Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day!!!

True stories about what happens when a girl from the big city moves to a rock in the pacific without a life raft

Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Posted by Jenni C. on August 3, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

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Posted in Friends, Goals, Hawaii, Life, Love, memories, men, Moving, Paradise, relationships, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help, single girl, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I can do it all by myself, except sometimes I need help

Posted by Jenni C. on January 6, 2014

When I was young, about the age of 3 or 4 my mom gave me the book All by Myself by Mercer Mayer. At the age of 31 my mom still reminds me that ever since I read that book over 25 years ago, I have always wanted to do things all by myself. When I was a child it was simple things like tying my shoe, or doing my homework. I would sit and try it over and over again until I got it right. I wanted to do it all by myself. As I got older life became more complex, and the complexity of things that I could actually do all by myself began to change. In high school it was filling out college applications, I didn’t need help, I could do that all by myself. However, once I got into college I had to pay for tuition, books, fees, oh and lets not forget that I actually needed to move everything out of my bedroom in Queens to my dorm room in Connecticut, yeah I needed help. Mainly from my parents, and because they are great parents they helped, and because they had hindsight to know I actually couldn’t do it all by myself I really didn’t even have to ask for much help. They just knew what to do.

As we get older we have greater needs in life, and may need more help. I have always been one to hate asking for help because I could do it all by myself. My favorite question to ask my clients in therapy sessions is “how is that working out for you?” When I think about times that I didn’t ask for help but really knowing that I needed help, I reflect on how poorly that is working out for me. When I bought my first car, I went into full-blown panic mode. Buying a car is stressful and I needed help. Luckily I had that help, my ex boyfriend helped me find a car, and my dad helped me to get my care registered, inspected and ready to drive. Needless to say without that help I would have been left stuck and riding the bus for a mighty long time.

Before moving to Hawaii, my mom asked me was I scared to go alone. My answer of course was no, if the fear was there I was never going to admit that to anyone anyway. She told me she doesn’t worry about me because she knows I will be fine, she reminded me that I have always had that determination that I could do it all by myself. That determination helped me to take leaps in life and never look back. That determination helps me prove to myself that no matter where I am in life and what I am going through, I will always at least try to do it all by myself, even though sometimes I may fail.

I am no longer a 3-year-old kid who just wants to tie her own shoe, or a 4-year-old who just wants to walk into a new classroom all by myself just to prove that I am a big girl. I am a 31-year-old who has grown to realize that as much as I want to do it all by myself, sometimes I need help, badly.

I realized the importance of help when I was living in Honolulu, I was all by myself, and couldn’t possibly do everything alone. Upon arriving on the island, I received help from my first landlord. She was overwhelmingly kind to me. She was local from Kauai and now living on the Windward side of Oahu. She went out of her way to welcome me to the island, I had no car, she drove me around, she showed me how to get to my job, how to get to the store, and what I would need to do to be safe in Honolulu. Her warming attitude made me feel like I would have a great home in Hawaii. I continued to find help along the way in friends, those friends helped me to overcome a sense of loneliness, and seemed to always make sure that I was doing ok. I received help to stay in shape from my motivating workout crew, and due to the fact that I had amazing co-workers, they never failed to help me learn my way around the island, and adjust my mainland style of building therapeutic relationships, to the local style of how to be a successful therapist. I was starting to learn that needing help was not a sign of weakness, but much-needed to keep building future success.

Now I am back on the mainland and have found myself in a place where I once again need help, and I continue working to overcome the struggle to ask, although it has gotten a lot easier. A few weeks ago I went snow tubing and broke a bone in my leg when it hit a block of ice.  Ok maybe I should have not been so quick to jump into winter sports since I have been living on an island that was 80 degrees every day for the past 4 years. Nevertheless, it was fun, well expect for the part where I broke my leg.

Being on crutches with a broken leg, yeah I have needed help. I want to do it all by myself, but life’s turns has hit me and now I can’t. This has truly been an experience in asking for help. I literally have needed help from everyone who is around me. Even my 7-year-old god-daughter has had to help me carry my purse. Lucky for me I have an awesome support group. My friends have been nothing less than amazing and have been there fully to help me. I end up feeling guilty though, I hate to inconvenience others or need help for something that I could just do on my own a few weeks ago. I remind myself that this is a temporary situation. It’s still hard most days.  It’s not forever, just for now, and now I have to continue to ask for help. This has truly been an eye-opening experience, I was the girl who thought I could do everything by myself. I could do it all, no help necessary. Now I can’t even drive my car, so to go anywhere outside of the house, yeah I need help.

Though this current situation of my broken leg is temporary and with time my bones will heal, it is a sudden much-needed reminder that life is not meant to be lived alone. If you always have the right circle of support you will never be alone, and when life throws you a curve ball, don’t struggle, put pride aside and just ask for help.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Fears, Finding meaning, Friends, Hawaii, Mothers, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Posted by Jenni C. on January 5, 2014

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

Posted in Fears, Finding meaning, Friends, Goals, Hawaii, Life, Love, Relocation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2014: The year of focus and personal accomplishments

Posted by Jenni C. on January 1, 2014

Today is the first day of 2014. Happy New Year! Wow now what happened to 2013 again? I feel like a lot has happened in the year the last. It was another year of transition. A year of memories. A year of saying goodbye to old friends, and once again saying hello to lifetime friends. It was year of meeting new friends, it was a year that is worth remembering.

Exactly one year ago I would have never imagined that I would be once again living on the east coast. I would have never imagined that I would be permanently living in the an area with freezing cold winter nights, cleaning snow off my car, and wearing layers of winter clothes. Life again has worked out in an unexpected way. In 2013 I learned more about myself. I learned that I am in control of my life, no matter how chaotic it may seem, ultimately I have control. 2013 was a year of personal accomplishments, I ran my first half marathon! I learned to accept my love-hate relationship with running. I laughed a lot in 2013. Life was good. I smiled even in those times when there was little to nothing to smile about. I learned to appreciate me. I took risks, and I fell back in love with me.

I feel like 2013 was the year of me. When I look back over the year I feel like I spent a lot of time alone, yet I hardly ever had times of feeling lonely. I was able to enjoy the things I loved, not do the things I didn’t, and somewhere along the line I feel like I grew into a better version of myself. I hope that growth continues in 2014.

Life changed over the last few months. Adjusting back to the mainland after living on a rock in the middle of the pacific is not easy. I feel like I was thrown a curveball even though I know what is expected from life on the mainland. Yet it still remains slightly difficult some days to get used to. A challenge yes, but a necessary challenge indeed. 2013 you were a year with unexpected surprises, new friends, new home, and new job. Life is always changing, here is another change to overcome.

2014 will be my year of adjustment, always working on me, continuing to grow, learn, and accomplish something that is truly amazing. My personal theme for 2014 will be focus. To focus on all aspects of life a little more. Take in each moment and remember that life moments are always changing so enjoy them while I can. 2014 will be my year! My year to stop saying what I want to do and just do. Go for it. I feel the need for increased motivation, internal fulfillment, and to remember to live a life worth living. Personally I think 2014 will be a big year, and as always the best is yet to come! And finally I am ready.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Fears, Finding meaning, Friends, Holidays, Life, Love, memories, New Year | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

No expectations, no regrets, A life worth living

Posted by Jenni C. on November 18, 2013

The best things in life are often the most unexpected.

I love moments of self-reflection. Looking back on life’s moments always offers me greater insight into what I am fully capable of accomplishing in life. Life always has a way of working out if we choose to let it work. For that I am eternally grateful. Moments of self-reflection help me to realize how far I have come in my own personal growth, and remind constantly that life is a journey. At times that journey is slow, at times it moves faster than I can ever imagine, but I am always evolving on this journey.

The exciting part; you never know where the journey will take you. The scary part; you never know where the journey will take you. But you feel the need to go. I like to go fast.  In February of 2009 I packed up everything I had, left everything I knew, left everyone I knew, and moved to an island in the middle of the pacific. Having no idea where I was going, and vague plans that I could only hope would work out I began a new journey.  I had no idea of what I would find, no idea who I would meet, and had no expectations. It felt right, so I ran with it. Scary? Well, yes maybe a little. Was it needed? Yes most definitely.

In September of 2013  it was time to close my Hawaiian chapter, a bitter-sweet ending to an unbelievable journey. I arrived on the island emotionally empty. To be honest, I had hit life’s emotional rock bottom. Nothing mattered. To be in a state of going through the motions just because you have to, felt like a state of not living. My life needed more, my challenge was to find it.

I spent the last 4 and a half years of my life on the island of Oahu.  Wow writing this from a Washington DC coffee shop, it’s still hard to believe that it was not all a dream. I arrived with nothing, I left with more than I could have ever imaged. I was happy.  How did that happen? My emotionally empty glass was suddenly full.   I gained a new family or Ohana as they say in Hawaiian. I never thought I would meet people who would overwhelm me with a sense of Aloha. I was embraced by an amazing level of kindness from day one.  Friendships were formed. People cared about me. Strangers grew to love me, and will always have a place in my heart for them. I always thought the only people who would ever care about me lived on the east coast. I was never alone on the island in the middle of the pacific. I had people who loved me. Why is that so hard for me to believe? Even as I sit here and write, it seems like a dream. A false reality that never existed. A made up adventure of my life. But it really happened. I lived it. A  time in my life when I was able to let go and live. To prove to myself that I could live. Living was OK, I gave myself permission to just live.

When I was packing up all my belongings to leave Hawaii, I wondered to myself how did I get here. Seriously, I felt like I was in a fog when I left New York on that cold February morning in 2009. I cried all the way to my first layover in LAX. It was a day I will never forget. That force of knowing that my life needed change, gave me the strength to leave. When I was packing up my apartment in Honolulu, many times I wanted to cry. I had that part of me that wanted to stay. I had built a new life. Fearful that I would have to start over again. Fearing what the east coast would now hold for me. I was leaving different. I wasn’t the same girl who arrived on the rock in 2009. In essence I had changed. That’s what life is about, changing. I could never have lasted as long so far away from familiarity if I had remained the same. Somewhere along the line I grew up. I found hobbies. I fell in love. I fell in love with the island, with adventure, with mountains, with the ocean, with the culture. In my mind, shoot I was local. Even though I could never master the art of speaking pigeon, and still would never attempt to pronounce many of the Hawaiian street names, I still felt a sense of local flavor.

I went with no expectations, and gained more than I could ever imagine. I made new friends. My newfound extended ohana took care of me.  Those friends  pulled me through the bad days, and made good days all the more exciting. It worked. Life worked the way it was supposed to. I learned lessons. Even though I wanted to figure out if I could really cut my own safety net of my family and friends in New York while managing alone, that was impossible. I learned that no matter where I am in the world life can never be done alone. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. I found friends. Friends that helped me adapt. Friends that cared, friends that loved me, and made me feel at home. Friends that would miss me when I’m gone.

As each day passes here in the east, it all continues to feel like a dream. Was that time a brief intermission in life a time solely for me to recollect myself? Or maybe it serves a greater purpose that I am yet to find out. Not sure what is up next. All I know now is that as I begin to settle in again on the east coast, and embrace winter, God is always at work, and He always has a plan. I just can’t wait to see what happens next, but until then I will continue to live.

Posted in Black women, Finding meaning, Goals, Hawaii, New York, random, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help, single girl, Turning 30, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The next chapter: Life changes quick, so here it goes again

Posted by Jenni C. on October 7, 2013

I am feeling the need to re-introduce myself right now. The last time that I actually posted a blog was in May! For real! I am feeling a bit disillusioned right now. Wondering where have I been for the last 4 months. In some strange way I feel like I just woke up from a super intense nap. I want to say that I have really been living on an island with no power, no way to access the internet , and no connection to the outside world. Perhaps you will see me as a contestant on the next season of Naked and Afraid or Survivor. No, in reality I have just been in a writing coma. 

I looked at the date of my final article before my blogging sabbatical. I always say life changes quick, you just have to be ready for the changes. Since May, boy has life changed. Let me take you back a few months, then we will quickly jump into my ever changing present.

A few days after I posted my last blog, my apartment flooded. Seriously there was an actual flood in my apartment. Lucky for me my computer was not damaged, but I really wasn’t inspired to write much after that either. The floors were destroyed, holes drilled into the walls, closet doors taken down, the majority of my clothes…ruined. Bad, bad times. In true to form Jenni C. style, I did my best to stay positive, however I still was not inspired to write.

My apartment took 3 months to finally fix. What I learned, in Hawaii things actually do take a long time to complete. And quickly a true understanding of the saying “patience is a virtue” was developed.

In the month of July summer was in full swing. Then life changed again. I received a call for a job interview in Washington D.C., a real job on the other side of the country. Suddenly my array of racing thoughts went into complete hyper drive. Was it time to for my island adventure to come to an end? Or, did I have a little more island life inside of me?

Here is what happened: In July I had two phone interviews. Luckily it was over the phone, saving me the trouble of having to fly to the other side of the world, and buying a stuffy interview suit along with that overly expensive plane ticket. Life continued. I nailed the interviews, got the job. Next, I accepted the offer. By August it was official, my island adventure was coming to an end. I was moving back to the mainland. 

After spending over 4 years in Hawaii, I knew that one day I would leave. Yet, I never, ever imagined how hard it would be actually leave. So I couldn’t write. I was in mourning during the month of August. Yes, I know writing may have been therapeutic, but it would have also bought my Hawaiian departure into reality. I spent a month in denial, well a little over a month. I actually left Hawaii on September 4th 2013.  

My life on the rock in the middle of the pacific : February 6, 2009-September 4, 2013

So here we are in October. In a way I am still in mourning, missing my life in the pacific, but also embracing my new life on the mainland, back on the east coast, this time in the Washington D.C. area. Actually I am living in Virginia, working in DC, so to make it easy lets just say that I am now writing as a crazy, still single, awesome, talented, wise ass girl from NY, who moved to Honolulu when life sucked, but now lives in the DC area. DC sounds so much cooler than Virginia anyway.  

Wait but your blog is still jennicinpardaise? 

I know. I am still emotionally attached to my island in the middle of the pacific, and it hasn’t set in that the next time I return it will be for a temporary vacation. Please bear with me as I come to the realization that I know live back on the mainland. 

What will I write about?

Great question! Just promise to come back, I definitely have a whole new set of stories that will be more interesting than ever. 

So from New York, to Honolulu, to Washington D.C. the adventure continues. Life changes, it is unpredictable, happy, sad, and always full of something new. 

Can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Relocation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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