Whatever you do, do it with resolve!

I resolve to…
Read lots of books.

How I plan on doing it…
Read at least a page a day; always keep a book by my bedside and in my purse.

How I know I’ve reached my goal…
Keep a list of books by my desk; cross of each title as I finish the book.

I resolve to…
Write one piece that I am proud of.

How I plan on doing it…
Sit down and write for a solid 40 minutes at least once a week.

How I know I’ve reached my goal…
By the end of the year, I will have one writing sample that I enjoy referring back to.


I resolve to…
Hike at least once every two weeks.

How I plan on doing it…
Plan where and when I want to hike a few days ahead of time, including the time that I need to be out the door; write it down on a posted calendar in order to hold myself to it.

How I know I’ve reached my goal…
Check off accomplished hikes as I accomplish them.

I resolve to…
Learn how to cook.

How I plan on doing it…
Helping my mom prepare dinner; choosing recipes… actually buying the ingredients and actually cooking the dish.

How I know I’ve reached my goal…
I cook dishes for my parents rather than my mom still taking her time to cook dinner after a long day at work.

I resolve to…
Use Facebook less.

How I plan on doing it…
Take Facebook off of my phone; designate an allotted time for Facebook.

How I know I’ve reached my goal…
When I stop comparing myself/my life to what my friends post about their lives.


Non-Teaching Lessons Learned (While Teaching)

Compassion: I don’t buy the argument that some kids fail because they don’t want a good life for themselves. Every last kid wanted to succeed. Not every kid displayed their desire the same way if at all, some kids had more foresight than others, but every kid wanted a good life for themselves. Period.

Letting go of the reigns: Your life, your performance at work, ... are not “supposed” to be a certain way. You can only do your best and you can't control inevitable external factors. You are not “supposed” to be in a certain stage of your life, you are not “supposed” to have accomplished X amount in Y time. You have what you have, you are what you are, and you have not fallen short of any expectations. This contradicts notions of destiny and fate, but this also frees you to venture onto paths that you would not have otherwise considered. You are free to experiment… to ad lib, to live outside of the box, and – in a way – set variable expectations for yourself.

Strength: You are stronger than you think. You can make yourself look a lot stronger than you feel. I watched a teaching video of myself a few days after it was filmed. In my opinion, I looked and sounded confident, purposeful, and even stern. After watching the video for a few more minutes, I suddenly realized that that was the day that I stepped out of the classroom for a minute to cry and then re-entered with what felt like a very fragile demeanor. In actuality, I did not appear to be on the verge of tears. I need to keep this mind the next time the I feel nervous; I have the ability to fake courage and the strength to push through difficult situations.
The 6th Sense: Kids are more attuned to people and their feelings than are working adults. At least my kids were.

The Present: “Right now” is “the next thing”. Each day, I tiredly assured myself that what happened today did not matter because what did matter was that I put in my hours for my first year of teaching. I thought of my first year of teaching as nothing but a stepping-stone for year two and beyond: aka, “real teaching”. After quitting, I anxiously sat around and waited for the next chapter of my life. What I should have done was realize that every day of teaching was a day for itself as well as a stepping-stone for the next day. My year spent earning my teaching credential was a year of lessons for itself along with an investment for my future. As soon as I quit my job, the next chapter of my life began. I will appreciate the moment for what it is as well as dream of an exciting future. I will appreciate who I am now as well as continually work to improve myself.

Two-minute Things: Two-minute positive things can help turn your day around when the bigger things in your day aren't going right. Call a friend to say hello; write a thank you note to someone for their good deed; jot down some ideas for a journal entry, blog post, or book; read an article in the paper. These two-minute little things make you feel good for much longer than the two-minutes that it took to complete the task and they quickly add up. The sum is much greater than the parts.

Sleep: A good night’s sleep is the best investment that you can make for yourself. No explanation necessary.

Humility: Time spent criticizing others rather than analyzing and improving yourself is time wasted. I am greatly humbled by this experience and I regret my being overly critical of others; we all experience struggle, we all are allowed to have these experiences and are allowed to make mistakes, nobody’s perfect, and in the end, self-improvement is more productive than pointing out others’ faults and hoping that they will change.



"Why did you tell them the whole truth? I would have just lied. Or at least left out some parts of the story."

I can't help it! I even told you everything about you-know-what. The truth has always been more interesting to me than any story I could make up. I can't keep a secret to save my life and I can't bear to spare the details. I can't even give the coffee guy a boring, simple answer to his question of "so, what do you do here in the city?"

What I should have said: "I work at ********  for *****"

What I said: "Well, I'm working a temp job right now, but like, super temporary because I'm moving to Hawai'i soon. I'm actually a teacher. Well, I was a teacher -- in Oakland -- until I quit my job. Then I was out of work for a while, but my friend helped me out and got me this temp job in the city. In that building right over there... It pays the bills, you now. Anyway, that's what I do right now. I'm temping."

Coffee guy: "Oh. Well. Would you like room for cream?"

What I should have said: "No, thanks."

What I said: "Oh, it's OK, I like my coffee black. Plus, I've heard so much about your coffee that I've been dying to taste it and you can't get the real taste of coffee if it's all contaminated with cream and sugar."

...Damnit, April. Shut up.

I guess this explains the wearing-my-heart-on-my-sleeve bit about me and the fact that I blog.


I'm in Hawaii, Trick.

It's 9:04 A.M. HAST, which means that I am approximately two days and 4 minutes behind on my workout schedule: two days because it was the weekend (family time, yo) and 4 minutes because I got stuck reading out on the front porch, browsing the classifieds (in search of a job), and reading blog posts. Now, I'm in the mood to blog, and every blogger knows that when such a mood strikes, one must act, lest is eludes you once again, never to return until the next task worth procrastinating is nigh.


I felt a particular need to blog because I want to bottle up this current emotion of "done feeling sorry for myself", "ready for the next challenge", and "surrender to God and the universe, because all will be alright with life" before I succumb to another sorry state of self-pity.

What self-pity? Huh, who, what, why?

Yes, I was feeling very sorry for myself because I did not live up to my own expectations in various ways. But my dad says to let the recent past go because there is nothing that can be done about it anymore. The kids will be OK and I will be OK. Life moves on, I gotta move on with it.

Sounds good, Dad. OK, I'll try. I mean, I will.

I still kind of can't believe that I actually live here in Hawaii. What was a wistful fantasy only two months ago -- one week before quitting my job -- is now a reality. I've already met some (OK, one... or two) pretty cool locals, one of whom is an educator (is it I who is drawn to educators, or vice versa?). I eat a lot. I bask in the hot weather (I think I've mentioned before how miserably hot weather pleases me more than miserably cold weather). I exercise, read, and write. It really is everything that I thought living in Hawaii would be.

I moved in with my parents -- a move which, a few months ago, I thought signified some sort of failure. But then again, I also thought that quitting a job signified failure. I'm finally overcoming my closed-mindedness in that arena. Sh*t happens in life. You can't control it all, no matter how much you try. I'm accepting my circumstances for what they are rather than looking upon them (or myself) with an overly-critical eye.

I'm also learning that when I am separated from my loved ones, I tend to imagine that they are leading the same lives that they were leading when I last saw them; this is not the case with my family. My parents have rediscovered some sort of youth and happiness (or maybe they were always this way, but I was too much of an emo teenager to notice) and have picked up new hobbies. All family members in my household are grown up, with their own interests and priorities. Learning to adjust at home has not meant learning how to grow "backwards" and become the girl that I was when I last lived with my parents. Rather, I am adjusting to a brand new lifestyle -- how to live with new kinds of roommates, how to commute about a new neighborhood, finding new forms of entertainment in an environment where not everyone is a hip, young professional... It's new, and God knows I love new. I can't believe that I ever thought that moving home would be a bad thing -- I love my family, I cherish the fact that I have an opportunity to get to know my parents better while they are still young (they're not even 50 years old!), I'm living rent-free... and I live in freaking Hawaii. Like a boss, yo.

Alright, time to get down with Shaun T. I'm eager to log not only one half marathon, one full marathon, and one bike ride across the Embarcadero and Golden Gate Bridge with my beloved running shoes, but 60 days of Insanity, as well. Operation: 6-pack and Strong Arms for Rock Climbing is in full swing (pardon the double meaning; unless the double meaning was too subtle for notice, in which case, carry on).


I Still Kind Of Sort Of Believe I Can Be a Writer One Day

Writing in a personal blog with a few invited readers can have its limitations (no offense; thanks for reading, by the way). I've had many lovely creative urges to write lately, but this blog didn't seem like the right medium.

I wrote a few lengthy posts on AnonCon this year (can't get enough of that thing, even three finals seasons after graduating) and I've had a lot of positive responses. In some posts, I wanted to share ideas for "life lessons" that I'm thinking of including in a self-help book, if I ever write one. We'll see. I'm feeling pretty good about audience reactions so far. Nothing beats anonymous readers saying things like... 
"I'm an undergrad right now, sophomore, and this really spoke to me... This is great. Thank you." 
"Thank you for the words of wisdom." 
"omg why didnt you give the commencement speech at the spring 2011 graduation? ...."
I also wrote a few stories/excerpts of my life. I was not looking for pity or attention; I may have been looking for a bit of a release or closure, but I mostly just wanted a chance to tell a story in an (hopefully) interesting and heartfelt way. Responses to these different stories include,
"This makes me happy :) Thank you for sharing..." 
"This story is so sad..." 
"This story gives me hope."
"This story is both adorable and surprisingly hot..." 
Yay :) I hope to one day have enough life experience (or imagination) to fill a book. A whole, entire book. Watch out for me, world.


Be Happy

When I look back on my time at Cal, I regret spending so much time being unhappy. I look at old photos and old Facebook posts from friends and I realize that I made some of the best friends that anyone could ask for and actually did have a lot of fun experiences, yet I stressed out so much about finals, grades, big life questions, etc...

I should have enjoyed the moment more. "The secret to happiness is wanting what you have". Happiness is not a destination, it's a state of mind. I know now that my time at Cal was not merely stepping stone to something great: I worked my ass off for four years at Cal and one year in a one-year grad program and landed what I thought was the job of my dreams. I ended up quitting that job because I was more stressed out and unhappy than ever. I even moved 3,000 miles away thinking that the answer to happiness was elsewhere, out there, and that I just had to find it; that if I didn't find it, then I must not have worked hard enough to find it.

Happiness is not around the corner. It's now, if you'll let it be now. You can only be where you are now, so you may as well enjoy it. Of all the tasks that you put off for later, don't let happiness be one of those things. Don't look at your life and lament about what you do not have or what you are not doing. Don't buy into the fantasy of "if only ________, then I'll be happy" because that's a big "if". There are too many factors involved. Enjoy right now for what it is. Even if you eventually attain your big dreams of living in another country or meeting the right person and falling in love, know that when you arrive at that moment, there'll still be times of trouble. Perfection is an unrealistic future to stride towards, especially if your ambition blinds you to what you have right now. You are where you are meant to be in this moment.

Things not only "will be" ok --- they ARE ok.


My cat doesn't know I'm leaving him

"Moving away" type of packing is difficult...

-because I've accumulated a lot of sentimentally valuable crap over the past 5 years
-I only have a tiny car in which to transport said crap
-I have no idea which things to keep in case they will be useful in the future, which things to give away to charitable causes, and which things to throw out
-I'm currently home alone
-...and crying. :(

Gunna miss you, Bay Area & Friends.


Going Away

The following post was originally written on Dec. 3, 2011.

= = =

I was all set to quietly pack up my belongings and sneak off from California like a thief in the night. I wanted to dodge explanations for my decisions and uncertain plans about one day returning to the Bay.

I somehow let myself get talked into actually telling people that I was leaving. Maybe my friends would want to see me before I set off for unknown (by me) lands.

I am still overwhelmed by the turnout of last night's get-together. I counted about 35 folks who rolled through at some point in the night. Once again, friends from different times and places of my life came together under one roof to show me some love and, most importantly, remind me of my personal growth in my five years in the Bay. These guests, my friends, have been my family and support system for several years. They both helped me become who I am today and made me who I am today.

Many shared kind words with me about my personality and accomplishments. I feel completely undeserving of their words... I am still in a rut due to the whole quitting situation. I know that validation can only come from myself and that, in turn, will come when I'm finally doing something that I can be proud of again. For now, my friends are being the scaffolds that I need and providing the perspective about myself that I lack.


You've lived a life that I fantasize about. You make me believe that I can have that life. You are helping me chase after it.


You are so full of life. You, too, have lived in cities across the United States. I want to be like you, too.


Thank you for your guidance. God brought me under the circumstances that He did so that we could meet even if only briefly. I learned so much from you... "We are most like our five closest friends", "The footprints we leave behind continue to inspire, even if we are no longer around to see the fruits of our labor", "Everywhere you go, you are with you. You can't escape you. Learn to be OK with you."


Missed you. Still do.


You became my closest friend in my time of need; keep up the great work -- you are passionate, hardworking, smart, capable, and very loving!


See you in Hawaii! Somehow, I know we will keep running into each other over and over again in various parts of the world...