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it was seven years ago today…

Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Hawaii, life | 2 Comments »

… that I got on a plane in the dead of night and started on my grand adventure return to the mainland. Seven years! That’s hard to wrap my head around.


In some ways, it seems so long ago — it’s now been longer since I left Hawaii than I spent there in the first place. When people who are heading to Hawaii ask me for advice on where to stay and eat and what to do, it takes me some time (and sometimes some assistance from the Lonely Planet guide I keep on my shelf) to recall the names of places and streets, the nitty-gritty of how to get around. Time and distance and hindsight being what they are, it’s hard to put myself back into my own shoes in that time and space. Was that really me? Did I really chuck it all and spend nearly six years of my life in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

I don’t have any regrets about having lived there, but neither do I wish I were still there (except maybe sometimes in February). The experience overall was a great one, and it plays a big role in who I am today. I wouldn’t trade it.

But seven years ago it was time to leave, for a number of reasons. I knew the transition would be tough, so I turned it into a grand adventure, a seven-week solo journey across the country, starting in the Pacific Northwest, driving down the entire U.S. West Coast, then across the Southwest before angling up through the nonsquare central states back to Ohio. Stops along the way were pretty evenly split between friends, hotels, and a conference that fit neatly into the middle of the trip.

In honor of this anniversary, I’ve found and reposted the blog posts I made during that trip, and even found and reposted the photos that go along with them. (My Blogger-to-Wordpress transition was not a smooth one, and these disappeared in the move. As I’ve been digging around trying to find stuff to delete to free up some hard drive space, though, I found an old archive folder that preserved much of what I thought I had lost. They’re all in reverse order on that linked page, by the way.)

I thought that I had made a lot more posts, but it seems that a lot of what I was remembering is what I wrote in my journal. My laptop was relatively new to me, WiFi was still in its infancy, and making internet connections wasn’t the piece of cake it is today. Still, it’s an interesting peek back at a time of transition, the beginning of a new chapter in my life that led me on a path to where I am today.


Big Island under siege

Posted: August 14th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Hawaii | 2 Comments »

An earthquake on Monday jolted the Big Island of Hawaii, which is already under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning.

I was eager to see the video of the “Hawaiians” clearing the store shelves, so I could compare it to my experience, except that their video feed is not working for me, for whatever reason. (Although someone does need to remind CNN that “Hawaiian” is a race designation, not an indication of state residency. Some Hawaii residents are Hawaiian, but not all Hawaiians are Hawaii residents.) In the six years I lived on Oahu, I saw serious stockpile buying only once, right after 9/11. It was really weird to go into the store and see no bottled water, no toilet paper, no rice, no beer. I imagine it is pretty much the same in this instance.

Hang in there, Amy-san.

spot on

Posted: April 9th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Hawaii | Comments Off on spot on

One of the most succinct pieces I’ve ever read about race in Hawaii is here.

see? see?

Posted: February 10th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Hawaii, life | 2 Comments »

The next time someone expresses skepticism when I share my story of being attacked by a centipede, I’m going to direct them to this You Tube video. Assuming the centipede I bludgeoned to death in my yard with a garden trowel mere days after the incident was the same one or its brother, my attacker was only an inch or two shorter than the star of this film.

(I think the answer to the untranslatable archive dilemma is to simply repost the “best of” here a little at a time with the appropriate retro timestamp and let the rest retire quietly to CD to play shuffleboard and bore each other to death. I’ll lose the few comments I have, but so be it.)


Posted: January 15th, 2002 | Author: | Filed under: critters, Hawaii | 1 Comment »

Let me tell you, unequivocally, that you do not ever, ever want to be bitten by a centipede, even if you are not quite so sensitive to the toxin as I apparently am. I’ve spent the last two days learning all kinds of things about centipedes, up close and personal. The story goes like this:

Sunday evening I went out back to get the last load of laundry out of the dryer. It’s dark back there, and I couldn’t see much. Just as I got to the dryer, I felt a sharp pain on the toes of my right foot, much like I imagine a small nail being pounded through your toe would feel like. I said a few choice words and kicked out my foot, losing my shoe in the process. Balanced on my left foot, I said a few more choice words and wondered what the hell had bitten me. My first thought was that it was likely a centipede, although I didn’t hear the rustling scurry away that I’ve heard from centipedes before. For some dumb reason I somehow managed to get all the laundry out of the dryer, find my shoe, and make it halfway back to the back door before I realized that I really couldn’t walk all that well anymore. I must have been out there too long, or made some kind of noise, because Kevin (who, miracle of all miracles, was home at the time) popped his head out the door and asked if I needed help. I must have really worried the poor boy, because I was in the house and writhing on the living room floor before I knew it.

Kevin attempted triage, but I was having no touching of the foot, with fingers or with cotton soaked in peroxide or anything. I made him get a bowl and pour the peroxide over my foot into the bowl and then call the Ask-a-Nurse hotline that frankly isn’t so hot. They were clueless. In the meantime, my foot and ankle were beginning to swell, and numbness was working its way up my leg. When it hit the back of my knee, Kevin made the executive decision to haul me off to the emergency room and run through a few stoplights on the way.

The last time I was in the emergency room I was five years old and had my head x-rayed (no kidding), so you can understand how my fear of my leg falling off was battling with my fear of all things critical that involve doctors. I writhed and swore and filled out paperwork, then was placed in a wheelchair and rolled back to the triage room. The nurse poked around my sensitive toes for signs of what might have happened — remember that at this point I still didn’t know *what* the hell had bit me — and didn’t see anything other than a ballooning foot.

After a mercifully short wait in back in the waiting room, I was wheeled back to Dr. Lee, who is certainly younger than I am but very, very nice. Kevin showed him where the punctures are (between my second and third toes on my right foot) and told him what all we had done. He concluded that it was most likely a centipede bite, based on the punctures and my reaction, and that I was apparently pretty sensitive to the toxin. Dr. Lee started telling me in gory detail about how he was going to inject painkillers into the top of my foot before I cut him off and told him that he should just say that he’s going to do something to make it feel better and spare me the details, lest I pass out. So Kevin watched (with a promise to never recount to me) the two injections into the top of my foot, which I mercifully barely felt at that point. I sat for a bit, and after the doctor checked in to make sure that I was still alive and my leg still attached, sent a nurse in to give me a tetanus shot, just for kicks. Then I got to go home with my icepack.

I called my boss when I got home to tell him that there was no way I was coming in that next morning. I slept surprisingly well, considering, and spent yesterday napping, reading, and going through by out-of-control magazine piles. I managed to hobble as far as the bathroom and the living room couch, but had to call Amy to fetch my mail from the mailbox for me and let Kevin take care of dinner and the dishes.

Today I’m still swollen and hobbling, but have a wider range. I managed to make it across the street to work, and my foot is becoming less painful as the day wears on, although it’s still pretty numb overall.

I read up a bit on centipedes today. Most sites admit that the bites are pretty painful, but say that the pain goes away in a few hours for most people. Well, I am quite obviously not most people.