Sun, Beaches, Palm Trees, and….Tents

I am taking a step away from talking about myself. Lets focus on a more serious issue.

To the outside world  Hawaii is  a tropical paradise. From the beaches, to the pineapples, to the amazing ocean waves it is the land of beauty, warmth, ,life, and peace. Some consider it a promise land where they come to relax, escape the troubles of reality, get married, or have a once in a lifetime vacation.

However, to those who live here there is a harsh reality of truth, one that may go unnoticed by tourist at times, but is still deeply a very disturbing a sad fact. A reality that puts a dark cloud over the tropical promise land.  The reality of homelessness and poverty in Hawaii.

To those who have seen the entire island of Oahu (the island with the largest population), understand that it is not all clean, serene beaches and sunshine. Travel outside of Waikiki to certain areas of  Waipahu or Wainaine, and you may forget where you actually are. You may even forget that you are still in the U. S. To those who truly know the island, know the truth about the growing population of homeless individuals and families that encompass the island. As a friend described it once “Hawaii is like a third world country”. Sadly, some areas are so improvised that it can remind one of being in a country that is struggling for resources.

The growing homeless population is the untold detriment of the island. To see a state where “tent communities” are a form of suitable housing is not exactly the idealistic notion of the American Dream. However, it a normal way of living on the island. Hey I even had a quick second thought of living in a tent so I can save money on rent. Though it is possible due to the year long warm weather,  it truly is not an ideal lifestyle.  For families to live in tents on a beach,  sadly it is not a public issue. It can be common. Children grow up together in tent communities. The beaches are used to shower, and public bathrooms can be treated like their very own. Would this require CPS action in New York, of course! However in Hawaii, as long as the children are being taken care of sufficiently CPS involvement is not necessary. The positive side: families are able to stay together, and the family unit is not disrupted.

In the recent Governor elections the issue of what to do about the homeless population came up as a topic of debate. It amazed me that the responses were to turn on the sprinklers at the park, and make it uncomfortable for them as much as possible.  That does not offer a solution, just moves people to a new location. Perhaps further away from the tourist? Hide the problem not fix has become the unsaid motto of what to do about homelessness.

The truth is that it just boils down to money.  The state of Hawaii is already in a deficit, considering that they actually furloughed school days last year, I know money is a serious state problem. To build more affordable housing, shelters, or to create more jobs may be out of the question at the immediate time. But, to have such a beautiful island, a paradise, that caters more to the tourist than the actual people who have grew up on the land, and call it home makes paradise a true disappointment. A former homeless man described his experience as this: ” I was waking up each day in paradise, but I felt like I was living each day in hell”.

Advertisements

Hawaii- The state where a Gym Membership is not needed!

The best part to living in Hawaii…Not needing to have a gym membership! No matter the day or time you can always find a way to do a free workout. It is either right in front of your face, or you can create your very own. So for those people who love to workout, but there is no gym budget, In Hawaii you can stay fit and keep money in your pocket at the same time.

I think Hawaii is the best state to workout in, you can workout year round and, avoid the hostile heat waves or frigid cold that may prevent you from wanting to go workout outside. In Hawaii no equipment is needed! Just you and your desire to stay in shape. The scenery is beautiful, serene, movie like. It is an experience that most people can only dream of. You can always run on the beach close to the ocean to add intensity, or take a run on the concrete.

The favorite is hiking up the human stair master otherwise known as Koko Head. Walking up those 1000+ stairs is sure to give you a good workout any day! Walking is never a problem if you are looking for a low-key workout, and if you are adventure go for a hike in the mountains with amazing postcard like views. Hiking is sure to give you a full body workout as you will feel each body part hurt the next day. Trust me I know.

If  you want to change up your routine and go for a swim, the ocean is always available. Paddling will give you a great back and tone up those arms, and surfing will force you to use every part of your body.

For the athlete in you, beach volleyball is always on whenever the sun is out. Try heading over to the beach just to play, with the spirit of Aloha of course they will let you play!

If you don’t like working out alone and are looking for that group motivation,  there are many beach boot camps around at low cost. Nothing like an intense beach workout to start or end your day!  On the island there is practically a group for every type of workout, and new ones pop up on a daily basis.  There is even FREE Yoga at sunrise! So do you need to be confined to the walls of a gym with the hard body types to get a good workout?  Nope! Just take a stroll outside.

What women can do for men: My very own personal ode to the Good Man

It is sometimes said that “A good man is hard to find”, so when a woman finds a good man, shouldn’t she want to show him and the world that he is a good man?

I recently wrote the blog titled “Chivalry is dead, and MEN killed it”, based on the notion that men have forgotten how to treat a woman while dating, and women have accepted the non nonchalant, sub par, dating behaviors. However, I must truly admit that not all men have killed the art of Chivalry, and the world does have some good men who deserve kindness, care, and the love of a good woman as the perfect addition to their lives.

When I hear women say that there are no good men anymore, I must slightly disagree with that comment. I know many good men, however in the past I have chosen not to date them. That is a fault of my own. While a good man will be right in front of me, I often chose to look to the left and go for the bad boy. With my own growth process, and maturity, I have realized that the bad boys I used to love so much will only leave me with tears, disappointment, and a broken heart that somedays feels like it is still in need of repair.Those good men that I know, are always there to pick up the pieces, watch me cry, and stay with me through the process of healing my heart. Why do they stay? Because the men who I speak of, that I know are good men, actually happen to be some of my closest friends. So when women say, “there are no good men left”, I just think about many of my male friends and say, Yes there still are good men. There are plenty, we just choose not to date them.



So this post is for the women. Women, we say we want a good man, but when we get him, what happens next? Do you know how to treat him? Do you know how to make him feel special? Do you know how to keep him as the most important man in your life?

The true benefit to me having so many male friends, who are ACTUALLY good men is that I am able to learn from them. I am able to hear what they want in a woman, and I am able to generalize some of those ideas into what I can do for a good man. So I decided to make a list of what I can do when I am finally able to get out of my own way, and accept that man who will not be the bad boy, but who will be a good man for me!

Women:

  • This first point should go without saying, everyone wants to feel special and feel appreciated. If you have a good man, he is thinking of a way to put you first, a way to make you smile, and he makes you feel like you are on a pedalstal every second of the day. So why not do the same for him? Make him feel special, show him that he is appreciated for who he is, give him what he actually likes (not what you think he may like, or what both of you like). Just make it be about him, actions speak loud, and if you take yourself out of the equation just for him, he will be sure to notice.
  • This next point I got from a friend of mine who is a truly awesome good man! And while talking to him I came to a simple yet powerful revelation: Try asking your man what you can do for him! You may be dating the good man who seems like he has life all figured out. He has stability, intellect, and a personality like you can never imagine. You may wonder, “Where do I fit in his life ?” or, “What can I do for him because it seems everything is always done ?”, Well JUST ASK! The words, “What can I do for YOU” can go a long way!
  • A good man will not just treat you like you are his number one, he will treat you as the ONLY one! So that means: Women act as if you are the only one, and trust your man! Leave the baggage of the past douche bag in the past, don’t be afraid to let go and love. Trust that he will take care of your heart every step of the way.
  • While the Independent Woman is nice, sometimes a man may also want the Traditional Woman. Honestly I struggle with this one myself. However, I am realizing that a strong man also wants a woman to act like a woman. Don’t be afraid to “Cater to your man” (as said by Destiny’s child). Cooking a nice meal for your man when he gets home from work or waking him up with breakfast, pampering him to make him feel better, and cleaning up the home are ways to show him that you appreciate all he does for you inside and outside of  the home. Make the home a home, so you both can enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day.
  • Attempt to take care of the small stuff, so he can focus on the big things! Men have huge egos! Good men want to feel like they are the protector, taking care of their family, and making sure that all the business is handeled. Women, we all want a happy man, who does not look like he is full of stress every second of the day. So chip in where you can! Take care of what you know you can do without his help. The small tasks inside or outside of the home, let him feel like he is free to handle anything else. With less worry both men and women can be happy!
  • Allow a man to be a man! Don’t be afraid to take the one down approach at times in your relationship.  This is something I personally learned from past relationships. I am a huge talker and love to enter my own opinion whenever I feel necessary. However, there are times when we as women  just need to be quiet and allow a man to figure out things on his own, or make his own mistakes without our input.
  • Give your man space and time with the boys. Nobody wants to be under the constant suffocation of their significant other 24/7,  that is just unhealthy. Allow your good man time with his friends, since he is a good man you don’t have to worry about his friends having a negative impact on him.
  • Allow your man to do things for you. No matter if he wants to cook you dinner (but really can’t boil water), open doors, buy you flowers, or take you out on a romantic date, allow him to show you how much he cares. Don’t blow him off, put your own friends first, or claim you are too tired for him. He is a good man, let his light shine bright in your life.

A good man will inspire you!  Accept his challenging opinions, his motivations for you to do better, and be open to his offers to help you with any aspect of your own life.  A good man will see the two of you as a team, so if he is happy and doing well, he wants to see you equally as happy and doing just as well as him. The good man will not be jealous of your accomplishments, but he will continue to motivate you into a wave of ultimate success. In return do the same for him. A good man has no time for jealousy or envy in a relationship.

  • Finally, Do Not use sex as s a punishment for your man when you are upset. Yeah, just don’t do that.

Perfection: A state with my very own NY-Hawaii mix

Lately I have found myself missing New York. I never ever thought I would  feel this way because when I left the chaos of the big city, I couldn’t escape the state fast enough. I was done, it was time to experience life at a different angle. But now I think I miss life as I knew it in New York. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not the feeling of wanting to permanently move back to New York.  The chances of me ever living in the city again are slim, yet the overall atmosphere of city life cannot be matched by living anywhere else.

I can’t figure out what it is exactly that I am yearning for at this point in time that is making me miss the city. Maybe its the summer NY air. A New York summer is always filled with good times. Block parties, loud music, and excessive drinking  during all hours of the night, what an experience! The humidity,  the extremely hot air, overcrowded subway stations, mounds of tourist, and walking for blocks while window shopping and enjoying the scenes of a good New York summer are consistently invading my mind. From open fire hydrants that kids play in, to waking up in the morning with a heat wave index of 100 degrees at sunrise, there is something that I am missing while I am Hawaii, and I know I just can’t get it here.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I love Hawaii, and I love the fact that a Hawaii summer is a year long event.  While the rest of the country is enduing a dramatic heat wave, In Hawaii there are always cool breezes and low humidity. It feels like a dream state with the most perfect weather.

There is nothing like waking up to the sun and warmth every day. Its great!  I have become the queen of tank tops and flip flops (slippas in Hawaii). I know some people like the four seasons, so for you I would say Hawaii is not the place to live. But since I am an all time hater of winter, it has become a perfect destination. Unfortunately for me I do not plan on living in Hawaii forever, and I must return to the the mainland. The mainland is reality. And I need to return to my reality.

Once I return to the Mainland, I feel I will yearn for my life in Hawaii, and miss that too!  The reasons why I love it so much cannot be compared to life on the mainland. I wish I could mesh my two worlds of Hawaii and New York. But alas, they are a world apart, with the entire continental United States in the middle, and an airplane ride that takes a whole day to reach either destination.

So with much thought here is what I find myself missing about New York City:

  • Free summer concerts in the park: I am an avid lover of Central Park Summer Stage, no matter who is performing, the experience is amazing and truly a NY must see! Prospect Park in Brooklyn has a summer full of Celebrate Brooklyn concerts, Flushing Meadows Park in Queens will have an occassional weekend celebration, and many of the other parks in Manhattan will truly have a great weekend event that will bring pleasure and delight for any age.
  • South Street Seaport: I just love the area, enough said!
  • Washington Square Park/Greenwhich Village: While attending NYU as a broke graduate student, I discovered the joys of the Village. I have walked this area many a time for hours just for my own entertainment. It is truly an NY gem. In the Village you never have to spend a lot of money, and you can have a great day! With street fairs, amazing food, and cool people you will defiantly be entertained.
  • Harlem: It has everything including Sylvia’s!
  • The hole in the wall fish place outside the west 145 st subway station. I would kill for some greasy fried fish, shrimp, and plantains all for 7 bucks!
  • West Indian food: Not that I eat it that much, but for some reason I have been craving oxtails with rice and peas.
  • Astoria: The cutest outside restaurants and Hooka bars! Summertime is a great time to just walk by a restaurant or stay for dinner while sitting outside to eat.
  • Rockefeller Center: Many a days I would walk over to Rockefeller Plaza, look down at the restaurant and  think about life. They also have free outdoor movies some nights.
  • A DELI: There are no corner deli’s with Boars head meat in Hawaii. Can you believe it? No corner deli’s at all! I want a grilled honey turkey sandwich!
  • Domincian Hairdressers: I really miss a getting my hair done for 40 bucks or less oh so nice!
  • The Subway: As much as I hate it, I miss it too. I have many memories of excitement and sadness that I have went through all on a subway ride.
  • Broadway: I love love love a good show!
  • Baseball games: Although I hate going to the games, its nice to have an option to see the Yankees or Mets play!
  • Lectures/Speakers: Hey I do have an intellectual mind! So I do miss hearing talks on a variety of topics and meeting professional scholars who speak on their area of expertise. With the many colleges in NY, there is always an event to attend.
  • Finally: PIZZA: Once I realized the Bronx had the best Pizza ever, I became a addict for life!

Then I realized once I leave the island I will miss so much about Hawaii,

What I will miss about my Hawaiian Paradise:        

  • The beaches, oh such a beautiful site
  • Morning workouts on the beach, running next to the ocean waves  is the best way to start off any day
  • The outdoor spin class in Waikiki: Imagine spinning while overlooking the surfers in the ocean along with the amazing evening sunset! Even though an outdoor spin class is hot, hot, hot, the view is well worth it.
  • The mountains, hiking is a surreal experience. Strenuous activity, but the reward of the views makes it worth every bit of the pain.  Try it, it will take you away from the everyday problems of the real world.
  • The Weather!! Yeah its just beautiful everyday, what else can you ask for
  • Shrimp at the North Shore, just delicious!
  • Giant waves at the North Shore, Oh do I wish I could surf
  • The entire North Shore, though it seems like a long drive from Honolulu, it is wonderful and Haleiwa is a great quiet little old town.
  • Surfers, gotta love them!
  • The Shaka! :Where else can one hand gesture stop people from getting upset, save you from getting your ass beat, and always say “hey everything is cool bruh”!
  • The macaroni salad, and white rice that comes with every meal! Trust me you get used to it after a while.
  • Poke, Ummmm just kidding, I still haven’t got used to the idea of eating raw fish! 🙂
  • All the other food, there is always just so much of it!
  • Waterfalls, though I always have the fear of getting leptospirosis from swimming in them, I just have to because a Hawaiian waterfall is 100 times better than a NYC public pool!
  • Sea turtles, Whales, Dolphins, and Sharks! You just have to develop a strong love for the water creatures
  • My job, truly awesome, from the program director, to my supervisor, to my coworkers, I could not ever dream about working with such a great group of people.
  • Finally I will miss the spirit of Aloha!!! No where else have I experienced such kindness, happy spirits, and a genoristy to help others. Thank you Hawaii for showing me that people can have a sense of genuine kindness and giving!

The quick and dirty east coast tour

After a year and two months of driving around in circles on the  island (because you can only go so far before you run out of actual land), I decided it was time to make a trip back to the east coast. Why not right? I figure a year is more than enough time for friends and family to miss the wonderful Jenni C 🙂 And I thought this would actually give me a chance to make a true comparison of NY and Hawaii, just in case I forgot anything about living in NY while on the island.

Now originally when I packed my bags and hopped on a plane a year ago, I didn’t think that life would change too much in a year. Heck when I was there life was the same every single day. I was in my very own version of groundhog day, except every once in a while the dialogs changed.  So what was I really going to miss? Apparently a whole lot! Another growing experience, life changes quick so hold on and be ready for sudden turns. Friends end up getting married and they don’t tell you, people have new babies and they don’t tell you, and people move to different states, they don’t tell you that either. Ummm…I didn’t die, I just moved to a different part of the world.  It’s funny how I did not realize that life happens at quick speeds while in the moment, because when I was in the middle of it all life seemed at its own permanent standstill.

Let me tell you the realizations that I did have on my limited edition east coast tour. And I do mean limited, because really who knows when I will be back that way. First I just have to say that New York City has wayyyyy too many people.  The locals say that the island of Oahu has too many people. Well they must have not been to NY.  I quickly remembered that there is no room to walk, and if you don’t walk at the speed racer pace of the city that doesn’t sleep, then yes, you are leaving yourself open to be trampled!

The city still smells the same, you know  that good old NY smell of hot piss and garbage, AHHHHH where else in the world can you get that smell. The subway, still dirty. Oh the  price to ride public transportation has increased, and the metrocard discounts are worse than ever. I will admit gladly that I was happy to drive in the city, and actually be allowed to honk my horn. On the island there is the widely known unwritten rule that no horn honking is allowed! I am very serious about that. Honk and you will quickly get  the stink eye, or cursed by a really big Samoan dude.  Have Aloha, be patient and wait. I think I went horn crazy in NY, and just honked for no reason, I cut people off, and didn’t even throw them the Shaka, like they would care I would just get the finger in return.

In NY I must say that I did enjoy myself. Maybe I kinda missed that fast paced, always on the go, if you sleep then you are wasting time hardcore mentality. I would see the look of work and money in the eyes of people racing through the streets, and running for trains. People are focused, determined, and will not rest until they are dead. There is no sense of relaxation, and work is a never ending concept that is an eternal flow through the body that is needed for survival. The hustle game is on, and it is truly the city where people are about getting that paper.

As as walked through Waikiki tonight, I came to the conclusion that I cannot compare NY and Hawaii. They do not fit into the same category of lifestyle. Lets say they are like apples and tomatoes. They both taste good, but you would have them at two completely different meals.

I like the relaxed pace of Hawaii. And the spirit of Aloha is something that comes in true form only in Hawaii. In Hawaii you can reach the epitome of happiness with the bare minimum. There will be  few competition for the hottest new jeans or sneakers. If you do see it, it will be between people who are from the mainland away. Locals are happy with just wearing slippers (flip flops), t-shirts, and shorts. No need to take out you Sunday best in Hawaii there is no where to wear it to! Men just need to have an Aloha shirt and they are all set for every event possible. Very few locals talk about getting paper, or whats the next big hustle. Life is great with just family, who cares if they live in a tent, at least they are together. It’s refreshing, its calm, and it works well for them.

When you are in a New York state of mind, well Jay-Z said it best, “the city never sleeps better slip them a ambien”. In NY money is being made at continuous speeds, and people are always trying to make more. If you sleep you may be missing out on the next big business opportunity (please excuse my slight over exaggeration, but not really). Now don’t get me wrong, both NY and Hawaii are equally expensive, these are not cheap cities to live in. But it is amazing to see lifestyle changes between the people of each city.  So if your into a slow (very slow) paced calm lifestyle, then Hawaii may work just fine. But if you are on your 24-7 focused driven, I gotta make it, and I gotta make it big, state of mind, the NY would be the right place for that!

Things I now know at 28, Just because I wasn’t paying attention at 27

MY BFF Dana and I on my 28th Birthday!!!

So I had a birthday! Last month, on March 19th to be exact I turned 28. Or as some people like to say…30 minus 2. Lets count it down!!!  But I’ll just say 28 for now.

It took me a while to really start to feel my brand spanking new age,  and say out loud that I am being pushed into becoming a year older, which is why it took me a month to post this blog.  Yes people I am 28! No longer can I claim ignorance as an excuse when I really just want to get wasted and pass out in some strange place. Nope I know better now, and I am not allowed to engage in my old college girl acts of random, crazy, fun!

Since turning 28 I don’t feel any different from when I was 27. But I feel a huge difference from age 18!  I now sit and watch CNN…OH NO!!! And I actually turn on Fox news, (as I wait for the day that that network will suddenly disappear),  just to see what nonsense, or new socialist theory Glenn Beck would like to rant on today. I am starting to think the Real World on MTV is not good television anymore, maybe because I am now too old to ever be a cast member. Actually, the only good show on MTV is 16 and pregnant. That is because I like to watch the unrealistic ways these girls think they can manage their lives and a newborn at the same time.  Now that is good television! Oh and the cast of the Jersey Shore will always be a bunch of idiots in my head. But I do wonder where they will be in 5 years…hmmm.

I understand that life means real responsibility, and every choice I make falls on me. No bail out for me! At 28 I have felt the joys and disappointment of love, and I still continue to move forward on the journey of learning more about love, life, career, and everything else that comes along with being 28 (Or the prepping phase for 30).

28,  in my late twenties, officially. The point where women start to get really anxious about being 30 and alone. No kids, No husband, Oh no, will I be myself forever!! No I don’t have those feelings just yet, I still feel great being just me, but I am clearly making a mental note to myself not to settle for a fool! I remember I am better than that, and settling will lead to eventual unhappiness.

So here is a brief list of things that I now know at 28, that maybe I didn’t want to accept at 27, but life is about reality right?

  • I will probably never hit the lotto to become rich quick
  • I will probably never marry a rich millionaire athlete or movie star (I think I am too old now, LOL)
  • A retirement account is a good thing to have
  • Being on reality TV is not exactly the best way to become famous
  • Bad days do not last forever, and a even greater day will be coming soon!
  • Love does not happen in a day
  • I will have to compromise in any relationship I am in
  • Men do like women who cook
  • Men like to be pampered as much as women do
  • Dating younger guys isn’t necessarily a bad thing
  • It is ok to date guys who have reached the age of 40 without thinking he is an old ass man, and the fact that he likes me is repulsive
  • It is perfectly fine to date outside of my race ( sorry black men, but can some of you please step your game up!)
  • If I want something in life, then I will have to work to get it (damn it!)
  • It is a great thing to budget your money
  • I can survive on my own
  • I will get married to an awesome guy, who will also be my best friend
  • I will never ever get back together with my ex because he is worse than a total jerk!  (hey that is really good to know!)

I am excited to see what life has in store for me at 28, the first month hasn’t been so bad, so in the next 11 months I will continue to move with the changes of life, and embrace the good, grow from the bad, and continue to learn how I can improve on just being a better me!