January has never been my favorite month, and today is a day that I wish I still lived in Hawaii. Yes, I still have those days where I very much miss Honolulu, and think maybe I should buy a one way ticket, get on a plane, and move back. East coat winter months are the hardest months to get through. The 30 degree temperatures, snow, ice, and frigid cold make me wonder, why did I move back east again? My insides are screaming for a beach! I need an outdoor run near an ocean in my life! I remember a period of my time living in Hawaii becoming spoiled that it was 80 degrees everyday, and since the sun was shining bright I never had an excuse to just stay home and sleep. Stupid me, look at me know missing those days. Ok I’m done ranting.
So even though this is my second winter back on the east coast I am still adjusting. I know I grew up in New York so I should be used to being cold, but let me tell you the truth, no I am not used to being cold. I live for activity, Hawaii gave me a love for the outdoors, my challenge now has become finding a way to take that love for the outdoors and translate it to east coast winter love for the outdoors. I run. Last winter I wasn’t able to run due to my broken leg incident. How do I run in the winter? I am looking for tips from all you winter active people out there. What kind of gear do you use to make winter running or hiking feasible? I need to go back to what I know, running, hiking, and an ocean. But since its not ocean weather yet, running and hiking will do for now.
Anyone know any really great east coast hiking trails? Please share the wealth of information about east coast outdoor activities. I feel like my next adventure should be a rock climbing adventure, but I will wait for warmer weather before hitting the rocks.
Until the weather warms up, I must continue to find my love for activity indoors. The positive side is that it is nice to go to a bikram yoga class and come outside to cool air instead of 80 degrees. And the more I go to bikram and cross fit, the more I realize that both my favorite workouts have somewhat of a cult like following. It’s ironic because as a person who is so unstructured in life, I find excitement in workouts that follow the most structured routine possible.
Every day is a challenge, but everyday is one step closer to something better. So east coast winter weather I am here to embrace your frigid air and snow storms, while running in the cold. My next challenge is to find the best winter outdoor active wear, any tips?
Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).
Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!
After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.
In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.
I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future. I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.
Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone. Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.
In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.
So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.
Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.
5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV! I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.
I am feeling the need to re-introduce myself right now. The last time that I actually posted a blog was in May! For real! I am feeling a bit disillusioned right now. Wondering where have I been for the last 4 months. In some strange way I feel like I just woke up from a super intense nap. I want to say that I have really been living on an island with no power, no way to access the internet , and no connection to the outside world. Perhaps you will see me as a contestant on the next season of Naked and Afraid or Survivor. No, in reality I have just been in a writing coma.
I looked at the date of my final article before my blogging sabbatical. I always say life changes quick, you just have to be ready for the changes. Since May, boy has life changed. Let me take you back a few months, then we will quickly jump into my ever changing present.
A few days after I posted my last blog, my apartment flooded. Seriously there was an actual flood in my apartment. Lucky for me my computer was not damaged, but I really wasn’t inspired to write much after that either. The floors were destroyed, holes drilled into the walls, closet doors taken down, the majority of my clothes…ruined. Bad, bad times. In true to form Jenni C. style, I did my best to stay positive, however I still was not inspired to write.
My apartment took 3 months to finally fix. What I learned, in Hawaii things actually do take a long time to complete. And quickly a true understanding of the saying “patience is a virtue” was developed.
In the month of July summer was in full swing. Then life changed again. I received a call for a job interview in Washington D.C., a real job on the other side of the country. Suddenly my array of racing thoughts went into complete hyper drive. Was it time to for my island adventure to come to an end? Or, did I have a little more island life inside of me?
Here is what happened: In July I had two phone interviews. Luckily it was over the phone, saving me the trouble of having to fly to the other side of the world, and buying a stuffy interview suit along with that overly expensive plane ticket. Life continued. I nailed the interviews, got the job. Next, I accepted the offer. By August it was official, my island adventure was coming to an end. I was moving back to the mainland.
After spending over 4 years in Hawaii, I knew that one day I would leave. Yet, I never, ever imagined how hard it would be actually leave. So I couldn’t write. I was in mourning during the month of August. Yes, I know writing may have been therapeutic, but it would have also bought my Hawaiian departure into reality. I spent a month in denial, well a little over a month. I actually left Hawaii on September 4th 2013.
My life on the rock in the middle of the pacific : February 6, 2009-September 4, 2013
So here we are in October. In a way I am still in mourning, missing my life in the pacific, but also embracing my new life on the mainland, back on the east coast, this time in the Washington D.C. area. Actually I am living in Virginia, working in DC, so to make it easy lets just say that I am now writing as a crazy, still single, awesome, talented, wise ass girl from NY, who moved to Honolulu when life sucked, but now lives in the DC area. DC sounds so much cooler than Virginia anyway.
Wait but your blog is still jennicinpardaise?
I know. I am still emotionally attached to my island in the middle of the pacific, and it hasn’t set in that the next time I return it will be for a temporary vacation. Please bear with me as I come to the realization that I know live back on the mainland.
What will I write about?
Great question! Just promise to come back, I definitely have a whole new set of stories that will be more interesting than ever.
So from New York, to Honolulu, to Washington D.C. the adventure continues. Life changes, it is unpredictable, happy, sad, and always full of something new.
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.
A few months ago (well like 2 to be exact) I decided to re-enter the world of online dating. I like to break up my dating patterns with periods of me not wanting to date so I forget why I hate it so much. Then I get bored and occasionally I get hungry. So I date, again. Since I feel like I am working 100 hours a week, and really hate the bar scene, I decided to hit up my computer to find me a future husband. Bring it on Match.com, I’m ready! What can say I love meeting men while sitting in my pajamas, with messy hair, no make up, and eating a bowl of cereal, life doesn’t get any better than that.
The outcome: well lets just say I went on a date. Now that is a different story for a completely different day.
However, recently Match.com has started having Stir events. Events where people on match can meet IN REAL LIFE, and you can pick who you want to date on the spot IN REAL LIFE! Sounds cool right? Uhhh hold that thought.
If you have a TV, I know you have seen the commercials for the Match events, and you probably even thought how cool it would be to attend one because they look life fun. Well I decided to go to one IN REAL LIFE, and umm fun is a nice word but I would like to say that AWKWARD is the more appropriate word for the whole Stir event.
Before I get into this story let me just give you a little caveat. To date in Honolulu is a different type of dating experience. Honolulu is small, so if you are single, you have probably seen many of the same single people at some type of event. A Match. com event is no different to the Meetup group for Honolulu singles. So if you want to save money join Meetup and socialize with other singles in Honolulu.
I will admit originally I thought going to this event was a great idea. Well it was actually held at a bar right across the street from my apartment building, so since I didn’t have to drive, even better! I figured why not just go to see who shows up, maybe I might meet my husband. Then I remembered that this is MY reality and my life doesn’t exactly work like that. So I went on the thought that I had nothing to lose, and since I was getting there an hour before it was over, one hour out of my life was not going to hurt, well at least not hurt too bad.
The Stir event was from 6-9 pm, I got there at 8. Really not my fault, had to work late, duty calls and clients need a good therapist. As I walked over I began to get nervous. Honestly as my elevator hit lobby and I walked outside of my building I began to think, “What the hell am I doing”, I wanted to run back upstairs, but I headed to the corner to proceed across the street.
As I stood at the stoplight I felt extra nervous, suddenly I realized that I was actually going to this alone. I then thought that I should have brought a friend along for moral support, or at least as a crutch so I would have someone to talk to. I began to feel scared. I kept walking towards the bar, still thinking “What the hell am I doing”. My mind was racing, well since my mind always races, it decided to race faster than ever. I had no idea what I was going to do or say, all I knew was that there was no turning back.
I walked up to the bar, met the bouncer, he was a very nice man. He asked me for my ID, and asked was I nervous. I lied and told him no. He wasn’t a dumb man, so he could read the look of nervousness and discomfort all over my face. I asked him how it was in there. For some reason I felt strangely comfortable talking to the bouncer at the door. He told me that it is like a seventh grade dance with boys on one side of the room and girls on the other. I hoped he was just joking, but a part of me did not really think he was joking. I laughed with him, then nervously went inside.
As I entered the room it appeared as your typical happy hour, but I knew it was like speed dating without the 8 minute time limit. I noticed people chatting, I guessed everyone already claimed who they were going to hook up with. I noticed some guys standing alone, and girls talking in groups. The bouncer was right, I was at a seventh grade dance expect everyone was either in their 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s.
I then headed to a comfortable space on the wall. Thank goodness for walls. Tempted to pull out my cell phone and act distracted, I then mentally slapped myself and refrained from using the cell phone distraction. I decided to be brave. No crutches of my friends, or my cellphone. Just be bare and let the magic happen. I wanted to run out of the there in a time that was faster than my walk over to the bar, and trust me it did not take me that long to walk to the bar. Instead of leaving, I figured I would make myself busy and got a drink. I got a sprite. I don’t even drink soda. I would have drank something with a lot of vodka, but I was on call for work. So sprite it was, and the sprite was flat.
I paid for my flat sprite, and headed back to my spot on the wall. Less than 30 seconds later, I got my first hit. Well a guy started talking to me. I noticed him awkwardly standing next to me. He decided to speak. He was a very, very tall, White man. 38, divorced, in the army, from Oklahoma. Ok, so not my type! But I am trying to be open-minded, I was at a Match.com event, so I engaged in a conversation. However, after his first question was, “so what do you do?”, I knew that this conversation was not going to last long. He spoke, I listened. He asked questions, I answered. He asked if I wanted to sit down on the couch in the back of the bar area, the area where the deeper conversation happens, I went. Hey, why not a conversation can’t hurt right?
We spoke some more, I felt like I wanted to cut my wrist. I started to figure how I could plot my escape as he talked about his divorce from his wife of two years, and how he should have been an officer in the army instead of going in as enlisted. I looked to my right, I saw three girls talking and laughing on the couch, they looked “happy hour” happy. In front me I noticed a girl and guy appearing to have a great conversation. He was talking, she was laughing, they looked comfortable, I wondered if they would get married. Then I came back to my own awkward situation with the bitter divorced man who wanted to move back to Oklahoma, thoughts of how I would get away raced through my head. He asked me if I ever watched “A Different World”, I chuckled as I said yes all the time when it was on. He then told me that I reminded me of Kim Resse from the show. I then thought, White men always say the strangest things to me. Maybe he was just nervous, but since I liked Kim, I didn’t think too much of it.
Finally I decided I was done with him, I wanted to see if there was anyone else to meet, so I told him I was going to walk around and got up to leave. He said no problem. I was free! I looked around the room again, 20 seconds later I bolted for the door! I was done. My 12 minute experience at the Match.com stir event was complete, I felt good, it was 4 minutes longer than a speed date. I went back outside.
The bouncer who I actually felt comfortable talking to was still outside. He asked me if I was done, I told him that I was going back home to sit on my couch. He laughed. I spent the next 35 minutes talking to him. He has never been on Match.com, is from Jersey City, NJ, and has been living in Hawaii since 2004. Of course I would go to a social happy hour to meet single men, and end up talking to the bouncer of the bar. But it was a good conversation, he was funny, and easy to talk to. No I didn’t get his number, but maybe I will see him around again.
Suddenly it was 9 pm the event was over. I was relieved that I had made it through. No dates, no numbers, no persons of interest, but I went. As I started to walk back home it started raining. Great no umbrella either. Now in the movies, girl walks home in the rain, cute guy comes out of nowhere with an umbrella and offers to walk her home. Next they start dating, and three months later they get married, have kids, live happily ever after. Oh wait my life is not a movie, it is my life, I ended up wet. Better luck next time.
There is really no preparation for life, you just live it and see what happens. Life happens quick. Change is constant. No one prepares you for change, but you always know it will come. How can you be ready? Lessons are learned in life as you go along. You make mistakes, you make more mistakes, you make bad choices, some days you make good choices, through it all you hope to keep living.
Looking back on the last few years of my life, I wonder how I got to this point. The point of today. Standing on my balcony in Honolulu, overlooking the mountains going toward the Pali. How did I get here? It feels like yesterday I was in New York, living on West 150th street in Harlem, taking the subway to work, feeling like life had no purpose. 3 years ago I would never have thought that I would be standing on a balcony living in Honolulu. Is this real?
Life happens quick. I have no idea what is going to happen next. Sometimes I wonder where I will be 3 years from today. I wonder if I will still be in Honolulu? I suddenly stop my mind to avoid getting wrapped up on the future, and changes in the future that may cause anxiety. I need to focus on living for today.
When life happens you change, other people change, everything changes. Change should be for the better right? Then why do some people change for the worse? I hope that today I am a better person than I was 3 years ago. I feel like I have grown for the better. 3 years ago I spent a lot of time being in love with someone who didn’t know how to love me. Over the past 3 years I have learned how to love myself. 3 years ago I found myself being afraid to just live, now all I want to do is live. 3 years ago I wondered if I would be able to survive in life alone, now I know that I cannot only strive when I am alone, but I am openly ready to accept the help from others. It is true I have grown.
Life will continue to happen quick. One day at a time, it will move faster than ever. But everyday I feel more prepared for what happens. Through the obstacles of past lessons learned, and with the challenges of future lessons to come, I will be forever prepared to keep living.