Why Write?

Originally, I created this blog to document my trip to India. Upon my return, I realized that I couldn't shake the writing bug.
So, feel free to read about my adventures in India and stay tuned for my traveling updates!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hawaii (LOVE)

With the spiritual experience in Guam behind me, it was off to Hawaii

Hawaii-I loved

I don’t think this blog post will be very long. Mainly, I am going to update the short story that I started a few years ago. Plus, I finally remembered what my username and password are to this blog. Opps! But, I still remember all of the details about this trip.  Life got a hold of me (again-geez!), this time mostly going to graduate school. But, I am finished now (happy dance)! So, I’ll just write from memory. Aren’t those the best stories anyway?

For me, falling in love with Hawaii (the first time) was instantaneous. The second I breezed through the sliding doors of the airport and stepped out into the sunshine and salty air, I knew this was it. This was love.

The question I have been pondering since I moved from Hawaii a few years ago is, do you think it’s possible to fall in love with a location? If so, what does that look like? Can a particular location bring you comfort, peace, and joy, even friendship? Whether you are religious or not, the land and the sea really can be healing if you open yourself up to it’s energies. I know this is why I love the ocean so much. It’s where my heart feels most at peace. Some people need the mountains. I need the ocean. 

Anyway, going back during this trip felt like the best homecoming a girl could have. I took a flight from Guam to Oahu. My friend said that I could stay with her family while I was on my soul-searching mini-vacation and summer break.

I met Rochelle while I was living in Hawaii. Her family was always really sweet to me when I was living there and our Dad’s had similar background. They both flew airplanes for the military and they both used to work for United Airlines. So, I actually met her the first time (when I used to live in Hawaii) at the airport in Honolulu.  We (obviously) became friends after that and I hung out a lot with her and her awesome family. She really was a good friend to me while I lived there. True Story!

By the time my plane landed in Hawaii, I was almost in tears. Yep, I cried while walking through the airport. I don’t think anyone could see that I was crying because it was a quiet cry. Why did I cry? Well, I just love Hawaii too much (I still do).  Hawaii is now apart of my being. I mean, I still refuse to have short hair on account of Hawaii (true story). So, my homecoming to Hawaii was bittersweet.

While I was back in Hawaii, I asked Rochelle’s Mom to show me around. She's a local grew and up on Oahu. Oahu is a pretty small island and after you have lived there for a few years, you have to find new ways of appreciating Hawaii, even though it's already an amazing place. Even though I lived there before, I wanted to see things from new lenses. So, I asked her to take me around and tell me about her childhood story and what it was like for her growing up on the island of Oahu.

Here are a few of my pictures. It was fun to walk down the same streets I used to live on, but have a new story behind the places that I already loved and will always love. Maybe I will write more soon. But for now, here is my photo story. 

Stay tuned until I write again…it will probably take another four years! 

 (Ken and I had a drink to honor our former roommate who died a few years ago)
(Rest in peace Norman, we love you!)
(I think I had two drinks and I look way too sloppy-"Opps")

 (I forgot, I was in Hawaii for my birthday)

Moral of the Story: Hawaii, I'll be back!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eat, Pray, Love: Guam (Pray)

In Hong Kong, I "ate." 
In Guam, I "prayed." 
In Hawaii, I "loved."


These blog posts were inspired by the book, Eat, Pray, Love. Even though I didn’t travel for a whole year, I did travel to three different locations (Hong Kong, Guam, and Hawaii). Each of these locations were island destinations and each of them taught me something. This is my story.  
Click below to see the previous blog posts:
Preface to Eat, Pray, Love



In order to get to Hawaii, I had to fly through Guam. Since I’ve never been there before, I decided to stop for a few days.   

At this point, my wanderlust had fully taken over, so I contacted an old acquaintance and informed him of my plans. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect tour guide. We explored the island, ate delicious local food, and played an epic game of darts, which lasted early into the morning hours.

Guam is a tiny little tropical island located in Micronesia. The island depends largely on tourism as a source of income and is famous for its beautiful beaches, which attracts tourists worldwide, especially the Japanese.

Its home to many exotic marine life, including the venomous Cone Shell. My friend told me of a tragic accident that took place a few weeks before he reported to his duty station. Apparently, a few of his co-workers were snorkeling in the ocean when his friend picked up a large Cone Shell. Unaware of the perilous dangers before him, he placed it in his pocket, deciding to keep it as a souvenir. He was stung and died within minutes.

The original inhabitants of Guam are believed to have been of Indo-Malaya descent originating from Southeast Asia as early as 2,000 B.C. They call themselves the Chamarro people.  I was able to observe a native fire dance performance, which was lively and full of energy.

Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, with much Spanish influence.  Click this video below to learn more about Guam's Chamorro history and culture.

The second day that I was there, I had some time to myself. I knew I needed this. I can't put my finger on it, but, something was beckoning me to slow down and listen to my heart. I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert when she goes to India. In India, Elizabeth truly connects with her heart. She learns to be quiet and she finally comes to peace with her past. Maybe, I needed to learn something while I was in Guam?

In my room, I discovered a little jewel. It was a Buddhist book filled with quotes. For those of you who know me, you know what I believe and that I am a Christian. But, we can learn a lot from others, even outside of our faith. Traveling has taught be to be more open-minded.  

So, I delicately thumbed through the pages. Curious, I guess. And as I sat on my balcony, looking out across the tantalizing teal blue sea,  I came across a quote that jumped out at me: 
“To worry in anticipation or to cherish regret for the past is like the reeds that are cut and wither away.” 

And it made me wonder, was I cherishing the regrets of the past? Even though I have come far, I am still holding onto an insurmountable amount of pain. Quite frankly, it's been exhausting. Don't get me wrong, overall, I am happy now and I have joy in my heart again; my fire is back. But, something is still nagging at me. How do I deal with this?

And just like that, the tears started to fall.

In the midst of my grief, I texted a friend. What he told me, gave me strength.   

“Amy, you are never alone. You have a huge family who loves you more than anything. That’s obvious from the adventures you have had with them and the pictures you share. You have good friends and I’ll always be your friend. Love will find you again.”
 I fell asleep tired, but full of acceptance. 

In the morning, I was awakened to beams of sunlight filtering through the window shutters. 

I grabbed my coffee, and meandered out onto the balcony again. More research and reflection needed. I called my Mom and told her how I felt and she reminded me to just “Be happy.”  Since I was in full reflection mode, I thought about those words after I got off the phone. Often time those words come across as being trivial or insensitive. But, I didn't see it that way. Being happy sometimes takes work. It encompasses dealing with your past and still seeing the beauty in the pain. I am not sure about you, but I am willing to put in the work.

Thus, Guam marked the "Pray" portion of my trip. Jitters started to fill my heart as I braced myself for the 3rd leg of my journey, Hawaii!  

For more information on Guam's famous beaches, check out this link:A Rundown of the Best Guam Beaches

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eat, Pray, Love

I’m not going to lie; it’s been a long, cold winter for Miss Amy. Having evaded blustery winters for 7 years in a row, the cold weather was almost too much for me. Why was it that the year I moved to Norfolk, Virginia, they had records levels of cold and snow? 

It was a rather lonely winter for me, I spent a lot of time on my own, and I burrowed myself furiously into work. Honestly, I missed how easy it was to make friends while I was living overseas. So, to combat this dreariness, I decorated my classroom island style with the hopes of warming up my internal climate. It certainly proved to be the most challenging year for me professionally.

Thankfully, Winter turned to Spring. And, by the time May rolled around, with the promise of summer on the distant horizon, I started to dream. Where could I go this summer? I was ready to be let loose!

My friend and I settled on a last minute road trip to Florida. We packed up the car and headed South! I thought a trip to Florida would satisfy my adventurous spirit. This was all I needed to feed my wanderlust appetite. I told myself I would be fine after that.

Upon my return, I attempted to nestle myself into a sleepy summer schedule. One that included cooking, reading a plethora of books, and occupying the local beaches. Maybe my goal could be to obtain a luscious tan? But, fate had other plans.

After three days of sleeping in, 2 home cooked meals devoured, and one book later, I was ready to be on the move again. This time, I decided to go to China. 

"I'll be back to Virginia in 6 days," I naively told my friend Jonathan. 
I didn't know it at the time, but I was about the embark on my very own, Eat, Pray, Love trip. In the book, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert is given the opportunity to travel for one year and to three different destinations with the understanding that she will complete a memoir from her experience. EAT, PRAY, LOVE is the result of that year. 

Even though I didn’t travel for a whole year, I did travel to three different locations (Hong Kong, Guam, and Hawaii). Each of these locations were island destinations and each of them taught me something. This is my story.

To be continued...