My friend just told me about a guy who had $1,000,000 in educational (med school) debt and paid it off by the age of 35. My best friend in New York is in her residency for vascular surgery and tells me about her numerous 24 hour shifts per week. What must it be like? This special way of living begs the question, “Would you trade your 20s and early 30s for a million dollars?”
If you forget me
from Love Poems, Pablo Neruda
"...if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine."
If two people don't feel that they're meant for each other, a relationship can't keep going, it won't. Nothing, no lie they tell themselves, no plea they might cry, will save it. That is the eventuality.
However, in the event one finds kismet, the inevitability is that they will continue to choose one another.
If this is defined as love, without possession or expectation, we are freed to focus our energies on our goals, dreams and aspirations. It is what changes the numbness of daily living to the sensitive ability to feel the world around us and rekindles the ability for creativity. The constant repetitive boredom of life which may form in the trappings of a relationship or even the looking for love diminishes when you find what is right for you instead of mistaking work deadlines for love deadlines.
That is society's sense of urgency, not yours.
In Hawai'i I'm finding that love exists, and it can be found in people and place. There is no guarantee. These feelings may not stand still or last forever because you are constantly becoming the things that you aren't yet. The magic is when the person or place travels with you on your journey: breathing, evolving, unfolding and revealing mysteries along the way. That is love and that is happiness. If you let it, both can be simple.
Talk story submissions end tonight. Share a story, relive the adventure.
While working on an article for Kaua'i Traveler I surfed across this website:
http://www.spaweek.com/wedlikeaceleb, touting in bold letters, "WED LIKE A CELEB." Kat ears up.
Spa Week was a fun bi-yearly distraction when I lived in New York. Twice a year, for a week, a number of spas would offer services like massages and facials (otherwise upwards or $150) for $50. An offer most women (and men) could not refuse. The promotion is nationwide and one day may hit the shores of Hawai'i (a girl can hope).
Though a walk down the aisle isn't necessarily in my immediate future, I entered. The website asked,
"Tell us in 300 words or less why you and your fiancè or any couple you know deserves to "WED LIKE A CELEB":
When it comes to honeymoons, luxury is a necessity rather than an indulgence. It is that special time in a couple's life when it is, most definitely, "all about them." In this way they can concentrate all their otherwise distracted prowess on creating new life in the happiest, healthiest, and most beautiful environment. It's like when a chef prepares haute cuisine: their feelings, surroundings and mindset go into their cooking. The same can be applied to baby making -- happy coital bliss (a.k.a. WED LIKE A CELEB) = happy, healthy baby. In these modern times, when people have forgotten how to slow down and smell the intoxicating flower of pleasure, it is paramount during this formative month of marriage that the couple build on a foundation of happiness, and continue that tradition for years to come.
I'm sharing this with you because:
1. It would be just plain wrong for someone not getting married to win this contest (though deep down I hope to win anyway). So I'm not too worried.
2. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
"Wed like a celeb", it says. That's probably the only thing about a celebrity da kine that would be appealing to me... the wedding party: lavish, luxurious, no expense spared. But what of the vacuous "let's get divorced in 2-6 months" mentality that happens after? Celebrity Wedding, ____________ Marriage. Who is a model for a lasting (should that be the goal?), loving (definitely want this), faithful (yikes) marital relationship? I mean honestly, I already have a roommate. What would cause someone, in 2010, to make this commitment (other than wanting to procreate)?
Don't get me wrong, I like to think of myself as not jaded. I want to believe that it's out there -- that something special that makes two halves a whole, the "media naranja" for me and for you. And if nothing else, I have to believe that the wedding is ceremonial, it takes flesh, soul, and mind to make the institution, the piece of paper that is a marriage, breathe and come to life.
But then what?
Surf's up -- I'll check you guys later.
For a daughter, happiness is a father's love; for a father, love is a daughter's happiness.
My Dad loves the movies. Growing up, we had a standing date to watch Batman whenever a new one would open. He'd go while we were at the mall, during piano lessons, the eye doctor, Sweet 16's, anything really, and taught us that it was something that you could do by yourself, no problem. I think this one thing is where my appetite for independence came from. Soon I found myself going to the movies alone, discovering new restaurants by myself, and eventually, even travelling solo. His example of enjoying himself while still being there for his loved ones, that simple freedom, is what I'm looking for in my own life.
I'm happy to share his well-timed words: “Parents are fortunate to have daughters who will survive the test of time, not because they pass or fail, but because they live their lives in the fullest, most independent ways and continue to love their lives despite it's pitfalls... After all, "success" is relative and should never be a cause of despair...”
Thank you, Dad for being the encouraging, charismatic, magical man you are. Mahal kita.
Not entirely sure when it was that I decided Maui would be the be all, end all of my Hawaiian escapade; perhaps, it was when I took a quiz on Facebook that proclaimed "Maui is where you belong." In all honesty, Maui was anti-climactic. Don't get me wrong: seeing Haleakala and Hana were two biggies to cross off the Hawaiian bucket list and spending quality time with my sister was priceless. Pau Hana felt bittersweet: not quite the beginning, not quite the end.
Let me explain -- here in Hawai'i, Hana means work. What on a map looks deceptively simple, no more taxing than a quick drive over the Pali to Kailua in O'ahu, ended up a 3 hour crawl. But it wasn't without it's rewards -- we listened to amazing music, ate killer banana bread and "coconut crack" (razor thin sliced coconut pieces drenched in rock sugar) jumped into a crystal blue lagoon fed by a 20-foot waterfall and wiggled our toes in black and red sanded beaches.
Why is it then, that the greatest satisfaction I found in Maui was on Friday, our rest day? After an awkwardly-executed detour through Lahaina (parking = bane of my existence) we arrived at a cinnamon sugar beach overlooking Molokai and I was at peace. Nothing fancy, no bells, whistles or 4x4 trek, just a simple soft beach, each lap of the surf against the sand like perfume to my frazzled, stressed-from-driving psyche. I don't even remember the name of that beach, just how content I felt napping in the sun.
Sticker on a car at (the wrong) red sand beach
Each mile marker freed space for a new dream; that's what was so bittersweet about it. And without realizing it I haven't dreamt a new dream in a while.
Jason Mraz has a song called "No Doubling Back" that goes:
and i wonder, wonder which one of us
is gonna state the obvious
and i wonder if you already know
that i gotta let you go
i know this ain't the way i planned it
i guess i ain't the great romantic
and i'm not doubling back now
no doubling back
doubling back now...
When we reached Hana that's exactly what we did - we turned around and drove back the way we came. If I had it to do over I would go the long southerly route back ... but If I ever do it again, it'll be in a car full of drivers. :)
It seems time to start thinking of new goals to accomplish, destinations to explore, dreams to pursue and fears to conquer. Although I can't quite pinpoint the current source of dissatisfaction, each day is an opportunity for creation, love and excitement.
This Wednesday begins my month long Summer Education. I'll be taking voice (eek!) and have promised to call my sister and sing to her voicemail with what I learn as well as a substitute teaching certification course that will (hopefully) help me make my way to teaching English in Japan next year. I guess we somehow make new goals for ourselves without knowing it. I leave you with this quote by Anais Nin: "Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living. "
Wouldn't you know it, 18 months have passed -- the time documented by my third visit to the dentist. But this time it wasn't sweet Auntie doing my cleaning, it was a boy *gasp*, or what I thought was a boy because he was asian but apparently was a man. I'm all excited for that squeaky-clean teeth feeling when 25-year-old, chocolate-eyed cleaning man asks me to step into his office.
A string of thoughts cross my mind: Why are you so hot? Why am I not showered and smelling like beer from Deadbeats Overload? and more importantly Omigawsh why have I not been flossing regularly cause this kid is about to be all up in my business? Eff my life.
This was supposed to be relaxing. For me, going to the dentist is like getting a haircut, except instead of massaging my scalp someone is flossing for me (Don't judge, I don't tell you not to have <insert fetish here>). I love my teeth, been obsessed with my smile since diaper days and have never feared the dentist (even when I had my molars out and looked like a chpmunk for a week.) That, and I was blessed with fluorinated NY water growing up. My teeth are Herculean. Unfortunately, Kris and I decided to prioritize and buy a box of Fruit-by-the-Foot and eat it non-stop on our Maui-venture -gums were vexed. At least I remembered to brush before running out the door. (What? I'm paying them to CLEAN my teeth!)
"Ahhh, why are you in my mouth with all those damn instruments and talking me up right now?" I thought to myself. On other occasions I'd glisten, but no, he has to talk to me while digging into my canines from behind.
"Do you floss?"
"When I remember, kinda been travelling." Fail.
I'm stuck in that eternal hard place where you want to be honest with your hygienist so he'll tell you how to fix stuff but don't want to tell him you have sub-par flossing skills. This is why it should have been Aunty. I wouldn't give two hoots telling her I am faithful to my brushing and flossing for about two weeks after my cleaning before my dental Alzheimers sets in.
"You know you wouldn't have so much bleeding if you stopped smoking cigars, drinking coffee and eating sugar." Beat. "Yes, I know." Weak smile. I'd also be so much safer DEAD. Shoulda known this was coming as his first comment when I walked in the door was, "Go to the beach a lot?" I thought "Duh. We live on an island." What came out was a cheerful, "Sometimes." Ugh, can I help it that I'm Filipina and turn brown in 5 minutes even whilst bathed in SPF 50? and what does this have to do with my teeth!
Whatever -- lesson learned. After an hour with (can't remember his name) in my mouth, Dr. Wong comes in and praises my teeth for 2 minutes ("you couldn't get a cavity if you didn't brush your teeth in a month!" Yuck.) and dismisses me.... finally. I run out of there with my tail between my legs.
On a high note, I read my own article in the waiting room (surreal) and Dr. Wong told me he'd read it during his lunch break. As I pay my bill the nice lady at the desk says, "See you in six months? "
"Yes, but next time - chick, please."
Stink Eye. That's the look Kris gave me when I invited our friend Ben to meet up with us in Maui last week. Stink eye and a half dozen eye rolls. She later said, "This is supposed to be a sister trip. You should know better."
It wasn't that I didn't want to spend 4 full days and nights with my sister in the honeymoon capital of the world, nay it was the sheer terror of driving the windiest, gnarliest, one-lane-iest roads all by myself. Four hundred fourty seven point seven miles, Pau Hana, hippy dippy Pai'a (pronounced pah-ee-yah, not pa-eya like the yummy Spanish dish), cinnamon, black, red (oh my!) sand beaches and two trips up Haleakala later -- turns out, no sweat.
Haleakalā delivered ten-fold and was closer to what I'd humbly call "the road to Heaven" than the road to Hana, any day. After a fun and educational tour of Tedeschi Vineyard on Ulupalakua Ranch, Up Country we decided to catch a once-in-a-lifetime, above the clouds sunset. The road to the summit reminded me of a movie we watched growing up called Brigadoon about an enchanted village that appeared in Scotland every hundred years for one day. There was a distinct chill in the air as we floated up through the mist changed from our bathing suits to hoodies, pants and shoes and knocked at the door of the world of blue sky.
Emerson once said, "A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams." I wish I knew how to say home in Hawaiian, as "House of the Sun" doesn't seem to do it justice. We climbed: 7, 8,9 and finally made 10 grand and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Yumie was a human popsicle, Kris was somewhere between ti(red) and Ulupalakua'd and I was just plain "Hi!". It was love at first mother-lovin' sight.
You know how some things take time to get right? How the first time doesn't totally explode your brain cause you're worrying too damn much or trying too damn hard? Well, this was nothing like that. The thinner-than-gauze air made me feel like I'd sipped a bottle of Champagne into oblivion... that kind of loopy high you get when the boy in high school let's on that he knows you exist -- hold up -- not only exist, but that the universe fades to the background when you walk into the room. It's the threshold moment when the bridegroom lifts the bride's veil to reveal her wedding day radiance, 'cept this is no ordinary bride, it's the sun in all her brazen glory. I reminded myself to breathe, screamed my little head off for joy, did the fist-pump dance then composed myself for a little asian tourist photo sesh.
As the last rays of sun set on the first day my thoughts turn to the ever-changing possibilities of evening and the freshly proven fact that dreams do come true.
...And though you don't believe that they do
They do come true
For did my dreams
Come true when I looked at you
And maybe too, if you would believe
You too might be
Overjoyed, over loved, over me