Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hawaii living :: Phase One - Settling In





For more pics visit ::
Hawaii :: Maui Wowie

ALoooooooooHA my friends & family,

If you feel inspired by the stories & pictures of life in paradise...come visit!
Thats why i'm writing, to lure people into the land of ALoha!

I have been here in the land of aloha on Maui now since June 25th - 4 months.
I really feel that Hawaii has rolled out the red carpet for me - so grateful! The first
month was a big cultural shock, a bit rough - maybe i tripped a few times on the wrinkled part of the red carpet as it was unrolling, but now I have settled in quite well. I will tell my story & simultaneously share things that I hope you will find useful to fulfill your curiosity about Hawaii & Polynesian culture. I really do feel like I am still traveling in a way. You know, Hawaii is part of the United States, but yet, it isn't! It is its own very distinct & extremely proud culture with a set of values very different than America. Down the road I would like to write a blog more about that, once I immerse myself into the culture more & study up (i plan to read that James Michener classic 'Hawaii' again). But...things are going real well for me. On top of the world! Literally...when i went up to
the top of Haleakala the other day. Floating on a good natural high lately with
yoga, meditation, surfing, eating amazing food & loving this Aloha life.

For now, this is what i've been up to & noticed about this incredible place.

My new home :: Island living. Maui is one of the 7 main islands, shaped like a head & upper torso, population about 140,000 - give or take the coming & going of thousands of daily tourists. I picked Maui for a few reasons, one being that I actually knew somebody here, Mattius (my ole college buddy). I am now living in an amazing little home that he rented for a year & passed on to me. Truly 'eco-living' alternative home. Check out the photos on link below! A deluxe 25' 'yurt' designed by Pacific Yurts ( I have never lived alone & always had great roomates & no need or desire to...until now. My life is quiet when i want it to be, and social when i choose. My front yard is an orchard of 30+ fruit trees including mangoes (more than we can eat!), avocados, bananas, papayas, oranges, lemons & so much more. We (4 people in seperate homes) share a big garden with 4 20foot by 5foot plots. I am planting corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale & lettuce this week. I have never felt surrounded by so much lush nature & abundance in my life! After 2 years traveling around the globe & living out of my backpack, hostels & rentals...having a long-term home is a relief! I feel I could be here for a long time (3 to 5 years or more in this home, then hope to buy some land & two of these yurts and/or other alternative eco-home). Living Aloha & loving it. Hawaii is most definitely the place I want to settle down & feels like home like no other place. I looked on and it is the absolute best place astrologically for me to be with many good planetary alignments. For a long time I have wanted to try living out of the cities, 'green living' as its called these days. Less pollution & thats including air, noise & environmental pollution (that includes all the 'waves' in our physical/mental/emotional
fields). So far, soooooo good!
I chose Maui because Mattius said that I could get a job working with disabled kids in the schools or homes. Within 4 weeks I got hired with the company, Quality Behavior Outcomes, as an education assistant working with a 14 year old boy with asperger's (autism). I worked with him for 2 months & it was challenging almost every day as he had a regular tendency to escalte into fits of anger, frustration, blame & aggression. He's a big kid too, about 6ft1 & 200lbs & in the first 3 weeks we had to have 2 of us restraining him in a basket hold (his arms wrapped like a pretzel over his chest by somebody behind him)...70% of the time, my job with him was easy. i could read a book while he was on his 'reward time' reading in the library. But the aggression got to be too much so I transferred to another school & client.
The new kid I work with is a 9 year old at Kula elementary about 20 minute drive from my home. Beautiful view from up there on the mountain looking down at the westside ocean!
I like working with him alot more than the last, but its in a way more work. 6.5 hour
shift 7:30am-2pm i need to be engaged with him constantly. games, workouts,
recess, feeding, & school work. He has severe autism, but verbal
& high functioning. a cute lad, but man...not used to being a teacher, and parent!
Lots of talking the whole time. But hey, i get $18 hr. which is as good as i can
get with my B.A. in a completely different field. Grateful that they hire us 'other fielders' & train us well! Got medical & dental benefits through the company too (only about $40 month).
I know lots of people here that dont have any work & are struggling.
Electricians not able to find their $25-40 hour jobs & having to fly over to Oahu & such.
Or like the 11,000 that had to leave the island this year for work on mainland.
So...i'll take this job & smile with it for now.

Massage school is going good. Real good! Learning lots. 2 months into a 12 month evening part-time 650 hour course. I am so excited to
make massage therapy (combined with teaching yoga, sound healing, music) my
new career path. One I can keep growing into & continuing education & feel real good
about. I have been interested in this field since my mom studied it back in 1992.
I'm just a late bloomer kinda 30-something in the career & relationship department!
One thing about massage is after you give almost always feel energized & naturally high! The Thai's call massage "an act of loving kindness". Maybe in this giving love & kindness there is a universal feedback loop that backfires & gives back to you? Maybe you are a channel for Allah's (no, i'm not islamic, just like this word for the force that makes the Universe flow "Ahhh...All...All...Ahhhh" energy to flow through, and in this flowing you are filled with love & compassion?
Whatever is happening...i like it! I love natural highs & am embracing as many as i can
to stay healthy & happy. Surfing is another one i've recently discovered...

Surfing :: What Maui is known for is its mecca for ocean sports such as surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding & the big new thing...paddleboarding. Before coming here I had surfed about 5x over a period of 12 years. Now, i've gone about 12 more times and...I am hooked! Period.
I bought my first board - a 9foot, 3 finned yellow Maui built longboard I bought off Craigslist (see photos), the 2nd week i was here. You see i have my priorities straight! Who needs brake jobs on cars when that can be put off for months to get a surfboard!
I'm going out as much as possible, which means when the waves are good & my schedule allows. I spend the night with some new musician friends/surfer buddies near our beginners wave called "The Cove" & go in late evening, again in the morning so I dont have to commute 2 hours to get a double dose of surfing. I'm standing up only about 2-3x in an hour of attempts, but surfing is not easy & alot of work somedays - but those little rewards are exponentially fantastic & make it all worthwhile!
My new favorite spot is Gaurdrails up just before Lahaina. Consistently good for beginners to intermediate these past few months, not too many people and a good shady place for my hammock (see my pic of me at other surf spot 'Thousand Peaks' which also has a great hammock spot - a necessity for me).

"Surfers are a diverse group of people continually striving to find the adrenaline high that comes from riding large waves or small. It makes them feal good and, as everyone knows, to be happy is an irresistible human condition. Every time we witness somebody tasting it for the first time they show an expression of pure joy, childlike and deeply instinctive. The spontaneous joy is what surfing is all about!" (from the book The Ultimate Guide to Surfing)

"Surfing involves so many ancient pasttimes & survival skills...There is exercise: paddling, swimming, sprinting, cardiovascular and upper body conditioning. There is fea and excitement: hunting and being hunted. There is cleanliness: mineral water immersion in the world's greatest hot spring (seawater soaking that is now a chic spa treatment called thalasso-therapy). There is cooling down and warming up, near-naked sunbathing, vitamin D absorption, and mating display. Surfing pushes back the genetic fear of drowning, builds personal confidence, and connects us to the natural world.
Successfully riding a wave, though a small part of total surfing time if you count the seconds, is what scientists call a peak experience. There is absolute concentration. There is speed and reaction to change at speed. There is simultaneous awareness and minute adjustment to all of the forces of nature in dynamic flux. There is a dance of balance & grace. There are heavy G turns, weightlessness, floating, flying, falling, and the sensation of walking on water. There is the exhilarating union of mind/body/spirit/universe. " (Garth Murphy - The Surfers Journal, article ' Surfers & the Pleasure Principle)

So yeah, a big part of my life these days revolves around how to get out & ride some more waves!
Did I aleady tell you...i'm hooked!

Beaches :: It's a known fact that Maui (and all of Hawaii) has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Red sand beaches, black sand beaches, but mostly...white - and lots of 'em! Although the large resorts are in front of many, there are rules against private beaches here, which means public access for all! My favorite beaches are far from those resort beaches anyhow. Here are a few of my best beach moments lately :

1) Lanai - swam with pod of about 20 dolphins on & off for an hour! Incredible experience!!!

2) Little Beach - Maui's legendary nude beach. Voted #1 nude beach in the world here :
with my old stomping grounds "Wreck Beach" in Vancouver a close 2nd.
Every Sunday Little Beach is host to a big drum circle/music jam/fire-spinning session.
A hippy party some say, but actually all types of people there enjoying this ultimate freedom.
Somedays one can even spot a naked surfer! I have to try that when i get better!!!

3) Tavares Beach - just 5 minutes from Paia town, a quaint little beach that has just the perfect couple of trees for the hammock (you'll see this is a reoccuring theme of mine). I go here & read for hours in the hammock! Not bad for swimming as well, and when i get better, surfing as its usually too big for me here at this point in time.

Music scene :: well, the music scene is both good & bad here. Good if you like Reggae (which i happen to still love!) and Hawaiian music (gotta love that ukelele). In 4 months i've seen a whoppin' 5 live reggae shows including : Ziggy Marley, the Maui Massive annual festival featuring Katchafire, Lion Vibes & Jah Levi, and Twinkle Brothers. The Ziggy show was really good! Man he has alot of soul & at times so like his dad its scary! My friend ran into him at a grocery store the other day and apparently he hangs out here for weeks at a time & loves Maui. He even wrote a song "Beach in Hawaii". As for other genres & getting my musical inspiration (that to me is like a good diet -essential!!!), not so happening. I did see Diplo the other night, and J-Boogie. But the music was not as good as expected, lots of stupid people out in hordes, big egos, mini-skirts & bling fashion - with the grand finale a big streetfight at the end. Wierd, as after 5 years in Vancouver i only saw one fight in that big city, and here they happen almost every show I hear! Guess thats part of island fever...of which I will write about in the future as i'm not feeling it yet! Oh well, for me, I am taking the sacrifice of that essential music diet, for a big whopping serving of mother nature in the form of
surfing, boogieboarding, snorkeling, cruises, swimming with dolphins & in waterfalls,
fresh fruit from my backyard garden orchard, year long summers. I will truly miss
the music community i have come to know & love in BC & the whole West Coast! There is always roadtrips back to the mainland! AND...there is always creating your own better
scene here on Maui...which is a must! I have teamed up with a group of other musicians, djs , movers & shakers. We had a weekly Saturday night called "The Zen" in a warehouse called "Voyage East" -purfect for our events: amazing big space (full of Indonesian & Bali wood furniture, buddha statues, fountains, very fancy & exotic so we didnt even have to decorate the space!). Unfortunately, the space was granted to us for only 3 weeks & then the owner decided not to have us continue.
Besides dj'ing & helping create these events, my bigger goal is to get a live band together again. Its been awhile (maybe 5 years of doing solo music geeking out on my computer). now I am ready to play bass again & perform with a drummer (met a guy perfect for the job who is part of our event organizing crew). Starting to rehearse now. So, create your own reality as they say!

// The Flip Side //

Of course, every rose has its thorn & Hawaii is not all utopian ideals. Here are a few of the downers...

Island Fever :: Yep. It happens to the best of us! I've only been here 4 months so...
hasnt quite hit me yet. I'm still in awe of this beauty & all the possibilties for year round perfect weather fun! There's always trips to the mainland when island fever kicks in. And world travels to look forward to always : more Himalayan treks to North India, Nepal & Tibet. More Thailand yoga studies. Surf & bicycle trips to Bali & Indonesia & Costa Rica. Ahhh haaa. Thats how you cure island fever! And thats when not having kids comes in handy - that ultimate freedom!

Hurricanes :: After a much hyped Hurricane Felicia downgraded to a tropical storm that only brought a few days of rain to my part of the island, now we have another, Hurricane Hilda that is all the rage. Ahoy, button down yee hatches & run for the hills!
A weather sites had this to say about it -
"At this moment the eighth named tropical storm for the Central Pacific is Hilda. And while she is expected to continue west and pass safely to the south of the Hawaiian Islands, she is also expected to gain in strength and become a hurricane. Hawaii will apparently once again avoid a direct hit from a hurricane this year."
A lot of people here do take the hurricane proximities very seriously, as they should, because
the lovely Hawaiian Islands are not always so immune to this chaos that Florida & the Carribean knows so well. Back in 1981 Hurricane Ineka caused major damage throughout Hawaii. It can happen! I'm just glad I live up on the mountain and for the most part in the safe zone.

Racism // Aggression // Ego ::

Yeah, its here. Lots of it too. I really havn't come across much racism so far.
Well, maybe that big Hawaiian bouncer at Charlies that I tapped me & asked why I bumped into him when really I was just walking to the front of the stage on a busy night & lightly brushed by him.


If you feel inspired by the stories & pictures of life in paradise...come visit!
Thats why i'm writing, to lure people into the land of ALoha!

Thats all for now.

Oh and...other random thoughts!

// Swine Flu //
What a big scam this swine flu shot is, the
latest in the not-so-greatest pharmopseudoscience
scams to rob the people of health, money & natural healing.
i dont trust it one bit!
ten lies revealed here ::

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