Mele Kalilimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

That is Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Hawaiian!!  Although it never really feels like Christmas in Hawaii, and watching fireworks blast over the ocean is a surreal experience, the spirit of Aloha is alive and well to bring in the New Year!! So as I begin a new year in Hawaii, the land of eternal summers, I plan to stay positive, stay strong, keep believing in myself, and enjoy each day to the fullest. Life is short, Live it up!! Lets plan big things for 2011 🙂

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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 Tsunami that never happened! (Oh thank goodness)

Never before have I been in a Tsunami, and to tell you the truth I really don’t want to be in one. A large series of waves over taking dry land does not sound like a cool thing in my head. But I have learned when you live in Hawaii, there is a risk that you may be in a Tsunami. So everyone search for high ground, and prepare the emergency kit, because Tsunami’s are real, and there may be one coming for an island near you!

Ok let me be honest with you, before 2004 when the big Tsunami hit the south pacific, I had no idea what it was and the type of damage that it could actually cause. I had never even heard the word used before that time, but when it hit I was surely made aware that it is a seriously dangerous disaster that caused a huge number of deaths. Who knew that an earthquake could hit in one place, then a Tsunami is formed to add damage on to another. Well it real, and the threat of actually being in the middle of one quickly threw me back into a reality check, that I really do live on an island in the middle of the ocean, strictly surrounded by water.

When the 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile on Friday, the world had one natural disaster quickly followed by another. By early Saturday morning the tsunami alarms were sounding on the Hawaiian Islands. At about 2 am I got a frantic phone call and text message from a friend in NY asking me if I was alright. My thoughts were did something happen to my family in NY that I didn’t hear about, because I was fine, and trying to sleep! Then she told me about the tsunami warning in Hawaii, and wanted to make sure I was ok.  I just went to thinking, damn girl your crazy, of course I’m fine, and why are you waking me up at 2 am for this! I had no idea how serious the alert seemed to the outside world. Next came the loud blaring alarm starting from about 4 am in the morning. Remind you I have never been on tsunami alert before and had no idea what that annoying noise was. So my thoughts: “why don’t they stop making all that noise so I can get some sleep”. I had no idea news channels were broadcasting that an impeding natural disaster was on the way and the country was praying for Hawaii to be safe.

As the night went on more alarms, and to me, more annoying noise, nope I didn’t get up out of my bed to find out what it was. It was just noise disturbing my sleep. For a quick second I thought maybe it was a fire alarm, but figured I would hear people outside or someone would knock on my apartment door if we were in serious danger. Right? So I just attempted to sleep through the loud sirens that would wake sleeping giants. When morning came so did the phone calls. Friends on island telling me that we were on tsunami alert and to get to hight ground. Well I live on the 8th floor in a high-rise in the middle of the island, so I am safe right? That would have been one serious world ending wave to reach me, so what is all the panic about? Then messages from friends in NY asking if everything was ok, wow I didn’t know so many people cared about my well being. Well I guess it takes a near death experience to find out that people really do care about you. Sad? Yes.

I finally woke up from my bed when the sun was up, turned on the TV, and realized the island was in full on panic mode. On facebook, messages about this tsunami on the way to Hawaii. People sending out prayers for Chile and Hawaii. Wow this is serious! Food stores flooded with people. Gas stations running out of gas. Stock up on food, water, and toilet paper! Too bad I had a fully foodless house, and only a few bottles of 16 ounce water. By the time I had woke up to go to the store, yeah you know it was out water completely!! I have never seen shelves so empty in my life. I guess they were really preparing to be shut in for a few days.

Poor me I had no food, limited water, no batteries, and only two rolls of toilet paper. So they say Hawaii dodged the bullet. The major Tsunami never happened, no waves, we were left high and dry. Luckily, nothing happened. But maybe it was me who really dodged the bullet, it wasn’t until the threat of a natural disaster, that I realized, I am not at all prepared for one. So big Thank you’s go out to Mother Nature for looking out for me on this one! I am oh so glad that we had the Tsunami that never happened.

Oh yeah my gas tank was on empty too, so I would have really been shut in my apartment with no hope! 😦

In Hawaii they like and put a ring on it!

I have realized something about Hawaii that is not so apparent in NY or at least not in such high numbers. Girls in their mid 20’s and early 30’s are married! Yes they have husbands and kids to match. By the tender age of 23 a local girl may be married and have at least 1 but maybe 2 kids! Even girls who look like they are still in high school have rings on their fingers. Rings, rings, everywhere! And here I am the lonely girl from NY, approaching 30 with no ring. Is there something wrong with me? Heck No, at least I don’t think so. But to the older local women, I know it leaves them to wonder why?

When I go to the nail salon to get my nails done and my eyebrows waxed the little Asian lady who is always so very nice to me, asks me the same questions each time. Did you work today? and Are you married? My answers, yes and no respectively. Next comes, why you not married, you are so pretty, and getting older. I guess my job is no longer important at that point. Well it is good to know that I’m pretty, but I guess the closer you get to approaching 30 the less likely the chances you will get a man to marry you. Is that true? Maybe not, but on this island I am starting to think that is a truth.

Apparently the culture of marriage so different in Hawaii. In NY it is a social norm to be in your 20’s or 30’s and not married. It’s a time to have fun with your girls and talk about your dates. You have a job, your own money, and have the chance to develop into a strong independent woman.  You don’t feel like the single girl leper who is about to die alone. In NY you get the chance to play your own rendition of sex and the city with your girlfriends, with everyone having their own version of the infamous Mr. Big.  Conversation is enlightened by the bad dates you go on, and the cute guys you meet on the train. Not the cute thing your toddler did today and how your husband is driving you crazy.

I haven’t really been able to pinpoint why the girls in Hawaii get married so young but I guess it just goes with the environment and the culture. I have Hawaiian  friends who were married at 18, 19, or sometime in their early 20’s, and have really big kids to match. So here I am floating around in life like a nomad, and these girls have families to take care. Believe me I DO NOT want to switch places with them for a second. I know some girls who are divorced by 30, and have to take care of their kids, and do not have much of a social life. Leaves little time for fun. In NY women has a sense of independence, they set goals, dream about influential careers, and want to be the woman in control. In NY girls are more likely to follow a path of doing well in college and moving up the corporate ladder. They play with the big boys, and that focused drive leaves you to put marriage on the back burner. Woman of the big city are on a path to being at the head of the board room and set themselves up so they do not have to rely on a man. The rush to build a family, and have the man go to work while babies are made is not so apparent.

So what is it. Why do girls in Hawaii seem to live with their boyfriends and get married before they have had any chance for independence. Does that really work? I can’t speak on another person’s happiness because they seem happy to me. Maybe self exploration and independence is not as important for some people as it was for me. And if it works go with it! Having a long happy marriage is never a bad thing in life. It also seems to be a generational thing on the island also, parents are young, grandparents are also young. I guess that’s good so they can help you take care of your children. When looking at military wives some of them are also very young to.  And may I just add from the ones I met they seem to be just a bit unsure of themselves. Who can blame them, when you are 20 what do you really know about life, although you may think you know it all you really are just starting to build a sense of identity.

When I look back on myself and the relationships I was in when I was in my late teens and early 20’s , I am extremely happy and overjoyed that I did not get married at that age. Not because they were bad relationships, but because I was so not ready to be a wife. A marriage is a serious commitment, and if I could not understand what it means to be a wife, and for a man to be a husband then I know I would eventually not be happy. People change, good people grow, and learn from life, they learn together, they learn as individuals. They learn to have a sense of understanding, and continuous growth together that is necessary to make a good marriage. But first you need to know your self as an individual and love your independent self without your other half. This will lead you to better appreciate your half of the relationship, and give the most unconditional love to the other half of your relationship.

Before I learned to be independent on my own, and could stand alone, I admit, I would have been a horrible wife! I would have been defined solely as a man’s wife and not as a woman who is amazing and the perfect complement to her husband. My sense of identity would have been non existant because it would have never had a chance to fully develop on its own. And the worst part is I know that I would be left with the feeling of “what if”. So do I think as I approach 30 my chances of finding a husband will decrease, maybe. But that is only because I will be able to weed out the men with a strong sense of insecurity about having a woman who does not need him, but is willing to work with him. I will weed out the men who have fear the confidence and  success of a woman, and are challenged by a woman expressing valid opinions. I don’t mind though because, that will leave me with a man who is confident enough to be part of a team, who has an intellectual mind, and who can keep me on my toes because together our bond will be so strong that it will create a force that will not be matched.

Want to meet new people?

In case you ever wanted to move to a new place, on the other side of the world, but fear that you won’t know anyone and be all alone, here are some tips for you to meet people. No matter where you decide to live or visit in the world there are always people around. So there will always be someone for you to talk to and new friends to be made. Don’t be shy. People don’t know you, so they have no expectations of you. Everyday is a new chance to make a first impression all over again. So I advise you to take it and run with it. Bring out your inner extrovert and enjoy life with the people who are around you. I have learned that people come from so many different places in life, and with each new person brings a whole new experience!

I think the greatest website to get out and meet new people is meetup.com. Meet up groups are a great way to find activities that you like, and also meet people who like to do those same activities as you. In Hawaii there are so many different types of meet up groups. My personal favorites are the ones for hiking, fitness, and project singles. These groups give me the chance to see so much of the island and meet really cool people while doing it.

The island of Oahu is filled with so many exciting activities, so since I came here without knowing anyone, I had to find a way to meet people do explore the island with me. And it has truly been an amazing experience. I have been hiking on so many trails that I would never have the opportunity to see as a tourist. I have climbed to the top of summits that overlook entire sides of the island, and I must add that the view is spectacular.  Through meet up I have been able to find groups who work out on the beach, and beach body coaches who help me to continue to reach my fitness goals. Yup, I have to keep my body in shape since its summer year round

Project singles gives me a way to meet other single professionals as myself, and even if I am not attracted to any of the males in the group there is always a cool activity to have a good time at. Meet up groups are great for meeting like minded people, people who are open to culture, to experience, and they are filled with a wealth of knowledge. Many of the people I have met have traveled to many places in the world, and have done great things in their lives. So why not give it try, it never hurts to go out and make a new friend!

Taking a Time Out!!!

I am calling time out! …..Time out!

I feel the need to take a time out and rest on the bench. I don’t want to play. I just decided that I don’t want to play anymore. Playing “the game”, the dating game is a lot more work than I thought. I have never been good at games anyway. Not monopoly, spades, bingo, or uno. I have never been good at playing, and I seem to not win. So how did I get stuck in the middle of this dating game, when I never wanted to play in the first place!

As I progress in playing this game  I will honestly say I am not really good at it, but I do think that I have a pretty good team. I have a starting line up that keeps me busy, and individually each of my 5 starters know their position, as they each meet a different need for me. But even with a strong starting line up, I feel like I am missing that Kobe or Lebron who will just dominate the game. You know the franchise player who will take over, be able to play every position, and play it with confidence. He will never need rest, and will be honored to play the entire time without needing a sub to fill in.  Basically that one guy who meets my needs so well that I don’t have to look to fill the other 4 positions because he has them all on lock. He knows when to move, how to move, and where to go to make things happen. If I just had a Kobe or Lebron, I wouldn’t need players for the other positions, and would no longer need to look back for someone else to make a play.

I have the movie guy, the guy with the great conversation and intellectual stimulation, the one who makes me laugh, the one who likes adventure and outdoor activities, and the one who I can just sit home and chill with. Sounds great huh, but why can’t they all be encompassed into just one person. That one IT guy who makes me laugh, has great conversation, likes to watch movies, likes to sit home and relax, and also like to experience the outdoors and adventure. I know there has to be a man out there who has all of these qualities, and hopefully I can find him so I can retire from this game with a championship ring.

In addition to my rotational starting line up,  I would say that I have the best sixth man in the game. He would make Ben Gordon and Jason Terry jealous with his sixth man abilities.  My sixth man is always ready to come off the bench and fill in whenever one of my starters starts to act up. He would surely be the top candidate for the sixth man of the year award in the dating game (if there was one). He is down to play any position, always ready when I need him, and he doesn’t need time to warm up. On  someone’s else team he would truly be a starter, maybe even the MVP. He would be the Kobe of their team.  However, on my team I can only bring him off the bench, and no matter how good he is at playing his position, he will never reach the starting line up.

But even with a fully stacked team,  a strong rotation of players, I feel like I need a time out from this game. This team doesn’t seem to be working as well as it once did. It may be time to make some trades, and recruit  new free agents. Yet, that still takes work, a lot of work. It’s the starting over, the getting to know him, seeing where he is going to fit in. Will he be willing to play any position I put him at? But I will secretly be hoping that he is the Kobe that I am looking for, so I can cut the rest of the team from my roster. I have no problem making cuts for a star player. But it seems the stars are in rare form,  and I have to fill in the gaps somehow.

When I was in a long term relationship with my ex,  I would look at my  BFF Dana and be jealous of her single girl adventures. She always had a new story about a new guy. I would think “wow that must be fun”!! New men, new experiences, not having anyone to answer to, and being able to tell him to leave when he pisses you off. Yeah I thought that would be fun.

Now I know better. It’s not as fun as it looked from inside the window of a relationship.  As TO said about that girl on his show,  I am a “relationshipper”. I like relationships. I like commitments. I like seeing just one guy day after day. I want one person to be the movie guy, the dinner guy, and be there for everything else I need guy. Together the two of us can be a team. We are both the stars of each others team, and there will be no bench to look to when things get complicated. He will be the one I pass the ball to, and he passes it back to me. It works. We win together, we lose together, and we play the whole game together.

But until then, I think I’ll just take a twenty second time out!