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

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.

Big Island wanderings

Lately I have acted unlike myself though I am sure that is not unusual under the circumstances.  I spent Labor Day weekend on Big Island, mostly diving, snorkeling and meeting up with some friends.  Though I couldn’t for the life of me commit to any particular action.  Nothing felt quite right. In each instant, I would change my mind and decide that, yes, I should go do this or that instead.  Or wait, maybe not.  Maybe I should do this other thing.

I started the 2-hour drive toward a friend’s house from Kona, though ended up stopping to snorkel for a while and then later ended up at a black sand beach.  As I drove by a Bed & Breakfast I contemplated staying the night there.  But wait, I was supposed to stay at my friends house on the other side of the island.  So I drove on.  When I arrived, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself and decided going to bed was the best option.

The next day, I planned go to a birthday party and camp on the volcano but instead took off in my rental car and drove to the other side of the island without knowing where I was going or where I was staying.  It eventually became dark and I figured I needed to sleep somewhere.  I ended up Continue reading

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.

Home is not a place.

Being in DC has been great, it feels like a warm bath: comfortable.  Seeing friends has been wonderful and the familiarity is refreshing.  Soothing even.   Yet the inevitable has begun – forgetting street names, getting lost, noticing all the new bars, stores and restaurants that have popped up since I left.  It’s happened everywhere I’ve lived, but after almost 10 years of my adult life here and having left less than a year ago I am a little bit surprised.  I believe the brain can only retain so much information.  I barely remember any street names in the town where I grew up, though I could get to my parents house with my eyes closed.

I am having a hard time coming to terms that I’ve left at all.  This is where I have some of the deepest connections, yet I’ve chosen to leave. And I don’t see myself coming back here.  So it feels like a home I’ll never return to.  Leaving California to come here was difficult, but this feels different.  I was in my early 20’s and hadn’t Continue reading

If Pahoehoe were a man, I’d marry it

This is just one of many odd conversations I had with Mallory on the way down from the Mauna Loa volcano summit:  “If Pahoehoe were a man, I’d marry it”.  I was delirious from altitude sickness, lack of sleep and exhaustion.  To explain, pahoehoe is a type of Hawaiian lava with a “smooth and ropy surface”, in contrast with ‘a’a, which is “jagged and clinkery”.  You can imagine which one is easier to walk on.  We literally clocked about 1 mile per hour walking through ‘a’a, whereas pahoehoe was like walking on a paved sidewalk, but fun.

The 4-day hike to the Mauna Loa summit was absolutely amazing to say the least.  Surrounded by nothing but miles of miles of lava with no humans in sight for four days was epic.  I never knew how colorful and gorgeous different types, shades, and shapes of lava could be.  I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland, but instead of Wonderland it was the planet Mars on acid.  Throughout the hike, I would pause and take in the scenery around me, amazed by the vast and beautiful fields of diverse lava.

It sounds dramatic to say I came down the volcano changed person. I didn’t expect to feel this way.  I actually didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve always prided  myself in being Continue reading

Wanting to wander, hoping to be found

Ganges River in Rishikesh, northern India

How is it that I’ve only been in Hawaii 6 months and I’m daydreaming about being somewhere else?  I love Hawaii and I am happy to be here – there is really no place I’d rather be – but I find myself fantasizing about  being in India or perhaps Indonesia (Camilla!!!).  I suppose it’s a form of escapism, and I don’t have a problem with it, unless it prohibits me from enjoying where I currently reside. Hawaii has so much to offer and I have been very intentional to both enjoy it and be thankful.

One of my favorite quotes is by Tolkien (from Lord of the Rings) and includes the phrase, “Not all who wander are lost”.  I used to have a bumper sticker on my old car in college with the phrase.  Do I resign to being a wanderer?  Or always looking for something else?  I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.  Working this semester in addition to coursework I’m sure has contributed to the wanderlust.  When my level of responsibility arises, I often feel the urge to take off and be free.  Yet, without stability and some level of obligation, I become Continue reading