Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The last few days have been really good. I've said goodbye to almost everyone at church, spent some time with Uncle Kaleo (the pastor) and Auntie Shelly, hung out with a few friends and coworkers, closed my bank account and p.o. box, took the bus around a lot, wrote a bunch of letters.... Holly is visiting, so we got to talk to her for a while. She's freaking awesome. It feels like things have come full circle, since she was not only the one who got us started on Maui but was also here during our first month. I've been able to get good closure with the different groups I've been a part of over the past year.Last night there was a goodbye party at the Lodge with all our work-trade family. I really dislike parties, but this one was fun--comfortable, people we know well, and no one got (very) drunk. We got to meet our replacement, Courtney, and she's cool. It's kind of nice knowing who will be moving into our beloved little shack when we go.
Today Jeanie and I walked on the beach one last time with Luisa and Sarina, went to breakfast with a gift card from Rick, and spent a few hours cleaning our place thoroughly and packing. I have to say, I am a great packer. There aren't a lot of abilities I feel comfortable bragging about, but packing is one of them. I think because it's so symbolic of my personality and interests, I get excited about it and take pride in it :)
Mixed emotions. Excited, nostalgic, a little sad...nothing too dramatic, though. Maybe I'm getting better at transitioning. I can't believe I'm going to see my family and Isaac TOMORROW.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
-Sell car (When I feel like crying because we abandoned our beloved Haiku to a crazy lady from Alaska who's a terrible driver, I have to remember that cars don't have feelings and $800 is $800.)
-Quit both jobs (I had no idea last Wed. was my last day at Borders...our manager failed to even acknowledge that we were leaving except for taking us off the schedule a few days before we'd requested. It's comforting to know that everyone besides her will really, really miss us. We're two special gals ;)
-Submit one grad school app and my visa app (!!!!!!!!!)
-Take a full car load of stuff to various donation places
-One last hike and lunch with Isaac's parents
-Take Jeff and Retha out to dinner
-Go back to church (this past month has been rough because for me busyness + depression = purposeful isolation. I went to small group last night and it was SO encouraging to come away feeling like I can be sent off rather than simply escaping. I've been reflecting a lot on how much I have been blessed through relationships this past year, and I'm humbled to think that I've been able to bless others as well. The next five days will be extremely un-isolated as I spend as much time as I can with people...I know it will be hard and tiring, since a huge part of me still wants to hide away and rest, but in the long run, this will be the healthiest way to say goodbye to this period of my life.)
I thought that after I sent in my applications on Monday, things would be smooth sailing, but every morning I feel like I'm about to start running as soon as my feet touch the floor, and every night I'm exhausted but my mind is racing through a million more things I have to get done. I don't know why I always talk about boring things like stress. As if everyone else isn't stressed too.
I am giddy thinking of next Wednesday...even for the bittersweet feeling of leaving. Hopefully I'll shed a few tears. Tears that prove I'm leaving behind something that was special enough to miss.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So, things have been a little rough here.... Not terrible, and I'm finding a lot of things to be happy about, but in general it has been an incredible struggle to stay positive while going to work, investing in relationships with people here, and trying to keep my grad school applications/visa application/editing project going. It's a weird tension of feeling like I have too much time until I leave yet not nearly enough time to get everything done.
So I'll focus on the good things:
-Thanksgiving with Isaac's fam :) Lots of good food, new people to meet, lots of intimidation on my part, haha. I never realized just how small my family was. Jeanie and I also saw Up in the Air with Mary at Maui's one and only artsy theater. It was really good.
-Another Star Trek party, this time at our place. As if it's not bad enough to GO to a Star Trek party, we had to host one ourselves ;)
-Jeanie and I hiked in the crater on top of Haleakala. It was intense and fabulous. Four miles downhill and four miles back up the same way. No joke, everyone is right when they say it looks like the surface of the moon. No other way to describe it. I added pictures to my album (click on the link from the last entry with photos).
-I finished a draft of my paper, a draft of my admissions essay, and a draft of my teaching assistantship essay/application. Still a LOT to get done in the next week and a half (the deadline I set for myself to mail the application to UW.... EWU isn't due until Feb), but I've accomplished a heck of a lot and there's no giving up now.
A few bummers:
-Josh moved back to Oregon. When we saw him off at the airport, I realized that after a year here, Jeanie and I are actually quite alone. There was a time when it seemed like there was endless potential for deep friendships, but now so many people have left and so many things have happened that essentially we just have each other again (I mean, that's a little dramatic. We know a ton more people, but don't have any really close friends). Our time in Maui has come full circle. We'll get to see Josh in Portland, though. It'll be SWEET; Jeanie, Isaac, Josh, and I all there at the same time :) :) :)
-My favorite supervisor at Borders got fired. Because she didn't have enough Borders Rewards sign-ups. I encourage everyone to boycott Borders.... They're trying so hard to stay afloat that they're pressuring customers and firing employees who don't pressure customers enough. It would be better if they just went out of business. I'm a little bitter.
And finally, a poem. Because I feel bad about not blogging anything pretty about my time at the Cerizo's farm. I guess technically it's for Isaac, but you are all welcome to read it too:
Your Family's Farm
After a five-hour trek up
and down the irrigation ditch, after
fitting river rocks
into the dam, after hauling
shovels and dense bunches
of bananas back along
the narrow ridge, after
late lunch in the kitchen, we sit
in the front yard,
listening to Keola Beamer,
finishing off sweet coconut
cascaron. These are the voices
of your childhood,
not so unlike my own:
mother, uncles, family friends,
like rain in the palms.
You, in Seattle, are homesick,
and I, in your home, am too.
Night transforms the view.
Miles across the city,
across the harbor,
headlights on Haleakala Highway
resemble a trickle of lava
down the ancient volcano,
carrying, for anyone
who learns to see,
the earth's deepest memories.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday night we went to a Star Trek party hosted by Josh and Angela. I don't consider myself a Trekkie or a nerd (scratch that. I'm a nerd. But a grammar nerd, not a Star Trek nerd), but Jeanie and I have been watching episodes with Josh and have gotten pretty into it, even if it's still kind of a joke. There were several people there and we ate great food and watched three episodes.
That night Jeanie, Josh, and I slept over at the Pfleegor's and then spent the next day up at the family farm again! Got to meet some more of Isaac's kin, clean up the irrigation ditch again, eat amazing food, and relax outside as night fell. I'll try to write some more about it later, it was pretty cool. For now, here are pictures. They are mostly on the last two pages of the album:
OK, I really have to get to work. I AM making progress, SLOWLY.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This paper is super overwhelming, as if I didn't get that across in earlier entries. I think I have all the resources I need, finally (Isaac sent me some books from the Seattle library--he is so amazing!), now I am just working on reading through them all. It's also tedious trying to refine my thesis statement and outline. I can't decide whether to organize the paper by graphic novel, theme, or literary vs. artistic technique. My thesis right now is "Using various artistic and literary techniques within the unique graphic novel form, Persepolis and American Born Chinese express the search for and understanding of a bicultural identity." Points that are surfacing are stereotypes, pride vs. shame, audience, and then artistic stuff like color, framing, titles and names.... Obviously still pretty scattered. I'm sure this is WAY more than anyone wanted to know. Maybe I put it out there in the hopes that someone will latch on, write the paper, and then give me the rights to it for free. Sigh.
One thing the paper, plus all the other grad school application stuff (I keep forgetting this paper is entirely superfluous. I still have two entire applications to complete in addition to this essay, which is a massive undertaking anyway) does for me is make December 23 (my departure date) seem uncomfortably close. Which is nice when I am tempted to feel like it's unbearably far away.
I'm sorry to sound like I'm complaining all the time. I really want to be free to enjoy the next couple months, and at times I am nostalgic and sad to leave, excited to go to all my favorite places on the island while I still have the chance.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Fri, Oct. 23, 2009.
Half an hour at the Maui Community College library, and I’m already tempted to chuck my entire paper and grad school applications.
Imagine you have to write a 15-20 page essay in the next month. For the past year and a half, your brain has spent its time thinking about how to steam milk and scrub sinks, stressing about love, enjoying sunshine and new places, planning for transitions…not engaging in research or discussing literature or analyzing writing. Now, the drive for an academic challenge burns in you, but your hands are tied. Imagine that your only resources are two public libraries and one community college (in Hawaii, where the state of education is a source of shame) that have no computerized searching systems, in which three quarters of the books were printed before 1980, and one equally limited bookstore. You have no internet databases, no way to know if the books you need even exist, and the only places you can almost always get internet either close early or are outside, where mosquitoes will bite you 50 times before you’re done. You are searching yellowed books shelf by shelf (on the bright side, there are so few books on the shelves that it doesn’t take more than twenty minutes to figure out there’s nothing helpful). To top it off, this paper does not simply have to get a decent grade. It has to outdo 90% of the 299 other papers that UW will receive for admission to the creative writing program for fall 2010. It has to be perfect, technically and creatively.
It’s absolutely hilarious. If you were me, you would also be laughing about how ridiculous the experience is rather than allowing yourself to keep experiencing it.
I have to admit, though, it is pleasant to be on a college campus again, to see people furiously taking notes, staring dully at their laptops, carrying their backpacks past walls of art. Also, there’s something about libraries…any country, any state, any city, they’re a little piece of home, whatever that is.
I am never going to experience this again. This moment, in this blank air-conditioned quiet: blue sky and mountains out the window, my laptop alive under my fingers, the faint scent of clean, sunned skin. And that is worth more than any UW paper, than grad school itself. How long has it taken me to truly sit and enjoy now?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Jeanie and I spent most of Sunday with Mary. Every so often, the irrigation ditch at her family’s farm stops running smoothly, whether because of areas clogged by fallen trees or because the dam that channels the water is broken. Members of the family get called up to hike to “The Source,” cleaning up the ditch and fixing the dam if necessary. Mary was planning to go, and she invited me. It was pretty sweet…manual labor/farm chore, maybe, but a unique experience. Really, I can’t believe this life belongs to me. At times I get jealous of Isaac for the experiences and family he grew up with, but then I realize (in addition to remembering that I would never trade my own experiences and family for the world) that I get to share in it all through him. Cool, huh? Anyway, here’s the story of the adventure:
We drive a short distance from the Pfleegor’s home in Wailuku into a new posh residential area, through a gate, and onto a dirt road winding through macadamia nut fields. Half a dozen mismatched dogs and a massive pig named Penelope meet us at the farm house, where Mary takes us into the shower/old clothing storage room. I dig through bins and soon find myself swimming in a pair of men’s pants, a stained denim button-down shirt, two pairs of socks, and Isaac’s old shoes. Tuck the pants into the socks, spray bug repellent everywhere, and add gloves, a utility belt, and a machete, and I am ready.
Isaac’s cousin Angelo leads the way, with Jeanie, Mary, and me close behind. We walk into the jungle, following beside the narrow irrigation ditch, its water slower and shallower than usual. On one side, a steep drop-off and the river far below. On all sides, ferns, banana plants, palms, lilikoi, more trees I could never name. Eventually, the path is so overgrown that we plunge shin-deep into the ditch, digging out clogged leaves and cutting away branches and tangled plants with our machetes. Mosquitoes follow in swarms and find their way to the patches of skin untouched by repellent. Mary points out the edible plants, picks baby ferns, shows us a plant Hawaiians used to use as candles, keeps saying we’re almost there and not to hate her for bringing us along.
After a couple miles of sloshing, climbing, chopping, and threading, we reach the dam. A few rocks have been pushed aside by rain, and we pile them back up to block the river’s flow into the pool that fuels the irrigation channel. And then, back down, through the water, under the banana plants, along the muddy paths, finally surfacing onto the open dirt road.
Back at the farm house, Mary, Jeanie, and I strip off the wet clothes and shower in the long shower room. Huge, unscreened windows leave one wall open to the outside, where a brief vivid tangle of jungle quickly ascends to the looming West Maui Mountains, lush on this side. Mary, practiced from growing up with nine siblings in a family that knows and loves good food, literally throws together dinner for us and the other family members who are there. Into a wok go onions, olive oil, some greens collected on the trek, and tuna. The meal is completed with whatever else can be found in the kitchen: fresh pineapple, chicken, quinoa salad, and rice. Evening wraps purple shadows around the old wooden buildings and down courtyard steps, and I feel entirely inadequate to appreciate the beauty.
So that’s that. We watched a movie back at the Pfleegor’s house afterwards and I borrowed Isaac’s guitar so Jeanie and I can keep practicing. It’s been cool getting to know Isaac in a new way, through his family. I almost feel like he’s here.
Though the last couple of days have been really fun, I’m still struggling with feeling depressed. Don’t really know why, and trying to figure out why only makes me exhausted from overthinking. It is not cool.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Yesterday Jeanie and I both had the whole day off, so we celebrated my one-day-early-birthday by driving to Iao Valley (this beautiful, touristy place that I'd never been to in all of my ten months here), eating pastries at this little bakery, going to a couple beaches on the glorious sunny west side of the island, watching Where the Wild Things Are (super good and oddly sad/dark), eating out at Melting Pot (a surprise from Jeanie--SOOOOO good), and hanging out at Uncle Kaleo's house (he's the pastor of Ke Aha and his family is incredibly inviting--their house is open all the time and there are always people over there).
I spent today with Isaac's mom, Mary. I'd been wanting to hang out with his parents for a while, but it took me a long time to get the nerve up to contact them. Mary originally invited me to help out cleaning up a taro patch at her family farm, but we ended up doing some other errands with her Auntie Loretta. It was seriously such an awesome day, just going about normal life with a couple true Maui women--we went to a swap meet, ate at a Filipino market/restaurant, did some grocery shopping, and looked around Walmart for a while. It was so much fun being with these two adorable, sweet, funny Filipino ladies, hearing about their childhood memories and family, and even more meaningful knowing I was getting insight into Isaac's life. I think I can safely say this was one of the best birthdays ever, and it wasn't even a celebration of my birthday. :)
I've got a little bit of time to hang out at Borders, and then I'm going to a potluck. Should be good. I will need a break from all the socializing soon, though. ;)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Oct. 14, 2009. 5:15 p.m.
This day sucks. Not actually the day itself, or anything that has happened today, but just because I feel like it sucks.
I’m at Borders right now waiting to go to small group. We got wi fi in the store but it’s not working right now and I’m writing this in a Word document. I feel helpless without the internet, it’s kind of sad. At the table across from me, three men are discussing some kind of firefighting classes. “Eh, brah, what happens if the fire’s in this room and the smoke’s just banking, banking down?” one of them says.
I’m actually getting pretty depressed being in Maui. I am fighting to crawl through each day, particularly the work parts. I’m over the beauty, the sunshine, the interesting people. Adventure has turned into routine has turned into being stuck. I want to hide on some part of the island that only has internet, phone reception, Jeanie, some hikes and swimming spots, and tons of books. Two. more. months. and. nine. more. days.
On the plus side, at times I’m excited to write my 15-20 page UW paper. My thesis will be something like “The graphic novels Persepolis, Maus, American Born Chinese, and Palestine are examples of how the search for and understanding of cultural identity is expressed in a meaningful way through art.” It’s kind of a huge topic; there are lots of possible directions I could take it and I don’t want it to get too unfocused. I’ve started outlining and searching for resources, but it’s a challenge not having a decent library or college databases.The internet is working now.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It's raining on my laptop because I don't get internet at home and all the coffee shops are closed and I'm sitting on a patio with a leaky roof
-I'm in the process of applying to two grad schools, Eastern Washington University and University of Washington. I have two and a half months until the applications are due, and I feel totally overwhelmed at times. I've forgotten how to be academic. My favorite thing is that I have to submit a 15-20 page essay to UW, in addition to my poetry sample and my admissions essay (and of course application, reference letters, GRE scores, teaching assistantship application and essay). Unfortunately, I don't have a paper that long from college (I know, is there something wrong with that?), so I get to write one now. I got a few things done tonight, but there is so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so much more to do.
-I officially got accepted to teach in Thailand!! They want me there from Feb. 4 through May 18. I can't believe this life I'm living is actually mine. In a good way.
-I went to the Maui county fair with Jeanie, Jeffree, Josh, and Angela a couple weekends ago. It was fun. Much much smaller than the MN fair (to put it simply), but with the same feel--lots of crowds, food, and dumpsters. It was interesting to see seas of dark-haired heads rather than blonds.
-I've started walking on the beach every morning with Luisa, one of our Paia work trade friends. She's really different than me, which I enjoy a lot--40, used to live a glamorous NYC life as a makeup artist, a raw foodist, live-in boyfriend and 15-year-old daughter.... It's fascinating hearing her stories and perspective. I also greatly appreciate the motivation to get up a bit earlier and get some exercise in my favorite form--sun, beach, and a dip in the ocean at the end.
-Jeanie, Josh, and I went camping last night, met up with this guy Josh knows and a huge group of random people. It was a lot of fun. We did the campfire thing, walked on the beach in the dark, looked at stars through the screen of the tent as we fell asleep, swam, hiked, swam, drove, and swam again today.... It's so weird, though, most of the time I feel like something is missing because Isaac is not here, not with his friends, not doing back flips off rocks into the water, not joking or asking me challenging questions as we walk. I associate hiking and swimming with him so much now that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do either again without thinking about him.
-I started another facebook album for the LAST THREE MONTHS OF MAUI!! Here's the link:
Friday, October 2, 2009
Being in Maui, thousands of miles from most of the people I love, has made me realize how technology enables me to stay easily connected to anyone anywhere. Using Skype, I can talk with Martha in Amsterdam as clearly (and as cost-free) as if she was sitting next to me. I can video chat on gmail with Isaac and talk to him on the phone at the same time. I can email, IM, write on walls, read blogs, carry a phone in my pocket...and those are just the basics. Being part of this mobile generation doesn't make me less fascinated by it, how far we've come so fast, how much more accessible we've made the world. At the same time, I never want to get so caught up in new things that I lose the beauty of the "old." I want to keep the patience of waiting for a letter, the uncluttered silence of taking time away from cell phones or internet, the yellowed pages of my favorite book.
Monday, September 28, 2009
One Woman's Quest to Destroy a Life
1. It is 2:15 and I am still awake, discovering that coffee+being alone at night+missing Isaac+a rat shoving tupperware off the kitchen shelf=not a good night's sleep. I flip on my lamp, yank the curtain back, and chase the rat away. I have set a trap, but am almost relieved that the rat seems to be ignoring it, because without Jeanie around, I'm not excited to deal with blood and guts on my own.
2. It comes back.
3. I barricade the doorway, afraid it will slip under the curtain.
4. Around 4 a.m., I finally slip into a brief slumber, only to be waken less than an hour later by the definite sound of a trap springing closed, followed by the whimper and thrashing of a suffering rat.
5. Now I am tired, upset, scared, and a little sad.
6. I add to the barricade. After all, rats have been known to spend their dying minutes smearing blood all over our rugs, books, clothes on the floor, etc. This one is NOT getting in.
7. An hour and a half later, the rat is still alive, and I am still awake. Eventually, as the rising sun brings the garbage trucks and the shop owners, I drift into sleep...and wake another couple hours later to creep into the kitchen, peer around the fridge, and find...
8. ...Dead Rat.
9. I get our neighbor, Glen, to carry it away for me, to where I don't know or care. And finally, I can maybe sleep in peace, in another fourteen hours or so.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Today I finally felt better. And therefore launched back into work. LOTS of make-up cleaning to do (Retha's planning to take three days in a row off because she had to put in extra work while I was sick--she was so amazing to take it all on while I lay in bed), plus four nights in a row at Borders.... Awesome. I can't wait until Jeanie's back on Tuesday so we can complain to each other again. It's a comforting ritual.
I forgot to mention that I saw W.S. Merwin at Borders the other day. I wouldn't have recognized him but Sunny pointed him out and said that he and his wife come get coffee there a lot. He's a well-known poet, by the way. I was a little star-struck.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
One more thing I want to complain about: Borders/Seattle's Best. I am SO over that job. It has become a joke among the cafe workers that every time we come in, we get scolded for something, whether we actually did it or not, everything from not getting enough Borders Rewards sign-ups (btw, if you ever shop at Borders, let someone sign you up for a rewards card. It's free, you never have to use it, and you might save someone's job.), to offering a medium instead of a large, to taking more than two minutes to make a drink. And it's completely arbitrary: our supervisor yells at us for doing things she's told us do in the past, and some people bear more pressure than others, even if they're trying harder. It's not a joke at all, in reality. It's totally discouraging, and no one is happy, including the customers. We've had customers freak out on us for trying to use pressure-sales tactics on them ("If I wanted a muffin, I would have asked for one! Stop manipulating the situation!"), and ironically, if we had any say, we never would have used them in the first place. The whole experience has turned me completely off to sales, as well as working for huge businesses (though I'm sure small businesses feel even more pressure to increase sales). In just a few months, I've gone from taking pride in our store to hating it.
And one bit of funness (which I realize isn't a word): Before I got sick, I went on this awesome exploration with some people from Ke Aha (Josh and a few others I'd never hung out with before). We went to this huge evergreen forest upcountry and crawled around in a bunch of caves that someone built into the side of a cliff, including one long tunnel that got me thoroughly claustrophobic and scared. We also found some forts and pushed some MASSIVE boulders down steep hills (SO satisfying). I'm going to take Jeanie there when she gets back and take some pictures to post.
So I'm at the Lodge right now to get internet, and of COURSE there would be issues I have to deal with, when I'm least functional. This one lady locked herself out of her room and kind of freaked out about it (she's WEIRD) and another lady who's been traveling for two days from Switzerland had reservations through Rick, who's a terrible communicator and totally dropped the ball. She, at least, is really nice and bought me "defense" (C and zinc) vitamin water for letting her use my phone. So at least some random stranger is looking out for me ;)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
It's crazy how different my perspective is now compared to when I moved here. I was so in love with Maui my first few months. I couldn't imagine leaving, I couldn't get over my awe at the natural beauty and the fascinating people I was meeting. Now I'm so ready to leave that I hardly notice the beauty; I could imagine myself leaving and never coming back, never even seeing a lot of my friends again and being OK with it. I really think that once I am away, I'll miss it A LOT, but for now I have this frustrating narrow-minded view that doesn't allow now to be as enjoyable as I anticipate the future to be. My apathy makes me lazy, bored, just getting through the day in order to get to the next day. And that is so unhealthy.
So I decided I really need to turn my perspective around. And today was a good first day of that. I did healthy stuff like get up earlier, eat better, pray, stay positive while working all ten and a half hours of my jobs, talk to more people, make plans with friends for my morning off tomorrow. I even worked on revising an old poem and put clean sheets on the bed. It's the little things that are important :)
I forgot to mention that I put some more pictures at the end of my FB album. I think they're mostly from Isaac's visit, just a few. I wish I was more of a photo taker. Click below:
Thursday, September 17, 2009
-I am motivated. I’m working on my application to Santisuk and flipped through a Thailand guidebook the other day and am SO excited thinking about going there.
-Today I got to communicate with Isaac in three different ways within the span of a few hours: phone, video chat, and email. As much as I scorn “Technology,” it is becoming my friend. I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes to be able to see someone’s face as you talk to them.
-I’m missing Jeanie and realizing how awesome it is to live with her, to be so comfortable with someone that you feel like they’re an extension of you (but in a non-self-centered way). At the same time, I’m enjoying the challenge of living alone for a couple weeks, finding things to do alone, making plans with other people (which is, for me, a pretty big accomplishment. I’m good at letting others make plans with me but not so good at taking the initiative myself). Tonight I’m going to see a movie with Jeffree, going to the beach with Sunny tomorrow, and hanging out with Angela and Tani (from Ke Aha) tomorrow night. I think that means I can take Saturday night for myself and not feel guilty.
-Christmas is only three months away. The end of life in paradise is in sight. I realize how lame it must sound for me to be excited to leave what seems like the perfect setting. Oh, yes, it’s just so hard to live in the most beautiful place in the world, playing at the beach whenever I want to, working with fascinating people in a coffee shop, having an infinite number of cool friends to get to know, hiking and exploring surreal spots. All I want is to be in a cold, gray place in winter. Hooray! Ha ha. I can’t remember wanting and anticipating something more strongly.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I looked at a guidebook for Thailand during my work break today, and I am PUMPED to go there. It looks incredible! And the food.........!
Jeanie is going back to MN for two weeks for her sister's wedding. She leaves tomorrow. It's going to be so strange! For nine months, we've seen each other every single day, with very few exceptions, and suddenly I'm going to spend two whole weeks without her! I'm not worried about finding stuff to do or people to hang out with, but I'm going to feel like part of me is missing :( Both of us get a little choked up when we think about leaving each other for good when we leave Maui--we've gotten so close through our time here that it's depressing to think about being far away from her in the future.
I've read some good books lately. There are few things that feel better than knowing you are reading/have read a good book. My favorites were Maus, Blankets, and Flowers for Algernon. The first two are graphic novels, which I've been getting pretty into lately. Also loved the movies The Fall and The Lives of Others. Most of those titles were recommendations from Isaac--I have to give him the credit for having good taste.
I realize I hardly ever talk about my coworkers. Jeanie and I have gone to a few coworker get-togethers lately. One was for Sanoe's birthday (she's from Borders) and one for Luisa's (she's from the Lodge), then this past Saturday we had a karaoke party with Borders employees. That was a lot of fun. I love getting a taste of Asian culture here--I was never aware that it was popular to rent a party room that comes set up with a karaoke machine. Cool, huh?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So, Isaac is here, obviously. He attempted to surprise me and told me he was coming last Friday but came the Sunday before, instead. However, I am incredibly smart, so I figured it out (mostly through some suspicious questions Josh asked me) and it was completely not a surprise, but still sweet :) Needless to say, we've been spending a lot of time together before he leaves Wednesday. Hiking, swimming, eating out, watching movies...the usual. We hung out with his cousin Maile and his friend Ken, who was visiting from Iraq (actually, he was mostly visiting Maile, because they are dating). I can't even think what else.... It has been so good to have him here--it breaks the time up so that now we have less than four months until we see each other again.
Right before he came, I went on one of the best explorations yet, with Jeanie, Josh, and Brook. We squeezed through a gate into a mine shaft and went to the bottom of that, then looked for this bunker we knew was somewhere in the area (at the foothills of the West Mauis) and instead got chased by dogs on someone's property, swam in a river, and walked through fields of Kiawes (thorn trees). I also got stung by a bee. It was fun :) I'm going to miss Maui.
Friday, August 28, 2009
OK, so about a month ago Isaac and I looked up from the couch in my place to see a mouse peering down at us. Or rat, probably, since it was five or six inches long. Jeanie and I said, hm, maybe we should get mousetraps, and then forgot about it. But in the last couple weeks, we saw at least three in our living room--one bigger one and two about the same size. They're getting bolder...chewing our carpet, crawling around on our food shelves. So we got two Victors (apparently rat traps have names) and set one of them (the other one smashed Jeanie's finger and wouldn't work when I tried to set it, either). Not like we'd know what to do with a trapped rat, but that's what the cartoons have taught us to do. It was sprung the other day but no dead mouse/rat. Today when I left the house, there were two mice scampering around me as I slipped through the door, wanting to shriek like the girl I am, and when we came back home...this little guy was huddled in the corner, walking instead of running away from us. We turned on all the lights and got close enough to check him out. He seemed fine, not limping or anything, and then suddenly I noticed his pulse was pounding in his head, through an opening right between his eyes. Sickened, we sat back and tried to decide how to put him out of misery, but he crawled out the door and into the bushes before we could stop him. Later we realized he'd tracked blood and droppings all over the rugs in our room, over some books and clothes.... Screw rat traps, is all I can say. They are inhumane and horrible, and I can't possibly kill anything larger than a cane spider, especially not something with a cute furry face. There has to be another way to avoid disease and baby rats and holes chewed in carpets....
Thursday, August 27, 2009
After much deliberation, I decided to go ahead and apply for grad school, to get my Masters in creative writing (poetry, specifically). While there's still a part of me that wonders if it'd be more practical to just try and find a job that uses the writing skills I already have, I'm really, really stoked on the idea of grad school. I love love love writing and want to develop my skills, be in an academic environment surrounded by a community of writers, challenge myself, and make connections that could help me get involved in some kind of international work. My top choice is still Eastern Washington University in Spokane, and I might apply at Seattle-Pacific University (as well as a couple others), but it (SPU) is crazy expensive and they don't have teaching assistantships. It's kind of weird thinking I'd commit the next three years of my life to something (two-year program starting fall 2010), especially knowing Isaac is in Seattle--closer than Maui, but still would require a long-distance relationship for what feels like a long time.
Of course, there's a large possibility of not getting accepted to school at all, which would make things interesting....
The other exciting thing is applying to Santisuk, the English center in Thailand. It's intimidating to think of going through the process of applying, getting a visa, and planning the timing all on my own, not to mention spending three or four months in a country I know nothing about, teaching classes and befriending people of another culture, but I'm so, so thrilled about the opportunity, and I'm up for whatever it takes. The director asked if I'd be interested in developing my own creative writing class, too, in addition to teaching basic classes using their curriculum!
It's so good to feel motivated by something.... I've seen too many people stuck in the Maui lifestyle--years and years at dead-end jobs, eating out and playing at the beach, never taking the energy or risk required to try something new--and everything in me screams against that. Beautiful, awesome people live that life, and it makes me sad to think they are selling themselves short of something that might be so much more fulfilling.
Oh, did I mention Isaac is coming back to visit? :) I know, apparently he can't make it more than a month without seeing me. ;) It only took him a week or so to register for classes (which start end of Sep.), find an apartment (my DREAM apartment--studio close to downtown, old brick building, hardwood floors...), get a bike, and take care of his GI bill paperwork (dude, the government is generous to those who serve it!), and he found cheap tickets. So he'll be here from the 4th-11th. ALSO I ordered a new laptop, which is supposed to arrive on the 4th. What a good day that will be.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This was one of the craziest statistics in the book:
In 2000, the combined income of four African countries (Botswana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda--chosen because Bush visited them in 2003)--161,365,000 people--was $57 billion. In the same year, the income of the 400 wealthiest Americans was $69 billion. Even taking into account the fact that a US dollar goes further in Africa than it does in the US, there is no way to justify this extreme gap. It makes me ill to think about it, and strangely it also seems hopeful--to think that the resources exist to improve and save millions of lives, if only the wealthy are willing to sacrifice a TINY bit. I had no idea there were such straightforward, practical, and relatively inexpensive plans to eliminate extreme poverty in only a couple decades--I guess the issue lies in moving people to act on them.
Hm, I could go on for quite a while, but I'll leave it at that. It's a really good book.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
maintain communication with friends all over the country and world
develop relationships with people in Maui
have a boyfriend
be involved in a church
take writing seriously
apply to volunteer in Thailand
go to the beach
learn anything new
read...my bible, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, articles
research, organize, and plan for the present and future
stay updated on world news
go to coffee shops
buy a new laptop
sort through and get rid of what I don't need
be excited, nostaligic, optimistic, or sad
enjoy Maui while I'm still here
take breaks for the sake of sanity
decide which of these things are unimportant enough to give up
It's so frustrating I just want to cry and give up on it all. Instead of doing anything, I waste my time blogging about it.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Life is good. I am anxious, I overthink things, work is monotonous, my mind is turning to mush with disuse, I'm ready to leave yet scared about the future, three of my closest friends (Isaac, David, and Micah) are gone...but somehow it's good. I never want to take now for granted and miss out on what's right in front of me. Even though I feel like I'm in a holding pattern, just waiting to leave Maui, there is SO much to be grateful for: this is paradise, after all--there is still endless adventuring to be done and bays to swim in and sun to bask in; Jeff fixed our brakes AGAIN, costing us $100 instead of $1000 (or really, a new car); there are more friends to get to know and fascinating people to meet; I can walk half a block to Minit Stop and get spam musubi any time I want.... Really, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I guess the teaser in the last post wasn't fair. I just wanted to wait until it was official to say that Isaac and I are dating! So exciting and weird and scary and amazing! It's too new of an experience (first boyfriend!) and I'm too shy to put any details on here, but it's definitely a huge event, so I had to at least mention it :) Now I'm even MORE bummed that he's leaving soon and trying to spend even MORE time with him.
So obviously that's made me really busy...yet it seems so dull to list the things I've been up to. Hiking on the volcano, swimming, snorkeling, stargazing, working, barbecuing (woah, barbecue...barbeque...both correct), talking, thinking about the future, eating, listening to music. Cool.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
It feels like things are changing a lot, but at the same time, not much has "happened." We have this rutted routine and as far as news goes, I've got hardly any. I'll try.
David is back. But not sure if he's going to stay.
Isaac is leaving at the end of July and Micah in early August, I think. I don't like to think about it...I've gotten so close to Isaac especially and I'm going to miss him so much. He is moving to Seattle, so at least I might be able to see him when I go to Portland for Christmas.
So we've all been trying to hang out as much as possible while we still can:
-We went on this intense bike ride, uphill for a couple miles, then around Makawao, this town upcountry, then downhill for like five miles, then through a sugar cane field, then along the ocean. I am so pathetically out of shape. Isaac is a crazy ball of energy and sometimes doesn't realize others aren't quite up to the same level of activity.
-Thursday Micah brough a cheramoya for us all to try--this really sweet fruit that turns out to be the same thing as a custard apple in Kenya. Then at night a bunch of us went to Black Rock, a lava rock that juts out into the ocean and is fun to jump off. I can't get enough of the outdoor stuff you can do here, day or night.
-Friday Isaac came up to Paia and we were going to explore that really old haunted sugar mill we tried to go to with Brook a long time ago (but that time there were people there already and we got scared). On our way, we stopped at this Bon Festival at the Buddhist temple. It seemed to be a big thing and we were curious. Turns out it's a celebration in honor of the dead and it goes on every weekend all summer. There was cool dancing and music and food. We ran into Brook, and he came with us to the mill. Which was awesome! Pitch black cane fields, old crumbled walls, vines and massive trees taking over everything. We climbed stuff and freaked each other out. I love that kind of adventure. We hung out at our place afterwards and talked and played guitar and discovered it's hilarious to throw things into the ceiling fan and watch them shoot out.
-Last night Sarah came over and we had a girls night. Walked to the beach; made chocolate chip pancakes and no-bake cookies; went to the Bon Festival again with Sarina, the 15-year old daughter of one of our Paia work-trade friends; watched P.S. I Love You.
I guess the biggest news is that Jeanie and I talked and realized we were both thinking about leaving Maui sooner than planned. I know she's been antsy for a while, and though I don't feel exactly the same way, I do feel more of a pull to leave than to stay. My hopes for my time in Maui have been overwhelmingly exceeded already, and I can't see the point of staying another year just to follow this same unmotivating routine when there's so much more I want to do. Getting close to people who are picking up and leaving to pursue their dreams has encouraged me to think seriously about what I really want for my future. So right now the plan is to leave in December instead of next summer, which means we'll have been here for a year, nothing to be ashamed of. Jeanie wants to go back to school for nursing. I'd still apply for grad school, then do some kind of overseas volunteer/work thing (in Africa?) until school started, provided I got in and still wanted to go. I'm excited to think of the endless options I have, but I know the stress of trying to choose the "right" thing lies ahead of me. If anyone has any ideas for me, let me know!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Here's my last week or so:
- I went camping again, this time with Jeanie and two of our coworkers, Sunny and Amanda. We went to Laperouse, a natural reserve with idyllic bays beyond lava fields that look like the surface of the moon. We camped on a rocky beach far from any civilization, this time in tents to stay safe from the centipedes and cockroaches (which we saw plenty of).
- Thursday was Jeanie's birthday. We went out for breakfast and then went back to Laperouse to do some more hiking and exploring. Then we ate half a Coldstone ice cream cake (my mom told me later those things have like 5,000 calories. So no desserts for the rest of week). It was good to hang out with her, since recently it seems like we only see each other while we're cleaning or puttering around the house, not while we're out having fun.
- My parents left Friday :( We hung out Thursday night, which was awesome. It was SO good to have them here, especially as I dealt with some new and crappy emotions. I'll see them again in six months, at Christmas, which doesn't seem like a long time, but I've never gone that long without seeing them.
- I wrote a song, lyrics and chords. It's short and not good at all, but I'm still proud of myself.
- Went snorkeling yesterday with Isaac and Micah at Honolua Bay (well, actually, the one next to it, and then we swam around to Honolua and got out there). It's supposed to be one of the best places on the island for snorkeling, and it was pretty beautiful! We had dinner at Da Kitchen, where Sarah works, and ate yummy food.... I'm really starting to enjoy the Hawaiian local/Asian-influence food. I even crave Spam musubi sometimes, which is a mound of white rice tied with seaweed to a slab of fried Spam. Spam totally grossed me out for my entire life, but it's actually good when you eat it with other stuff.
- Last night we watched Quarantine. It was terrifying, mostly because it's a plausable plot and it was filmed as if it was a documentary. I think it was the first movie during which I've full-out screamed.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Instead of writing poetry recently, I've been focusing on short observational pieces so I can capture as much detail of life in Maui as possible without stressing about making it pretty. Here's one from last night (not because I think it's great, just because it might add some variety to my usual blogging style):
We are finally camping, at the second turnout past the tunnel on the way to Lahaina, close to the road, so we still have traffic, headlights breaking in our darkness and making the vivid stars fade into the sky. Isaac, Josh, and Jason stand around the truck, laughing, trying to attach glowsticks to their shorts before bodyboarding in the black surf. Sarah and I lie on our boards under the silver kiawe trees, journaling in companionable silence by lantern light. The fire smoulders and our late night dinner is scattered around--marshmallows, cookies, animal crackers. I can hardly wait for those few moments between waking and sleeping, when I can stare at the moonless sky, listening to the waves, resting in the presence of friends. Tonight I asked them where they'd live if they could choose one place and were never able to leave. "Go with your gut," I said, stopping myself from analyzing the corners of the world I've explored. I went with mine, and to my surprise I chose Maui.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Man, I've been so busy lately...but I don't know what I've been filling my time with. It's not busyness like in college, where every hour of every day was scheduled into classes, meetings, work, coffee dates, etc. Instead, it's a relaxed busyness, where I never look ahead or behind me to figure out what will take up or what has taken up my time. All I know is that I've had barely any chance to edit, write, practice guitar, or exercise, all of which I really, really want to do. I also want to spend hours hanging out in coffee shops with Isaac and Sarah, now that I know they both love sitting and reading/writing in comfortable silence, taking breaks for good conversations.... They've spent a ton of time at SBC the last few days, as usual, and it's been so frustrating just wanting to keep talking with but having to get back to work. We are planning to go camping Thursday, so that should be AWESOME. I know I keep saying stuff like this, but it's such an overwhelming blessing to know them, especially now that I'm realizing they want to spend time with me (almost) as much as I do with them. It's a beautiful thing to discover lifelong friends. The church they go to (I still think of it as "their" church, even though I guess I'm a part of it) has been crazy welcoming, too.
Our big news of the week is that our brakes stopped working. Jeanie was driving me to work Sunday, and she started pulling over to pick up Jose Zee on the side of the road when she realized she was pushing the pedal all the way to the floor and we were barely slowing down. We coasted along (thankfully there was little traffic), and luckily once we were going really slow, they kicked in. Our E-brake doesn't seem to work much, so that wouldn't have been a help. I had the worst day of work ever, worrying about poor Jeanie having to take care of the car stuff on her own, while I got scolded a million times by my supervisor for not following all these detailed procedures for making drinks and ringing up customers--she is stressed because the corporate office is putting a lot of pressure on her...don't get me started on how fed up I am with following stupid rules like "you HAVE to suggest that the customer get a large size." I'm such a bad salesperson, I firmly believe that if people don't want or need something, I'm certainly not going to push it on them. And they'll probably be happier for it, too. Anyway, Jeanie got an assessment at Sears, and they said the brakes would be $500 to fix...more than half the price of our car............. And then, HUGE relief, Retha's husband Jeff offered to fix them for free, if we bought the parts. How INCREDIBLE to be taken care of like that!!!! So we spent $60 and have a beautifully working car. I still can't get over it.
Tonight this customer (yes, a middle-aged man) told me I had really large pupils (which I've actually been told before...I hate that it's obvious when I'm full of nervous energy because of that and because I blush, too). I'm not sure if he was hitting on me or wondering if I was on drugs. Or just making an observation.
Oh my word, I have a confession to make. I just realized that I spelled "brakes" wrong ("breaks") through this entire post. I must be really tired. I'm so embarrassed.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The last few days have been full of...experience. I'm going to try not to get too philosophical and emotional, I'll just say that a new level of life is opening up on Maui, maybe because of how I've changed, maybe because I'm truly finding a sense of belonging and connection to people, maybe because I'm learning a new culture (and I love new cultures!). Life has so many layers, which often require a painful peeling back in order to find new beauty beneath.
So anyway. Been hanging out with people pretty much all the time lately, which is good (relationships are good), but hard (I like to be alone sometimes). This is SUCH a community-oriented society, maybe because there is a lot of Asian cultural influence. I’ll try to summarize:
-We went on another amazing hike, this one requiring us to climb up fairly high, slippery waterfalls, some with ropes, and then jump down them on the way back. Intense.
-We visited our friend Josh's "bungalow," which is a tent illegally hidden in a macadamia nut field (I SO want to do it too).
-We went night swimming again under a full moon, and the water was so clear you could see the shadows playing across your feet.
-I chilled all day Sunday—hung out with Micah, had lunch with his parents (who are super cool!), got asked out TWICE at Border’s by that NASTY 60-year old man (who wanted me to go take pictures with him at night…………………….I DON’T get it; it’s not like I’m at all even nice to him, what in the WORLD could he POSSIBLY be thinking??????????), and “communicated” with Jose Zee (who wanted to see if he could learn anything from me—or my soul?—by staring into my eyes. It was SUPER awkward and I think he was disappointed. Apparently my soul doesn’t want to open up to him).
-I’ve started going to the church where “Brook guys” go (OK, so I’m not trying to be annoying and elitist by using Hawaii jargon or anything, this is just a term that makes so much sense to me and simplifies things. Instead of listing people’s names or saying “so-and-so and his friends,” you just say the name of the person you mainly associate with a place or group, in this case the first person I met, and then say “guys”). It meets in a carpet warehouse and pretty much everyone is around my age.
-We explored Wailuku, this town that somehow reminds me of Mombasa, with Isaac, who lives there. Walked around, ate at a bakery, climbed some trees, sat in a park, chilled in this sweet coffee shop and did some writing. I’m excited to have friends who not only meet me but surpass me on a creative level. Isaac is a poet and an incredibly deep thinker, and we’ve had some amazing conversations and points of connection. Later, he brought Jeanie and me to his grandma’s farm, which was so beautiful I can’t even express it. Tangles of banana plants, palms, pamello trees; a rocky stream; three old wooden houses built into a hill; a stunning view of the West Maui Mountains almost within reach on one side and the volcano in the distance on the other. I wanted nothing more than to be a kid again and grow up there.
Phew, I guess those are the most exciting things from the past few days. Getting deeper insight into other’s experiences has sparked this intense need for me to write, for some reason. It’s like I want to take a tiny piece of the fullness and richness of other people’s lives and somehow fit it into my own.
Oh, one more thing—David is leaving on Friday for almost a month, going back to Colorado. Things have been pretty hard for him here, without a steady job and with some plans that aren’t working out, and he’s actually not sure he’ll come back. He and Jeanie are my family, and it’s impossible to think about losing either of them. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, too, that Micah is going to school in California in the fall, and Isaac is planning to move to Seattle (or Africa, or the Middle East). It makes me a little sick to anticipate the absence of those I’m getting closest to. That’s Maui life—that restlessness and transience is what bonds us all as well as separates us.
Oh, I lied, ONE more thing: I got a compliment from awkward Evan today, too. He told me "Oh, those are interesting earrings! Yeah, they're really...."
Monday, June 1, 2009
And I did some really fun things last weekend! Let's see...Thursday night there was a concert put on to raise money for a couple sweet nonprofits, and a couple of our friends played in it. Then Saturday, my dad rented a motorcycle and took me all the way around the west side of the island, along the West Maui Mountains. It was GORGEOUS, and super thrilling to experience it from the freedom of a motorcycle. It's cool to hear from people who've grown up here that the beauty of Maui doesn't stop amazing them even after so many years. I can't get over it and I don't want to.
Saturday night Micah came over and then Isaac joined us and we all went night swimming in Paia bay. Somehow the dark makes it less scary when the waves come crashing down at you. It was peaceful and beautiful with a nice little hint of adventure.
And then yesterday we went surfing! David, who we took surfing lessons from way back when, let us borrow boards from his shop, and Micah, Isaac, Sarah, and a few others took us to Launiupoko, where the good little longboard waves are. Surfing is interesting. It's intimidating because there were TONS of people out there, and all these unspoken surfing rules, like if someone catches a wave further out, you're not supposed to catch it later on. And there's so much waiting involved, just chilling on your board and chatting with people as you wait for the sets to come in. And it was awesome because I stood! Many times, in fact. I can now surf!!! So much fun :)
Did I mention that it's finally summer here? It's HOT and almost always sunny except for when the vog (volcano fog) rolls in, and then it's gray and muggy and traps a funny smell. The sugar cane factory lets off this ghastly smell that can reach pretty far if the wind is right.
One quick story and then I'm done: There's this awkward yet somehow charming guy in his 20's named Evan who spends all of his time at Border's (our manager says he's high and homeless). He's kind of fun to talk to because he's just SO awkward. Sometimes we talk about books we're reading, and sometimes he'll just smile and duck his head when I say hi. The other day he told Jeanie that he liked her hair, then followed it up with the best line ever, in his completely serious way: "It's really...different."
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Lola and Julia have been here this past week and are leaving tomorrow. It's been a whirlwind with Jeanie's parents, my parents, and Lola and Julia all here. We have been having SO much fun with the girls. Between me, Jeanie, and David, we have taken them to all sides of the island. My favorite thing so far was snorkeling this morning! Beautiful. The summer weather is incredible: sunny, hot, clear.... Every day is a perfect beach day.
Also, they got to see Owen Wilson twice! We first saw him outside Cafe des Amis. We were there for breakfast, and I saw this guy look in the window. We made eye contact and I did a double-take to make sure it really was him. He looks exactly like he does in movies, maybe a little less pretty. When we left, we stood outside for a while and he came out of Cafe Mambo. We giggled like idiots as he came out and ducked past us, his bodyguards/friends staying in between him and us. So thrilling! I can now leave Maui fulfilled. Anyway, they saw him again on the drive to Hana (I skipped out on that one)--he and Woody Harrelson and possibly Luke Wilson were biking up the road and said hi!
This past weekend we house-sat at the Lodge, which was great because it's a nice big house AND we got to eat any of the food/drink any of the alcohol left behind by Greg and Maria, who are sadly gone for five or six months. We had a big family barbecue (by family I mean the girls, Jeanie's parents, my parents, and David), using the grill and tiki bar thing at the Lodge. Family is awesome.
Loretta and Onassis left on Thursday :( It's especially sad and even nostalgic because Loretta was our first real friend on Maui. She played an important role in our adjustment to life here.
I've discovered the bizarre and disturbing fact that I get hit on by a lot of middle-aged men, especially at Border's--more than my other coworkers do. Usually it's just "you have such a beautiful smile," but the other day this man who had to have been almost 60 asked me what I did in my free time, if I wanted to go on this hike with him, if he could join my fan club. SOOOOOO creepy. I DON'T do anything to encourage stuff like that at all! Ick ick ick ick ick.
I am learning how to play the guitar! David taught me G, D, A, and E. I'm such a wimp, my fingers hurt from pressing the strings down. I really need stuff like this right now--fresh new activities and outlets to get excited and feel good about. Haha, I already have a past in Maui that I feel the urge to escape. I can relate to those who leave places to put unpleasant things or relationships behind them, though I'm not one of those people. Running away doesn't solve anything.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
And then Jeanie's mom is hoping to come visit again at Christmas. I will be in Portland, the only time I'm planning to leave Maui before I LEAVE Maui in the summer 2010. We've been here almost six months! So our time is a third of the way over? It seems like it's going fast, but SO much can still happen in a year....
I think I'm going through a quarter-life crisis, where I'm far more uncertain and afraid of the future than I was when I graduated from college. OK, grad school is a concrete and straightforward plan, but what does it actually look like? Moving to a new place alone. And what about after that? Trying to find a JOB? Or, more likely, taking off on a series of wanderings that, while fulfilling, require me to leave behind people and places every time, losing almost as much as I'm gaining. It's incredible how closely pain and joy are related, if you truly allow yourself to experience the depth of life. Life is rough.
Changing the subject, our friend Isaac took us on this insane hike the other day. It's one of those that's definitely off the map. All the water systems in Maui are privately owned, and there are miles and miles of weird irrigation and dam systems that are off-limits but in gorgeous places. On this hike, you climb over a turnstyle, walk up a road past all these cows, then turn off and scramble up a river bed, weaving through vines and branches. Suddenly the river narrows and you brace yourself between rock walls and climb up a small waterfall. But the BEST part is after this, when you realize you are entering a cave, a long one-way series of channels, pools, and waterfalls. It gradually gets pitch black and you have to blindly hang on to any handholds you can find and plunge into pools that are, for all you know, infinitely deep. The very end of the cave opens into a lake that you swim across, following the sound of a 20-foot waterfall at the end. Which of course you have to climb up. At the top you come to a retaining wall and squeeze through a drain/grate thing and are back at the river. Beyond that, there are huge beautiful waterfalls and lakes to explore. SO surreal.
It's things like this hike that keep me grounded and remind me how overwhelmingly blessed I am. Maui has got to be the best place to go through a crisis. Try getting your heart broken or freaking out about the future in the frigid uncaring doom of Minnesota. I've also found that I prefer being around people when I'm depressed--interacting with customers and coworkers at SBC provides relief and sanity rather than being draining. There are four friends in particular--Isaac, Micah, Sarah, and Holly--who've been hanging out there a lot recently and who I really appreciate.
I just found out Lola's flight is delayed until tomorrow :( She's stuck in Seattle :( :( :(
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Owen Wilson was in town again. We stalked his house (climbed a tree right by his property—we are SO creepy) but never saw him. I did, however, see Laird Hamilton (a surfer), who’s fairly famous, so that’s cool I guess.
Holly is here, just for a week. Jeanie and I have visited with her a bit. Today we were over at Maria’s with her and met Kieva’s two new cats, whom he named Marshmallow and Roasted Marshmallow. He is convinced that those two names are completely distinct.
I saw Star Trek. Not my choice, and not my favorite, but still fairly entertaining. I have a little thing for Spock.
We cleaned this terribly nasty six-bedroom house (which we actually almost ended up living in, way back at the beginning of our time here) that has been full of terribly nasty frat-like boys who do things like pee on rugs (to be fair to them, they are really nice boys). We feel that it is NOT our duty to clean up after them and are a little irritated, especially because we ended up putting in too many hours last week.
I’m editing another manuscript, a children’s story written by a man whose parents know my parents. Once again, the process is both enjoyable and frustrating. I love editing, but I’d love it even more if the writers knew how to use a computer properly so I don’t have to put so much effort into fixing their formatting errors.
I’ve spent some solid time with my parents. Last Sunday I went to Kihei in the evening and had dinner (yummy Thai food) and ice cream with them, and this Sunday for mother’s day, I did the same thing and we had Indian food and cheesecake and walked on the beach. Saturday was a perfect day because I had it completely off, and Jeanie, David, and I met up with my parents and drove to the west side of the island to an area we’d never been. We went hiking on this old, huge plantation and then went to a beach, where we had the most spectacular snorkeling and rock-scrambling experiences. Even after five months of living here, it stuns me how incredible it is that I live in such a beautiful place with so much to offer.
Jeanie and I made up a fun work game where we come up with words or phrases for the other person to have to say to customers. We played with Sunny, and she had to say “tantalizing.” It was hilarious. She did not appreciate the game.
Gas went up TEN cents today. Which brings it to almost $3, almost 60c more than when we moved here. Bummer.
Loretta and Onassis are moving to Texas in a week. It'll be hard to say goodbye to them. Loretta came up to Paia yesterday and spent the morning/afternoon with us.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The pastor of Hope Chapel passed away a week ago. Pr. Kit battled leukemia for over a year, and we were having a Friday night service to celebrate him when he died. He had been preaching up until that point, but that Friday he was too weak to come to church, and he died in the middle of the service while all these people were getting up to say how much he impacted their lives. I never met him, but he seems like an incredible man, and it was staggering when Pastor Ben announced at the end of the service that he had just died. I went to his memorial service last Thursday, and that was cool--more rejoicing than mourning.
Last night Jeanie and David and I went to a birthday party for Brook and his twin sister Spring (haha, yes, they are both named after water. Apparently their mom's kind of a hippie), which had a salsa theme--there was a lesson and then just dancing. It was a lot of fun. I really, really enjoy that group of friends. They're so friendly, inclusive, crazy and chill at the same time. Brook's brother Daniel is visiting from CA--he's a filmmaker, won a Sundance award, knows Greg Laswell. So cool! It's weird how everyone on Maui is connected. That customer who asked me out was there, and I was like, crap, he's probably wondering where my boyfriend is, the one who wouldn't be too happy if I went on a date with him. Awkward.
I've been pretty dang busy, but there's not much to say about that...working, bonding with people--friends, co-workers, customers--stressing about relationships.... Yup.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
That creeper guy showed up on the beach at night while Jeanie and David were out there, tried to convince them he was Buddha and stuff again. What a disturbed person, extra disturbing because there's no one at the beach at night, and how did he find them?
I discovered the deliciousness of vanilla rice milk. Yum yum. I wouldn't buy it for myself, but some guests left an unopened carton. It's good with chocolate syrup!
Went salsa dancing again with the same people plus this guy Micah who comes into SBC a lot and Holly, a girl I didn't know. Micah is an MK, he's 22, and he's an only child--cool, huh? I was up until after 4 a.m.... We were planning to go again tomorrow but Brook's friend Brandon, who I kinda know, too, is having a game night/goodbye thing before he moves to Oahu, so we're going to that instead.
Hung out with the same Friday night people on Friday night. Went to church, McDonalds, this bar called TipUps, snuck into the hot tub of one of Rick's properties. It was a late night--I mean early morning--again. I don't think I've ever had such sleep-deprived weekends (I was a lame college girl--which is totally fine with me).
It finally got HOT here for two days. And then the temps plunged back down, and there is currently a flash flood warning for all the Hawaiian islands.
I'm upset about the schedule at work again... :( Our manager Kris apparently does exactly the opposite of what people request, while at the same time pretending she's somehow accommodating us. Jeanie and I were taken off the only shift we have together, my hours were dropped down to 11 this week, and Jeanie has to work Saturday even though it's not on her availability (it is on mine...). I don't want to talk about it anymore.
Rick is thinking about renting out our place, and Retha said we'd probably move to Tower 3, this teeny tiny studio at the top of two exhausting flights of stairs. I would definitely put up a fight. Sigh, I don't really want to talk about that, either.
I've decided that it's OK to tell random customers who ask me out that I have a boyfriend. It's only happened to me once (unless you count Chas), but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. It's really in everyone's best interest--I am safe from the type of guy who would ask out someone they know absolutely nothing about, and his pride is intact because I didn't say, "There is no way I would ever consider going on a date with you." I'm such a bad liar, so it's just kind of exciting to me that I pulled it off once :)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Easter was awesome. Jeanie and I went out for breakfast (pastries! We gave them up for Lent), then went to church with David and my parents. My parents took us all out for lunch afterwards and let us in to play at the pool at Haggai until Jeanie and I had to get back for work. It was a very celebratory day.
This CREEPO guy came into Border’s on Monday. At first he seemed no stranger than a lot of our customers, all happy-love-Buddha stuff, but I got the weirdest vibe from him as he kept talking to me. He kept twisting his words around so I couldn’t understand what exactly he was saying, something about being God’s messenger and seeing me in Pa’ia. It wasn’t like he was high or mentally off or anything, just disturbed through and through. He was attractive and really charismatic, which made it even more disturbing. Eventually Peter came over from across the store because he could tell something was up, and he gave me a task in the back so the guy wouldn’t bug me. Creepo sat in the café for a while and then started being weird to Ann, one of the booksellers. She said she got the chills from him, too. Eventually he got kicked out of the store because he was saying he’d come back when she worked next. Ick ick ick.
We went several days without hot water because our propane tank emptied and there were no replacements. Tuesday was the first day I took a real shower in five days, and it was wonderful!
Today was Loretta and Onassis’ wedding! It was great, just a tiny ceremony thrown together last minute on the beach. They said they spent less than $300 on everything, including wedding dress, marriage license, honeymoon to Oahu, etc. Jeanie made a cake and friends did makeup, flowers, music, photos for free. The minister’s wife even danced hula as David played the guitar. The setting was perfect, beautiful, sunny, vivid, and there were only about 15 of us there, so we just gathered around them through the ceremony. Afterwards we went out for brunch. I loved how laid back it was…. I could see myself doing something similar—though I’d want more than a two-week engagement! Click for some pics of the wedding: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2036902&id=110900370&l=9070f62a19
Saturday, April 11, 2009
This has been a good week. Well, "good" kind of glosses over some emotional highs and lows because of something I can't talk about in this blog, unfortunately. Let's see, here was my week after my typical Sun-Tue full work week:
Wednesday I had dinner with my small group and then hung out with Jeanie and David for a bit.
Thursday I went salsa dancing with Brook and two of his awesome friends, Josh and Sarah, who I've been getting to know recently. We took this hour-long lesson first (a lot of what I learned in my four lessons two years ago came back to me, thank goodness) and then met up with his twin sister and her friends at Lulu's, this restaurant/bar with live music and dancing. It was SO much fun!!!! Brook and I did pretty well, I have to say, and it was hilarious and great dancing with Josh, too, because he makes a lot of it up and goes a little crazy. We are planning to go to the rest of the lessons in the coming weeks (I think there are two or three more).
Friday Jeanie and I went on this beautiful hike called Swinging Bridges (because there are two freaky swinging bridges). Friday night we went to the Good Friday service at church, which was really good. The pastor of Hope Chapel who speaks on Friday nights has terminal leukemia, and he is getting progressively weaker, but his messages are incredible because he has such inner strength and hope even as he goes through the toughest thing you could imagine. It makes me realize how pathetic my problems are and how easily I get bogged down in them. After the service, we had a bachelorette party for Loretta at Sansei. It was kinda lame because we were all tired and ready to leave by midnight, but we did manage to fit in one completely embarrassing karaoke song. I'm not sure I can ever go back there.
Victoria, one of the girls living with Maria, left to go back to the mainland. I don't think I mentioned that Sarah and Reynolds, some of the YWAM people we met at the beginning, are gone, too. I wondered what it'd be like to get to know people here because so many people come and go, and now I'm starting to know.
Thanks to the quotes on the back of sugar packets at work, Jeanie and I discovered the great Noah BenShea, this SUPER cheesy inspirational speaker. You should totally check out his website (www.noahbenshea.com). He will change your life. Here are some of his best quotes:
“The obvious is often hidden by its obviousness.”
“Time is a river that never walks but always runs.”
“Excuses are one of the few things Noah didn’t bring onto the ark.”
“Don’t let your past kidnap your future.”
“The time is not ‘now or never,’ but now is never again.”
“Family is a way of holding hands with forever.”
“In your life, you are the paint, the painter, and the painting.”
If you want to see pictures of that hike Jeanie and I took, click on the link in the previous entry.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Engagements: Two of our friends got engaged! To each other, that is. We were friends with both Loretta and Onassis before they ever met, which is kind of strange. They just met two months ago and are planning to get married on April 15th. Soooooo fast. It kind of makes sense for them to get married right now because her massage therapy school is done and he’s taking a new job in Texas, but I totally can’t imagine moving so quickly.
Hunchbacks: Loretta gave Jeanie and me massages the other night as kind of a thanks for driving her from Makawao to Kihei once or twice a week, and she told me that she’s only seen the kind of back problems I have on elderly people, overweight people, or people who’ve been in really bad accidents. Basically I have a hunchback. Great.
Friday Fun: Yesterday was as great as an entirely free Friday could be. First, Jeanie and I slept in and went on a 7-ish mile hike in a huge forest in Makawao. Then we had a break in the middle to eat burritos at this cool little restaurant, shower, and get ready for church. We picked my parents up in Kihei and did the church thing, then hung out with the same people we’ve spent the last few Friday nights with. Went to a new (new for us) sushi place in Kahului (the tiger roll is sooooo good!), came back to Paia with David and Brook, built a little fire on the beach, and ended up just sitting out there talking until past 5 a.m. I am getting into a bad habit of not sleeping on Friday nights…. But it’s worth it.
Click the picture below to see new photos in my facebook album (you have to go to the second and third page to see them)!