Where am I now?

That is a very good question!  Seems I’ve been in a different zip code every couple days for the last 3 weeks.  I flew back from Maui to Oakland on Dec 17th and hit the ground running with everything from holiday card sending to swapping out my Hawaii clothes for ones more appropriate for the 30+ degree drop in temperature.  El Nino is bringing it real to this drought stricken state which barring floods and landslides, is a very good thing.  It’s also a big shock to my system as I’d grown to enjoy the 80 day / 70 night temps of Maui.  Socks, what are those?

After Oakland it was Monterrey for a few days then onto to Ventura/Ojai for the holidays with family. I have scads of relatives in Southern California so I’ve been making the rounds of guest rooms.  When you work for yourself, taking time off can be tricky even around the holidays but I managed to do very little work over New Years weekend and planted myself on the couch reading Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) SO GOOD! and catching up on the latest season of Dr. Who.

Being back in Cali I can’t help but compare life here to the islands. It really is vastly different and the weather is the least of it.  Driving here again was a shock.  Not only are highway speed limits 20 mph slower on Maui but people are WAY more chill on the road. If an ambulance is on the road in Hawaii everyone pulls over and stops, EVERYONE.  If there is a merge coming up, there are rarely people speeding into the merge lane trying to get ahead.  That shocked me the first time I saw it – people were not being jerky drivers!  I guess they know it’s an island and you can only cover so much ground. There are loads of reasons for the giant differences in culture, not the least of which is that when you are living in paradise why would you rush anything?

Everyone has been asking me if I want to go back to Hawaii to which I of course answered a resounding YES! More on that later. 🙂

I’m in LA for the next week and will head back to SF on the 16th.  After that, I fly to Washington DC to stay with my Mom and Brother for a while before heading west again.

I have posts drafted for my Maui travel guide as well as about my week on the Big Island so those will be out soon(ish).

Here are some photos from my recent travels, my holiday card and a fun map outlining trips taken since October.

Aloha!

TravelMapJan2016

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Kama’aina

Time

Island time is different than mainland time and especially the hopped up city time I was living on before I got here. Seems every time I look at my watch, I’m surprised that it’s earlier than I thought.  I want to post here more often but then I ask myself  “Do I want to document my experience or do I want to go and participate in the experience?”.  The answer of course is the latter.

Also, I’m up early working and I go to bed early.  A friend of mine here told me that 9pm is Maui midnight.  I totally get that.

Love

I was driving back from a trip to Kahului a couple weeks ago and marveling at the clouds hanging along the mountains (ok volcanoes), the setting sun turning them canary yellow and the shoreline slowly coming into view and realized it right then & there: Dammit I love this place!

Here is a quick snap I took trying to capture the moment - but my phone is pretty lame with capturing the sheer gorgeousness of life here.
Here is a quick snap I took trying to capture the moment – but my phone is pretty lame with capturing the sheer gorgeousness of life here.

Here’s the funny thing – I’m not even a huge fan of heat and humidity has never been my friend (note the curly hair that acts as a hygrometer by the level of frizz).  Go figure. Weather here is pretty much the same daily 82 day / 70 night.

Life

I’ve adjusted to island life, the slower pace, being in nature – not just observing it.  People assume I live here which is pretty amusing and I take it as a compliment.  Tourists ask my advice, people ask me for directions and shop keepers give me the kama’aina discount.  Kama’aina literally translates to ‘child of the land’ but colloquially, it  means you live here. I spoke with a ranger at a nature preserve this week and he assumed I was kama’aina too.  He told me that it was indeed a compliment.  If you are kama’aina you are caretaker of the land & peoples and that not all people who live here are kama’aina. So yay me! 🙂

Adventure

(There’s much more but here’s a few for now…)
Outrigger

I started paddling with a outrigger club and am totally in love with the sport! After my first outing I was initiated with a short Hawaiian ceremony.  That was incredibly special. I just wish I’d started the week I got here. I’m really not very good at it but I am going to go out every day I can.   I’ve seen flying fish, rainbows and plenty of honu (sea turtles) from the boat. It’s just the start of whale season so we take a device that we can drop in the water to listen for whale song.  So far nothing – but a girl’s got to hope eh? Just getting out in the boat is amazing and the guys I’ve been paddling with are great.  It’s quite a task to paddle through the waves and yes, it can be a bit scary but I totally love it. Why did I have to fall in love with a sport that’s not done too many places besides here?

More pics of living, working, eating and adventuring here on Maui. I’ll catch you up on my favorite place on the island (so far) in the next post.  Yeah, I’ve found my “happy place” and it’s here on Maui. 😉 Also, there is SO much more to explore…

 

 

Hi Ho! Island Living, Working & Eating

 

The view from my outdoor office.

Last week was the end of my vacation time.  But how does one work when surrounded by all this amazing-ness?  To my pleasant surprise, it hasn’t been that difficult to work AND play.  It helps that I love my work and my kick @ss clients too :).  The 2 hour time difference between Hawaii and the west coast where most of my clients are also works in my favor.  I work 6am to 2pm local time which gives me some play time after the hottest part of the day. Win/Win!

At this writing, I remain sunburn free and hope to keep it that way.  My tan lines however are stubborn and only seem to get worse.  I know you are probably feeling really, really bad for me right now…

Checking in from my beach office. (Don’t hate a playah.)

Another bonus – cell service is decent in most places so I can check in on social media for my clients on my phone from tree top or beach – both of which I have done already.

The end of vacation also means most meals at home. Did I mention it’s expensive here?  I’m kind of insulated from the sticker shock though having come from $an Franci$co.  I feel bad for those from the mid-west who are used to a burger for $4.  Here it’s $11 for a burger and fries.   Milk is $6 a gallon, a grilled fish burrito bowl is $10 and a gallon of unleaded gas will set you back $3.22 to 3.50.

I’ve had to get creative with food because my “kitchen” consists of an electric kettle, small fridge, sink and microwave.   It’s not exactly Iron Chef but I’ve made some tasty food so far.  The farmer’s market supplies the best (and cheapest) fruits & veggies and shopping the sales at local markets makes things reasonable. Any kind of protein is expensive though and now I can see why Spam is so popular here. Yes, I got some turkey Spam – it’s not bad when slathered with Sriracha.  But yeah, I think I’m done with the Spam experience.

Clockwise left to right: Salad & Spam n egg tacos, Coconut yogurt w/ banana & almonds, Spam stuffed baked potato & Maui slaw, Giant fresh salad
Clockwise L to R: Salad & Spam n egg tacos, Coconut yogurt w/ banana & almonds, Stuffed ‘baked’ potato & Maui slaw, Maui chopped salad w/ avocado & pumpkin seeds

I’m a big fan of Poke (poh-kay) which is marinated raw fish. The Ahi tuna poke from the local grocery store is ridiculously good and just $11 a lb.  I had to cut myself off after googling just how much raw tuna one should eat in a month (mercury poisoning don’t yah know…). Now I find myself checking the calendar to see when I can eat tuna again.

So, I’m getting into a new rhythm here and feeling so much gratitude for this whole adventure.  Even in the middle of the night when there’s a loud thump on the roof of my bungalow and I awake with a start.  I realize that it’s just a falling coconut and I laugh.  How awesome is that?  Coconuts.

Here are more photos from the last week and some. Roll over for captions, or click any to open a slide show.

Mahalo!