All posts filed under: Guest Contributors

FUN-employed

Leaving familiarity behind, or so what I thought, was difficult. The forest mist engulfing the native plants and birds, though it does have its invasive and non-native species, it was home. Upon our arrival on Johnston Island, after a three day boat ride on the Kahana, I was pleased to finally see for myself that there were so many familiar things. Greeted with plumeria and hibiscus leis, it was official; we (1 leader and 4 volunteers) were the next Crazy Ant Strike Team (CAST), no turning back! I found myself taking a liking to the Ironwood trees as they are some of the taller trees in great density, creating their own non-native forest of relaxing howling sounds as the wind blows on by. As I explore the nooks and crannies of the island, I find more and more plants that bring me comfort like the Naio, Hala, Hau, ‘Uhaloa, Pōhinahina, ‘Ilima, Naupaka, Pōhuehue and the list goes on. I picked up the Atoll Research Bulletin No. 192 – The Natural History of Johnston Atoll, Central …

Itchy Feet Now in Thailand

I’ve had itchy feet for as long as I can remember.  From road trips around the west coast to flights from Hawaii to the mainland to visit family, I’ve been traveling almost on a somewhat annual basis.  It’s no wonder now that I have itchy feet when I stay in one place for too long but I think my penchant to travel has taken me on a new journey even I didn’t anticipate. Here is my home: Lovely, isn’t it? You may ask why I decided to leave everyone’s definition of ‘paradise’ and I could simply reply, “itchy feet” but I know it’s a bit deeper than that.  I had my first taste of international living when I studied abroad in Japan back in 2008 – another great place to live – and I still say I left a piece of my heart there even till this day.  I don’t think I was as ready as I thought I would be to take that leap outside of my comfort zone, so I had my fill of …

A Letter to My Future Son

As March rolls in, it reminds me that 3 years ago I was about to have my son. I remember going through many emotions of fear and doubt but I did something get through it. For expecting mothers write a letter or journal your thoughts to your baby. Writing this before he was born just made it real. It also now helps me remember. While searching through my notes in my phone for an enchilada recipe I stumbled upon this: March 07, 2013 Okay so I have about a week more and I should be giving birth to my first child. I didn’t think this would be coming to fruition. It’s one thing to talk, wish, imagine, but my goodness it’s for real . I’m gonna have a baby! So that’s one thing to think it but I have to survive the labor. Am I gonna handle like a champ or cry and tell them to just cut me? I want to see this baby! Will it look like me? Will it look like James? …

Celebrate Me When I’m Alive

In the last month and a half, I have had a number of friends and loved ones pass away.  I am always saddened of course, because losing someone means a part of you no longer exists in your living life.  But more often than not, I am motivated and inspired to reflect on the following thoughts:  Am I living a life that I love?  Am I living to my fullest potential?  Am I spending my time the way I want to spend my time and not spending it in a way that is expected of me or as a result of guilt?  These thoughts help me to make sense of the loss and to find new meaning in what I believe life is all about. One such loss was the passing of my good friends’ mom, Mrs. Lam.  She was a firecracker and definitely loved living life to the fullest.  I had the honor of sharing the fond memories of her that everyone had written down for me to read during Mrs. Lams’ service.  And …

A Wahine Wednesday Holoholo

Here’s to family, cheers to art. Here’s to an excellent adventure and the stopping never start. Jason Mraz Looking back, you could say that I started my holoholo last year, March 13, 2013. On that dreary, cold Southern California morning, my friend and I committed to surf 52 Wednesdays as a way to restore the stoke – the joy, the excitement, the peace you get while surfing – to our lives. Somehow, somewhere along the highway of life, we forgot to take the time to re-energize our souls with what we love best – our love to surf. So, we surfed our 52 consecutive Wednesdays, sometimes alone but more often with friends, and reclaimed our stoke. We called our journey Wahine Wednesday. In the early stages of Wahine Wednesday, we would talk, joke and truthfully dream about taking a Hawaiian surf trip: blue skies, turquoise seas, warm water… The ultimate surf trip with our fellow wahines, the gals we surfed with when we found our stoke the first time oh so many years ago. I …

new beginnings…

       I had been unhappy. Well, maybe not unhappy, per se, but not happy. There IS a difference, you know? I needed to make some changes, the biggest and most difficult change being quitting my job. But I was the main breadwinner and had been for the past decade. With the reluctant and fearful support of my husband, I submitted my notice. I knew I had made the right decision when as soon as I pressed “Send” (I resigned via email), an immense amount of relief rushed over me. I had never felt more sure about a decision as big as this before. Especially since I’ve been a mother of three… three little ones who rely on me, my love, my support, and, least importantly but most necessary, my income. As rash and irresponsible as this decision may seem, it was one I had been contemplating for at least two years. So it was time. The timing may not seem ideal (three kids, two mortgages, student loans, bills, etc.), but it was right. …

Tough Love

Seeing someone you love lying helpless on a hospital bed, attached to beeping machines and wearing a vomit-green gown will force you to reflect on your relationship with them. Why is it that times of tribulation are often the rare moments in life that provide pure clarity? Ever since I can remember, my grandma has always been hard on me. She shakes her head in disapproval when I come into her house with wet hair. She gasps when I jab my plate in attempt to use hashi. She forcefully offers me food until I concede, then criticizes my less than dainty appetite. My anti-red meat, vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan weight loss antics are constantly a topic of amusement to her. My grandmother isn’t a cold woman, but she never allows herself to be vulnerable. She has never told me that she loves me, that she’s proud of me, or that I’m beautiful. She’s never embraced me in her arms, combed my hair, sang to me, or shared stories from her childhood—all of the things my …

Reflections of an IRON(WO)MAN’s Journey

If anyone would have asked me if I was interested in doing an Ironman triathlon in my lifetime, I would have laughed and told them they were crazy! After all, you must have a few screws loose to entertain that idea, right?! Well….. that’s what I used to say 🙂 It all started in 2002, when one of my best friends from college, Paola, asked me if I would be interested in doing a triathlon in honor of her grandmother who had passed away from Leukemia. The organization we would be training and fundraising with was called Team in Training, an organization that raises funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I had no idea what a triathlon was, but I am a sucker for sentimental and heartwarming causes and I signed up after attending an Informational Session and hearing stories of those who had been affected by blood cancers such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, or Hodgkin’s disease. Initially I had signed up for the shortest distance, the Pacific Grove Sprint Triathlon in Monterey. …

Marathoner? Who Me?

“Crazy!” That’s what I called my girlfriend when she suggested we do the Honolulu Marathon! “We can WALK it!” she exclaimed! She steered me to a site called “Marathon Walking” which outlined how any level headed person with slight overachieving tendencies can (really) do it! This was January of 2011. We had 11 months! No sweat we said! At that point, walking 2 miles was quite the achievement. Actually, it was finding the TIME to walk even 20 minutes was the big challenge. We were busy! Then, my husband (the manager—you know the type) chimed in and threw down the real gauntlet (we think he was scoffing at us)… he would SPONSOR us through his small business company! Cool! An ACTUAL, like, FOR REAL SPONSOR! He paid our entry fee but then issued this ultimatum: If… during or after the race, we were found on the ground, comatose, we were to immediately remove any association with his company (i.e. t-shirts, caps, tattoos, etc). He surmised the negative publicity was going to hurt his already obscure …

Challenges for the Soul

Think about the word ‘challenge’ for a minute. Does it scare you? Excite you? Make you want to run away? All of the above? For me, it kind of stops my heart for a few brief seconds as I carefully think about what it is that I will be challenged to. Do I want to do this? Can I do this? But most important, will I be able to finish the challenge? I remember nervously signing up for my first half marathon and although I signed up for fun, questions began filling up my head: Could I finish the 12 miles? What if I have to go to the bathroom during the event? and the worse one of all, what if I pass out from exhaustion or dehydration? Turned out, I had a blast. No, I did not pass out from heat overkill and yes, I did have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the race where there were no portable toilets around and yes, I couldn’t walk the next day and …

Letting Go

“The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go, in order to achieve. Letting go is God’s law.” Two years ago I was deployed to an Undisclosed Location in Southwest Asia.  How the heck did I get there? I’m in the Air National Guard, a skilled communications member in support of Spartan Shield.  But before I was cleared to go on Thanksgiving Day a year prior I just had an ACL replacement, was attempting to start a family and was settled in a job I loved. Life was great, then why did I volunteer to head across the world? On this deployment, only being there a few weeks I admitted that I never wanted to have a baby more than I’ve had before.  Good place …

Itchy

I have a weird itch. It’s always there, and some days are worse than others. Benadryl doesn’t help, neither does any soak or lotion. My itch is a desire to poke people with needles. I’m not a sadist…I’m an acupuncturist. Actually, I’m kind of an acupuncturist. I’m licensed in the State of Hawai’i but have not been in practice since 2007. I get my fix every so often, and when I do, I love it. Love it! It’s kind of like solving a puzzle – using a patient’s signs and symptoms to determine their patterns of health, then using a formula of needles to support and/or counteract those patterns. And bonus – having the “inside track” on someone’s body is pretty cool. Like how I know a patient has hemorrhoids because of a tender point on his leg. It’s fun, I enjoy the surprised responses. Becoming an acupuncturist wasn’t easy, there were many times I wanted to drop out of school. Studying the ancient theories and practically learning a new language was awesome. But practicing …