Showing posts from August, 2006

You know I'm ready to go home when I start attending Pentecostal Church.

So recently, for the first time in a really long time, and certainly for the first time since I got here - I have felt like I would rather not be here. Sigh. I kind of knew that the homesickness couldn't be kept at bay with alcohol and "OMG, I'm in Hawaii" enthusiasm forever, but that didn't stop me from drowning myself in vodka and taking a photo of everything that moved since I touched down in beautiful Honolulu about a month ago. Now that Uni has started and I'm faced with the reality of all that I really came here to do, which unfortunately isn't to shop, get drunk and eat - it's fair to say that the buzz has worn off and the city lights view has gotten kind of old. That and the fact that certain things have happened since I arrived that have made me realise in bold capital letters - YOU ARE NOT HOME! That realisation makes me feel ... Alone. I know I'm not alone - there are friends and resources here who will no doubt be the source of my e…

Five rules to keeping good friends.

1. Share food. See, that's love right there.

2. Let them borrow your stuff. And don't get mad if you see their brother wearing your new shirt.

3. Know some good jokes. Even if it's the same joke you've been laughing at for years.

4. Be willing to shout a round of drinks. Respect them for being on par with your alcohol tolerance and make sure you take pics when they pass out before you.

5. Don't under any circumstances overstep the friendship barrier by cornering someone late at night that you've been calling "sister" and asking her to "spend more time with you." Especially if you are old, married and have just been sharing photos of your two adorable kids with her. Coz that's one way to not only make things fucking awkward but you're well on your waying to losing a friend, you punk ass trust abuser.

Dude, where's my car?

Oh, it's still parked inside the imaginary three car garage of my imaginary luxury home in my vivid imagination. Phew.

But this guy stole my plate.

Apparently they don't sell Wall Planners in the US of A.

You know those gigantic poster sized calenders, the ones they give out for FREE at NZ Universities? Not a single one FOR SALE in Honolulu. Walmart, Longs Drugs, Sears, Ala Moana. NOBODY sells them. It frustrated the hell out of me today. So much for the land of bloody convenience. They even sell wall planners in SAMOA! A couple of the trying-to-be-helpful store attendants suggested that I might draw one myself on a poster sized sheet of paper. Which, I would you see, except the reason lazy people like me walk the whole of Waikiki looking for something as easy to draw as a poster sized calender in the first place is precisely so that I don't have to draw it myself. Especially after the first couple of places didn't have it, it made me all the more determined to find one. It became about the principle of the matter! I'll find you you damn wallplanner! So I trooped all over town looking for a damn wall planner and all I found was the reason why the timing of American edu…

Day One Down.

So the first day of class was disappointingly like every other first day of class I've experienced. Lot's of lengthy queues, pushy over eager freshmen and just general chaos. I'm not sure why I expected it to be any different. My first class was... nothing special. Syllabus, assessment, introductions, all that type of riveting stuff. The most exciting thing by far that happened today was that I finally got all my flicks up on to my flickr. All 300 of them! Here's a random selection...

Plenty more at my flickr.

All orientat-ed out.

Well, bless our souls Orientation is finally over. And I say that with the relief of someone who's just spent the last two weeks lost in the desert without water. *with a parched voice* Over! OVER! The last couple of days was more of the lengthy sessions with vital information like on things like Aloha wear "this is an aloha shirt with buttons. this is an aloha shirt without buttons. this is an aloha shirt with a collar. this is an aloha shirt without a collar." and lei making "you string the flowers along the string, using the needle... " All these critically important to our time here, in case any of us decide to you know, become Hawaiian tourism operators, coz you know how there's a shortage of those here. So handy skills to know yea? The thing that really offended me about these sessions was that most of them required us to provide our own lunch! (I know, the horror!) I did enjoy the trip to Pearl Harbour, especially the part where I did the most cheesy…

Ten easy steps to getting acquainted with American culture. The student edition.

Four nights before the first day of class:
1. Go to the grubby ass Uni bar and get bounced from there after a pointless ten minute interrogation because they don't accept your driver's license from that unknown corner of the world you are from. 2. Swear never to go back there and head downtown to a swanky 4 star hotel bar on Waikiki beach and get in without being asked for ID.3. Order Ilikoi (passionfruit) Margaritas and eat some delishus funky cut beach fries.4. Decide you want to go somewhere with less toasted tourists and better music than the catchy tunes played by Duke's Canoe Club Ukulele Band.
5. Go to a strip club (owned by an Uncle of one of your friends) that is full of Asian men with wads of one dollar bills and Pimps holding nothing but their first glass of sherry since they arrived two hours ago and an over eager demeanour. 6. Drink there for free whilst trying to divert your eyes from the nipples and booty being thrown in your face. Drink up to try and disguis…

HAHA... haha.. ha.. heh.

We had our "Official Welcome" this morning which consisted of only about the 200th "Aloha, Welcome to Hawaii" speech we've been subjected to since our arrival a week ago. We went through introductions of the 160 new East West Center students and I can say that there are some very intelligent people here. Not that that's a surprise but the diversity of interests and backgrounds today was amazing. There were people involved in all the traditional majors of Economics, Maths, Psychology, Education and then we had fields like Ethno-botany, Tele-medicine, Human Trafficking, Sustainable development, Hydrology, Pacific Island studies, the list goes on. A good percentage of people are here to do their Doctorate or 2nd Masters. When it was my turn to go up I resisted the urge to say "Hey, yeah, I did um, Business" and walk off. The memorable introduction for me came from a fellow comrade. There is a mature student here from Samoa, public servant back home…

Tax sessions, gay clubbing and taro patches.

The rest of the week has been more sessions on Tax and more visits to places that, being an islander "don't impress me much." We visited a fish pond and some taro patches on Saturday. Taking nothing away from the beauty of Hawaii but to me, taro in Hawaii looked about the same as taro in Samoa, and the Ocean here looked just as impressive as the Ocean in my backyard in Savaii, so you'll excuse me if I yawn a little when people start talking about the "rather starchy, slighty sour taste of taro." The highlight of the trip the taro patches was of course the food. Again, it had nothing to do with novelty - Umu/ Imu - same diff, but they dished up my favourite food so who was I to not appreciate? My favourite food? Free food, of course. The trip organisers made the mistake of making us eat before asking us to help with work in the taro patches. I said to one palagi guy on the bustrip back into town, "in the islands we have a strict order of doing things. W…


Before this week, I never knew Orientation could be so intensive. Time intensive and brain effort intensive. We've had to sit through session after session about visas, housing, codes of conduct, scholarship conditions, allumni presentations, information on the seminars and activities we'll be involved in during our time here. Having survived these whole day long session bashings I've discovered two things, 1) It's going to be a very busy year, 2) I can survive much longer without food then I had ever thought possible. The good thing about these sessions though is that 1) There's no excuse for not being warned about what to expect in the time here. You're forced to prepare yourself, which is good for lazy asses like me. And the other good thing is 2) Lunch is provided most days.

Arriving at Anuenue Immersion School
To make the sessions bearable, enthusiasm and coffee are only good til about 3pm, they've sprinkled several "excursion" type things for …

So I'm thinking of joining Green Peace.

Well it's been a busy and exciting last couple of days which has been slowed down meticulously by my jet lag that refuses to leave me be. I'm generally tired and I've been staying up late and getting up early and get this - I've been sleeping during the day! (I know, Unheard of!) Anyways, despite that - I've met a plethora of interesting and diverse people from all corners of the Asia Pacific region that have all converged here at the East West Center making what I must say is decent use of US tax payer's money. :)

Just to give the five people that will read this a heads up, the East West Center is an initiative of the Federal US Government in it's hope to strengthen it's ties with and aid in the development of the Asia Pacific Region. It's based here at the University of Hawaii but they administer programs which might extend to Universities right across the US. My impression of the "spirit" of the East West Center is that it's about fo…

See, all that internet browsing ISN'T all for nothing.

Net browsing usually yields about 95% trash. But sometimes amidst the junk, regurgitated news, porn and lotto scams, you find something good (To all you urps out there that are thinking "But porn is good!" I mean "good" in the PG-13, family movie, food for morals, wholesome sense)

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. - Robert Louis Stevenson Now, wasn't that nice?

As if I don't procrastinate enough.

Yup... as if I don't procrastinate enough as it is, I need these views to distract me even more. I mean, how am I supposed to get any work done with views like this at night?Waikiki lights by night.It doesn't get much better in the day. I might as well throw in the towel now coz I ain't ever gon' get shit done if I have to wake up to this every morning. Diamond Head after sunrise.Note: More pics at my flickr. You'll notice there is all of about three pics up there. I've run out of storage space but I'll be upgrading shortly so there will be more flicks up soon-ish.

The Fob Key

My flight descended into Honolulu International Airport last night at about 10pm with an amazing view of city lights. Bright neon lights spanning across the land and reflecting off the ocean a stone’s throw away. The air was slightly humid but cool and the check in process was lengthy but helped along by friendly airport staff. I was picked up by my program officer, whom I’ve been hassling tirelessly for the last couple of months. He’s a friendly man, and I’m impressed that after my incessant pestering over email about course information, visas, accomodation and what not that he didn’t leave me stranded. :) Instead he waited for over an hour for me and then stood smiling with a lei to greet me.

As we drove to my dorm my program officer explained to me what to expect in the next few weeks, orientation, enrolment, all that sort of thing. He was explaining to me that I’d be getting all sorts of information and keys and cards and ID's in the next couple of weeks. And then he said “I’ll…

Thank God's good grace.

I've cried so much in the last few days. My whole family has. Tears to express the fear and worry. Tears of sorrow, regret and love.

My uncle had open heart surgery yesterday. He seemed a picture of health. A busy man. Constantly pulling late nights at the office and jet setting around the world for important meetings. A popular social figure, commonly invited to attend or MC at private and public events. So you might have expected to him to suffer from stress, insomnia maybe, but to be MC'ing at the Prime Minister's son's wedding one night and to be strolled into open heart surgery the next, we didn't quite expect that one. Unbeknown to all of us, himself included, the aorta from his heart had ruptured and his increased blood pressure had eventually caused it to tear and damage his heart valve. As a result he rapidly lost strength and his vital organs raced to shutdown due to a lack of oxygenated blood.

He said he'd felt weak that night. A man of foolish pride…