Mauna Kea and all things that should remain sacred

mauna keaMauna Kea with my best friends. (Circa January 31st)

In January, I surprised my best friend with a trip to beautiful Hilo, where we indulged in the best strawberry and grape mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen, walked through a colorful farmer’s market and hiked along a dead volcano. One of the highlights was going on a private tour of Mauna Kea, commercially known as the tallest mountain on earth, culturally known as a sacred place where the Hawaiian deity Poli’ahu dwells. It is a place where Ali’i would trek its harsh, freezing temperatures to worship and pay tribute to their gods. It was an unreal experience to have with my friends and it was just a perfect moment in my life.

I could explain to you the controversy that surrounds Mauna Kea at this moment, but instead, I will share some of the things that I believe should be kept sacred, just like this mysterious and beautiful mountain that made it into my “epic memories” folder.

1. Indigenous places of worship and untouched lands. 

It is 2015. We should all be educated and culturally aware of indigenous rights, history and effects of colonization. If you live in the islands, somehow your field of study/work will involve some kind of decision or consideration due to preservation of culture or history. There are so many articles, books and other reading materials out there that even the laziest reader will be able to get the gist of the importance of cultural or historical preservation. Even when it comes to untouched lands, like Pagan, ugh I don’t want to start a rant, but does everything have to be used for bomb practice? Look at Kahoolawe, Vieques and the Marshall Islands. #savepagan

2. Our bodies.

We need to eat vegetables, wear sunblock and do yoga. I may not look like it, but I eat my recommended daily amount of veggies (sometimes more), wear at least SPF 35 on my face and forearms and do yoga a few times every week. Doing this makes me feel great and happy.

3. Your relationship with your God. 

This is a touchy one. I’d describe myself as a sporadic non-practicing Catholic who floats between Catholic and Christian churches. Going to a Catholic church makes me feel comforted and grounded. I feel like I return to who I am and who I imagine myself to be when I get older. But damn, have you heard the kind of music they play at Christian churches nowadays? I mean, they make worship feel and sound fun. I go for the live jam sesh, devos and free food, but when it comes to openly sharing my own struggles with the entire congregation and praying out loud…like with my voice…I start to get uncomfortable. Other than that…I pray every day. I ask my God to give me patience to tolerate the obnoxious, love for those who can’t help themselves, determination to extend my leg in half moon pose and gratitude for everything I have. Whoever your God is, rely on him or her to give you that spiritual boost to continue life in a positive way. It’s better than bitching all day. Bitching makes you look ugly. Don’t do it often. Be tight with your God and moisturize daily.

4. Paperbacks

Being a nerd, I am always on top of the latest technology. Although I love iPads and my boyfriend, the iPhone 6 Plus, I still read paperbacks…maybe a hardcover or two if they’re on sale. I own a Nook, but lost the charger. So it’s pretty fair to say that paperbacks (and hardcovers) should remain sacred because they won’t need to be recharged, updated or bought for more than $15. My Nook is now a coaster on the nightstand.

5. Passion

Passion drives you to do your best in everything you do. Working in the non-profit sector doesn’t make me rich, but it keeps me fulfilled in life. I see lives changed and problems solved. My body and mind may be weary but my soul and heart are so full. My best work was inspired by what I’ve seen and experienced by giving to others.

Also, being in a creative field, if I am not passionate about something, it takes me longer to create it, which makes the client or your director impatient. That’s when you have to delve further into the purpose of what you create or produce. For example, I had to create a graphics package for National Donut Day. I did not have the slightest interest in donuts (first of all, they’re not my fave, second, I didn’t get why it was declared National Donut Day). My director recommended that I read a book to draw some inspiration. After that, I got it. I knew exactly what to do for the graphics package and it became a hit. Passion gets you places. It also shows you how to succeed.

There are probably more things that I could add to this list, but there’s no time. Sometimes it is best to keep a short list of things you consider sacred. It helps to remind yourself about where you come from and who you are.

Mi prima graduates with her Master’s Degree!

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My cousin Angela graduated with her Master’s Degree last month! I’m so proud of her and what she has accomplished. She asked me to take some photos of her for her parents.

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She asked me to meet her and her boyfriend, Josh, at Foster Botanical Garden on Vineyard Boulevard. It was a pretty fun place to shoot! There were so many things to play with: a greenhouse, sculptures, a gazebo and a butterfly garden.

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I’m so proud of you Ang! I wish you the best.

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Kris Atomic

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The Unusually Modest Mermaid by Kris Atomic

Lately I have been experimenting with acrylics, watercolor and even mixing the two. I’m not going to lie, it frustrates me that I can put together a visual concept on the computer or take a decent photo but my clumsy fingers and palms can’t even produce a decent image on paper. In my little journey to finding inspiration and ideas to practice with, I stumbled upon the English illustrator Kris Atomic. I’ve seen her work before and when I found her blog, I became fascinated with her characters.

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Kris Atomic at work.

Although her characters may be a little too English for my taste, I like her style and her badass sense of humor.

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Who doesn’t love a Chronic Bitchface?

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Details.

Ugh. I’m sick with jealousy.

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See more of Kris’ work here.

From Cairns to Sydney

 Processed with MoldivMost of our travel adventures happened before and after the tournament in Sydney. Here we are in Cairns visiting art galleries, the Esplanade pool and walking along Grafton and Abbott.

Brentt and I only had a few days to explore Cairns and Sydney before and after the tournament. Cairns was our first stop from Guam. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (now called Double Tree) and it was in the perfect location. We could walk to the main Cairns Esplanade strip in less than five minutes and to the shopping mall in 15 minutes. The good eateries, ranging from Italian to Japanese, were scattered along Abbott and Grafton streets. Along the Esplanade, you’ll run into tourist traps and shops with crappy souvenirs – something we’re already used to in the islands, so we just kept to Abbott and Grafton, where there were more of the Cairns locals walking around.

Processed with MoldivWe stayed in Kurri Kurri, in the outskirts of Sydney. There were wild kangaroos right outside our rooms and witnessed beautiful sunsets. I even got to sample the local wine.

The “beach” at Cairns isn’t that great. It’s brown. You’d have to ride a boat to the Great Barrier Reef to log in some great snorkeling…or you can just settle for the public pee-pool at the Esplanade. Your best bet to get some sun (other than going to the GBR)? Spend the day at the beach down Captain Cook Highway past the airport. The beaches are still brown, but at least it’s shallow, you can walk on sandbars and bbq like the locals.

After Cairns, we headed to Sydney via Virgin Australia. Most of our time was spent on the golf course (see previous post) and the only food available was fried EVERYTHING. French fries, chicken schnitzel, fish and chips, etc. Not the most comforting way to go with two hungry island kids craving anything with some Asian spice and rice or noodles. On our last day, we had a couple hours to visit the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Our hosts from Hawaii were irritated by the traffic and ready for their flight back to Hawaii so we didn’t have a chance to fully explore the city. But we made the most of it and took lots of photos during our last day in Sydney.

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Our official last day in “Straya” was spent at Hartley’s Crocodile Farm.

We then arrived in Cairns (again), returning from Sydney, we were weary travelers, enduring a rough flight on Virgin Australia and starved after refusing yet another fried meal. After checking into Rydges Esplanade, we took a 20 minute walk to grab some dinner and stumbled upon what looked like a bar from the outside, Rattle & Hum. It happened to have the best pizza in Australia that we had access to at the time.

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This is something we’ll always remember about Australia. Its wildlife, sights, kind people and wonderful weather amazed us everyday.

We also decided to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, which was 45 minutes away from the hotel. We bought a package for two that included the passes to the farm and transportation to and from our hotel for $111 AUD. It was fun! We covered the entire park in about two hours and relaxed with lunch at the restaurant. It was their 80th Anniversary so they had face painting, a free photo booth and complimentary croc sausages. It was the perfect way to see everything we wanted to see in Australia: crocodiles, koalas, cassowaries, wombats, wallabies and kookaburras.

It was a great trip for Brentt and I. We’ve traveled to other places before, but this was our first brother-sister trip to another country. We enjoyed every bit of it. Oh dear Australia, it’s been unreal. It might be a couple years until we return, but until then, we’ll cherish the memories.

My brother wins 2nd place in Australia

IB2Brentt Salas wins 2nd place in Jack Newton Junior Golf’s Srixon International Junior Golf Sub Classic in Australia.

My brother represented Hawaii in the Srixon tournament in Australia last week. He won 2nd place overall in his division. I’m so proud of him!

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Brentt managed to stay out of the trees on the 13th hole at Kurri Kurri Golf Club.

The Australian tournament hosted many international junior golfers from Canada, Korea, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. Brentt qualified through the Pearl Junior Open in Hawaii with two other golfers, Caleb Keohokapu, 17, who played in the Junior Classic division and Ray Kim, 14, who joined Brentt’s division in the Sub Classic. The three boys were amped to play this tournament because it represented another level of competition for them and also provided an opportunity to get more exposure.

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Brentt’s short game was spot on in the last two days of the tourney.

Brentt struggled in the first two days of the tourney. The trees presented the ultimate challenge. There were golfers (Brentt included) that had trouble hitting off the tees and into the fairway. The fairways were curved so much that you’d have to either hit beyond the trees or play it safe and  hit short distances on the fairway…that is, if the wind will let you. The only thing that was within the golfer’s control was the putting green. Brentt mastered the greens by the 3rd day, earning himself 8th place. On the last day, Brentt shot even and ended up taking home the trophy for 1st place Scratch and 2nd place overall in his division.

IB4Brentt won a Srixon golf bag, Srixon balls, a toiletry bag and a trophy.

The rest of the Hawaii team, Caleb and Ray, they also proudly represented Hawaii in the tournament on and off the course. They enjoyed making friends from Australia, Canada and Japan. It was a great experience in “Straya!”

Australia, here I come!

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This is what freedom feels like.

Well, this was unexpected. My brother qualified for the Srixon International Junior Classic in Sydney and when we found out all expenses were paid for, I was the only one in my family that could take him up on the offer! Brentt is definitely my little reason to travel the world. He is so ambitious and committed to his practice that he’s constantly offered to compete in international tournaments. Recently, the Guam Pacific Daily News published an article on his golf journey. I’m pretty proud of my baby bro.

This trip will be just as long as the last one. Honestly, I’m stoked to put two new countries on my list for the year. I’ve never had the freedom to travel so much. Now that I do, I have to enjoy it. After Australia, we’re heading to Saipan for our cousin’s ordination as a priest. We’re so Catholic it’s not even funny.

Anyway, I believe we have two days to explore Sydney in addition to the time we have after the tournament days. If you have any suggestions about what to try or see (on a low budget), please leave them in the comment box! Thank you. – Di

The last photos from our trip to Liverpool

LP2 copyMy mom (right) scans Bold Street for some Asian products and restaurants.

On the last few days of our trip in Liverpool, my dad and brother went to the British Open while my mom and I explored the city. We grew tired of English food, the meat, potatoes, fish and chips were not satisfying our cravings for bold flavors, so my mom spent half the day looking for an Asian grocery store that she heard of from a friend.

LP1 copy“Look,” said my mom, “they have noodles! We can eat here when they’re done with the tournament.”

We ate at Seoul Love the next day with another family that attended the British Junior Open. Korean and Chinese dishes in Liverpool are very different from Asian food in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. Stan, the owner of our cottage, explained that when the Chinese immigrants arrived in Liverpool, they were so skilled in establishing and maintaining businesses, they heavily contributed to the development of the city. They’ve changed the way they cooked to cater to the British, so their kim chee jigae isn’t as salty (which is good!) and the Chinese fried rice isn’t sticky at all (not good!). Overall, we enjoyed our experience there, it was great to eat something with gochujang and chili garlic sauce after all that fish and chips.

LP5 copyOur mom & daughter exploration day included the famous Walker Gallery.

We then visited the Walker Gallery and viewed many original paintings from local artists, an art contest by children and teens from China and sculptures. The café inside the Walker Gallery is exquisite. You’ll see people from all walks of life walking in there just to grab a latte and a slice of carrot cake. My mother was lucky enough to grab the last slice and I grabbed a fresh, warm oatmeal cookie. It was one of the best grab and go breakfasts we’ve had in Liverpool.

LP6 copyIt was pretty awesome walking into the sculpture room at Walker. I’ve never seen sculptures so detailed up close.

After Walker Gallery, we walked to the Liverpool Central Library, where they had a café and three stories of books. My favorite part was the Picton Reading Room. It’s a circular dome reading room with three stories of shelves. Think Beauty and the Beast type of shelves. I went crazy walking around the room. I found Spanish literature books that I’ve read in graduate school (in ENGLISH!) and the staircases were so beautiful. I loved it so much, I think I could live there.

LP7 copyThe Picton Reading Room was my favorite thing about Liverpool.

LP3 copyAfter the Walker Gallery and the Liverpool Central Library, we headed back down to Bold Street. Each unit had a beautiful storefront.

Bold Street was our favorite street for food and shopping in Liverpool. It was a perfect blend of cultural diversity, good coffee, pastries and shopping. We spent two days in the city and always ended up spending most of our time on Bold Street. Just off of Bold, there is also what they call “Chinatown.” It really isn’t a town but a lineup of five Chinese businesses that sell moon cakes, rice cakes, custard and jin doi (excuse my spelling). I remember we also ate at a Lebanese restaurant for lunch, but we were too hungry to stop and take a photo. So here is the last stop we made that day…

LP4 copyAnd we ended the day with some cake! My mom loves cupcakes.

Can’t go wrong with a little cake. Hehe!

Getting acquainted with England’s countryside

LIVERPOOL1 copyChurch View Farm was one of the places we stopped for some fresh veggies and fruit.

Lydiate is a small, quiet town in Liverpool. You don’t hear much except the faint sound of cars passing by. The stench of manure greets your nose in the morning about twice a week. It seems so peaceful and easy going that I started to think about it as a great place to retire. Yikes. Anyway, my family booked a cottage just one minute from this sign. We arrived too early for the cottage owners to prepare the rooms for us, so we took a drive in search of a good breakfast.

LIVERPOOL3 copyThe Hay Loft Tea Shoppe is a cute little breakfast and lunch spot near our cottage.

We had our first English breakfast at The Hay Loft Tea Shoppe in Lydiate. My mother and I ordered the typical “English breakfast” with beans, sausage, black pudding, eggs, mushrooms and potatoes. The food was pretty bland, except for their version of bacon (which is what we’d consider a thick cut slice of very salty ham in the US). The “bacon” was so salty, it took some getting used to. My mom and dad enjoyed the tea and coffee.

LIVERPOOL4 copyMy parents pose for their first photo in Liverpool.

Lydiate was a good chance for us to relax. My whole trip was spent in Guam and Saipan, I didn’t have a chance to catch up on sleep or have a dry day of no sweating. In Liverpool, the weather was wonderful and at times too cold for me. The change in climate was a bit too extreme for me the first two days so I bundled up like a tourist.

One of the first nights there, our cottage owners/hosts suggested the restaurant down the street, Scarisbrick Arms.

LIVERPOOL7 copyOne of the best restaurants our cottage owners suggested was Scarisbrick Arms. It’s a posh joint that a lot of the locals dress up for. We practically tried everything on the menu in the 4 visits we made there. The photo above is the first thing I ordered, their mushroom risotto with goat cheese. 

LIVERPOOL5 copyOne thing you gotta love about Scarisbrick is their bread and olive platter. The two men that served us were from Italy and Portugal. Both wonderful, humorous men with lots of interesting stories. (For a photo of my yummy beet salad, follow me on instagram @islandbohemian.)

LIVERPOOL6 copyProbably the best thing to order at Scarsbrick is actually the cheapest entree, the roast with Yorkshire pudding and sweet potato puree.

LIVERPOOL11 copyThis is the entrance to our cottage. There was lots of grass for Brentt to practice his chipping and even a fire pit for roasting marshmallows.

LIVERPOOL8 copyWe woke up one morning and were pleased to see a heavy fog in the chilly air. Kinda cool scene for two island kids.

LIVERPOOL13 copyWe visited the outdoor market in the next town, Ormskirk. Vendors sold fresh bread, pastries, snacks and clothes.

Our experience with the locals was very pleasant. They’re excellent face-readers. Every time we felt lost or confused on the street, someone would come up and ask us if we needed directions. They not only give you directions, they physically take you there! We got around the different towns just fine.

LIVERPOOL12 copyI had to take a photo of this stand at the Ormskirk market. I have no idea what was inside the “small fat balls.”

LIVERPOOL15 copyMy pops and brother pose in front of the Eat Drink Love café.

Although the main focus of our trip was the golf tournament, we had fun exploring the different towns in Liverpool. It was one of the most fun and relaxing family trips we have taken in a long time.

Brentt Makana Salas in Liverpool, England

BRENTT13 copyBrentt Makana Salas has a drive of 270 yards. Here he hits from the white tees on the back nine at the West Lancashire Golf Club.

Hard work never goes unnoticed, especially when it comes to the humbling game of golf. My 14-year-old brother, Brentt, has worked for years on his swing, technique and his mental game, but he still has a long way to go. This summer, he qualified for the British Junior Open in Liverpool, England. Naturally, my parents and I accompanied him on his journey (the farthest he’s ever been from home). The British Junior Open was a big tournament for this kid because he competed with some of the best junior golfers in the world.

BRENTT15 copyBrentt practices every day at Starts Guam Golf Resort after school and enters in multiple golf tournaments on the weekends.

The West Lancashire Golf Club was one of the most difficult courses Brentt has come across. The tall, thick grass could easily swallow your ball. Brentt joked that he’d rather play on a course with lots of trees, he’d lose less balls that way.

BRENTT7 copyBrentt liked the challenging elements at the West Lancashire Golf Course. It was unlike any course he’s ever played.

The junior golfers started the tournament with a practice round, Brentt was able to familiarize himself with the brutal elements of the course: the precarious terrain, unexpected changes in wind and the cold weather. This would test his patience and his confidence during the tournament.

BRENTT18 copyMy parents and I were not only Brentt’s only cheerleaders. He had his golf teammate Nalathai (also representing Guam in the girls’ category) and a new friend from Cyprus, Nicholas.

BRENTT16 copyThis photo was taken around 6 p.m. in Liverpool – the sun does not go down until 9:30 or 10 p.m. at night.

The first day of the tournament was Brentt’s best day. He was paired with two girls, one from Qatar and the other from Uruguay. He broke 80 and shot a 79. His confidence was soaring and he had that little smirk on his face after every putt. On the second day, the weather was extremely cold and Brentt’s tee time was around 3 p.m. Brentt ran into some very challenging situations with the tall grass and it may have broke his confidence. Although he tried his best, he shot an 82.

BRENTT12 copyThe course was so difficult that many golfers ahead of Brentt and his group were busy looking for their lost balls. There was a lot of waiting between holes.

The last day of the tournament was much better. Although he shot an 80, Brentt was happy with his performance. He considered the experience very valuable in a sense where he knows how to handle his mental game as well as the actual game of golf. There were no words to describe his experience at West Lancs. He saw, he came and…well…maybe he will conquer one day.

BRENTT9 copyThe golfers had the chance to take a photo with the coveted British Junior Open trophy.

Enjoy more photos in the gallery!