Visiting my grandmother last week was emotional and heart-warming. I was so lucky to visit her and see my family back home in Saipan. She’s a bit stronger (physically) now and still full of jokes and laughs. She taught me a lot in the very few days I spent with her. She spoke about how she used to travel and attend various schools across Micronesia and in American Samoa. The U.S. used to provide the children of Saipan and Guam with scholarships and travel opportunities so she and her many siblings traveled all over the Pacific. We share some similarities. She believes in learning about other cultures and traveling abroad when the opportunities arise. She says that you should travel as much as you can when you are young and strong. I completely agree.
She’s a smart lil’ cookie.
It was fun to catch up and joke around with her. She’s so tiny but she has the biggest heart. I miss you already abuelita! I’ll try my best to see you again this year. <3
I’m getting ready to leave for Saipan and Guam tomorrow. Here are my travel essentials: lots of black clothes, tons of necklaces, headbands (because it’s maipe – hot), my passport, a journal for ideas/poetry/inspiration and a little purse. Of course I’ll be taking my DSLR along for the trip. One of my goals is to learn at least five new phrases in Chamorro. My friends and I have this thing where we jokingly try to one-up each other on Chamorro phrases and vocabulary. I always lose, so I’ve really got to step my game this time. ¡Biba Marianas!
The new year has been pretty mellow so far. I’m taking it slow, observing any changes in luck…like a ninja…waiting for some kind of excitement to strike!
No excitement yesterday either. My grandmother and I welcomed the new year with some traditional Japanese ozoni soup. My uncle makes it with lots of mizuna (mustard greens), clams, taro, shiitake mushrooms and mochi.
Happy New Year! I hope you have all welcomed the new year with family, friends and loved ones. Although it’s cheesy, it’s important to reflect back on how this year has changed us and how we can become better people in the future.
The year 2012 has been one of the craziest years of my life. I’ve grown as an artist, thanks to many referrals by friends and past clients. I got a sweet new car to replace my beloved beat-up Toyota Camry, which I have had since I was 16-years-old. I’ve fallen in love, immensely, this past summer, only to be heartbroken. It’s cool, really. I like to think of it as a defining moment. I then shaved my head semi Rihanna-style and faithfully took up yoga. Finally paid off my stinkin’ student loans. Whoo hoo! I’ve become even prouder of being multi-cultural. I’ve made some interesting new friends who are talented and sweet. I’ve worked every single day for four months straight to build up a small travel fund. It’s a good feeling to be productive.
As for being a better person? I’m always passionate and will continue to be that way. I feel music, art and literature so deeply. There is no need to change that. Live and love fearlessly. Spend more time reading books than watching movies or TV. I’d like to be more informed and aware of the world. Eat healthier. Live with a positive outlook. In a nutshell, I want to be a (good-smelling) hippie who knows her world, national and local issues and does things to contribute to the many islands I call home. I’d also like to be more patient with my family. They drive me insane yet keep me sane at the same time. I guess it’s part of the whole multi-cultural thing. We all don’t know which way to go. I’d like to fulfill at least two things on my bucket list and knock out one country on my dream destination list. Lastly, I believe that the key to being a better person is MORE SLEEP! Sleep keeps you looking younger and healthier, it even makes you nicer to your colleagues. It’s proven. Google it. The power of sleep.
…and sleeping is exactly how I will start the new year.
It seems “phototypography” is the craze nowadays. Especially with all of the GIFs and photos circulating around Tumblr and instant apps that can turn almost anything into a talking photo. But one thing that really catches my eye is the perfect placement of text and shapes/vectors on a photo and I’ve seen some beautiful ones as advertisements for businesses here in Oahu.
Here are some samples of phototypography I’ve stumbled upon by a 22-year-old Filipino graphic artist Patrick James Juplo.
[Left to right: My bestie Abbey, yours truly, Katrina & my cousin Momo]
Last night we celebrated Katrina’s move to Maui for her bomb-ass internship. Haha maybe it’s not a BIG move, but it was definitely fun to have something to celebrate on a Saturday night. Katrina, we’ll definitely see you soon in Maui!
I’m not the kind of girl that hikes. I don’t look like a hiker nor act like one. But FoodographyHI is one of those people that make anything treacherous or physically painful seem exciting and adventurous. She convinced me to do the Lanikai Pillbox Hike with her yesterday and we died many times before making it to the top. We had a little spat about making it up that last part because I didn’t want to fall off the cliff and get killed. But again, she convinced me with the “we made it all the way up here, what’s another five minutes?” speech. As terrified as I was, I managed to climb my way to the top with her and we sat atop the pillbox and enjoyed the view of Kailua, Lanikai and Waimanalo. It was worth it.
The hardest part of the hike was actually going down. I think I fell a good six times due to the worn out traction on my sneakers. I got some cuts and scrapes to prove it!
Inside of the pillbox, there were some tags and this awesome artwork. I didn’t get a good photo of the outside (which had a snowman and some Christmas designs), but the inside was pretty cool.
Thanks to FoodographyHI for pushing me to the top. It’s awesome to feel that fear inside you once in a while, it makes you feel alive! That’s my take on the last adrenaline rush for 2012. Peace.
My good friend Healani gave me this red leather clutch for Christmas. I think I’m obsessed with it. Thanks Lan, for such a useful and chic gift. Love you!
Now that Christmas is over, I can finally relax! Well, on a smaller scale. I’ve been trying to work as much as I can to prepare for my trip. I still haven’t bought things for my family back in Saipan. They usually don’t like the local stuff here. No surprise, they have all these Japanese products available back home, why would you want something from Hawaii when you already live on a beautiful island?
On another note, the holidays have inspired me to glam up a bit. Just because I knowingly slack in the makeup department, I decided to try something new.
Here’s one from Instagram showcasing just how “daring” I can be with makeup. I swear some girls can pull off the bright lips but I feel kind of funny so I wiped it off before Christmas dinner with my family. It is a pretty color though, it’s Make Up For Ever in 36 and the coverage is awesome. Everything else I use is from the drugstore, I used L’oreal liquid foundation, NYX eyeliner and Maybelline mascara.
Today is Christmas day in Saipan and Guam! Merry Christmas to my family and friends back home. I miss and love you guys so much! Here’s a silly photo of my best friend Abbey and I fooling around at Walmart. After the tenth take, people started to stare at our sudden fascination with this one Christmas ornament, but we were actually posing…we’re just awesome at awkward moments.
I’m flying out to Guam and then to Saipan on the 4th. I’m kind of excited about it because I need a change of scenery, people, life, etc. The thing is, my main reason for going back is to visit and spend time with my grandmother. She’s a strong Chamorro/German lady who’s having a few health problems and I’ve missed her terribly.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Saipan is like right now. It’s been almost a year since I’ve visited. From what I hear, the island is becoming scarce. Resources are not as fresh and abundant as they used to be. Traffic lights are out and some locals can’t afford to pay their electric bills.
Everyone tells me that it’s depressing to go back but I’m anxious to see what my old home looks like. I plan to rent a car and drive around. I want to see my old home in Kagman, my best friend Annabelle, who teaches elementary school, and visit my grandfather’s grave. The only thing I know I won’t enjoy would be attending mass. Haha! But I’ll do it for my grandma. You can always count on her to wake you up at six in the morning to pray.