My journey to becoming Kama’aina!!!

So today I experienced the trials and tribulations of a Hawaiian government agency,  I took the big leap, made a huge step, and finally got myself, my very own Hawaii state ID card! Yes I am now officially a resident of the state of Hawaii and have ID to prove it. I am now Kama’aina (local) as they call it in Hawaii. Well not really because I am black girl living in Hawaii, and I look nothing like a Hawaiian anything, so I am pretty sure people know that I was not born and raised in Hawaii. Unless I grew up in a military family, or have a Hawaiian accent (which I really don’t,  barely have the New York accent), its not hard to tell that I am not a true local. But alas, now I do have proof that I am a resident, and most importantly I qualify for all the Kama’aina discount prices! In Hawaii there are two ways to save money, either you can be in the military (and  that is not happening because I have never been fond of Uncle Sam), or you can be an actual resident. Sorry tourists but the truth of the matter is that when you don’t live here and come to the island to visit, you spend a lot of money. The prices are raised for clubs, bars, and anything that’s fun so the locals can make more money. Too bad NY doesn’t give discounts to state residents, maybe I would have stayed there (no not really, just a passing thought).

Moving on, today was a big day (and a long one at that). I guess since I have ID to prove that I am a resident that means that I am gonna stick around for a while, ummm…lets just take it one day at a time for now. Now you notice that I said Hawaii state ID and not that I changed my driver’s license over to the state of Hawaii. Oh no I made a conscious decision not to do that, I am  holding on to my New York State driver license as long as possible. I feel it necessary to hold on to my original big city roots, and have evidence that I do come from the great state of NY (and that I can probably drive faster than any one else on this island who is not from NY!).

Let me take you on the journey through, my eventful day of obtaining a state ID. First of all you can’t just go to the DMV and go get an ID. I am used to that because in New York, the DMV is the one stop shop for any form of identification, but no, not in Hawaii, they have a whole separate office to get a state ID. To get to this government office that is only open from 8AM until 2 PM, I had to first drive my car into town (Honolulu).  Since my morning already started off wrong, I actually didn’t leave my house until 12 pm, leaving me only 2 hours to get to this office. Now you may think, OK 2 hours is plenty of time, yeah think again, not when driving into town or downtown Honolulu.  First I drive onto the H1  the highway that is closest to my house, and for some reason no matter what time of day it is, there always seems to be some form of traffic on this H1. Then when  I reach my exit to find this office building, knowing I have no idea where it is, just some map quest directions, and a wonderful HTC Touchpro phone with GPS (my ultimate Hawaii lifesaver! Highly recommended phones with navigational GPS apps), I begin my search for this building. Now let me get this straight, driving downtown to Honolulu in mid afternoon is NOTHING like driving through the midtown tunnel in Manhattan in the middle of the afternoon. The amount of traffic on a summer afternoon in Manhattan compared to Honolulu, makes downtown Honolulu look like an empty parking lot! So I will not sit here an complain about the many one way streets of Honolulu, and lanes that force you to turn down another one way street, and streets that will never end up making a full circle no matter how many left turns you take. Even though that is frustrating for a person that easily gets lost, I won’t complain, and hey remember I have my trusty phone-GPS system! So I finally reach the building that does the state ID’s for every person on the island of Oahu at about 1:30 Pm. Great, I have about a half hour to spare before this place closes. I am hoping that I can just go in and out, and be done without wasting the rest of my afternoon, yeah that was just wishful thinking.

As I arrive at the building, my first daunting task was to look for parking. Ok I will complain about this, as in midtown Manhattan or by any government building in NY, there is never any parking! Why is that? No parking, and meters that charge a quarter for every 10 seconds you leave your car. Our great government, when going to a government building, make sure you have lots of spare change!!! I finally find a parking space after driving around for what seemed like an eternity, and empty all my spare change into this meter. Obviously the amount of change I had on me was not enough because I still got a parking ticket!!!! Damn the Honolulu police, did they really have to give me a ticket? OK, OK, OK, I know I should have checked my meter more often, got more change, and avoided getting a ticket at all costs. But really I just wanted to get my ID and leave, how was I supposed to know that it was going to take 3 hours of precious time out of my life to get a state ID.  After I finally park my car and walk into the building, which I can’t pronounce the name but its called the Kekuanao’a building, I had a quick coherent flashback of being at the New York State DMV. Yup lots of people, and long lines, I guess that doesn’t change from state to state. Except these people didn’t look pissed off, and nobody was ready to tell off the person working behind the counter, no that’s not a NY myth, that’s a NY actual experience! They did have one police officer with a gun in the building, so maybe Hawaiians do become angry and out of control at the site of long lines.

I am not gonna lie, at this point I wanted to just leave, I have very little patience for lines. Now in Hawaii people are very friendly, and everything is done with Aloha.  The state of  Aloha is usually very welcoming, and charming however, I am starting to think that it is also take your time, and move incredibly slow! I know I am from NY and everything in NY moves quick, we like things done now and do it fast! We walk fast, talk fast, and New Yorkers are always in a rush. The thought of missing a train and waiting another 3-5 minutes on a platform for the next one is close to the equivalent of being tortured to a slow, painful, death. I know I have to get used to the Hawaiian state of mind which is slow, take your time, and no rush. But I am still a native New Yorker, so can we speed this Aloha thing up just a little bit. Maybe there can be a middle ground, not quite the NY speed race, but faster than the Hawaiian tortuous.

As I fill out my application and wait in the FIRST line for my documents to be reviewed, I just keep thinking this line is not moving at all, and thoughts of leaving keep entering my mind. The only thing that held me in this line was that I didn’t feel like making the trip back here to do it again. Finally the line move and I get closer to seeing the document woman. When I get closer to her desk another woman hands me a number, I think what is this number for, then I sadly, and painfully realize that this number is for my second leg of this race. Not only is there the document line, there is the real wait to actually get your ID, Ha! I think to myself, what have I gotten myself into. So she hands me number 94, I look up at the screen to see the number that is now being served and my heart suddenly hits the ground when I see 44. I check my number again to make sure that I had read it correctly the first time, maybe it really said 49 and not 94, but no it really said 94. OMG!!! I have to wait for 50 people to go before I finally get seen to have my picture taken for my ID. There goes those thoughts of leaving flying around my head again, just wanting to walk out, go to the beach and grab lunch. No again I talk myself into staying, I say I am going to do this, because there is NO WAY in the world am I coming back to do this again!!! I look over at all the people sitting on the benches waiting for their numbers to be called, I think to myself, wow I wonder how long they have been here? Some of them look like they have been sleeping here overnight! Then I realize why the office shuts down at 2 PM by the time they are done with everyone it has to be about 5 or 6 PM. I am not sure if that is Hawaii slowness, or not enough staff to meet the needs of the agency. But oh well, I finally have my documents reviewed and wait for my number to be called.

Nearly 2 hours later, finally they reach number 90, just 4 more people to go, then its my turn. I feel the excitement start to turn inside of me, as I realize its almost time for me to reclaim my life, and get out of this office!!! I start to think wow I can make plans for the rest of the day, what am i going to do next, my life will be mine again! My number is called, I hand in my documents, my picture is taken, and then once again I am back to sitting and waiting for my ID to be made up. Now the great thing about this whole process is that my ID is made and given to me right there. I don’t have to go back, and I don’t have to wait 3-4 weeks for it to come in the mail. I can start being local or Kama’aina right when I walk out the building. Kama’aina discounts here I come! The wait for my ID to be ready is approximately 10 minutes, not too bad since I have just spent the last 3 hours waiting, I’m sure I won’t die in the next 10 minutes. Finally the woman at the desk calls my name, hands me my new Hawaii state ID, and I head on out! Not a horrible experience. The staff were very friendly, and even though they had seen hundreds of  people during the day, they still managed to smile and have a tone of voice as though I was number 1. Now that is the difference that you don’t see in a New York State DMV, some of those workers act like they hate their jobs, and treat you like you told them they would be stuck in a miserable job at the DMV for the rest of their life. Even though the wait was long, and my day wasn’t perfect, it was nice be treated friendly as I finally became a Hawaii resident.

Now who wants to deal with my parking ticket???……..

The start of ME!!!!

OK so what in the world is this blog about and why should you waste your time reading it? Hey those are questions that I would ask myself about reading someone else’s blog, first is it interesting, and what in the world is so interesting about you that it should really be read. Not that I have a long boring drawn out story, I just feel like writing down the thoughts that are in my head, and sometimes they make me laugh, so I am here to add a little laughter, hope, and maybe even some wisdom to the life of others.

So who am I, I am a girl from the big city of NY who one day decided a change in life was needed. Not just any change, but a big change. A change that would redefine my life and everything in it. So what did I decide to do? I just packed up my clothes into 4 suitcases and got on a plane to where else, Hawaii!! OK I put a little more thought and planning into it than just taking a cab to the airport and kissing my lovely NY smog goodbye, but hey the end result was the same! I ended up on the island of Oahu as a single girl from NY, being over 6,000 miles away from anyone I know, and everything that was familiar to me. No friends, No family, kinda sorta had an apartment, but at least I had a job! That was always important, I wasn’t born rich! and even though my last name is Walton, be lieve me I have no relation to Sam and the Wal-Mart empire. So what does a single girl from NY do in what everyone calls paradise, where the sun is always shining, and the weather is a perfect 10 everyday? What else, Have Fun!! and along the way rediscover what is important in life! So nearly 6 months I have finally settled down and started to blog about this experience, my own personal growth, and other random nonsense that comes to my mind!!!!
Before I continue, I just want to say that a lot of people thought I was crazy (close friends, and family included) for deciding to move off the mainland to an island that is basically planted in the middle of the ocean. For the record I am not crazy, not running from life, and have not completely lost my mind. Now some people thought this is a great idea (boy do I like those people), because it is not easy to just leave everything that I know as life and change, but never once did I doubt that I would be just fine, and that I would not be afraid. Out of all my own fears in life I was never afraid of moving, I knew it would make me stronger, and prove to myself that I can survive, I am a surviver, and I needed to know that I could stand on my own and make. I am making it, although I am not yet where I want to be in life, I am on my way, I feel great, and I know the possibilites of what I can do are endless!!!
So stay with me on my journey, i will try to write often, I would promise daily but don’t want to be a liar, but 6 months into my new home, I am doing just fine! I owe all the thanks to God. God has been with me on this journey since before it has ever started, and will never leave, so I am confident in knowing that I will succeed. So no I didn’t come to Hawaii alone, Me and God are having an awesome time and riding out!!!!!

Sunny days are Great days!!!

Randomness 08-09 066Another day here on the island! As usual the sun is shining, and for going into the month of August the weather is not too bad. There is no overwhelming sticky humidity, like in NY, and I cannot see heat in front of me, so that is very good. Don’t get me wrong sometimes it can feel hot, but its OK because its more breezy, and I don’t feel like I am going to die from heat stroke. And the best part is that when I do get hot there is always an ocean nearby to go visit! The one thing I have learned here, is to never under estimate the power of the sun. I am realizing that sunshine in itself is like its very own anti depressant. With everyday sun, its seems like a reason to be happy, like things can be accomplished and there is no reason to sit around having a pity party. Ahhhh, those great pity parties we all know and love, I do not miss them one bit! I think I was the permanent hostess for the pity party, just sit around feeling sorry for yourself, and if your lucky you will get a couple of friends to join in so you don’t feel like a total loser. But alas, I have moved on (hopefully, still keeping my fingers crossed) and have begun traveling down a new road!

Enough of that, so I told you previously that I had a job here on this island, yes, yes, yes, I do work a normal (or somewhat normal) job. Even though I wonder, if I can just be a professional writer, hmmmm, lets put that on the list of future plans. But, for right now, in today’s depressing economy I have a job as a therapist. No not a physical therapist, or a massage therapist, a good old fashioned mental health therapist! Lovely line of work! No that was not sarcasm, its the truth it is a great line of work, that pays very crappy, but changes the lives of others!! Myself I work with families who have issues with their teens, which I find to be very funny at times. Mainly because what do I know about having teenagers, I am the single girl, who one day got tired of life and picked up and moved to someplace that would take anybody I know a whole day to actually reach! However, I have been told that I am am very good at what I do, and I really like working with my teen, now if only I could find a way to avoid their parents, hmmm, just a thought. I make home visits to my families here on the island, so I am the travelling therapist, its great, at least I know where I can find my clients (most of the time), and although with any job that I have ever had in life, I can complain about it forever, most importantly they give me a paycheck! So I will minimize my complaints (for now) and keep watching my bank account for my direct deposit! I am really grateful to my boss for allowing me to come to the island with a job, she never met me and hired me (that really does happen). So that’s mainly why I can sit here and write from the island, nice people in life can put you in a whole new place that you could never imagine.
As I work now as a family therapist, I keep feeling like there is so much more I should be doing and the biggest question that always comes to my mind is, am I reaching my highest potential? I have a feeling that there is so much more in me that is just bursting to come out. And when i say bursting, I really mean BURSTING to come out!!! I constantly have racing thoughts at night thinking about what I should be doing next, and how I can be doing more, feeling like sleep is a waste of precious time (maybe that’s a little bit too much, I do LOVE sleep). But just doing family therapy is no longer sufficient for making me who I am, the person that is forever growing. I have thoughts of being a writer, sometimes I feel like I would be a better writer than therapist, hence the blog thing, just a start. I am working on my first novel, look for it soon, hopefully in bookstores, and I would like to freelance, if only I knew how to break into that world. On the other hand, I like therapy and should be going on to get a Ph.D. so people can call me Doctor. Yes, Dr. Jennifer! Can’t wait for that day. A friend of mine nicely reminded me the other day that I can do both, I can be a Dr. and a writer, wow, that just made me tired thinking of it. But I am starting to realize that I want to do both, and maybe my deeper purpose in life is to do both. OK stay with me on that thought for today, because it may change tomorrow, when I return with a new careergoal. But for today I am Jennifer, the aspiring writer, and therapist, with dreams ofeventually being Jennifer Walton Ph.D. wow, that looks nice! As a therapist and writer I have no hopes of writing one of those boring psychology books though. My writing style is more like fiction novel, or real life based issues for magazines. I wouldn’t mind writing in Cosmo about the 10 hottest sex positions, or how to make you man get extra hot, that sounds like a fun job! Hey who wouldn’t want that job. But I promise no boring psychologybooks! Maybe a self-help book, just because it seems people actually buy those and keep stacks of them on their book shelves, I do need to make money here, remember working for non-profits the pay is crappy. So I will need people to actually buy what I write, and maybe make a few TV appearances.
So enough about me back to the island, if you are thinking about moving or visiting Hawaiilet me know! I can tell you what to do or how to make it here. I come from NY and they say if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. So moving to Hawaii wasn’t too much of a struggle, but if you come from lets say South Dakota, then maybe we need to talk about culture shock.
Today is a great day for some surfing, hiking, jet skiing, just drinking a mai tai. As is everyday which adds on to the wonderful experience. Don’t get me wrong, one day I will return to the mainland, where there are seasons, where the people work super extra hard, and stress and anger are everyday states of mind. But for today I think I will just live in the moment, and go back to discovering how to make my dreams come true!

From Start to…

So I have been living in Hawaii now for about 6 months, everyone asks if I have island fever yet. Nope no island fever over here, yet I can see why some people may have island fever, you can only drive so far, and see so much before you run out of land. Am I ready to return to NY? Nope not yet! Hawaii is so different from the mainland, it feels like an existence that you only dream about in movies, and one that you would never think of actually living in real life. I am a outdoors person, and hate the NY winters, so for me, right now in my life, Hawaii is perfect!!! Yesterday I had this overwhelming sense of feeling happy, I have no idea why I was feeling so happy, what was making my insides so excited, I was just happy. It felt unfair to be that happy, like so much is going on in the world, people are miserable and depressed, and here I am being happy. What gives me the right? and what was I so happy about? To be honest I have no idea, and remember I was telling you God was right by my side, well I feel God just gave me a big hug, and said hey kiddo I got you! God says don’t worry, I got this!

What does a single girl do here on this island? Well the usual works well, bars, clubs, parties, the beach has been my prime time meeting spot. People have been so nice here, always a friendly smile, ready to make conversation, and ready to meet someone new. OK don’t get me wrong, everyone is not like that, but I would say I have had a good experience, and feel like if I stay positive, then the negativity will not get to me.
I have to let you know over the past 6 months I haven’t done too much different than I would if I was still in NY. I would like to say that I have done a good job feeling out the place, knowing my way around, and most importantly getting reacquainted with Jennifer, hey that takes a lot of time. Living in a world of chaos, eternal stress, and worry, when do you really have time to get to know your own true self. Just try sitting in silence, and finding out what makes you, you. What defines you. Its a great experience and believe it or not the answer may change on a daily basis. I will take you through my first 6 months, my next 6 months, and hey the 6 months after that. I am on a never ending journey toexperience life, let it be good, bad, or just confusing, I am taking it all in, and in turn I am will become amazing!