Raindrops on Orchids and Whiskers on Wild Boars

20562741_10155515709562673_450580120_n

ZenCat

The best thing happened this summer: My phone fell victim to some serious damage with five days left of warranty coverage. Apple Store repair shenanigans placed me alone at the bar of a Chili’s for an entire Thursday evening slurping melted cheese out of a tiny skillet, repeatedly asking strangers if they had the time. It was heaven. I was free to spend the night without that inexplicable, invisible tug toward the icey blue light of my iPhone. No FOMO, no distraction, no guilt for failing to maintain conversation with people thousands of miles away.

Since then, I’ve been embracing life without constant internet access by leaving the house with nothing but a drivers license and keys. Sometimes, my phone stays in Do Not Disturb mode for days on end. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but if you think about my age and environment for the past few years you’ll understand certain digital habits run deep. But also, so many worthwhile things can happen when you gift yourself less connectedness, just walking away from it all. Hence the radio-silence.

20536255_10155515705647673_1716590481_o20821400_10154563818405448_508677006_o

20590617_10155515705672673_797622160_o

Standard island views…not sick of it yet.

I know it sounds like an excuse to not maintain virtual relationships or responsibilities, but honestly the overall quality of my life seems to have a positive correlation with time spent looking at clouds and a negative correlation to anything related to an acquaintance’s cousin’s baby’s birthday party on Facebook….The folks that understand this have gigantic monuments erected in my heart in their honor.

 

20864421_10155557480557673_395079977_n

Babes

This summer has taken the form of weeknight walks on the beach, cataloging dead bug friends at the museum, and watching the sunset wrap around the north and south edges of the island at the same time.  It’s been composed by little joys like cooking outside on a hot night and spontaneous swims.  Sometimes we pull over the car to simply marvel at how bright the stars are and how dark everything else is. I’ve been relearning the feeling of what its like to shake and sweat and breath with purpose between yoga, swimming, hiking.

 

21706065_10154643758315448_1169062733_o

It sounds super cheesy, but this summer has been spent trying to focus on the things that bring us joy in reality -as opposed to what is seemingly important. I’ve spent nearly my entire life considering the right ways to spend limited time, money, energy, etc. with plenty of grief in any case. Ultimately, I like reading in a hammock on a Friday night instead of going out, and buying clothes where you can also get 20 lbs of frozen chicken. I like hanging out with my husband pretty much all the time, and fiercely whispering to him when there’s a cute dog nearby. I like not responding to text messages for two weeks then replying to everyone all at once after they’ve given up on the conversation. Its not like I’m aiming to have “kept up with appearances” written on my gravestone.

 

Being off the radar does not mean we haven’t been busy, though. At one point this summer, we tried roadtripping Oahu but arrived at the literal end of the road within an hour and fifteen minutes at Ka’ena point. We hiked up to the Makapu’u lighthouse on a day where a Humane Society dog rally was happening. Great Frigatebirds coasted overhead and the wind whipped past our ears as dusk settled in (dogs barking in the breeze). We snorkeled on the north shore in a cove only safe during summer and saw some fluorescing corals, testing our lungs freediving next to schools of fish. Today I realized that when you dive under a breaking wave, everything seems to slow down as if complete suspension in water suspends time too, been thinking about that for a bit. Pacific golden plovers have arrived from Alaska for the season and cheerfully scurry through parking lots these days, so viewing them has taken up a lot of my personal time as it would anyone of course.

19859022_10154643759880448_23169070_o

Turns out snails perform a great number of activities that we never noticed before. This one just *made love* on a forested trail, another drank from a river right in the middle of the day.

In trying to not be busy this summer we ended up occupied, but in a way where the hours are filled with wonder and happy exhaustion. What we have is the best life I could ask for and I’m so glad for every decision that was made along the way to bring us here today. For real though, there’s a place that puts biscuits and gravy inside of a breakfast burrito…Life is a good thing.

 

Advertisements

You might find out later that the road’ll end in Oahu. Honey, the road’ll even end in Kathmandu.

After 3 months for me and 5 for Ethan, I think we’re officially settled in Hawaii!

2017_0625_150821_001

K-Bay

“Settling” anywhere usually makes me itch for a new locale but I’m determined to be braver than ever before by remaining in place for now. I mean…living on an island in the middle of gigantic ocean doesn’t make it that hard, but still. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

Poe is out of rabies quarantine where he spent the first 60 days on the island. Since coming home, he has proven his value by protecting us from 6″ poisonous centipedes from under the bed, an escargatoire of snails, one cheeseburger-sized cane toad, and the dangers of showering -when he hears the water running he earnestly attempts to pull you away with a curled paw.

19477962_10155382943782673_623348035_n

Home

It is officially summer in Hawaii, which means we officially caved and bought an air conditioner. Other than that, I’m focused on keeping extra stuff out of our tiny apartment and have already managed to put together a donation pile. Sinking into a less-is-more minimalist lifestyle has felt more true to my tendencies than any other way of living. It feels like being on vacation; cutting out the paradox of choice from an expansive wardrobe and encouraging us to look past the walls of our home for entertainment. Exploring the area’s cool restaurants and coastline keeps every day interesting. Then, when we run out of things to do on land, the ocean offers an equal dose of opportunity.

Last weekend we went kayaking in Kaneohe Bay and saw six or seven sea turtles. It was high tide so the sandbar in the bay was under waist-deep bright blue bathwater and we spent the day snorkeling around and eating Italian subs out of the boat. The weekend prior, we revisited the popular pillbox trail in the midday heat trekking from our front door to Lanikai over a steep gravelly hill.

19512019_10155382919817673_1720760851_n

Munchkin

I got a part-time job at a Kailua kayak shop and an internship with the entomology collection at a museum in Honolulu, which will last until 2018. Perks include free kayak and stand up paddle board rentals, and museum access which is right up my alley once again. I’m hoping to spend the next few months paddling and enjoying planetarium shows, embracing the free time this season provides.

 

19511848_10155382944612673_1318688871_n

Our Neighborhood, Enchanted Lake, with Kailua & Waimanalo Bays on Each Side

It looks like its going to be a pretty awesome summer and fall if I can manage to shake the feeling that I should be doing things more like everyone else.

19489713_10155382940412673_1037033321_n

Buddha gets it.

Sometimes even someone as determined to live life a particular way as I am can feel bad deviating from what it feels like everyone else is doing (and what our parents and grandparents did before). But no one can ever know if the paths they’ve chosen are “right”, and maybe we’re all just trying to enjoy the ride despite different navigation. This trip just happens to cover a great number of miles, without a house, without children, with fewer status symbols, but one great big love between blue-eyed babes.

 

 

 

On The Edge of Twenty-Seventeen

10399257_36755212672_6456_n

Did you know me ten  years ago? Ten years ago, I was sixteen (I KNOW). I had long blonde hair, wore Birkenstocks year-round, and listened to Led Zeppelin while cruising in my ’96 Jetta and/or while getting emotional about transcendentalism. You might remember a teal t-shirt in regular rotation announcing “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE”?

18425788_10155232727002673_85411065_n

A view of Rabbit Island from the windward (home) side of Oahu

Sitting on the beach the other day after an impromptu post-work swim in the ocean, Ethan and I discovered that we had recently come to the same realization: that we are now living like our sixteen-year-old selves would have wanted us to. 5 states, 7 addresses, 8 hairstyles, 13 semesters of college, and 14 jobs later, the blonde in the Birks is wearing flowers in her hair again and learning to play Stairway to Heaven on harmonica. Ethan is starting to look like a retired something that was sponsored by Volcom, which is the long and short of it.

In the way of updates since my last post, quite a lot has happened:

  • I got a job! For now. I have a contract writing technical manuals for a bank which is exciting because:
    • They pay at a rate of 2 bottles of Kirkland-brand prosecco per hour.
    • The INTP in me is psyched to put commercial loan accounting into logical terms, because it makes the world a safer place for us all (?).
  • Turns out Hawaii is in the technological stone-age, with typewriters, dictionaries, phone books, and carbon copied pages in manila folders kept in file cabinets all in active use. Everyone in Hawaii who has lived anywhere else since 2002 lays awake at night collectively wondering “Do they know about electronic signatures yet??”. I spend a lot of time quivering in office settings these days.
  • We’ve had a lot of firsts lately including trips to the north shore, a volcano hike, a polo match, a chocolate tasting, stand-up paddle boarding, plus we just got snorkel gear and Ethan is learning to body board while fighting the ocean for survival.
20170513_125114

*Cue Jurassic Park Soundtrack*

This past weekend we hiked to Manoa Falls but continued out of the valley, up the Aihualama and Pauoa Flats trails without knowing where they went. A chain of switchbacks, spotted with millions of ochre mud puddles, carved a narrowing corridor through the bamboo forest. It led to the crest of a ridge protruding from the Ko’olau Mountain Range and offered quite the reward for our persistent “lets just see whats ahead” determination. Sometimes the best views are the ones you dont expect, and earn unknowingly.

A moment that stands out to me from our trek isn’t the glory at the end of the trail but rather the storm of sensations in the middle of it. Amid towering stalks of emerald, we paused to enjoy a gust of wind as it swept through the forest and heard a sound unlike anything either of us had experienced. It was guttural. It was fleshy and hollow, ancient and new. My mind jumped to that morning, having tested the safety of our expedition with a lesson from ancient Hawaiians: setting a yellow leaf on the surface of a pool of fresh water to gauge our permission to visit that place. If your leaf floats, you may respectfully proceed. If it sinks, massive jet-black reptilian deities (Mo’o) will protect their custodial lands and waters from you. That morning we watched our leaf zigzag to the bottom of the pool and slip upstream no less…But Our Backpack Was Full of Snacks and We Must Go. John Muir said that.

20170513_143726

Bamboo is actually a grass, so I guess this is what its like to be a bug? Spooky.

Frozen on the trail later that afternoon, we realized that chilling noise wasn’t a 40′ lizard coming to collect atonement, but was the collective percussion of thousands of bamboo stems knocking against one another in the wind. The plants reached high above our heads so the movement took place out of sight on a plane that spread across the forest, creating a haunting a layer of sound. Shama Thrushes called out from their hiding places in the the dense foliage with reassuring song and we proceeded upward, unknowingly onward to the ridge-line view.

20170513_143951

Its hard to effectively describe the sense of wonder this brought, but its all too familiar. The feeling of being momentarily held captive by your senses deep inside something so alive is essentially my raison d’etre after an adolescence spent stunned in New England’s old-growth gems. Getting out and exercising is intuitively incorporated in our life in Hawaii much to my delight. Even something as simple as feeling the ground under bare feet is enough to fill a longing for connectedness with nature that developed over the past few years in the California commute/condo life.

These days I’m nurturing a sense of wildness that I loved about myself years ago and it feels so good. I recommend doing something -even in the slightest way- to make a younger, wilder you proud. Don’t you think that part of you deserves it? I’m proud of the challenges and sacrifices that we made that brought us thousands of miles from home, to meet amazing new people, taste a few more flavors, and witness a wider section of the range of things that compose Life on Earth.

In the spirit of perpetual adolescence, why not make it up to yourself for spending so much time being boring (nothing personal, we’re all boring)? Go skydiving, get a perm, whatever! And as a side note to the adventurers out there: Our futon always has your name on it.

20170513_111307

Keep your boots by the door and champagne chilled at all times to anticipate a life of adventure & celebration.

The life changing magic of not being able to afford a shipping container

Here I am, burnt to a crisp, rolling into week 3 of FUNemployment in Paradise (which is the name of a program I’m developing for wealthy millennials who want to take photos for their Instagram in developing equatorial nations, sign up today)!

17974715_10155163872692673_602221031_n

Me having fun @ the beach!

18034797_10155163910702673_1297665215_n (1)

Tip: compare bananas

One of the beautiful things about donating most of your worldly belongings to Goodwill for a second time in three years is that it builds…character. When we were weighing our options to stay or leave California, our hesitation was seasoned with a dash of salty memories from being BROKE from moving. They say financial challenges are the leading cause of divorce. I say financial challenges are the leading cause of a good marriage if you’re willing to get crafty -but then again what do I know, I’ve been married for like 5 minutes TBH.

BONUS: If you want to test your relationship but are all out of ex-texts and pregnancy scares, here’s how to do it.

  1. Get rid of everything that wont fit in a 2-door Honda Civic and drive with your bae through the Heartland a.k.a. Purgatory. Make sure to get the flu by Iowa.
  2. When you arrive on the Golden Coast, spend all your money at IKEA and then realize you cant eat matching nightstands. Fill your over-sized, overpriced condo with pillows. Justify each of 12 slotted spoons’ place in your home with reasoning that some are wooden and some are better for certain sauces.
  3. Don’t take the cat to the vet,  commute 3 hours a day,  be a student for eternity, fall into a series of brief and disillusioning jobs that suck your soul out of your body, plan a wedding, see the sun once every 7 days, stay when rent goes up, go back and forth between hating yourself and hating everyone else, finally take the cat to the vet.
  4. All of this.
  5. Be at a crossroads where you can decide to do it over again.
  6. Say yes.

This time, not just any slotted spoon is going to crowd up our tiny kitchen. When we decided to relocate again it was with a serious intention to do it right, without falling into expected routines unintentionally laid like traps by literally everyone -make money, spend money, sleep, repeat, eventually disappear from the face of the earth still talking about high school. I think simply knowing that there are alternative ways to live is enough reason to fight like hell to get there. I’m lucky enough to have a best friend to make that journey with. Our old routine didn’t leave me with much energy to be as grateful as I should be for that, but in the act of letting go of things, like belongings, you can decide what stays, like gratitude (AND WHAT YOU CAN INTRODUCE, LIKE BOOGIE BOARDS).

Here’s an idea of what downsizing looks like right now:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Things are less impressive and less expensive! We just got a used futon (which is at all times absolutely covered in sand). Our apartment is less than 400 square feet and the kitchen consists of a hot plate and toaster oven. There is one closet. We have approximately 3 outfits each, and my butt cheeks are always 1) visible & 2) sticking to something. Stacked up next to the lives of other people our age from similar backgrounds, what we have doesn’t look like much. In a repulsively cliche way, I’ve never been happier.

18034906_10155164009162673_1589133766_n

Picked these babies up in a Sears parking lot

Sometimes it gets hard in the middle of daily life to put little details in their place. There’s a tiny Emily Post in the back of my mind screaming like a banshee when we opt out of owning more than 2 bath towels…And then I realize I don’t care and go have a delicious Li-Hing malasada while floating on a watermelon tube, butt cheeks in the sun.

Hopped off the plane at HNL in all black with a winter coat

Aloooooha -that means hello and a few other things because Hawaiians know how to keep it simple. The past few weeks have been hectic to say the least, but now here I am, literally in the middle of the ocean.

For those who are yet to be updated: My husband was offered a job on the island of Oahu, Hawaii within the same half hour that I was offered a permanent position at a firm in San Francisco…So we opted for the more dramatic choice, as usual. We ended up apart for two months of the first six of our marriage to make the move more “do-able”, which I’m going to say was uncomfortable -but worth it as most uncomfortable things are.

I think we owe it to ourselves and one another to be our happiest, best selves…So we’re taking this opportunity to build a more mindful and purposeful lifestyle than what we had fallen into back on the mainland. Its not quite that we were unhappy in California, but more that we spent our energy on things that weren’t bringing enough value into our lives with massive commutes, excessive square footage, and unfulfilled aspirations. If you know me at all, you know I have a tendency to make big moves without hesitation. This was not the case with leaving the Bay Area; this move is particularly bittersweet for me leaving a salary, an incomplete bucket list, and some of the most important leading ladies in my life across the Pacific. All things considered, I’m ready to move forward to new adventures with the world’s best husband. I’m ready to build a more peaceful life in paradise based on our priorities and values. That’s how I know I’m an old person! I’m practically retired and its amazing!

17813800_10155116595997673_1279074248_na

I arrived this past Tuesday in Honolulu wearing an outfit fit for Dolly Parton’s funeral (GOD SAVE THE QUEEN), which you can feel free to imagine. Ethan brought me a gorgeous lei from Sophia’s Lei Stand and a pink and purple ribbon lei that he made. It was so hot and we dragged my 150lbs of luggage to the truck sweating and grinning like goofballs.

I’ve been living out of a backpack for a while now, between emptying our California condo and traveling to the East Coast, so moving into a new apartment feels like an extension of that. We currently have camping chairs for furniture in our living room and are getting dressed out of suitcases, but I am in love with the one-bedroom Ethan scored for us here in Kailua. Its the perfect size and has very few right-angled corners. Home tour to come once we get more settled.

17806714_10155124792262673_1674456115_n

Changed the airport outfit BTW.

After stopping briefly at the apartment we went to downtown Kailua to reunite with fruit/vegetables at Nalu Health Bar & Cafe. We took our lunch to the beach at Waimanalo Bay where Ethan dragged me into water that was more sky-colored than the sky itself. The ocean was shockingly chilly and I protested all the way out to belly-button-depth as more of a “slow torture” methodist than cannonball type girl. Once we were out to our waists, the waves forced us up to our shoulders and soon enough over our heads in a salty baptism by the sea. I think swimming is one of those things that you can easily forget how much you love until you’re finally splashing around again. Its like a trampoline; no one can deny how fun trampolines are when you’re up there bouncing your stress away. And by the way, if you don’t like trampolines you can just stop reading this because I cant have that type of negativity in my life right now.

17841982_10155124792472673_1504714831_n

Waimanalo! Wai-Mahalo? Okay.

After beach time, we went for Pho at a place I cannot remember because I was falling asleep at the table. Going from Eastern Standard Time during Daylight Savings to Hawaii Standard Time is no joke…

The past few days have been a very relaxing blur, so I’ve been writing and deleting lots of ideas about this transition to Hawaii life. To save your time and confusion, the main points of interest beyond what’s obvious are (in no particular order):

  • Birds. There are hella birds here! There are more pigeons than I’ve ever seen in the city, which is nothing short of thrilling. I cant help but try to strike up an understanding with them like that girl from Fly Away Home. Plus there are plenty of hens and roosters rooting around in the bushes at intersections, we actually crossed the street the other day to get closer to a wild rooster fight. You could say we’re adrenaline junkies.
  • There are tons of flowers that I cant recognize all over the place. People literally wear flowers in their hair while working the cash register at the pharmacy.
  • Things aren’t that much more expensive than they were in California except gas, milk, things like that. Rent and utilities are a couple hundred dollars less each month but we’re still all about that Signature Select lifestyle (available at Safeway and Shaws near you).
  • People seem to like yoga here A LOT. On a similar note, there are A LOT of white people who eat dinner at Whole Foods. I wonder if the other white people at the Whole Foods also had a moment of self-awareness about how we all seemed to be wearing variations of the same exercise clothes and a $250 balayage? Hmm.
  • Here is a photo of Ethan at a farmers market. He’s happy because he bought me a full-body deep tissue massage that magically disassembled my neuroses so we can enjoy living in the Garden of Eden together. Also here’s some of our farmer’s market haul including a passion fruit, jalapeno hummus made of breadfruit (‘Ulu), and local honey.

That’s it for now! Save your pennies to join us soon. We miss our friends and family so much, but cant wait to explore further and share our stories with you. Feel free to leave comments or questions anytime!

How does a person end a blog? Okay, Its done now.