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

Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

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.

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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 »

A small moment in time: Waking up in Honolulu

Posted by Jenni C. on January 8, 2013

I woke up today back in Honolulu, back from my holiday vacation. What in reality was only a two week long east coast getaway, or vacation if you look at it that way, seemed like a much longer period of time. I feel like time stops in Honolulu whenever I leave. When I come back, I hit play and pick up where I left off.

I woke up this morning back in Honolulu. It was raining, and a bit windy. Eventually the clouds semi cleared up, of course it is a nice day. Whether it is rainy, voggy, cloudy, or sunny, it is a nice day in Honolulu. I felt refreshed when I woke up, although it took me a minute to readjust because I still thought I was in my parents house, in my room, and in my bed in New York. How did I know I was in Honolulu, well I wasn’t freezing because my mom had turned down the heat before she went to work. I didn’t have layers of 5-6 sheets on top of me and under my very thick blanket. I slept in shorts and not sweatpants, I was excited to get out of bed because I knew I would not be freezing as I made my way to the shower, no fear of getting out of the shower due to the thought that the whole house was cold. I woke up this morning in Honolulu, and I felt blessed. As I wake up I say, “Thank you God”, not just because I am in Honolulu, but because I am alive, I am healthy, I am ready to face another day, except today that day is in Honolulu.

Yesterday, I woke up in New York, went to the airport, and got on the plane to return to Honolulu. Now, I love with a passion being able to travel back and forth from New York to Honolulu, however, the plane ride can get annoying at times. Yesterday it was annoying. A straight flight from New York to Honolulu will take from 10-11 hours, that is a very long time. This blog is titled, “Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day” because it literally takes a whole day to travel from NYC to Honolulu. When my plane left Honolulu it was 10 am est, I arrived at 6:15 pm pst, which is 11:15 pm est standard time. The whole day was spent in transit. I did not fly direct, well I sorta did. See I few on United, which does have a direct flight to Honolulu from NYC, I didn’t take that flight.  The first leg of my flight was from NYC to Dulles International Airport in D.C. (less than an hour of flight time), My next leg was from D.C. to Honolulu ( a little over 10 hours of flight time), sound fun? No I didn’t think so.

10 hours on a plane. At least there were some free movies, I stress free movies because there certainly was no free food. Shame on you United Airlines, how do you have a flight that is traveling for 10 hours and not serve free food. I was upset because my ticket did say that they served dinner, silly me to think that the dinner was free. Instead they had meals for purchase. That is the biggest hustle if I have ever seen a hustle. Smart for the airline, bad for the stupid passenger that pays 600 dollars for the plane ticket. Really I am up in the air for 10 hours, you know at some point hunger will set in and the only food on board is the overpriced snack box and your 10 dollar cheese burger. What ever happened to the days of having free meals on long flights, are times really that hard? No chips, no peanuts, well I guess I am lucky the beverages are still free, for now.

Traveling from NY to Honolulu will never be fun, well maybe when I am able to afford a first class ticket it may get a little bit better, at least I can eat worry free on the plane.  There is a small silver lining however, as the plane prepares to land in Honolulu the view from the top of the clouds in priceless. The serene look above the clouds makes you want to just lay on them, as the sun sets it feels like earth is face to face with Heaven, and God is saying,  “be still, I got this”. As the plane goes into the Honolulu  airport, a moment of calmness passes while flying on the pacific, it seems so close yet you hope that the plane does not get any closer to the ocean (not sure how many pilots have perfected that water landing yet). Life seems to stop for a moment while in the air, the noise and chaos of what happens on land is non existent. Above it all, life is good.

Then suddenly you remember why you hate flying.   From the long security lines, to the overly annoying TSA agent checking your bag, your body, and every crack in between, to the flights that are constantly oversold, flying is not fun, ever. But since the only way to get from NY to Honolulu is by air, then I must fly, and sometimes starve.

I woke up today in Honolulu, but I also miss east coast life. I miss the fast paced, overly driven world of the east coast. some days in Honolulu I feel slow, I feel like my drive is gone, motivation lacking. When I go east it all comes back, I am excited to get back on my grind. With that feeling, I feel my days in Honolulu slowly coming to an end. My story may be done here, it may be time to start a new book. Honolulu has a life, a spirit, that I don’t feel can be matched anywhere else, but I came to Honolulu to grow, and now I may have out grown Honolulu. I will always be that girl from the east, and each day I feel the east coast calling me back louder.

So as I wake up tomorrow in Honolulu, I will remember to cherish the day, enjoy the moment, and take in the Aloha spirit  because I know that one day I will longer be waking up in Honolulu.

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Say hello to another Hawaiian winter

Posted by Jenni C. on December 21, 2011

Cover of "Winter is"

Cover of Winter is

Today was the first day of winter. Well, it doesn’t really feel like winter in Hawaii, but it is a bit chilly. Yes chilly, to tell you the truth I am just cold.  There is daily fall like breezes (tradewinds), daily rain,  and for some reason it is cold and flu season. Really, I have had a cold (or the flu) for the past week. Apparently there is something going around, I wonder where it came from. To have a cold in Hawaii anytime of year is like getting a cold in New York during the middle of July. It is a bit unnatural.  I know colds come from germs, not from the weather itself, but it does suck to have a cold while the sun is shining, you are dressed in summer attire, and the ocean is calling for you to jump in.

I have tried to explain the concept of winter in Hawaii to my mainland friends. They don’t seem to understand. But I think I finally have an understanding of seasons in Hawaii. The season change is just a little less subtle than the mainland. No the weather does not get down to 30 degrees, but when it gets down to 70 degrees that is cold. I have “Hawaiian blood” now. I get yelled at by my friends on the east coast when I tell them that I drive at night with the heat on in my car. Unfortunately my apartment does not have heat, so to stay warm at home I put on a sweater.

Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels the effect of an Hawaiian winter, last week one of my co workers had on a turtleneck. I did not realize that locals owned turtlenecks in Hawaii.  I am disappointed that I left my winter wardrobe in New York, I could wear my turtlenecks and winter boots (ok maybe I wouldn’t go that far). However, it is nice to know that other people are cold, and I am not just a weird east coast girl who does not understand tropical weather.

My Hawaiian winter is rather interesting. I can still go to the beach in the winter. Hopefully I feel better soon so I can go into the ocean.  The sun goes down early, and the mornings are rather chilly. So even though there is beach time, it gets cut down in the winter.

There is no snow on Oahu. I miss snow. I want to wear a nice puffy coat, with  a sweater dress. Well, not really, but it was a cute outfit. I like that I don’t have to run to my car because it is freezing outside. I love that I don’t have to heat up my car before I drive it. It is so nice that my care is ready to drive all winter. No icy windows,  no sliding on the roads. Actually I think I am starting to like my Hawaiian winter more and more. Forget snow. Snow is cold, and messy, pretty to look at though.

I miss Rockefeller center. I miss the coldness of central park in the winter. It is something about the smell of winter in New York that truly makes it feel like winter. Nothing like watching your cold breath come out of your mouth, and shivering as you walk down the street.  Ice Skating in Hawaii is not the same. Who comes to Hawaii to ice skate? I guess I need to make a quick trip to New York to get my winter fix, then return to the island. I was never a fan of freezing cold weather, and now I

hate it even more. The beauty of winter is nice from afar, but to have daily sunshine and 70 degree weather makes Hawaii a nice place to actually spend winter.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Hawaii, Holidays, Life, Moving, New York, single girl, Weather | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

I’m ready to run a marathon! Well maybe one day I will be ready

Posted by Jenni C. on December 12, 2011

Scene from Honolulu Marathon

Image by El Hombre via Flickr

Yesterday was the Honolulu marathon. Did I run? Nope. Things I know about myself: long distance running is not for me, and I would not be too happy with marathon blisters on my feet. However, with all the pre marathon excitement and anticipation I almost had a small inkling of a desire to actually go for a 26.2 mile run. But yeah, that just did not happen.

When I was living in New York every first Sunday of November,  I would watch the New York City marathon on television and always think to myself, next year I am going to run in that marathon. It looks fun rather from afar. All the people, the crowds cheering, running through the city borough by borough. I would say to myself “oh what fun, I can’t wait to do that next year”.  Then the following day would come, and of course I would forget all about it.

When I lived in New York I wasn’t really a runner. It was cold outside for half the year, so I wouldn’t dare run outside, and getting on a treadmill excessively was a bore after a while. So needless to say, running was not a high priority activity for me.  Running an entire 26.2 in one day would be something that I would continue to only dream about.

Since I have been in Honolulu I have been running on a more consistent basis. Honestly, I have no excuse not to run. The weather is perfect, there are plenty of areas to go running, and everyone is doing it (as they say when in Rome, do as the Romans do). I have become actually pretty good at running, not great, but a far better runner than my New York self. I can run miles now, and when I completed the Great Aloha Run, I realized that I could actually run 8  full miles. Now if only I could add on 18.2 miles to that then I would be prepared to complete a marathon.

It amazes me that I am 29 and finally in the best athletic shape of my life, I wonder where all this energy to stay in shape was when I was 16. But oh well, better now than never. My hope is to be in even better shape at 30, and maybe next year the thought of doing a marathon in either New York or Honolulu can go from being a distant pipe dream to an actual reality! And why not, I already know that I have some athletic capability. If I keep going I will be able to have the endurance to go longer, stronger, harder, faster, and suddenly hit that 26.2 mile wall, which I must say will make my inner 16-year-old self very proud.

I am not the best runner. I get bored with running. I never get that runner’s high that so many people talk about. When I run I don’t stop because I am tired, or my legs are giving out, I stop because my mind has taken over and hit the territory of boredom.  How do I get over that? I know running is mostly mental, I need to keep my mind on track so I can go for that long distance run.

Any good ideas on how to get to the land of runner’s high so I could just zone out and run?

English: Marathon de New-York : Verrazano Bridge

Image via Wikipedia

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Fears, Hawaii, Marathon, New York, Running, self help | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Where were you on 9/11/01?

Posted by Jenni C. on September 11, 2011

Today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Do you remember where you were that day?

9/11/01 is a day no American will ever forget. A day that changed the lives of many, and changed the face of a nation. For a super power such as the United States, who would have thought that one moment in time would suddenly change our country. From our individual selves to how we operate as a people, we were never the same after that tragic day.

9/11 World Trade Center Flag 4

Image by NVinacco via Flickr

I will never forget where I was on 9/11/01. For a day that happened 10 years ago I still remember it as it were yesterday. I was junior at the University of Connecticut. Actually about 3 weeks into my junior year to be exact.  That morning I had an 8:00 am class. I had four back to back classes from morning to afternoon. As usual I didn’t want to wake up, and I felt that class started too early. But I woke up.

At 7:00 AM I woke up. Turned on the TV to the today show as usual while I got ready for class. I still remember the news from that day, well some of it. Michael Jordan was ready to return to basketball, and The Blueprint album by Jay-z was going to be released. It was a Tuesday. Another normal Tuesday, or so I thought.

It was hot that day. Not like a normal September east coast day. It still felt like summer. I arrived to my 8:00 am class on time, it was Sociology. At 8:46 am the first plan hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. I was still in class. At 9:03 am the second plane hits the south tower of the World Trade Center. I was still in class. My home city was under attack, I had no idea. No one knew the destruction and devastation that was taking place outside of the safety net of our classroom on a college campus.

At 9:59 am the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. By this time I was in my second class of the day Women’s Studies. I still had no idea what was going on in New York. How could I? There was no TV or radio on my walk from one class to the next. Surprisingly the class was full. No one mentioned a word of a terrorist attack on New York. Maybe they were unaware too of what was going on two and a half hours away from the safety of our college campus. At 10:28 am the north tower collapses. Thousands of people are dead, and New Yorker’s are in a true state of shock.

By the time I got to my third class which started at 11:00 am I still haven’t heard the news about what was going on in New York. On my stop to grab a cup of coffee I did overhear two students talking about a plane flying into the Pentagon. Since I only heard a slight bit of their conversation, I naturally assumed they were talking about a movie. Why would a plane be flying into the Pentagon in real life? Little did I know.

During my 11:00 am class of Animal Behavior the Professor did mention that coverage of this morning’s events would be on at the Student Union. I had no idea what he was talking about. He didn’t elaborate, just taught a normal lecture. I wished he had stopped to talk about how our country was under attack.

On my walk to my fourth and final class of the day, I noticed students crying all over campus. Students on the phone crying, lying on the grass crying, I was surrounded by tears. During my final class of Psychology, the Professor explained what had happened. He took a moment to talk about the terror attacks of the morning, the class reflected. It was hard. Unexpected. Not something I was ready for. But I finally knew what was happening in my city, I was living through terror.

New York, NY, September 28, 2001 -- Debris on ...

Image via Wikipedia

A few years later during my time as a graduate student at NYU, I lived a few blocks away from the World Trade Center Site. Lower Manhattan is naturally noisy, but living there after what had happened made the noise even louder. I would sometimes wake up in panic during the middle of the night while hearing fire trucks and police sirens. I would jump as if we were under attack. I was going through my own PTSD, one of memories.

Even though I wasn’t in New York on 9/11/01, I will never forget. I will always remember what the World Trade Center was before 9/11/01, and I will always remember how the city of New York came to together as one to stand up against evil after 9/11/01.

The World Trade Center in New York.

Image via Wikipedia

Posted in New York, random, Relocation, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

29 and counting….Part 1

Posted by Jenni C. on August 9, 2011

I once heard someone say what is the point of being 29 if all you do is think about turning 30. I agree!

Presently I am 7 months and 10 days away from my 30th birthday. I have decided to document my journey through the dark cloud that encompasses the last days of my twenties. This is Part 1.

I am starting to think that being 29 is probably the worst age ever. I used to think being 15 was bad. At 15 all the talk was about turning 16. I had envisioned my life magically changing at 16. It didn’t. It was the same. Same school, same friends, same life, same me.

Now, I think being 29 is worse. I know better since I am older. I know my life will not magically change on my 30th birthday. It will be the same life. Of course, I will be the same person. Yet, why does it feel so scary when I think about turning 30? I never imagined what my life would be like at 30, I always thought it was too far away to think about. Now it’s coming up, and coming up quick. Inside I want to just run away, but I have to face it in full force. Life at 30, no turning back.

When I first turned 29 it wasn’t so bad. Another year of life. I still felt like I was 22. Somedays I still think I am 22. But I’m not 22, I’m 29! When people ask me my age, I often forget that I am 29. I want to say 22 or 24 or 26, then it hits me, I am really 29. When the response is “wow, you don’t look 29!”,  implying that I must be much younger, unfortunately I am not flattered. I do feel that I have a youthful essence. However, I think I really must be old if the response sends someone into a state of shock. Though I know being 29 or 30 are not really “old” ages, these are ages that take on a lot of responsibility. Responsibilities that I don’t want some days. I can’t go socially embarrass myself in public, or on Facebook, or Twitter, and blame it on my young age. I can’t sleep all day and blow off work like they are classes in college. I hate to drink during the week because the hangover is miserable.  I have to think seriously about retirement, and have invested interest in the debt ceiling crisis, all because I realize that congressional decisions affect my livelihood. I am forced to be an adult every day I wake up. I am turning 30.

One of my best friend’s turned 30 a few weeks ago. In her true extroverted fashion she had a foam party. Why not? It’s fun and reminds us even at 30 we are still young. She asked me what we are going to do for my 30th birthday. My response, sit around and cry. I can’t help it, I am really not looking forward to this. Her response was, no I am not going to let that happen. And I know if she can help it, she won’t let me mope around with pity because I am a day older than I was the day before. I will have to take 30 like a true champion, with a smile.

At 29 I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis. I feel the need to kick start my life into gear before I turn 30. It’s time to step up to life. It is my go hard, or go home moment. I have questions for my life. I question my choices in dating, which dates I should go on, and which ones I should just outwardly reject.  I question my career frequently. Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life? What if I want to do something else? A career where I can allow my true self and talents to shine. How would I go about doing that? I have invested a lot of time and money into my current career. Am I allowed to just throw that all away out of indecisiveness and moments of boredom? Have I set myself up for a successful life, or is there much more I need to work on?

To be continued….

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