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 ‘New York’

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!

 

maui 2

Advertisements

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

Are we really ever prepared for life’s changes?

Posted by Jenni C. on March 9, 2012

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.

 

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Life, random, Relocation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Say hello to another Hawaiian winter

Posted by Jenni C. on December 21, 2011

Cover of "Winter is"

Cover of Winter is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

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

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

Posted by Jenni C. on December 12, 2011

Scene from Honolulu Marathon

Image by El Hombre via Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

English: Marathon de New-York : Verrazano Bridge

Image via Wikipedia

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

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

The long road ahead

Posted by Jenni C. on July 31, 2011

 

Downtown New York

Image by sreevishnu via Flickr

In a few hours it will be back to Honolulu. Another long journey begins. I like to travel, but going from one side of the world to another sure does take up a lot of time. It takes a whole day, and a lot of time spent in the air.

 

I must say this was really a great vacation. Exactly what I needed to get back on track, get focused, and re energized. I feel like a new person! I feel happy and I don’t know why. Nothing has changed in my life, but I just feel that everything is going just fine, and I am preparing for a breakthrough! Exciting times ahead, I am ready.

I spent a lot of my time in NY with my mom. She sure is an expensive person to hang out with :-). I am realizing when you are an adult and have a job, your parents expect you to take care of them and pay for everything when you go out. Payback for when I was young I guess. Actually I don’t mind paying the money. I just know I will have to save a little better when I return to Honolulu. The time I spend with my mother is invaluable, a dollar amount cannot be placed on it. Moments are shared, and happy memories are made. It is always a good feeling for me when I see that she is actually having fun, can relax and take a break from a mundane routine.
Good times in New York. Another successful New York summer. Family, friends, good food, what more can I ask for. I have truly been blessed.

Downtown Honolulu, HI, view from Punch Bowl.

Image via Wikipedia

Now preparing for the cross-country adventure to Hawaii 😦

*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences

Posted in Hawaii, New York, Relocation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »