It’s so sad to say goodbye to my HPU familia. I’ll definitely miss my colleagues and students. HPU is the second university I’ve taught at and it has been the most stress-free and relaxing job I’ve ever had. My colleagues are caring, creative and insightful. They’ve given me career and life advice that I’ll probably refer to time and time again.
Teaching others the Spanish language and culture is something that sort of fell into my lap and I thank God for the wonderful experience. As for my students, they’ve opened my eyes to new things throughout the years.
One of my biggest accomplishments is inspiring one of my students to apply for grad school and become a Spanish teacher. I like to think of it as a perfect way to (maybe temporarily) end my career in education. I’ve contributed one more Spanish teacher to the world.
I’m so lucky to have met one of my good friends, Sue Haglund (on my left), while working at HPU. She kicks okole in everything that she does and is finishing up her dissertation this year. She, too, has opened my eyes to new things and always offers another perspective. As for the rest of my HPU family, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you all!
I’m proud to say that I’m a new member of the development team at Easter Seals Hawaii! I never thought I would get back into public relations and marketing until my good friend Umma recommended that I apply for an open position. Upon my first week on the job, I was told that I would be flying to Chicago for a marketing and public relations conference at the Easter Seals headquarters. It was amazing and eye-opening. I’ve met some really altruistic and insanely intelligent marketing and PR managers that dedicate their lives to the beneficiaries of Easter Seals.
In addition to meeting fellow public relations and marketing managers and learning about the impact of having a news background (which I am very proud of), I was given a personal tour of the headquarters office in Willis Tower. I instantly became inspired by the quote that is embedded into the wall of the lobby. “Your life and mine shall be valued not by what we take…but by what we give,” said the founder of Easter Seals, Edgar Allen. This is something I’ll have to frame in my office to remind me of my mission in case any unnecessary stress arrives.
After the conference, I did some exploring on my own. It was my first time in Chicago and I had never seen snow until this Wednesday. Crazy, huh? Aside from freezing my tail off, it was nice to see what people in Chicago ate, wore and behaved. Based on my observations over the past three days, I can tell you a few things: Chicagoans love sandwiches, pizza, dark clothes and they always joke around. Although I wasn’t a deep-dish fanatic, I did enjoy the regular pizza and cafes on every corner. People in Chicago love their coffee, heck, if it were 30 degrees out, I’d love coffee that much too. I ran into every coffee shop on every corner just to warm up. This island girl can’t take the cold weather! Can you see my teeth chattering in the first photo?
This photo pretty much sums up my experience. I took a head cold and a new life mission as souvenirs and I’m full of ideas for my new job. Now preparing for takeoff…here we go!
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!
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.
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.
That sandwich is GINORMOUS! Sikspix took me to Storto’s earlier this week to culture me on a proper East coast sub. The sandwiches we ordered were just shy of three feet long. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating but it was huge. I’ve never seen a sandwich that big here in Hawaii. We got the Adam Sando sub, which was packed with turkey, avocado, bacon, papaya seed dressing and honey mustard. I died.
A couple days later, FoodographyHI and I talked over her beet/goat cheese salad and my eggplant parmesan at La Tour on Nimitz Hwy. She’s my go-to gal on good places to eat on O’ahu because this chick knows her food and is pretty awesome at making all the foodie hunnies lust after her daily posts. Check her out on Facebook and drool away.
My friend Healani had asked me to take her family photos earlier last week. This here is their daughter Terina. She’s one of the most creative and expressive kids I’ve ever met in life. We shot everything in the little park and playground next to their house. Healani and her fiancee Warren have been one of my favorite couples since they’ve been together. They’re both so in love.
The shoot was simple and fun. The lighting was great, the park near their house was beautiful. Terina still hadn’t warmed up to me until Lan brought out a present for her to open and somehow get her to smile. She opened a tea set, which was perfect and kind of fit the theme of the shoot. So I decided a black and white tea party out in the garden would be appropriate for the holidays.
Here’s a cute one with just mom and dad. I caught them talking and joking while Terina was opening her gift. Candids are always the best!
This was a cute shot. I had them sit up on the hill and their outfits really popped with the green grass. It was fun to capture such sweet moments with this beautiful couple and their daughter.
This week has been pretty crazy. I had to rely on my trusty calendar to remember what days I work at which job and with whom – what meetings I have scheduled. I don’t think that sentence made any sense. But anyways, after a few days of being a complete scatterbrain, I realized it’s already Thursday and I should start taking it easy because it’s going to be a pain grading exams all weekend.
Yesterday I took a moment to regroup and clear my head before a work meeting/dinner at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace. I shot this photo (above) with my iPhone from the parking lot. I decided to use a little “purple haze” filter on this, just because I’ve seen lots of lavender/purple shades around town lately. Or maybe it’s just the color of the month…in my head. I wish I had a moment like this to myself everyday.
This next photo is from the other night. My good friend Ryan took me to this new restaurant on Waialae Avenue. It’s called Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu and it’s fairly new and very popular. It was packed with locals of all sorts. The last time I ate Shabu Shabu was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Saipan more than seven years ago. It’s been ages! It was a perfect meal for that chilly night.
The food was great, very tasty. I suggest the spicy broth (it’s not spicy at all, but it’s a peppery miso base that tastes amazing after you cook all your meat, prawns and veggies) and the Asuka-style cucumber kimchee.
There’s nothing like good friends and good food, especially in Hawaii. The two go hand in hand. I’ll be back to update you on Saturday’s Honolulu Night + Market at Kaka’ako. Chau!