Thursday, July 9, 2015

The day of 29,000 steps

This was not intentional but I'm actually really proud of that number! Though I feel I have now set an unreasonably high standard so that when I only hit, say, 18,000, it will feel like I need to walk more =x
I started off with plans to climb Diamond Head for the beautiful views, relatively simple climb, and beacuse it's a mile from where I'm staying. I took off pretty early, paid my $1 to get in- though now I can go back for free with my student ID!- and began. It's a steep path that winds up until you reach a long set of steps up to the lookout deck. From there you get beautiful views of the ocean, all of honolulu, and the crater down below. Photos soon!

My plan was to go to the Diamond Head beach park so I took off towards that, not realizing that you have to circle the entire mountain to the other side. Having the same name does not mean they are anywhere close together, so I was tired and ready to lay down by the time I got there. I read for about 30 minutes but ended up not staying long because the beach is too rocky for swimming since it's more of a surfer's beach. Afterwards I walked about 2 miles back so I could get lunch and clean up before going to the campus with Carol and a Japanese student she had just picked up. We wanted to explore and find our classrooms so that we wouldn't be lost Monday morning. UH is a beautiful campus! Well, really, it just fits the whole Honolulu scene, full of flowers, Asian inspired architecture, and open green spaces. We are actually in some temporary buildings the first part of the day, then Moore Language Center for our labs. I didn't realize it before, but UH has some amazing language and interpreting programs and quite the reputation. I feel a little more special having been accepted!

Afterwards I had Carol drop me off in China town to walk around that area and the downtown for a while. It was a little quiet since it was a Sunday but still fun. I love China towns! I replaced my jade bracelet from Beijing, which unfortunately broke a few months ago. I like the new one but not sure it's as well made as the original from the jade factory. I picked up a mango from a market- not that cheap but better than the insane 6.99 a lb I've seen it for everywhere! I walked by some historical sites because everything was closed, but then ended up talking to some really nice Hawaiian guys who were playing eukelele outside of these historical homes. I like the vibe here, everyone is friendly and welcoming :) I ate another food court dinner at the mall before taking a bus back. I know my food on this trip has been really boring! I usually love to explore the local cuisine and try new restaurants and cafe's but with these prices I'm trying to stick to the basics, not to mention traditional Hawaiian entails roasting an entire pig or spam filled sushi!

I'll get school updates on here soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Arrival plus July 4th or really just day 2 in Honolulu for me

Let's get this down before I forget! I have been walking, walking, walking and setting new unreasonable standards for my step count on my iPhone!

After settling in and unpacking on Friday, I walked to Waikiki beach to swim in both the more family friendly beach near me, and the further one where they have the surf lessons. As I was told, Waikiki is the rich area so I walked around the shopping center past all the Versace, and Gucci, and fancy names before finding a grocery store and finding similiar Gucci level prices there so I ended up walking further to the safeway that was slightly better.
Saturday morning I walked about a mile to the community college where they have a huge farmers market. I loved it! The prices are actually not bad and I got a bag of purple sweet potatoes and a baby watermelon. There are also a lot of free samples and food vendors. From there I took the bus into town to go to the 24 hour fitness. It's an impressive gym! 3 floors of weight machines and free weights, plus some punching bags in a boxing ring I may use ;)

 I'll have to compare it to the school gym this week in order to decide where to go. Most things were closed for 4th of July so I ended up walking to the shopping mall, not for shopping but for eating. My $12 meal from the food court might be the cheapest it's going to get, it may become a go to place.  Afterwards I tested out the Ala Moana beach park. It has a little enclosed cove where everyone had set up tents and were grilling and cooking food, looked like fun! I chose to set up on the beach side for the extra breeze, though it was just as packed. I read for a while, spoke to a couple from Arkansas, since I recognized the familiar southern accent. Is it weird that I miss things like that? I miss spanish even more, I'm so used to being surrounded by it in Houston and it made it harder that Argentina vs Chile Copa America finals were on and there are no bars that play soccer games here....(edit) we lost anyways :(

Afterwards, I wandered back through the Hilton and noticed the beautiful pool, as well as the fact that no one stopped me from walking in. This was really nice and has been noted for future occasions. The Hilton also has an entire shopping center inside so I charge my phone and myself at starbucks while catching up on the internets. By that point it was only 5 and I felt like I was ready for bed, and also if you recall from the last post, I was getting kind of lonely being so alone among everyone who had gotten together for the holiday, I miss you guys! I'd planned to watch fireworks on the beach but with no one to share it :\
So I wandered back almost the entire way down Kalakaua Ave, the main Waikiki drive, picked up a few food items, then had to uber it back because I was exhausted. We had a nice view of the fireworks at the house, so we watched then hung out for a bit until I went to bed with big plans for Sunday morning!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Do I dare come back? I'm older, maybe wiser, and still traveling....Aloha from Honolulu!

Hello there friends!
I decided my travel blog would be the best way to keep everyone up to date on my Hawaii experience without having to repeat myself several times over. It also serves the dual purpose of being something I can look back on and remember great memories. I was debating wether to restart this blog or start a new one...It feels really strange after 5 years of not keeping an online journal, so much time gone by, so much life having happened.
I could have started a brand new one, but then I read through all the archives and I think it's really interesting to go back and see where I was in 2009 and 2010. Some it is funny because I can see ways in which I've matured and laugh at my 24/25 year old self. But then some of it left me wondering-  why do I still have these same worries, is that feeling of "never good enough" that is so pervasive in those old posts just a part of who I inherently am? It left me feeling sort of melancholy, though that was probably compounded by the fact that I've been doing everything alone this weekend and it was a little lonely for 4th of July while wandering around seeing families and couples and friends celebrating together.

Anyways, onwards and upwards! Let's start from the beginning and how I arrived in Hawaii. Since 2010 I have become a full blown interpreter and part business owner! It has gone really well. I never did get that legal certification but I took over all of our focus group interpreting along with other things as they come up, and my work has kept me so busy I have not felt an urgent need to go study a lot of things I am not too interested in. However, it is still a stepping stone to all the other jobs I want to do and will give me the vocabulary and speed I need to do more conference interepreting. I did interpret my first conference for the Red Cross this last March and while it was fulfilling in so many ways, it was also terrifying. That's when I realized maybe investing in some formal interpreting training would give me the confidence I need to immerse myself into conference world. I'm not a bad interpreter, but I definately lack confidence in my skills, and that translates into me getting stuck or very flustered under pressure. So I started my search for short term interpreting programs and stumbled upon the Summer Intensive Interpreting program and the University of Hawaii in Honololu. It seemsd perfect! 6 weeks specializing in preparing me to become a certified conference interpreter, reasonably priced as far as further college education goes, and....Hawaii. I dove right in! After meticulous research and analysis, Gaby style.

I admit it was hard, is still hard, to leave for a month and half. I'm hoping to get more used to it. I'm also hoping everything I had is waiting for me back home when this is done. Part of me is now wondering if I was sort of looking for an escape back in March when I planned this. I felt the pull to get away and re-evaluate for a while, especially focus on my career and myself. Then as things happen when you finally focus on your own happiness and self reliance, stars align and things fall into place- well, I found myself really really content with where I not just content, a deep down in my core feeling that things are just right, hopeful. Clients I interpret for have become super loyal, and it's flattering. I've been allowing new people in who bring me joy, reconnecting with my yoga group and old friends (that I'd spoken so highly of in my old posts! How could I forget this?), a new apartment bringing a fresh start and new positive energy with it, and the best neighbor I've ever had who happens to be my brother. He's grown up to be a pretty cool guy.

Now here I am in Honolulu, and I'll admit, though it was bittersweet to leave, being here is an incredible opportunity and I plan to do everything I can to LIVE it! As you can see, my inability to write concisely is still here and I'm sure you're done with hearing about all the feel-y emotional stuff.
After leaving at 7 am Friday and flying about 9 hours I arrived at...12:30pm Friday? That time change is funny. A fellow classmate doing the French program named Carol picked me up from the airport and I was greeted with a traditional lei made of real flowers that smelled amazing. She then took me to my airbnb via the scenic route. She was super friendly, a British woman who has been living here for 4 years. She is even bringing me an unused bike she had lying around today! I will be mobile! At least faster than my feet have been taking me.

I'm staying in an ideal location, halfway between Waikiki beach and Diamondhead National Park. I'm about a mile from both of those, and 2 miles south of UH campus. I love how active I'll by biking around everywhere! Right now I am living with a Japanese lady named Rika, and her 6 year old daughter. Her older son, Remy, is the airbnb host. He is a model/ dancer/ hair and make up artist and is traveling for work right now. I can't wait to meet him next week. They both seem like cool, eccentric, and interesting people. The house is interesting, it's a little bungalow that is filled with stuff. Like piles of stuff but she says she's having a garage sale soon. The doors are constantly open, they don't even get closed when she goes to sleep because I got up to grab my water bottle from the kitchen at around 2 am last night and noticed she had not closed the front or back doors. There is no AC. Oh and there's also dogs, two 12 year old chocolate labs who are bascially smelly blobs on the floor most of the time, and also have accidents so I have to watch for puddles. So much for the playful labs I envisioned walking! Then there's a little Chihuaha who is kind of sideways all the time because she was bitten by a big dog years ago and her neck never untwisted. She's my favorite! She's little and cute. Thankfully my room and bathroom are clean and have AC! I am so happy about this AC unit. The king size bed takes up almost the entire room but it's not the worst place to sit. I'll probably still have to study on campus a lot.

This is already lengthy enough and I start classes tomorrow. I'll continue the updates and the absurd amount of things I've done in 48 hours in the next post.

Buenas noches amigos y queridos!