years ago I would have been ridden with anxiety.  I do wonder what will come my way, wondering if anything will come my way, but trusting in the journey is all I can really do.

Off to Seattle, Vancouver and San Francisco this week.  I’m looking at it as my last hurrah before my paid vacations will be 2-weeks… if I’m lucky.

 

 

Where have I landed?

Since I’ve graduated I feel:

1.  Elated

2.  Terrified

and

3.  Excited

Elated because I’m free to live my life with out meaningless course work and grad school deadlines.

Terrified because I have no idea what’s next.

Excited because the new life I was looking for when I moved here is graduating (excuse the pun) to a new level.

I came here to start a new life that felt more authentic.  Graduate school was the avenue I chose to get here and now that I’m finished, there’s time to see where I’ve landed.  So here I am, looking around in a bit of a stupor.  My place in Hawaii has shifted from student to…. I don’t know.

For now I’m going to sit in the afterglow of graduating and enjoy the stillness.

 

Ramblings of a bike commuter

Every time I ride home from campus I think of putting a note on this one car that blocks the sidewalk ramp in front of their house that leads to the H1 overpass.  I have to sometimes get off my bike to walk it around which is extremely annoying.  I’ve imagined writing, “I’m a disabled person in a wheelchair that cannot access the over-ramp because of your car”.  Though I am averse to lying.  But today I actually saw an elderly man with a cane that had to go around the car, up and down the sidewalk curb; not easy for an older man!  So on my way home I thought, well now I can leave a note, but on his behalf.  So I plan to bring a note soon saying:

“Please do not block the sidewalk.  An elderly uncle with a cane was trying to reach the overpass and had to go around your car.”

Will I actually do it?  I don’t know.  But I like to think I of myself as the advocate of keeping sidewalks clear for pedestrians and cyclists to get over the bridge.  Probably only 2 people ever use the bridge (me and the old man), but that it beside the point.   Continue reading

It’s 2013 already and I have no resolutions

I see all the pieces of my life, like little islands, somehow coming together to create a map.  They don’t seem to quite connect but they make up who I am.  They seem to have rigid borders but I’m not sure they need to be this way.  I don’t know where I belong now, just trying to enjoy the day.

Walking to the beach yesterday after 3 bitter cold weeks in Europe and Washington, DC and a week lying in bed from a nasty cold was like a warm bath.  I did some yoga at the tiny park before the steep slope up to Diamond Head and felt the sun beat down on my face.  As I stared out into the sea, I reflected on the past few weeks, past year and the two and a half years since I moved here.

My life here in Hawaii is not what I’d expected: I imagined a quiet, contemplative life enjoying ocean breezes and lazy afternoons with few distractions and worries.  There are days like this but it ends there; reality lingers and catches up to you.  I didn’t expect to Continue reading

Finding my inner-genius

I like this quote and it really speaks to me right now.  I’ve felt less-than-genius for the past year, trying to figure out my research project and somehow finish graduate school.  There were a couple of unexpected curve balls that derailed me over the year and I’m not so sure I’ve recovered, at least not in the way I had hoped.  So the next step is figuring out how to rally and finish what I started.   Judging myself has not proved helpful.  Perhaps accepting where I am at and moving forward is all I can do in this moment.

My intention for this week is to remember to be thankful for having the opportunity to be in grad school and that I’m not working 9-5.  At times it sounds appealing but I remember the not so distant past where I wanted to poke my eyes out at 4 pm every day, staring at the clock.  Well, not exactly, but I most definitely did not enjoy spending the majority of my day in an office, chained to a computer.

When I first moved to Hawaii and started grad school I couldn’t believe how great life was and all I could think was: why didn’t I do this earlier?  Now I just want to to finish and make some money.

Maybe the grass is always greener on the other side?

Name change…again

Decided to change the name of my blog and give it a bit of a facelift. Click here to see why “living Aloha?”.

This is the fourth name and have gone through a few background theme changes.  I’ve struggled with a name that resonates with me and as there are subtle shifts (or big ones) in my life, the title starts to feel irrelevant.  I can imagine this is not the best way to “keep” followers but I am not so sure I’ve ever cared about that.  I have always liked the idea of “reinventing” myself and starting over.  Perhaps this is my way of embracing change.  And trying to find a catchy, yet meaningful, blog name.

Click here and here for previous blog names and why I chose them.  I’d consider reverting back to my original name but it feels a little righteous that I’d even consider myself a do-gooder, even if it was just for a season of my life.

Maybe I’ll stick with live aloha?.  Who knows…

I follow

Living aloha

I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be here in Hawaii and embrace the lifestyle.  It’s most definitely not for everyone.  Even in paradise you have your problems.  Wherever you go, there you are (yes YOU!).  What’s caused a little sadness lately is I’m not appreciating what I have here as much as I used to.  And to live here, you have to.  Being so far from the mainland, high costs of living and the lack of “stuff” isn’t worth it otherwise.  People come here for the lifestyle and cultural shift from what most of us mainlanders are used to.

Seattle last week was refreshing.  Going to the mainland usually stirs up different feelings: gratefulness for being here and resentment for being so far away.  And  not just in terms of distance.  It’s not being able to just take off and drive for hours and hours(unless you want to go in a circle); running into the same people everywhere when you feel like being anonymous; culture beyond Asia and the South Pacific; the smallness of it all.  But I find despite all those things, it’s worth it to stay.  The bigger question is how could I back to a life of trying to live the American Dream when it’s really not a dream at all?  I see it as a trap if anything.  Being in a place that values friends and family (ohana) and thinks surfing in the afternoon is more important than getting ahead at work: I love it.

New Year, still me. Thank goodness.

How do I express that everything has changed, yet nothing at all?  Accepting that life will never be what it was.  With the New Year, I wanted to leave the sadness and grief of my mothers’ death behind, embarking on a new year with new expectations on myself and the future.  But that doesn’t change me.  All the intentions and determination in the world cannot change who I am in the moment.  You cannot command the grieving process or feelings to act in a certain way.  If only it were that easy.

I wanted to push the past behind me, move forward.  And in many ways I have.  I have accepted the past several months were difficult and painful: that some areas in my life were put on hold.

In a world where progress is measured in success and “moving on”, it’s difficult to honor the grieving process as work in itself.  I may not have been as productive in certain areas as I could have been, but I was (and am) working my ass off in other ways: grieving (action word).  If only you could put that on your resume.

In some ways I’m surprised that I Continue reading

Gas, liquids, solids and surf

Pretty amazing how chemistry can practically bring me to tears.  Memories of being in high school and not “getting it” come to the surface and I feel like I just can’t do it.  But I have to in order to graduate.  I’m sitting here, glaring at my chem book and sipping seltzer water.

Been surfing a lot in the past week.  I feel like I owe it to myself to get back into it.  The last time I surfed regularly was over 10 years ago and I may as well be a complete beginner again. The past year I’ve been in Hawaii I look at the waves almost daily and I want to be in waves, not just observing them.  I think it’s time.  We’ll see how long it lasts, but I hope it stays with me.

I am not sure why I threw myself back into school this fall so quickly.  I wanted a distraction and I had no idea what else to do with myself.  So I walked forward in the only direction I knew how to at the time.  So here I am.  Crying over chemistry.

Baggage

When I walk into my bedroom, there staring at me are three unpacked suitcases.  With stuff piled around them.  I find it somewhat unbelievable that I still haven’t fully unpacked from my trip to Mozambique which I returned from 2 months ago.  Summer school took priority I suppose.  Then there is the suitcase from my last trip to California.  It’s been less than 2 weeks so I’m giving myself a break on that one.

I can’t help but wonder a little bit as to why I’ve waited so long and if it correlates with my state of mind.  I haven’t had much time at all to process my time in Mozambique which would help explain that one.

As far as the other suitcase, there is no explanation really needed.  How long will it stay unpacked?  I feel almost afraid to empty its contents.  Will I just stare at it for months to come?

I was going to skip class today to clean up my bedroom and unpack those suitcases.  But I came to class instead.

well, that was a bad idea

Chemistry and biology at the same time during a 6-week summer session was most definitely not the greatest idea I’ve had. Therefore, I dropped biology yesterday.  What a great decision it was!  I appreciate my ambitious nature but I was beginning to question my sanity.  It has been a long and exhausting summer.  Or more like a long and busy spring that bled into summer and hasn’t stopped since.

A bit sad right now that the wonderful elation I was feeling from my time in Mozambique has significantly waned, mostly due to overwhelming myself with school and work.  Only back a little over 3 weeks and it feels like it never happened. But I trust it will come back.  Amazing experiences always Continue reading

Wanting the year to end, wanting it to go on.

I didn’t even realize the semester was over next week.  I guess I prob haven’t noticed a lot of things lately.  Rightly so.  I feel sad.  But I’m ready for this to be over.  “This” being my year of adjustment.  I don’t feel completely settled by any means, but knowing I survived (almost) a year of grad school is comforting and rewarding.  Perhaps I shouldn’t speak too soon, not done yet!  I can’t say I was a spectacular student but I did my best.  Was my best good enough?  I guess I’ll find out soon.  I really feel like I fumbled through the semester, the entire year really.  I was hit with much more stress than I expected with working, being a full-time student,  family issues and now my health.  It hasn’t been easy.  But I’m still here and still pretty happy.

My first semester was ridiculously fun, but almost as equally difficult.  I didn’t take very good care of myself and was a bit reckless in my behavior but I had a great time.  Leaving the working world was awesome and having all the free time was wonderful. But eventually that wasn’t working  for me and I have learned that it is best for me to have some sort of work to do or I get unmotivated and depressed.  Not having a place to go to study/work and staying at home by myself a lot did not help.  I am happy with my fellow cohorts in the program and I’ve met some great folks.  I was able to connect well with quite a few people.  But spreading my wings and Continue reading

moral opposition to exams

I’m kind of morally opposed to exams.  Don’t people trust I’m learning?  I’m too old to be tested on this crap.  I am in the middle of midterms and don’t expect much sympathy from anyone, I chose to be in graduate school, but I feel like there has to be a more progressive way of learning.  Well, there is I suppose.  Projects and hands-on experience happen.  And I’d prefer a paper over an exam any day.  What exams are to me: a reason to cram information into your head and memorize random facts you may never use again in life.   So cynical, but it’s how I’m feeling right now.

I’m a fairly motivated person and when it is important for me to learn something on the job or for life in general, I learn it.  I will go out of my way to make sure I understand.   So exams seem weird to me.

What makes me more angry is it doesn’t matter what I think about exams, I still have to take them and my grade will depend on it.  Then comes the question whether I care about that either.  I suppose the consequences of getting bad grades can be high, particularly if I have some sort of funding that requires a certain GPA.  Or if I want to get a Ph.D. which is a big fat “no” right now.

Writing in a blog complaining about exams while I should be studying may not be such a good idea.

I’ve never had a blog but kind of like the idea

I’ve never had a blog and always thought they were superfluous and wondered if anyone read them.  But I decided to go ahead and do it.  For myself.  Was actually one of my New Year’s “Intentions” as I’ve wanted to learn how to openly, and even publicly, express myself.

I have been struggling with feeling grounded lately, which isn’t terribly surprising as I try to create a life for me here in Hawaii.  Sometimes I still wonder how I got here.  I logically know the steps I have made, but I am not so sure I have been as present as I’d like to be through the process of change.

Went running this morning. I find running to be meditative and more effective than sitting cross-legged on the floor and trying to empty my mind.  What I noticed today for the first time is I run with my index finger and thumb touching, as in the Gyan Mudra you so often see in Buddha statues.  I found that to be entertaining and somewhat delightful.  The Mudra apparently has many benefits, one being the relaxation of the mind.  I need more of that.

I ended my run in Kapiolani Park across the street from the Diamond Head Community Garden near my home.  I plopped down on the grass and lay flat on my back, and staring up into the sky.  The grass was beaded with water but I didn’t care.  I try to remember that I am grounded and that everything will be okay in the end.  I moved into childs pose, my face planted into the wet grass.  As I inhaled the scent of the grass and felt it tickle my nose I felt a sense of joy.  I stayed there for a while, reminding myself of who I am, where I’ve been, and letting myself feel the anxiety and excitement of the unknown future.  As I write this, I still have grass all over me am itchy and sweaty –  I really should shower.  But I don’t really care, I’m enjoying the moment.