Hawai'i Livin'

I'm unsure of how to approach a blog post or series of blog posts about Hawai'i because I am no longer a visitor. I've stayed here for 1-3 weeks twice a year for the past three years, and have now lived here for almost two months.

Every time I try to come up with a decisive statement about the beautiful islands of Hawai'i, I'm met by an experience that contradicts or otherwise changes my experience of this place. Now, I'm settling in so comfortably that it's difficult to describe Hawai'i from the perspective of an outsider looking in. What extraordinary moments am I overlooking simply because I've become accustomed to it?

To Be One in a Hundred Thousand Extraordinaries

"Don't think you're too young. You can change the world. Any day. Start now. Start today." 
"...whatever you want, chase after it with everything that you have not because of the fame or the fortune but solely because that's what you believe in, because that's what makes your heart sing, that's what your dance is." 
"In the small, anonymous, monotonous, every single day acts, I have to remind myself to be extraordinary. And believe me, when the doors closed and the cameras are off, it's tough. But if there's one thing that I want to drive home to you... it's that it's the acts that make us extroadinary, not the Oprah moments."

= = =

I am often critiqued by well-meaning loved ones for setting personal goals that are too lofty for a single young person, and maybe they're right. Maybe I need to get better at making personal goals. Or at least get better at not being so devastated or impatient with myself when I falter on achieving my goals.

Change - big change - takes time and patience. I'm willing to spend both in order to reach my dreams. I do not seek recognition for milestone moments or accomplishments. I want to be one in a hundred thousand extraordinaries. I want to be a teacher and a writer of some sort... I am not going to be the best there ever was, if any good at all, but it's what I want to do. It's not going to happen over night. Growth will be slow, unsteady, barely visible in the every day acts, and sometimes even painful. I'm willing to do what it takes, though, even if it means humbling myself when the going gets tough.

Just gotta keep moving.

For now, I have secured two temporary part-time teaching jobs. I start this week. I'm nervous and excited; I also find myself weary of getting too attached to coworkers or students. Regardless of all these feelings, time marches forward and change continues to take place in me and around me. Let's go, 2012. What 'chu got for me?


Winter 2011-2012 Reading List

Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card
Shadow of the Hegemon - Orson Scott Card
Shadow Puppets - Orson Scott Card
Shadow of the Giant - Orson Scott Card

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire  - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay  - Suzanne Collins

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Audition - Ryu Murakami

Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer

= = =


Shadow of the Wind
I highly recommend The Shadow of the Wind. Do be warned: it's a page-turner. This book takes place in Spain, post-civil war. It's a story within a story; its plot is filled with twists, lies, deceit, scandal, and romance. It's about 500 pages long (give or take, depending on the edition you get your hands on), but I tore through it in about two and a half days.

This book reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, Wuthering Heights. My mom is reading WH now, per my recommendation. I think I'll pick it up for a reprise since its sitting around the house.

- - -

The Shadow Series (unrelated to Shadow of the Wind)
Contrary to popular opinion, I thought Ender's Game was better than Ender's Shadow. Not a lot better (Ender's Shadow was pretty good), but more full of surprises. Though my interest started to peter out (hah. Series reference.) by the time I finished Shadow of the Giant, I won't rest until I've finished the last two books in the Shadow series (Shadows in Flight* and Shadows Alive) and finally the last book of the Ender series. I MUST KNOW HOW IT ENDS!

- - -

The Alchemist
...teems with thought-provoking one-liners. Here are a couple that hit home for me:

"People learn, early in their lives, what is their reason for being," said the old man, with a certain bitterness. "Maybe that's why they give up on it so early, too. But that's the way it is."

"...I don't live in either my past or my future. I'm interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man. You'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now."

This book is a short read (I actually read it in one afternoon). It's one that I can imagine keeping at my bedside to be moved by a different truism each time.

- - -

(On selecting the next book...)
I may have mentioned before that my method for selecting the next good read is pretty unoriginal and uninspired: I follow NY Bestsellers lists and Oprah's Book Club. Add to my methods: 1) novels made into movies and 2) stories that someone thought were so good that it had to be translated from its original language to, most helpfully, English (hence Shadow of the Wind (Spanish), The Alchemist (Portuguese), and Audition (Japanese)).

Still unoriginal, I know, but no one genre/time period/setting/subject interests me enough that I feel the need to read up on every big author in that particular category. Anyway, I'm just trying to help! Please also leave any book recommendations for me on your way out :)


This person edited together ~1 second of every day of her life in 2011.

Her blurb about this video (and her video) inspired me:
I'd made this video for myself as a way to keep my usually shy-self active and lift my spirits when I'm down about work, paying rent, figuring... everything out. I thought the finished product would only be seen by my friends and family. All your kind words and support have blown me away and made me more and more grateful for the life I've been dealt. 
I find it interesting how this girl says that she is usually shy, feels that she has to push herself to be active, is busy with work, and has many other stresses in her life -- yet when she took a second (pun intended), closer look at her past year, she was more able to see the awesome things that she has going for her. What would a second look at my own life reveal to me?

I want to do something like this project of hers, though I'm not good with video editing and have become less fond of taking pictures since my teen years. I'm thinking something along the lines of a line-a-day Post-it collection. It would be similar to the infamous 140-characters-or-less rule, except it would be private rather than posted in the Twitterverse, where butchered thoughts beg for peer praise/approval/laughter.

I wonder how I should limit myself... One sentence per day or all-that-can-fit-on-a-Post-it per day? Words only or doodles too?

One-a-day for 365 is extremely daunting, so I'll try it for a short while and see how it goes.


Retro Post

January 4, 2008
I almost feel like I've been here in San Diego for too long, and that I need to get back to Berkeley. Not that I'm not having any fun here. I think that I'm just feeling unproductive, and I feel like I need to be doing something important... just so I can go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment stirring inside of me. I know that once I get to to Berkeley, I'm going to be at least a little homesick, though.  
 And so continues the Story of My Life. Among the three places that I call 'home' - San Diego, Berkeley, and the Philippines - I can never find a sense of completion, the feeling that tells me "this is where I am meant to be, this is what I am meant to be doing". When I'm in one place, I miss someone from another place, when I'm doing one thing, I get restless and need to be doing something else somewhere else. 
There just isn't enough time to spend with all the people that I love, nor a way to bring my homes a little closer together - at least, closer than the hundreds to thousands of miles that they are away from each other.  
I believe that the conclusion to my Xanga entry will be this: I must find a fold in the Time-Space Continuum. 

Interesting to see that four years later, not much about me has changed (save for the fact that you can add one more location on that list). Same ol' me. Still searching for "more" out of life; still running, almost trying to fast-forward through my present to get to my future; still nostalgic for a past I couldn't fully enjoy when it was my present.

Oh, and by the end of the year, I may be adding another location. So what's harder to pin down: my sense of completion or... me?


Brag Post

Job Offer! *happydance*happydance*

The hours are so few, though, that I'll keep hunting for a second (maybe third... and fourth?) job.

.End Brag Post

= = =

Speaking of the hunt, here are some data about my progress:

Statistics of the Hunt
Job applications submitted: 17 and counting.
Rejections: 2
No response: 14
Interviews: 1
Offers: 1

Spreadsheet of the Hunt

It's funny the things that I compulsively organize around the house and in my life since 1) I have nothing else to do and 2) I seem to have an overactive synapse in my brain that causes an insatiable hunger for order.

OK, that's enough creeping you out about me for one night.


Back to Work

My sisters left for the mainland today. It was my first time seeing them both off for college; it was my first time ever hugging them both goodbye and returning home with Mom and Dad.

Vacation time is over. Sunday will be a day of rest and reflection. Monday shall be my first official day of being "unemployed/seeking work".

Words of Wisdom

This video belongs in this blog.

"It's OK to be scared, it's liberating to be scared, and sometimes it's necessary to feel scared... It's only in the heart and soul of your fear that you'll be able to find courage."

My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family, and your doctors, stranger... Thank you for expressing your vulnerability and for sharing your valuable insight.


Share the Love

I love watching and listening to people talk about something they love... especially when they have trouble finding just the right words and when said thing is completely foreign to me. It feels like borrowed joy.


For the Sake of Running

At this point in the race, I'm not running from anything or to anywhere.
I've neither a captor nor a destination.

Sometimes, I'll run as fast as I possibly can.
Other times, I'll become frustrated that my body cannot carry me as fast as I want to go.

I'll remember that distance, not speed, is key.

I'll understand that I'm going to be using muscles that I do not normally use.
These are the muscles that will feel the most pain.

I'll undertand that I've trained for this moment in various capacities.
I'm stronger and more skilled than I think.

Periodically, I will get tired during some legs of the run.
I will accept moral support.

I will push through the the arduousness of solo runs.
I will celebrate unparalleled feelings of peace and accomplishment that follow solo runs.

I will run to carve out my own twisted, winding path.
I will run for the sake of running.



I resolve to…
Read lots of books.

Because I love reading and why would I withhold something that I love from myself? Because I'm thankful for the gift of literacy. Because I want to be really smart one day. Because I love stories. Because I love wordplay.


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

Because even though I secretly dream of writing something amazing one day, I know that good writing does not happen over night. Because I know that writing is a skill that must be sharpened and it's a skill that I'm willing to work on.  Because I'm afraid of leaving this world wordlessly, as though I never existed. Because I spend a lot of time putting thoughts together -- my thoughts, other people's thoughts -- and I'm afraid of those strings of thoughts dying and being lost forever.


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

Because I'm still not sure what pulled me here to this place and I don't want my being here to go to waste. Because these hikes give me a sense of purpose and belonging.


I resolve to…
Learn how to cook.

Because it's one of the few ways that I'll feel independent and like I'm contributing to my parents now that I've moved in. Because I want to leave here feeling more independent than when I arrived. Because I love my mommy. Because I love my mommy's cooking.


I resolve to…
Use Facebook less.

Because it's not serving me in being a better person. Because it gives me temporary, empty validation and long-lasting, poisonous envy. Because I live in a place where "living" takes place outdoors, not indoors. Surfing waves, not the Net. Hah. Ha ha. Never mind.