Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't read this unless you want to read about maimed rats

I'm going to have nightmares.

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

Wonderful Challenges

Plans for the next phase of my life are starting to take shape.

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


I'm almost done reading The End of Poverty. I have to admit, I skipped a big section in the middle in order to get the Africa chapter, and I have been skimming some of the parts that are boring to me (repeat "GDP" and "$" too often and I'm lost), but overall it's been eye-opening. It also makes me realize how much I love the idea of nations coming together despite differences to solve global problems. I want desperately to be some kind of mediator, to use my writing to voice needs to those who can help. It's incredibly frustrating to think of how comfortable a lot of the wealthy are in their apathetic and unaware and selfish. Yet what right do I have to be angry? What do I do with what I've been given?

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

Completely Totally Overwhelmed and Exhausted and Drained



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 bible, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, articles
research, organize, and plan for the present and future
stay updated on world news
watch movies
go to coffee shops
save money
buy a new laptop
sort through and get rid of what I don't need
make lists
be excited, nostaligic, optimistic, or sad
enjoy Maui while I'm still here
remember things
take breaks for the sake of sanity
be alone
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

The beginning of the end

I am a control freak. I either just realized this or I continue to forget it, because I surprised myself yesterday by figuring out the reason I am frequently overcome with anxiety (seriously, it's like every two or three months I freak out) is that I can't control things. I stress out because so much of my future--all of it, really--is out of my hands. I can set plans in motion, but I can't predict what exactly will happen. So. Deep breath. Let go.

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

Maui: Phase Three

Kara had her baby!!!!!!! Samuel Greggory Wu. :) :) :) I am an auntie.... I haven't talked to her since right after he was born, so I'm dying to catch up more, hopefully this weekend.

Things have been crazy here. And by that I mean I've had a limited existence because I've been working my butt off and spending every free second with Isaac. Having him leave for Seattle a few weeks after we started dating isn't the most ideal situation, but it has been good (though exhausting) to get used to being in a relationship while we had the chance to actually be together. Now we have to figure out this long-distance thing and eagerly look forward to seeing each other this winter :)

So, what have we been doing? We had dinner with his family (intimidating but it ended up being fun. His mom is Filipino--though third generation Hawaiian--and she made yummy Filipino food), ate lunch with his cousin/best friend Maile, went hiking with Josh and Brady.... We've hung out in all these crazy romantic settings--cliffs overlooking the ocean, waterfalls, sunsets and full moons, crystal clear water full of turtles, patios lit by tiki torches and strings of lights--it almost makes me laugh because it's so ridiculously surreal. I don't feel like I'm in a dream or anything, though, because our relationship is very grounded. We have a solid friendship, realistic expectations, complete awareness of and guarding against the possibility of getting carried away with each other. I'm excited that he's pursuing what God is calling him to (going to school in Seattle, getting involved in a community there. He wants to study economics and whatever will help him learn about community organizing), and I also want to plan for my future by figuring out how God wants me to use my writing. Anyway, he left early this morning, and I miss him A LOT. Which sucks but is good--I'd worry if I didn't miss him. My time in Maui is definitely shifting in a new direction once again; feels like a third phase.

Speaking of plans, here's my tentative plan (made keeping in mind James 4: "Now listen, you who say, today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."): Live in Maui until December, trying to stay involved in the community here, finding some writing/editing projects, researching grad school options; spend Christmas in Portland and then a month or so in Portland/Spokane/Seattle; volunteer as an English teacher in Thailand for a couple months; visit Minnesota next summer; pack up my stuff and drive it in my new car (i.e. my parents' old car) back to the West Coast, and live/work/go to school (?) there. All very vague, but it makes me feel good to have SOME idea.

Our brakes are going out again. The brake pedal is so soft that once you come to a stop, it slowly depresses all the way to the floor and then gives out, so that unless you throw it into park really fast, you'd keep rolling. Sometimes it works to pump the brake, too, but that doesn't allow for a very quick or clean stop. I'm a little worried.

Here's a pic of me and Isaac. He's pretty cute, I guess ;)