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

Posts Tagged ‘Moving’

Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Posted by Jenni C. on August 3, 2014

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.0171.jpg

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.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

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Posted in Friends, Goals, Hawaii, Life, Love, memories, men, Moving, Paradise, relationships, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help, single girl, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Posted by Jenni C. on January 5, 2014

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

Posted in Fears, Finding meaning, Friends, Goals, Hawaii, Life, Love, Relocation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

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 »

The next chapter: Life changes quick, so here it goes again

Posted by Jenni C. on October 7, 2013

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. 

Can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Relocation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My Much Overdue Dating Fast

Posted by Jenni C. on December 4, 2011

Quick life update:

For the first time in what seems like a very long time I am not actively dating anyone. Wow, feels weird. Well not really. I have achieved some mental clarity (took long enough). I had wanted to take a dating fast for some time now because I felt I was at a point where I was dating without purpose. What do I mean by that? Well I was just dating guys to just to go out fun. It was an activity that mainly filled up my nights and weekends. At first glance, I had a feeling that I wouldn’ t be completely interested in these men, because they did not measure up to someone who I would see myself with on a  long-term basis. At second glance,  they still did not seem that way either.

In came my dating fast. Why was it so difficult to take a dating fast? Well, because there are men everywhere. Chances are if you are single, then you will eventually come across a man to ask you out. When asked out  for dinner or a movie, I would say yes. That yes was on the hopes that I would get meaningful conversation, or a good laugh, but no it never turned out that way. Suddenly dating, just became a waste of precious time. The experience was more pain than pleasure.

Since my dating fast, my life is feeling more refreshed than ever. I feel surrounded by positive energy, and positive thoughts. I’m at a point of happy with purpose.

Accomplishment as a result of my dating fast:

  • I have lost 7-8 pounds. A quick decrease in movie popcorn, eating out at restaurants, and late night appetizers does wonders for your diet. I have also been able to stick to a regular workout routine, no interruptions, or over exhaustion.
  • I am all caught up on my work, most times I am even finished early. No minor distractions of text messages or phone calls to attend to
  • I no longer feel obligated to do things  like go out on dates, when I really don’t want to.
  • I have been able to spend more time with my friends, no thinking about ways to split hours in the day.
  • I am learning to incorporate a regular sleep pattern into my life. Who knew 8 hours of sleep could make a world of difference in the morning.
  • I have also been able to develop ideas that have been sitting in my head. I have time! This is great!
  • Finally, I have been able to think about and, admit to myself the qualities that I truly desire in a man. I have realized the type of man who I want in my life  and who I should share my time with. I no longer have to spend time, dating just to date. I can date just the men who truly have the potential to be more than just a first date.

 

 

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences

Posted in dating, Finding meaning, Love, men, relationships, Relocation, Self Discovery, single girl | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The non-office work life…why give that up

Posted by Jenni C. on October 16, 2011

I have been pondering my move back to the mainland. The problem: I live in Hawaii and I work from home! What an amazing deal I have set up for myself. I start to feel that any mainland job would be taking ten steps backward. An office is not my home, and cold winters cannot match the Hawaiian sun.  However, ultimately for me to move forward in my own self development, and transition to the next stage in life, I need to move back to the mainland. I have been looking for opportunities where I can still live on the mainland and work from home. Yeah, can’t find any. So not only does giving up the island mean transitioning back to mainland life, it means transitioning back to office life. A harsh reality I dread so very much.

Working from home does have it pros and cons. As great as it is, it also gets lonely sometimes. I am the only person around, I can go for hours without talking to another human being, and daytime television gets boring real quick. I enjoy watching The View, but if I watch Dr. Oz too much I begin to get afraid to eat anything, or leave my house because I may get an infection.

I live on an island of paradise, so working from home does have a lot of positives. I can go running by the beach in the morning year round without worrying about being on time for the office, I can do yoga while everyone is at work, I can go to the beach mid day and work with a front row view of the ocean. I can go to the office when I want for conversation and leave when I when I am tired of sitting in the office. Lunch breaks: as long as I want, at what ever time I choose. What is not to like about working from home! The weekend rush at Wal-Mart or the grocery store can be avoided, and when you see your co-workers you are just happy to see them to catch up. No office gossip, no office drama. A care free work environment.  How am I supposed to give that up?

As great as it is, working from home does have it downsides. It takes three times as long to finish a task that could be completed in a matter of minutes in an office environment. For fun I end up yelling at the commentators on Fox News, and watch CNN to catch up on the problems of the world. My refrigerator is always available. At home you will either gain weight by eating, or spend all day working out just because you can.  At home it is tempting to take a nap, your bed is right there! The work that I don’t finish during the day, I end up doing at night, and my work is always around. It is hard to take a break, temptations to check work email at night are a daily hassle. The lines between work life and home life become blurred.

I love my work in Hawaii, I wonder if I can get a similar deal on the mainland. In church today the Pastor spoke of your next  being better than your last. So, no matter how good this experience may seem in this moment, my next will an experience that is one beyond measure, better than I could ever imagine.

 

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences

Posted in Hawaii, Life, Relocation, work | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »