Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's been a while!

So, it's late Saturday afternoon, and Jeanie is working and I am making big plans for the on my blog, add pictures to facebook, walk on the beach, cook something, write, read, make a CD mix. It's a strange shift in gears now that we are working almost full time (and on different days, too, it seems). It's definitely real life. What's a bummer is that when we finally do both have a full day off, it rains, so we can't go to the beach or take a surfing lesson or go for a hike or do any of the fun stuff we want to do. On Wednesday, it was pouring, and we went to see Benjamin Button, which was really good...but no surfing lesson.

Work is going well. In a way, it was nice to just get thrown into it, because it makes me learn things much more quickly. Working in a coffee shop is infinitely better than working in a restaurant--not only are people more laid back (I work closing shifts, as opposed to the business lunches I served at Axel's), but it's actually fun to make the coffee drinks. It gets busy and a little stressful, but I think the part that's actually most stressful for me is trying to close in an hour with only two people. We have to be let out by a manager, so we only have a certain amount of time to get everything done, and we can't start early because we're both busy taking orders and making drinks until the last minute. It's ridiculous.

I found out that both Luke and Owen Wilson were in Paia in the last month. So were Carlos Santana and Lenny Kravitz. How do I miss these things? I'm actually quite disappointed about Luke and Owen...though I also found out which house is theirs, so I can wait outside the gate in my free time, hoping they'll come back for a visit. (I'm KIDDING.)

I updated my facebook album with some pictures of the bamboo hike:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bamboo forest

Today after cleaning for a bit, Jeanie, David, and I hiked through this awesome bamboo forest on the way to Hana. It was a pretty intense at times, slippery and steep, and we had to use ropes and ladders and stuff. I'm still new enough to the island that I think bamboo forests are one of the coolest things in the entire world, the way they are so dense and have bizarre angles. The best part of the hike was swimming up a river between rock walls, climbing up a mini waterfall, and cliff-jumping off rocks into a pool. It was freezing but so exhilerating! I'll add pics in a bit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Pretty Pictures!

My parents are leaving for Kenya in THREE days! My dad's on sabbatical and my mom got the semester off work, too, so they'll be in Kenya for a month and here on Maui for three months, doing various intercultural things. I'm crazy jealous about the Kenya part, but even more than that, I'm excited they have the chance to go back together, finally.

A new girl is living in our old room at Maria's. Her name's Victoria and she came from North Carolina on her own, which impresses me greatly, especially since she's only 20. She has connections at Anthony's Coffee Shop and will be working there. It's nice to have another person close by to hang out with.

I added some more pictures:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Full-Time Work Blues

This week has ended up being pretty exhausting! We are still having fun, but all the drink recipes are getting overwhelming, and we haven't even started putting drinks into the register (every drink, flavored syrup, addition, modification, etc. has its own number). We open to the public on Monday, and I'm nervous that I won't be ready by then. It's awesome to learn all about coffee, though--it's like we're learning secrets that the average person doesn't know. There are endless possibilities of drinks to make!

Border's gets a lot of weird people who come in (because about two-thirds of the people who live on the north shore are weird). There's the crack dealer who has strange twitches, and there's the guy who always comes in with a cooler, and the guy who brought a pile of pebbles over to us and tried to make us wave our hands over them.... That last man we have seen everywhere; last night he was on our doorstep with a drunk guy when we got back from work. Thankfully our friend David happened to be there, too, and he was in the process of getting rid of them. Another drunk guy hung out at our corner later that night and screamed profanities at no one for about half an hour, then tried to open our door (which thankfully I had just locked) and our window. We were a little freaked out, but there are plenty of people who live nearby, so it wasn't really dangerous. I really feel like I'm in Kenya sometimes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Busy-ness (is that even a word?)

Life has actually picked up speed quite a bit, and I am—dare I say it?—busy. It’s nice to feel like my days have purpose, but I miss having endless time to lie on the beach and read books and ponder stuff.

We had a good time with Lauren…. Well, it was good to see her, but her time here was maybe not ideal. She came at the beginning of a massive wind storm, in which 50-60 mph wind off the ocean blew for two days straight, brought frequent bursts of rain, and literally began to tear our roof off. Her first morning, a cane spider joined us in the kitchen for breakfast. (We thoroughly killed this one, after screaming, running away from it, dousing it in bleach spray, and throwing a flip flop at it. Jeanie’s better with the actual killing of insects, but I am not squeamish about wiping up the guts afterwards. We make a good team.) On Friday, we had to work from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., between our two jobs, so Lauren entertained herself around Kahului and Paia.

We did have some fun while she was here. We went to the Grand Wailea beach, where it was windy but sunny, and Jeanie and I boogie boarded and got murdered by the waves—at one point, for a brief second, after being shoved and thrown about under water by a wave, I was sure I had broken my neck (obviously I didn’t, but my back hurt really bad for a few days and still kinda hurts). I can’t believe people surf waves larger than those. Lauren left Sunday night, and we were glad to have had our first visitor to show off our little life to.

Training at Seattle’s Best has been really pleasant so far. We have this smokin’ trainer from the mainland, Raphael, who is both energetic and laid back, and we’ve all been having fun getting to know each other. There are nine of us, eight women and one 20-something guy: Michael, our supervisor; Mae, Pat, Sanoe, and Jeffree, who worked at the Border’s Café before it became a Starbucks; Sunny, who is white but was born and raised in HI; Melissa, who has lived here three years; and us. It’s cool to feel an equal sense of ownership in the café, since we’re all starting together, and I haven’t gotten too overwhelmed, even after we started talking about recipes for all the drinks. I made an awesome latte today, my first ever :). We’ve been doing a lot of coffee tasting, and I’m SO wired from it, I hardly slept last night (not to mention Jeanie and I got up at 6:30 this morning to watch the presidential inauguration at Charley’s…. We missed most of it, but it was still fun to join the huge crowd for the tail end of it). I’m almost set on uniforms—we have to wear black or khaki pants or capris, and white or black collared shirts. It’s not too bad, though they have a lot of nit-picky specifications within that, like you have to wear a belt if your pants have belt loops, and your socks have to match your pants.

Oh, one annoying thing is that for working in food service, I have to get a TB test—not such a huge deal except that I was immunized against it as a baby, so a skin test is likely to be positive. I went to the free clinic today to ask about a chest x-ray, and they said I had to get the skin test first…. So I got the shot, will go back on Friday to get it checked, and then I might have to still get the x-ray. What a hassle.

I know this is getting long, but one final thing: Yesterday we were stopped at a red light, and this elderly man in the car next to us starts talking to me out his window. Turns out he needed directions somewhere, and who better to ask than the two girls driving the crappy car? I’ve been asked for directions quite a bit, but I’ve never given them as smoothly as I did right then. I almost felt like a local.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Visitor!

Our friend Lauren is coming from Wisconsin tonight! Her mom works for Northwest, so she gets great deals on flights and spontaneously booked a flight out here. It'll be awesome to have our very first guest :)

The memoir editing is going very slowly, not because there's tons of stuff to change, but for some reason it's a lot more time-consuming than I realized. In the end, I'll probably have made about $3 an hour. Awesome.

That pro surfer, Keala, introduced herself to me today. I get star-struck so easily, but I like to pretend I don't know people are famous, maybe because I think they must get sick of people making a big deal out of them.

It is SUPER windy today, and the town has a pleasant (not) scent of sugar cane factory. I worriedly asked a couple people if there was going to be a hurricane, but they assured me that because Maui is between other islands, it hardly ever gets hit, and if it does, there's plenty of warning. Maui has these tremendous, massive clouds that in MN would indicate tornados but here are just cool to look at.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Volcano Peaks and Famous Surfers

I'm on my way to being a Hawaii resident! Jeanie and I went to get our state ID cards today, and after a detour to some official building to register to vote (we needed that to prove we live here) and maybe an hour of waiting, we got them! They are pretty :) I didn't really like Wailuku, the city all the government stuff is in, when I first went there, but this time it reminded me a lot of Mombasa--something about how colorful it is, and how the buildings look like they've aged too quickly because they've embraced the sun and heat--and now I'm kind of in love with it.

Yesterday we got up at 5 a.m. and drove up the peak of Haleakala to see the sun rise. It was pretty awesome and beautiful, though being cold and tired isn't my favorite thing. We came back and took a nap, had a crepe breakfast at Cafe Des Amis, and went over to Kihei to try out our boogie boards (since the surf here on the north shore is kind of terrifying--I'm serious, a lot of the time I'm too scared to even swim in it). It was a lot of fun, and I'm sore today! That evening we filled out paperwork at Border's, which took a ridiculously long time, and met our new coworkers. They seem nice, not extremely interesting, but you can't always tell from first impressions.

Retha just told us there's a famous surfer staying at the Lodge, Keala Kennelly. I saw her come in, though of course I didn't know who she was. She's here to surf Jaws. Cool, but if I'm going to see another celebrity, I still want it to be Owen Wilson.

I discovered that Pa'ia means "noise." It is a good name for this town.

I'm sorry, I feel like this post is particularly lame (and my writing style is particularly flat). I've been working a tiny bit on a little personal essay thing, and maybe it's sucked my creative juices out of me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Few Extra Thoughts

We have been here a month and a week. It’s not like I sit around and count the days because they pass so obviously, it’s just that I’m eager for it to be two months, then three months, etc.—it’s more impressive than “a little more than a month.” I'm getting very used to living here.

There is something about Hawaii that makes me hungry all the time. Maybe it’s the sun and fresh air, ‘cause I’m not that much more active than I was in MN. It could also be the abundance of amazing places to eat, especially fabulous fish restaurants. The only money I’ve spent on myself so far (besides the boogie board, batik, and necessary things like trash cans and lamps) is for eating out. And I’ve really begun to enjoy cooking, maybe because it’s more motivating to cook for two than for one. Nothing fancy, but let’s just say I’m branching out beyond scrambled eggs. My mom will be proud.

We figured out that the garbage trucks that come every night are actually gas trucks stopping by the Chevron station directly out our front door. No wonder they come every night at the most ungodly hour. And they are sooooooooo loud.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Many More Updates

Once again, lots to catch up on. First and foremost, Jeanie and I both have jobs! After she got the one at the Border’s café, I had an interview there and was basically offered the position on the phone before I even got there (apparently they loved Jeanie!). The interview was unique; there weren’t really any questions, just a conversation with Kris, who must be the most awesome manager you could have—extremely personable, funny, easy-going. I felt like I was being folded into a family the second I walked in. So anyway, we are pumped to have landed a pretty sweet job. Here are the perks:

-It is in Kahului, only seven miles from Paia on a good highway.
-They’re just putting in the Seattle’s Best café now, so everyone will be starting from scratch.
-Both Kris and Retha are open to working around each other’s schedules so they can share us in a way that works best for everyone.
-Jeanie and I get to work together (this will be the fourth job we’ve had together—crazy!).
-I get to work in a coffee shop and a bookstore at once!!!

We are pretty stoked to get started. We go in to fill out paperwork on Tuesday and start training on the register on Friday. The café doesn’t actually open until the 23rd or something, but there’s a week of training and setting up beforehand. Hooray, we have jobs! It’s pretty exhilarating, after waiting for over a month.

We’ve been doing a lot of stuff with people recently. On Thursday, Tim, that traveler guy from the Lodge, took us to see the spot where Jaws goes off. Jaws is one of the biggest waves in the world (or so I’ve heard—I haven’t googled it or anything), and you have to get to it through these sugar cane fields on a maze of terrible dirt roads, so Tim offered to take us in his 4-wheel drive SUV. It was a fun drive (reminded me of Kenya in the old days), and then once you get there, you slide down this steep hill holding onto a rope and end up on a pile of boulders that I would not want to surf into. Jaws wasn’t going off, but the swells were still pretty awesome. Then that night we went to Café Mambo because they show movies there every Thursday, and drank smoothies and watched Caddyshack.

Friday morning I met Lisa, the woman whose memoir I’m editing, at Anthony’s (coffee shop). She is from Kauai, but she and her husband are visiting Maui and happened to be passing through Paia on their way to Hana. She was nice, but the meeting was a little awkward, because I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m not sure how to be professional. Plus, I know I’m a good editor, but I don’t know how to make other people trust that I’m not just changing their grammar for fun. Her memoir has been fun to read; it is decently written and very interesting. After that, we worked, hung out at the beach, went to Border’s for my interview, went to the Hope Chapel service in Kihei (where we actually sat with people we knew, a couple girls we met at Big Rise), bought boogie boards at Walmart, and ate junk food while watching Scrubs. Busy day.

Yesterday after work, we joined a group from Hope Chapel in Lahaina to go on a whale watching cruise! For those who don’t know, the humpback whales come from Alaska this time of year to have their babies. It was fun—we didn’t see any fantastic displays, but it was still pretty awesome to see whale tails and spouts close up. There was great food and we met some new people. Afterwards, we joined a group at this restaurant, BJ’s, and even though I doubt these people are soul mates, it was still great just to be hanging out with people! We are making friends!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The only time it is quiet here is between 1 and 4 a.m. Before 1, people seem to think it is OK to hang out directly outside our window and laugh and drink and play stupid music. After 4, the loudest garbage trucks you can possibly imagine come hammering down the road and back up 50 times in our little alley. Peaceful country life this is not. At least Charley's and Jacques are far enough down the road that we don't hear their pounding bass on the weekends.

We have a cane spider--a small one, but still freakishly terrifying. I tried to kill it but am not sure I succeeded.

A Random Tangle of Thoughts

I feel like there is so much to catch up on!

Bad news first: I'm furious with US Bank because I've been having issues using my credit card here and because they charged me a ridiculously high late fee for not paying my credit card bill by midnight central time, as if I'm operating by central time. And I've also had a bad last couple days. They were beautiful and sunny, and of course we were working our butts off the whole time. And it's not like we planned to be working all day--it's like, "Oh, there's one more thing....Oh wait, here's another house for you to clean." Today we had the day off and went to Loniupoko, a beach on the way to Lahaina, and it rained the first half of the day. Great. And finally, the cockroaches had a little romp about the bathroom yesterday evening--with the lights on--so we have decided they must die, after all. And Jeanie has been having some crappy things going on back home. :(

And good news: the beach was good when it wasn't raining. We got tan. (By the way, Martha and Emily will be pleased to know that I can finally relate to them wholeheartedly--I am the pasty white person here, instead of being the tan one. I hang out with too many Asians and Mexicans!) Holly and Kieva hung out there, too, so it was fun to have a little kid to play with. We saw whales breaching all over the place (granted, they were far away, but we still got excited about it). Yesterday we went for interviews at Banana Republic in Wailea, and they went really well, and I got a call back tonight to offer me the job. Jeanie got offered a job at the new Border's Seattle's Best (yay!), so we're excited about that. I have an interview there on Friday, plus I don't actually want to work at Banana Republic or drive all the way out there five days a week, so I'm going to turn Banana down.

(By the way, I'm sorry this is so convoluted. I'm trying to rush to get done before my battery dies because my cord is in Joe Bob's and I'm at the Lodge trying to pick up wireless.)

Tonight we went to this Hope Chapel thing for young people called Big Rise. It was really fun, and we met a lot of people. Conversations are so interesting here. They always include the following: "How long have you been here?" "Where are you from originally?" I love how everyone has such vastly different backgrounds but are united by a common love for island life and the desire to escape the craziness of the real world. Once again, I was kinda forcing myself to do a big group thing because I knew it'd be good for me, and then it ended up being awesome. I think we could make some really good connections there, like there was this girl who's doing massage therapy school in Makawao, which is pretty close by here. It's hard not really being able to commit to regular activities or small groups because of the distance and our totally random schedules, but I'm thinking we'll be able to patch together a decent social life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

One Month!

Today is our official one-month anniversary with the island of Maui! Is that hard for anyone besides me to believe? It doesn't seem like it's been that long. (And it comes with a small twinge of guilt that I don't have a job yet. I could be trying a lot harder.)

Yesterday we went to Holly and Maria's church in Wailuku. I think it's a four-square church, so pretty different than I'm used to, but still good. Then we joined the Hope Chapel people for volleyball on Big Beach again, which was fun :) Our team lost all four times we played, but they were good games. It was nice to see that some of the same people were there, so we might actually make friends if we go often enough. We made spaghetti for dinner on our ONE burner (and then resorted to using the griddle to heat up the sauce). It took an hour to make it all. Then of course we found it necessary to walk the 50 feet to the gelatto shop and try some new flavors--this time I had tiramisu, but the mint strattiacelli is still the best!

I bought a cooling pad thing for my laptop; now I'm basically holding my breath and crossing my fingers and knocking on wood and hoping it lives at least until I'm putting as much into savings as I'm taking out and can buy a new one.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home Sweet Paia Pics!

I added pictures:

I was tempted to take pictures of everything in Paia--Cafe Mambo, my favorite shops, the post office, every street, every restaurant, all the signs, the hippie people, the gelatto shop, our car parked in the street, etc., but I figured this was enough.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Successful Day

We woke up bright and early this morning to the sound of people in our shack. Turned out they were actually outside in the street, or in the Hana Bay Picnic Co. that we share a wall with, but it really, really sounded like they were right beside us. We cleaned for hours at Bamboo Gate and brought home a motherload of leftover items--ketchup, ice cream bars, yogurt, tomatoes, three kinds of cereal, half a bottle of wine, eggs, soy sauce, angel hair pasta, etc.--all great and organic because the only grocery store in town is Mana, which only sells expensive, good quality, organic stuff.

I took a lunch break to meet up with Holly and her writer friend Sarah at Milagros. It was great to meet Sarah, who is involved in every kind of writing project you can imagine--she was really nice, one of those people you are comfortable with right away. I also chatted more with David, the caretaker of one of Rick's places, today, and found out he does work with writing and animating, and he wants me to write a prose poem he can illustrate. It's awesome to have some encouragement from the writing world. Oh, and I've started editing a memoir for this lady, Lisa, who lives on Kauai. I think I could really get into freelance work.

We were finally able to open our p.o. box, on the third try. The guy almost didn't accept Retha's hand-written note, but in the end he caved and gave us a box (and I can't think of a reason it would be unsafe to post it here): 790704, Paia-Maui, HI 96779. So send me mail! ;)

Tonight we went to a surprise birthday party for Reynolds. We were late, so we didn't actually get in on the surprise part of it, but it was fun anyway. I really despise doing things like that--going to large parties or group activities where I don't know anyone (or worse, I know people just enough to have exhausted every introductory conversation topic but not well enough to talk about meaningful things). It's awkward, and I get super panicked and anxious. And then these parties turn out totally fine, fun even. We made friends with this girl Liz, who is going to meet us at Cafe Mambo for breakfast tomorrow before we go to her church (where Holly and Maria go, too). Other than her, Sarah, and Retha's daughter, all the other people there were guys--have I mentioned how Paia is almost completely dominated by males? It's bizarre, especially after coming from Northwestern. For every woman we've met, we've met probably three men. (By the way, I'm not complaining.)

As I'm sure I've mentioned, we have two cockroaches that live above our shower. We named them Luke and Owen and are considering not killing them after all, since all they do is chill in the corner at night, flicking the air with their four-inch-long antennae. We're not allowed to have a cat or dog, so I guess cockroaches can be pets.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I write this as I sit in our new living room, under pretty Christmas lights, my sunshiney batik on the wall. Our new place is finally clean and complete, minus a few sheets, towels, and curtains in the wash. We moved all our stuff in today and are actually really pleased with the result--it may still be essentially a shack, but it's pretty darn cute. I never thought of myself as a nester, but I love setting up a new place. I was finally ready to pull everything out of my suitcases and put pictures and decorations up. I will take pictures tomorrow. Haha, we even have a couple surf posters up; we are the hugest wannabes in the world.

In addition to the joy of moving in, we had some other pleasant surprises today. First, we got paid for the one week we worked after we had finished our deposit but before we moved in (by the way, I'm supposed to keep that on the d.l., so..... oops). Then we got a $40 tip in a room we cleaned. We used it to eat out at Cafe Mambo, our favorite little lunch place in town--they have the BEST fish sandwiches on focaccia bread! Mmmm. And then we got gift certificates to the gelato place from Rick for Christmas.

I've become a little obsessed with collecting change. If we find coins in the places we're cleaning, I'll keep 'em, even the pennies. I'm saving up empty bottles to take to the recycling redemption center--5c a pop, woohoo! I think it all started when Retha told us she's saved up $200 in coins since she started cleaning here three years ago. Actually, I think it all started when I was born. I'm a miser.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Musings

Happy new year! I have officially never lived anywhere but Hawaii in the year 2009!

Jeanie and I ended up doing absolutely nothing last night. We started watching Scrubs and got too lazy/tired to join the fun at Jacques. LAME. People go crazy here for new years, though.... There were so many fireworks and bomb-type things going off you couldn't see down the street because of all the smoke.

Today it was finally sunny, so we lay on the beach and watched the surfers. It was pretty awesome, though it makes me want to surf soooooo bad!! After that, we went and cleaned our new place (which, by the way, is named neither #10 or #11 but "Joe Bob's"...that's going to have to change). We got a brand new fridge and a second bed, and with all our hard work cleaning, it's shaping up really nicely. I'd say the only things that really bother me are the cockroaches in the shower and and leaks in the roof, both of which can be taken care of.

My poor computer seems to be on its last if I'm an expert. This guy Andy, who comes over all the time to work on Mari's broken car, laughed at my optimism that maybe the fan is just dirty and said it's broken and that new fans are expensive. He said to get one of those computer pad things with fans on it...or it will overheat and die. Perhaps I should stop using it so much.

I remembered another random thing I was going to say: things aren't as outrageously expensive here as everyone seems to think. For example, gas is $2.39, about 70 or 80 cents more than in MN (and the Midwest generally has the lowest gas prices in the country). Job pay rates are at least a dollar or two higher per hour than on the mainland, so the higher cost of living here is hardly noticeable.