Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Is Still 2008!!!

I'd just like to say that we are still three hours away from midnight; Hawaii is the second to last place in the world to welcome in the new year. It's kind of exciting, for some reason. Jeanie and I had big plans to party it up at Longhi's, but we hung out in Kihei for like four hours--bought some lamps at the thrift store and some awesome batiks from this guy in the Walmart parking lot--and it was only 7, so we gave up and came back to Paia, where we'll probably hang out at Jacques. At least we won't have to worry about a long drive back with a whole bunch of drunk drivers on the road.

I have a couple random things to say:

-I hate turning left in Maui. There are tons of two-lane highways with endless strings of traffic, which would be absolutely impossible to ever turn left on if people weren't such nice drivers and let you in.

-And actually, I've forgotten the two other things I was going to say; I just know there were two of them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Love Tropical Rain

I really do love tropical rain.... I have to remember how much infinitely better 65 degrees and rain is than -2o and snow. There has been this massive cloud over the entire island since Christmas, and it gets to me sometimes.

Today I am in an excellent mood. I'm sure I seem to bounce up and down quite a bit on the emotions scale, but nothing has affected me really badly on a deep level. And anyway, I embrace the good and the bad because the experience is so incredible. I still can't believe how normal it feels to live here. Maria said the culture shock sets in after six months for some people, so it could still be down the road.

Last night and today we have spent some good chunks of time just hanging out with people, and that makes a huge difference. I can't believe how blessed we are to have gotten connected with such awesome people (and I am not just saying that because I know some of them might read this). YWAM people are really interesting (blanket statement)--they seem to have a "type" of radical, free Christianity (if there is such a thing) Northwestern underplayed. And I know Jeanie and I will both really miss living in this house with Maria and Bryan and Kieva and Jacob (the roommate we never see and tend to forget about) and now Holly. I've never enjoyed a kid as much as I enjoy Kieva--he's hilarious and endlessly entertaining. Yesterday he told me, "You have a pretty..." (looking me up and down as I brushed my teeth) "...toothbrush." I'm just glad we're only moving two blocks away!

Jeanie and I also met this fascinating guy who's staying at the Lodge. We chatted with him as we waited for our laundry, and he told us about all the traveling he's done. He got into real estate after college and did really well for himself, so now he spends a few months in different parts of the world--he just got done with India, Kenya, and Tanzania, and now he's off to New Zealand after a month or so here. He's really into trying to get to know cultures and understanding corruption and poverty. Seriously, sometimes I feel like I'm in heaven in this community--there are so many global perspectives that I'm overwhelmed. I can hardly express how at home I feel, and how desperately I want people to want to know me as much as I want to know them (does that make any sense?).

My interview for the Grand Wailea spa shop today was very, very short. Other than that, I have no idea how it went. It'd be a good job because, though it's kind of far away, it's casual, so only a couple days a week based on my availability. We'll see...........

Monday, December 29, 2008

Giant Clown

Today was an interesting day. The most interesting part was when I ended up carrying half of a six-foot wooden clown from the car of someone I didn't know to a shop I had never heard of. Jeanie and I were on our way to a church in Pukalani to take a civil service test as a first step in a census-taking job. We got there early, so we stopped at this cool-looking furniture store, which ended up being an insanely huge, multiple-warehouse collection of billions of decorative things from celebrities and from Bali--everything from disembodied mannequin legs to a sarcophagus to a $20,000 table, everything stacked two deep and three high. We talked to the owner, and he roped us into helping him cart a huge, heavy clown from his car to add to his collection. Haha, it was crazy.

The census test went well. We both only missed one question, so that gives us a pretty good chance of being at the top of the list of applicants. Oh, I also have an interview at the Grand Wailea tomorrow for a sales associate at a spa store, so job prospects are looking up slightly.

But recently I've been sinking into my pre-counseling self.... Yesterday I felt anxious for the first time since getting here, that nervous agitated sensation. And I'm losing motivation to set up a life here--I just want it to go faster, and I feel like there's something wrong with me that I'm not making friends or being the kind of person I want to be. I'm learning that even when you go after a life you've always wanted and seem to catch hold of it, that doesn't mean you're not still on the outside, looking in.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm Not Trapped

It helps to remember that. I'm not stuck in one place, doing one thing--I'm free to do whatever I want, whether that's stay in Paia, move to Kihei, move back to Minnesota, head off and travel the world. At this point in my life, the options are endless, and there's no need to get trapped in something that makes me unhappy.

Haha, that sounds incredibly selfish, noncommital, and escapist. I'm not unhappy, by any means, I just like to know I have choices.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

:( or :) or :( or :)

We went over to #10 (actually, I think it might be #11) to clean it up a bit and get excited about living there, but instead we got a little grossed out and depressed. We're totally getting ripped off, we know.... No one would pay as much actual cash for the place as we're paying by work. Both of us go back and forth so often between feeling lucky that we have a job with some perks and feeling like we'd just like to get real jobs and keep living at Maria's. Anyway, our new place is a little terrifying--lots of spots, stains, leaks, cobwebs, holes, piles, dust, shadows, and droppings. Which actually make it kind of awesome, I think. When I'm not cringing away from the daddy-long-legs, I love that we get the opportunity to turn a piece of junk into a home. Obviously I'm having a bit of a "is the glass half full or half empty?" crisis.

Cockroach Update

J.D. is no longer the cockroach that lives in the bathroom; he is the cockroach that lives in our room. He flew on in here a little while ago, and no amount of rooting around under our beds has unearthed him. Right now I feel less like the girl that lived in Africa for 12 years and more like the girl who lived in Minnesota for 9 years.

By the way, ignore the times that show up with the posts. My computer has not kept time correctly since I got it, no matter how often I reset it. It's actually 10:10 right now, not 12 a.m.

Oh, and I added some more pics on facebook:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Time to Move Again

Today it rained and rained and rained.

There is a cockroach in the bathroom. We nicknamed him J.D., since we've been watching a lot of Scrubs. (J.D. is the main character. He's not easily compared to a cockroach, but we wanted to make the real cockroach seem friendly and cute.)

I think we have finally decided on the work trade place we're going to move into. We kept debating between a room in the six-bedroom (a bunch of male roommates, no parking, a big kitchen, internet, cable) and a little house right by the Lodge (noisy traffic, kinda dirty, leaks, no fridge, no oven, no internet, no T.V., no parking, but a nice bit of space for two people) and decided on the house--it's technically room #10 at the Lodge. They will put in a fridge and another bed for us, and we'll have to make due with a tiny stove-top burner thing and no oven. But it'll be our very own place, and we can take some ownership and make it look pretty, and use the internet on the patio at the Lodge. This work trade comes with some nice perks--free laundry, cleaning products, toilet paper, dishes, toaster, microwave, furniture, sheets and towels.... Not bad at all. And it's great when guests leave cool stuff behind. We've collected sugar, flour, tea, salt and pepper, magazines, several dollars in coins, sunscreen, beer, posters, a sweatshirt, chocolate-covered almonds, cereal, soap, and shampoo.

So anyway, we will move on Jan. 1. I will post pictures :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is a Tan

...and I got one. It was a really good day. Hm, "really good" is kind of an understatement. It was kind of the most perfect Christmas you could imagine (besides being away from family, of course). Jeanie and I went to Wailea late this morning and found a spot on the beach in front of the Grand. Holly was working at the Volcano Bar, and she hooked us up with free drinks, Dip 'n Dots, and nachos. Awesome! Then this guy, Joe, who bore a very pleasant resemblance to Eric Bana, befriended us. We played volleyball, and he got us wristbands to swim in the pool--we slid down the waterslides, swung off a rope into the pool, sat at a table at the bar IN the water, got pushed down the current of the fake river, stood under the waterfall, and sat in the hot tub. Joe was actually a fairly interesting guy--obviously a little spoiled and rich, since his family goes somewhere exotic for Christmas every year, but also adventurous. He has a goal of climbing to the highest peak of every state, and he's already gotten to 30 of them. Anyway, after parting ways with Joe (and his brother), we played more volleyball on the beach as the sun set, then wandered around a little bit more and watched some hula in the lobby. Now we're going to chill with some wine and movie, and I'm sure we will sleep well tonight :)

Oops, I forgot to finish writing about Christmas Eve. The candle light service was really cool, and there was a dessert buffet thing afterwards. Jeanie and I met up with Holly at Longhi's as she was getting off work and hung out there for a while. I'm finally able to stay up past 11 without getting tired. We came home around 12:30 and opened our few little presents by the light of the candles we took from the church service.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas! And what a strange Christmas it is--even back on the mainland with all that crazy snow!

Jeanie and I worked a bit this morning. Retha says she will pay us when we go above the hours we need for rent, so that's great. It was supposed to be a straight trade because Rick doesn't want to pay cash any more, but apparently they need us badly enough. I was imagining a lot of awkward confrontational conversations beginning with, "Um, we've already worked 20 hours more than we're supposed to this week."

Tonight we are planning to go to a candle-light service at Hope Chapel and then maybe meet up with Holly at Longhi's. And then open presents at midnight. I got a package from my parents the other day (and promptly got teary).

It's raining. It's sunny, too. No wonder there are so many rainbows here.

We were driving back from Kahului this afternoon with a Jeep in front of us, and I swear the girl sitting in the back seat was taking pictures of our car with her phone. She might have been capturing the mountains behind us, but I'd like to think she was like, "Woah, a real island car" and snapped one for her scrapbook.

Here is a picture because I miss Doogie and want to pretend he's here with me:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm writing less frequently because there is less to write about. Here are some highlights:

-It's hot and sunny and beautiful here. Yesterday the warmest city in the country was Kahului :)

-Jeanie and I went to this great beach way south of Kihei to play volleyball with some people from Hope Chapel. It was fun to play, though we are both very out of practice. I think we will go back again--they play every Sunday afternoon and then watch the sunset.

-We also went to Tommy Bahama's and ate fries and cheesecake and listened to some great acoustic guitar guy, then wandered around the Grand Wailea--which, being one of the most amazing hotels in the world, was pretty awesomely decorated for Christmas. There is a mini forest right in front, and every single tree was wound with lights. I think we might just go sit in the lobby on Christmas day :)

-I miss my parents and my dog A LOT right now. Maybe because it's almost Christmas. I'm not depressed or anything, but I can cry at the drop of a hat if I let myself.

-We filled up Haiku's gas tank and calculated the MPG to be 28. Not fantastic, but he is almost 20 years old, and we did take him on some crazy hills on the Hana drive.

-Jeanie's at the doctor again because her stupid itchy things won't go away. How frustrating :(

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gecko Poop

Probably my most surreal moment of the day (by that I mean a moment where I stepped out of myself and thought, what a strange life that girl lives) was shaking gecko poop out of a mosquito net in a tree house. It's one of the places Rick rents out (to people, that is. It's free for the bugs), and it gets a little dirty.

Housekeeping is kind of exhausting. I hope everything works out, that the six-bedroom we're moving into (because the place we wanted first doesn't have a ceiling, a fridge, a stove, or two beds) is OK, that we're not worked beyond what we're supposed to do to make rent, that Rick doesn't go bankrupt and sell all of his properties....

Last night we went to Hope Chapel, which has a contemporary service on Friday nights. It was nice to be at church again, and the service was fine.

Jeanie found out her chicken pox is not chicken pox. But they don't know what it is, so that's annoying. They're these little itchy boil type things that aren't going away.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Things to do, people to hang out with

Holly got here on Wednesday night (she's visiting for a month, staying at Maria and Bryan's), so that's pretty awesome to have someone else we know here. She and Maria have been friends for a long time and have all these stories of crazy things they've done, like travel around the whole country with only $200. Maria jokes that Holly has a horseshoe up her butt because she has incredible luck no matter how wreckless she is. :)

Yesterday was pretty normal.... Lazy start in the morning, then Jeanie had an interview at Mama's Fish House (they do this wonderful thing where they get your hopes up only to tell you they're actually not hiring right now, they just like to do interviews as people apply) and I went to the beach and got a teeny bit of a tan. In the afternoon we went to Kahului to apply for jobs. I applied to or left my contact info at Starbucks, Borders Express, Old Navy, Baskin Robbins, Jamba Juice, and a bridal shop, in addition to inquiring at a few other places. It's exhausting filling out those irritating applications. That brings the total jobs I've applied for to just under 20. I was trying to keep track of them all, but it's kind of impossible.

Then in the evening we went to a Christmas party/birthday party for Rick at Bamboo Gate. It was fun to do something social, even if we mostly just hung out with Sarah (who used to work for Retha and Rick) and Reynolds (her boyfriend; he lives across the street). We came back and played Scrabble with Holly and Maria--they are seriously pros at it.

Jeanie's at the doctor again because her pox haven't gone away, and I am going to start working, instead of going to the beach with Maria and Holly and Kieva and a bunch of Kieva's little friends :( Yes, I am actually bummed about missing a day with a ton of three year olds. It's just nice to have people to hang out with. Haha, I sound so sad. Pity me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Centipedes and Cliff-Jumping

Today was awesome! Besides being warned to check our beds for centipedes, that is.

We drove to Hana today, one of the most spectacular drives in the whole world, probably. Maria's husband Bryan gave us all the best tips on places to stop (as in the places off the beaten track), so we actually didn't stop until we got to Hana. We had lunch at Waianapanapa State Park, where there's a black sand beach and a lava cave. Then we went on to a spot in Haleakala National Park where they have these "Seven Sacred Pools," a bazillion waterfalls, and hiking trails. Bryan is really into cliff jumping, so he told us how to find the best pools; we found what we thought were them and basically chickened out. No one else was jumping, and the water levels are pretty high from all the rain, so it looked impossible. But we ended up going on a hike to a waterfall (the fall itself wasn't that great) through these FANTASTIC bamboo forests--the bamboo gets really thick so it blocks out all the light and all you can see are endless crisscrossing sticks, and it creaks and moans when it moves. It's totally surreal.

Then we drove all the way around the eastern coast of the island on these INSANE curvy one-lane cliff roads where there's a good chance you're going to die around every curve. Our car entitled us to drive like locals, so we rode the highway like a roller-coaster and all the pokey tourists pulled over to let us pass. I never thought it could be so much fun to drive. :) Don't worry, we were still safe.

The view was so incredible on the other side of Hana that I can hardly describe it! Imagine a dark green mountain sweeping out of the clouds into pale green pasture land, then off a rocky cliff (on which the road is precariously perched) into the ocean. Most parts are empty except for the occasional house hidden by banana trees. I took a couple pictures:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freaking Beautiful Island

Today was a good day. We worked a bit this morning (and had the joyous experience of cleaning a room while this young couple--the guy was SUPER cute, which made it more awkward--watched us and waited for us to be done), took a lunch break, and then drove to Lahaina and Kaanapali, a couple resort areas on the west shore. It's about a 45-minute drive from Paia along a GORGEOUS stretch of road that winds around between the ocean and the foothills of the mountains. We did some window shopping and ate a tasty meal at Bubba Gump, then drove back in the awesome thick darkness. I can't seem to convince myself that I actually live in such a beautiful place.

Hehe, Kieva (the 3-year old) is being pretty naughty. He has a girlfriend over and she somehow "lost" her shorts. And then he just said he "farteded." He's a constant source of entertainment. :)

Retha gave us tomorrow and Thursday off, so tomorrow we are driving to Hana, which is supposed to be one of the most amazing drives on the island, with tons of cool hikes and views and swimming spots. I'm getting so spoiled, I hope I can buckle down and work before I go broke!

Now the hard part begins

Our days are getting considerably less interesting. Yesterday we worked a few hours again (we're halfway to our deposit!), doing touch-ups at a couple of the long-term rentals. I can't wait for the awkward day when I walk in while someone is chilling in their house naked, or at the very best is clothed but sits and watches me clean everything.

We also tried in vain a second time to set up our PO box. It was VERY annoying; they need a formal rental agreement, which we (and half of Paia) didn't sign to rent a room. So we have to go buy a form at Office Max.

So anyway, I'm realizing everything we got done the first week was actually the easy part of moving to a new place. I was hoping somehow this wouldn't happen, but now that we don't have as much to do, it's getting lonely. People mostly just "hang out" here for fun, so unless you have a group to hang out with, you sit and twiddle your thumbs in the evening as you watch episodes of Scrubs. I miss my parents and my friends. It's hard to be motivated to go out and intentionally start new friendships. In fact, it sucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

End of Week One!

Wow, what a lot of things we've accomplished this first week:

-Car insurance
-Place to live
-Half a job
-Job applications
-A couple almost friends
-Navigation of the island
-Bank accounts

Now we just need

-Another job
-Fuller exploration of the island
-A P.O. box

Yesterday wasn't that exciting. We returned the rental car, hung out at a beach in Kihei, went to Costco, found a new beach in Paia where we played some volleyball, and worked for a couple hours. I went to Mana, the organic grocery store, to pick up some pasta sauce, and I returned a shopping cart for Maria--for some reason I was highly amused by pushing a cart down the two or three blocks to the store, as if I was shopping the streets of Paia. I was proud that all the tourists gave me weird looks.

I figured out what's wrong with my computer. It has two fans, maybe an intake and an output one, and one of them doesn't run very often. Sometimes when I blow into the vent, a bunch of dust flies out at me. So hopefully all it needs is a good cleaning, and hopefully that's not expensive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Uneventful Day

I canceled my interview at Maui Dive Shop. It's not even that I'd mind terribly doing an interview--I've gotten fairly good at them--but I felt that it'd be unfair to waste their time since I know for sure I wouldn't take the job, and I also don't feel like finding out how awesome it is and what I'm missing out on. So that's that.

I've applied for bunches of jobs, all totally random, anything from a cook at a gas station to a website/product reviewer to an administrative assistant. I also put up an ad on Craigslist for an editing/proofreading service and will probably be proofreading this lady's self-published memoir in January. It's kind of fun to scrounge around for ways to make money. If I can pull together $400 a month, I should be fine.

Today we cleaned for most of the day. We started out at the Lodge and then went to Bamboo Gate, which was awesome! It's painstaking to clean, but it's so beautiful, in a "rustic" way. The main building is a four-bedroom plantation house, and then there are two studio rooms, a cottage, and a two-story treehouse (I know, right?!). Everything Rick owns is decorated really artistically, with lots of open spaces, hardwood floors, warm colors, antiques, and that cool weathered-looking paint.

We also went to the laundromat. It's a rip-off.

And that is actually all we did today.

Island Cars, Chicken Pox, and Granolas

Ahhhh. I am currently enjoying the peaceful sound of Jacque's and Charlie's battling bands down the street--which restaurant will outdo the other with their tuneless throbbing bass?

We got a lot of things done today, as usual. First, we cleaned our car (whom we've named Haiku, after the town where we got him)! Apparently he leaks, so during the tropical storm yesterday, the trunk got drenched inside--I'm totally not exaggerating--and the seats gained a nasty damp wet-dog smell in addition to their mustiness. We vaccuumed, scrubbed, made seat covers out of old sheets, bought an air freshener, opened the windows to air him out.... Even as a writer, I fail to have the words to describe the condition of this car. A couple indications: there was a bag of old food left under the passenger seat in addition to the hairy bread tossed on the back seat; most of the 83c we found was literally stuck to whatever surface it was on; it took an entire rag to clean the handles above the doors; when you sit on the seats, you get up with a stickiness on your pants that doesn't go away. And, of course, besides the important things like the engine and breaks, nothing works. No light, no way to unlock the driver's door from the outside, only two seatbelts in the back, no AC, almost no defrost. He's the perfect island car and we love him. When and where in the world would we get away with driving such a piece of crap? :)

Then we did some more cleaning, for Retha (in other words, we're working in Hawaii!), starting to pay off our $200 deposit. There are maybe 8 properties that she cleans, but we started out at the main one, "the lodge." Tomorrow she'll take us to "bamboo gate," where all the famous people who come here stay. She said the Wilson brothers (as in Owen, Luke, and Andrew) stay there. Apparently Owen Wilson is here a lot! It makes total sense, he would totally fit here. We tried to set up a p.o. box but discovered we need some kind of proof that we are living in Paia. Jeanie went to the doctor to ask about what she thought were bug bites but turned out to be chicken pox (yeah, they never tell you you can get it twice.... So I might, as well). We spent hours waiting for a prescription to be filled. On the plus side, we got to explore a new part of Maui by going to the clinic in Pukalani (I admit, I'm totally bragging when I toss these names around like I know something about this island), and it was spectacular! We took little windy roads up towards Haleakala, but unlike in Haiku, it's open enough that you get the most amazing view of the West Maui Mountains. Finally, tonight we called Geico and got car insurance, which was much easier and cheaper than we had expected. Insurance is really not that bad if you get the bare-bones stuff (which may or may not be more of a concience relief than an actual help).

Our "fun" thing of the day was joining in this little Paia celebration, where the stores stayed open late and served pupus (appetizers) and played live music and displayed art (there are probably 5-10 galleries within a quarter-mile radius). The goal was to get people to support local business. Hm, I should describe Paia a bit. It's tiny; it has two main streets: the Hana Highway, which cuts through it on its way between Kahului and Hana, and Baldwin Avenue. The two roads form a T, and within a very brief space, both are lined on both sides with boutiques, coffee shops, cafes, galleries, a laundromat, a post office, restaurants, surf shops, and an organic grocery store. It's populated by beach bums, hippies, wind surfers, small business owners, a good mix of international and American people who've given up conventional life. Everyone seems to know each other. I wish so bad people at home could come see it--it's so unbelievable that we're actually living here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Verdict: Paia

We've decided, we're going to do the work trade. We talked to the girl who's currently working for Retha, and she allayed all our concerns and said it was a nice, relaxed job. Since that would only cover rent, we'll still have to find part-time work, but we have enough in savings to make it at least until business picks up a little and places might be hiring. If I get the Maui Dive Shop job, I'll most likely turn it down. I know, right, I'm crazy. But I didn't come here to commit my life to a job, whether it seems like the most awesome one in the world or not. If I learned anything from Axel's, it's that jobs that force me to be someone I'm not and require tons of detailed training are not happy. It's funny, a large part of the reason I came here was to challenge myself, to suck it up, deal with the difficulties, and be a better person for it, but I'm quickly realizing that I could actually flourish and be happy instead. How pleasant.

And, as Jeanie said, this is probably our only ticket to stay in Paia. I really, really want to stay in Paia. We're going to set up a p.o. box today. It's awesome to put down roots! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 4

It's storming today, the second time this year. We couldn't sit inside and go crazy knowing we had so much to do, so we went out in it anyway. We spent a long time at Walmart, getting our oil changed and a tail light replaced, buying some stuff for the car, and setting up checking accounts at American Savings. We stopped at the Kahului mall to see if anyone was hiring and at Savers to get pillowcases and sheets to cover up the digsusting seats in the car. Then we had lunch at home and came over to Anthony's Coffee to use their wireless. It's nice to be in a coffee shop--feels so normal.

Maui Dive Shop called me today to come in for an interview on Sunday. The manager described the salesperson job in some detail because it requires a pretty major commitment and I'm sure they have to weed out a lot of transitory people. It would be full time, require lots of training, be on commission (yuck), and have the best perks imaginable: free (though somewhat limited, of course) access to everything--scuba, snorkeling, boats, helicopters, ziplines. I'd be insane to pass it up if I was offered the job, right? It's harder than you'd think to make a decision, though. I love Paia, and I'd be sad to move from an awesome funky hippie town where I actually know some people to the boring tourist area where I know no one. The commute from Paia to Kihei would be up to an hour every day, and shifts are random, some starting at 5 a.m. If we stayed here, it would be hard to work out transportation unless Jeanie and I got another car. Also, the work trade thing still appeals to me, though less than before. I hate making (extremely difficult) decisions. I have to let go of the notion that there is a "best" choice. Whatever choice is made is the best one, or else life is too full of regrets.

But still a huge part of me is dying to stay in Paia, do housekeeping, work in a coffee shop.... If only that was an option. If only it was a year earlier. Regret.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 3

I'm pretty discouraged right now.

First, apparently this is not only the worst economic year for Hawaii in like 11 years (which was to be expected), but it's also the worst three weeks of the year to apply for jobs. Basically no one is hiring. So I feel like a little bit of an idiot to prance on over here, buy a car, and plan to live for a year or two without even having a job. Everyone keeps telling us, oh if only you had come a year ago, every place was hiring new people every couple months. Great.

Also, my computer is having fan issues. It gets overheated super easily, and a warning finally popped up the last time I turned it on. I don't know what to do if it goes, because I depend on it so much, and I can't afford a new one right now.

Today was an OK day otherwise. We had some troubles in the morning because David, who sold us his (our!) car apparently didn't have a bank account (in the U.S.--he was from Argentina) and discovered he couldn't cash my check, so we had to go to an ATM and take out cash and meet him and exchange cash for the check. Annoying. I'm quickly getting attached to the car, who we've decided is a boy and we are about to name, even though he's still nasty filthy inside and out (no, REALLY. David left a bunch of crap in it, including a water filter, a loaf of very moldy bread, a backpack, some trash....), but I'm trying not to fall in love too much because he could die, after all.

In the late morning, we went to Kahului and registered our car (which went really smoothly--I've never been in and out of a DMV so fast). Then we went to Wailea and lay on the beach outside the fancy resorts for a couple hours, then applied for jobs at Tommy Bahama's, then headed back up here. We wandered around Paia a bit asking about jobs, but no one is hiring here. Argh, it really sucks, especially knowing we just happened to pick the worst possible time in all of history to come.

Our greatest success of the day was that we didn't get lost once in all our driving today. We are getting the hang of the island. Which is actually pretty depressing if we have to leave, jobless, after a month.

I updated my facebook album with a few Maui pics. Click below:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 2, part 2

OH MY WORD, we just bought a car. It's a '90 Toyota Camry, I think dark blue or black (it was dark outside) with some lovely silver patches where the paint is gone. We found it on Craigslist and called the guy, and he had to sell it TODAY, so we weren't going to even look at it, but he said he'd bring it over, and one of the YWAM guys across the street said he'd take a look at it, so after we checked it out and discovered everything was working just fine, we agreed to buy it because it was pretty darn cheap and we’ve been looking at a lot of cars, and then we went back to Haiku with the owner, up into the pitch black, eerie, forested foothills of Haiku, got the title, paid the $900, and found our way home (amazingly without getting lost).

I know many of you—especially my parents—are biting your fingernails at the naivety of two young girls on their own in Maui, but consider some things:

-This whole move is all about the adventure in the first place.
-If we don’t dive in, make mistakes, and learn the hard way, what’s life about?
-We had just as much chance of getting a crappy car even if we had paid more for it, with all the knowledge we have about buying cars.
-We apparently live across the street from a houseful of young guys who know a lot about fixing cars.
-If the car fails us, we will have each lost $450…. Quite a little handful, but not TOO bad. And there are tons of other cars for sale out there.
-We had a guy who’s good with cars tell us if it were him, he’d definitely go ahead and buy it.
-It’s common right now for people to be leaving the island TOMORROW and needing to sell their cars, so it’s not fishy or anything. Oh, plus, this guy started it at $1300 and had to cut it way down because he's leaving tomorrow, duh, so we at least know it's worth a little more.
-The guy we bought it from has a lot of experience buying and selling cars in Hawaii, and he wouldn’t have bought it for himself if he didn’t think it was good and he could resell it.
-We have a car. Period. Check.

We did other things today, too. We met with Retha in the morning and got more of an overview of the job, saw the potential rooms we could be living in. We also got a warning from other sources that past people who’ve worked for this guy who owns the condos have had serious issues with how things are run, so we’ll have to maybe talk to some housekeeping people who’ve quit. Then we went to Kihei and got some stuff at Safeway, and I filled out an application at the Maui Dive Shop. Then we drove to Haiku, which is up past Paia a few miles, and checked out another car, being sold by this kid who’s been on the island four months and is leaving because he was lonely and didn’t meet any chicks. I hope Jeanie and I make it longer than four months. He knew less about his car than we did, so we said no thanks. Then we made sandwiches and went to the beach (finally!). It was overcast today, but it was still amazing to sit by the ocean!

I’ve definitely had my waves of insanity today. This morning, after my little Kenya reminiscing, I had a rush of terror at all the things we’re trying to accomplish, and the thought of trying to make new friends (why, when I have so many at home?), and I was ready to pack up and head back to MN. Then I was like, what the heck, this is the first full day, I can’t listen to my crazy emotions, things will work out. I really can’t think about everything—it’s too much for a brain to take in. It's better to look back--I’m surprised and pleased by the massive amounts of things we’ve accomplished. Wow. And the number of people we’ve met without being like, “OK, we have to make friends now.” Interesting people. :)

Day Two

Woke up at 6 this morning to darkness. I lay in bed for an hour or so and listened to the dawn--rush-hour traffic on the one main road, the push and pull of the ocean, the tropical birds getting louder as the sun rose, people getting up and moving around the little compound (it's a private drive with probably eight or nine houses along it).... If I had just been placed here randomly and woke up having no idea where I was, I would guess Kenya (Nairobi, specifically, since it was cool enough to have a blanket pulled halfway up). Feels like home.

I will take pictures and post them, I promise.

Oh, I am supposed to talk about how warm it is and make you all jealous, or so multiple people have told me. It's pretty lovely, in the 70's and sunny. What a bizarre switch from the 0 degrees it was in Minneapolis.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day One!

We made it to 7:30 p.m. and will probably crash soon. I'm pretty proud of the progress we made today, though it's hardly anything compared to all the stuff we have yet to figure out in the next few weeks.

The flights were uneventful, on time, etc. My huge piece of news is that I'm 98.5% sure I saw Greg Grunberg (he's in Felicity, Alias, Heroes) in the Seattle airport. I got a good look at him, and yep, I'm almost positive it was him. Jeanie and I stalked him a little bit, and he disappeared around the time a flight to LA boarded the first-class passengers.

We arrived in Kahului around 1 p.m., and the shuttle from the Kihei car rental picked us up--this awesome Hawaiian dude and his awesome Hawaiian music. It was pretty much culture immersion. We got our car and found our way to Paia, where we will be staying for the next month and possibly longer. I was in love as soon as I saw the house--a classic island house, totally laid-back and very lived-in, close to the ocean, in the cutest town on Maui. Holly's friend Maria lives here with her husband and their kid Kivah (who is very possibly the most adorable child I've ever seen), and they rent out another room to this guy we just saw briefly. Jeanie and I got the house tour, then explored Paia a little. We got suddenly tired and overwhelmed, so we took a break before going back to Kahului to do some grocery shopping at Costco. Also tiring and overwhelming (high prices, huge quantities, tons of people). We managed to pull together a few measly meal options (I'm not proud to say we had Mac and Cheese from a box tonight) to last us a little while. We got lost on the highway a couple times, so that was fun.

Oh, we also met Retha, who is in charge of housekeeping for some condos in Paia, and talked to her about a work trade, where we get free rent if we do cleaning for a certain amount of hours each week. It sounds like we're in, and the place we'd be living is directly next to Maria's house, so that's convenient :) Currently all the rooms are being rented out to guys, so we'll see how that goes. I'm glad I've had a lot of practice going long chunks of time without privacy, because that's prepared me well for sharing life (and a bathroom) with at least five other people.

My emotional state varies. When we first landed on Maui, it suddenly hit me what we were getting ourselves into and how incredibly difficult it is to translate theoretical plans about work and life and friends into reality. There are a crazy, crazy amount of details tangled into a web we're just stepping into. Also, I'm finding myself very aware of who I am, similar to the way I felt in Kenya--a little white girl pretending not to be a tourist. I'm such a fraud. But still, overall, I'm optimistic, not panicked, feeling quite competent (hooray counseling) and grown up.

One day at a time....


We're in the Seattle airport right now. The airport was pretty deserted when we arrived at 11:30 p.m., so we found a cozy little spot behind one of the gate desks and tried to sleep for the last few hours.

Technology kind of amazes me. I'm formulating a love poem to technology.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This is it!

In five minutes, I will leave for the airport. Well, first my parents and I will meet up with Jeanie and her family at Champ's for dinner, and then we will be off to the airport in plenty of time for our 9-something p.m. flight and 20 hours of travel (woohoo!). I'm still going strong--still excited and stable (in addition to the expected nerves and sadness and out-of-it-ness), but I have the mother of all colds, so that sucks. My incredibly heavy and full carry-on is stocked with Ibuprofin, Sutafed, Vit. C, Zinc, and Multivitamins, so hopefully I'll be O.K.

Here I go!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'm going to give this a try....

Here is the link to my latest facebook album, the first of many to come, I hope. It is entitled "Transitions":

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Just got some awesome news from Holly. [OK, so Holly is the person who got me started thinking about Hawaii in the first place, months and months ago. She has lived on Maui for like 10 years but went back to school at Northwestern, where I met her and where she convinced me Hawaii is a great place to move to. She's been a terrific help in getting ideas, contacts, and advice.] She just let me know that 1. her friend has a room in Paia, this cute little windsurfing town, that Jeanie and I can rent for our first month, so that'll buy some time for us to look for another place closer to where we'll hopefully be working (and Holly will be staying there over Christmas, as well, so we'll know people!); and 2. we can borrow Holly's car from the 9th to the 17th (she usually rents it out but will let us use it until she gets there). It feels SO good to have something concrete waiting for us. :)
It has been a crazy last week or so. I’ve been getting together with a lot of friends, saying goodbye indefinitely to some that I’m used to seeing pretty much weekly, and doing a lot of packing, sorting, tossing. I have to admit, it feels strangely satisfying to be moving—to fit a neat selection of my life into two suitcases and jump into a new life, no strings attached.

Some of the week’s highlights:
-Having Christmas morning with Martha and Cassandra and opening their awesome home-made gifts. They are so incredibly craftsy.
-Seeing Twilight (I must be a sucker for teen books that are made into movies. Plus I have a celebrity crush--is that the right word?--on the girl who plays the main character—she’s in Into the Wild, too, and she’s fascinating. I kind of want to be her.)
-Watching a gorilla pick its nose and eat its boogers at Como Zoo with Senia
-Celebrating Thanksgiving one day and Christmas the next, “Up North” in “the cabin” at “the lake” (Minnesota sarcasm, sorry) with my parents
-Getting together with Holly one last time (!) to discuss a few last details for Maui
-Hot brandy egg nog and a fire in the fireplace

Somehow I’ve managed to stay positive and excited about leaving, rather than getting pessimistic and depressed and panicked like I was sure I would. It’s a miracle, really. I’m not in denial, either, because I’m experiencing a healthy dose of devastation at the thought of leaving my friends, my parents, my dog, the city I’ve grudgingly allowed myself to love.

I watched Into the Wild last night, and there was this quote I liked: “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences.” I’m not so sure that’s where the core of my spirit comes from, but there’s a lot of truth to the statement. At least I’d like to think so. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brand Spankin' New

It is a very strange thing to start an entirely new blog after being on xanga ( for four years. I feel like I need to change my writing style or at least write a stunning first post.... But that's not going to happen.

I switched from xanga because basically it sucks. I have high expectations for blogspot. Also, though this has nothing to do with why I switched, it is refreshing to be away from all my political ranting and raving posts. I've learned a lot about the power of blogs in dumping feelings and upsetting people.

And I'm going through a lot of transitions right now, getting ready to move to Maui in two weeks (from today!), so this is a natural time to be done with my college blog.

Oh, SAD! On xanga, you can post what you're currently reading/watching/listening to, and on here you can't. That makes me really unhappy.