Monday, February 28, 2011


Big gecko on my patio. 

He posed for me. 

I'll blog tomorrow. 


Saturday, February 26, 2011


Today was a beautiful day! I hadn’t mentioned it, but we had some pretty intense thunderstorms this week. Like the simultaneous-lighting-and-thunder kind. One night I sat on my patio and watched it rolling in over the ocean: flashes of lighting revealing piles of dark clouds sitting on the horizon. So beautiful. I love the pre-storm atmosphere… it’s my favorite weather. The rumblings of thunder coupled with the sound of crashing waves makes for my perfect paradise.

But today was beautiful. Warm and sunny without being sweltering… my other perfect paradise. I spent the day running errands for my boss in Lihue. I ran a few “errands” for myself, too. The Borders in Kauai is closing (sad), so the entire store is on sale (happy) and I spent quite a while rifling through the selection. So far the only things I’ve bought for myself since being here (besides food, gas, and a couple clothing items) have been books. Which aren’t the easiest think to bulk pack into a suitcase. I suppose whenever I move back to the mainland I’ll have to ship them separately. Anyway, here’s what I picked up today. I’m particular excited about the last book.

I also bought myself a cheap purse. I’ve been carrying a green, scaled-leather purse I bought in Chinatown NYC during Chorale tour my senior year of college, and I still love it… but it’s not very island-y. So I got something more Kauai appropriate. Plus it’s a lot smaller and lighter than my other purse.

In other news, I’ve become a fan of sushi. I was kind of on the fence about it for a while—didn’t dislike it, didn’t love it—but last night a friend and I went to Kintaros (I’d been there once before with Shikinah and Ryan, if you remember) and we ate so. much. food. Fried wonton, soup, Hanalei roll, Super Doop roll, Bali Hai Bomb roll (my favorite), and poke (raw fish.) The Bali Hai Bomb was incredible. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day today, so I picked up some sushi from Foodland for dinner. It was satisfactory, but nothing compared to Kintaros. I had a second dinner at a Radnight meeting (Shikinah surprised us all with Subway and remembered what I always order!), and then for Saturday night church we watched a movie on the projector in the tent. The particular movie might not have been my first choice (Megamind), but it was so relaxing and such a nice night that I didn’t mind in the least. It felt like going to a drive-in theater.  

Random fact: I’ve stopped wearing shoes most places I go. I always end up taking them off and going barefoot anyway, so it just makes sense not to even put them on in the first place.

That’s all for tonight… next time I update I’ll continue recapping my parents’ visit. Aloha. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 5

So I guess I should blog, huh?

I’ve completely lost all motivation to do so. But the good news is that the reason for the lack of blogging motivation is because I’ve been doing a lot of writing and outlining for a couple of my own projects, which I’m getting really excited about. Compared to those projects, blogging seems lackluster. And to be honest, I actually forgot about it.

But I’ll continue with a brief update on what I’ve been up to: …not much.

Monday was a fun night. I picked up Chris 1 (from the couchsurfing bonfire last week) and we met a group of CSers (couchsurfers) at Kalapaki Joe’s for dinner, then walked across the street to play pool at Nawiliwili Tavern, then drove up the street for karaoke at Rob’s Good Time Grill. The night began with me, Chris 1, Chris 2, Raul (who is visiting from Barcelona—amazing accent), and two of Chris 2’s local friends (Robin and some other girl who’s name I can’t remember… but it started with an “A” and had five letters in it.), but by the time we finished eating at Kalapaki Joe’s, the two girls had left. So it was Raul, the Chrises, and me for the rest of the night. We were all pretty evenly matched at pool (read: terrible), but I think Chris 1 and I might have somehow won all four games. We didn’t exactly observe all the rules, so it’s hard to tell. And karaoke was surprisingly awesome. Other than that, my week has been pretty routine. I picked my employer up from the airport on Tuesday (he’d been traveling for a while), so work has picked up a bit now that he’s back.

So! Day 5 (Sat. Feb. 5) of my parents’ trip to Kauai was slow and relaxing, which was a nice break after the fullness of Day 4. We slept in, then I picked my parents up and we went shopping in Hanalei. Dad exchanged a shirt I’d gotten him for Christmas (didn’t fit), and we spent some time wandering in and out of the shops. We had lunch at Kalypso, a cool little restaurant with bamboo wall coverings, then we drove up to Ke’e beach at the end of the road. We walked the beach a little ways and took some pictures of the seriously massive waves coming in over the reef. (Dad has the pictures; I’ll get them from him sometime.) After Ke’e, we went back to the resort and sat around the pool for a while (I played Angry Birds), then got in the hot tub. I promise I’ll have pictures from Day 6. :)


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Birds and Snails

I’ll continue recapping my parents’ Kauai visit tomorrow or Tuesday… but tonight, I’m sharing a couple interesting wildlife snapshots I was able to capture with my iPhone. Yesterday, when I was driving home through my gated community, I saw this massive white bird. I know it just looks like a seagull in the pictures, but it was probably the size of a swan and its bill was shaped like a toucan’s.  It looked like it was wearing smoky eye shadow and liner... seriously, check out its face (you can click the pictures to make them bigger.) Really, it was a cool bird. I stopped the car and gawked at it for at least five minutes. It stared back at me for a while, then it walked away with the gait of a crane, bobbing its head forward and backwards.

Then today at church, I nearly stepped on a snail that was slowly making its way toward my keyboard pedal. I was pretty excited; I’ve never come across a wild snail before. I picked it up by its shell and it retracted, but soon enough it came back out and posed for a photo. I transported him to safety in the bushes by the school. The rest of the band seemed amused that I was so enthralled by the snail, which was evidently a baby… I’m told that they can grow up to the size of a melon.

That’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I’m going out to dinner (and maybe karaoke? Haha) with a group of CouchSurfers… should be fun. Aloha!

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 4

I picked my baby up from the hospital today. At first I thought his injuries were minor, but he ended up needed a transplant. However, the surgery went well and he made a near-full recovery! I even put him straight to work as soon as I brought him home.

In other words, it’s good to have my Mac back. The hard drive crashed, but luckily it was still covered by Applecare, so I didn’t have to pay anything for the part or for the service of having it fixed. My employer had bought me an external hard drive back in October, so I’ve been backing up all my files. The only thing I hadn’t yet saved externally was the batch of pictures I took while my parents were here… those were lost. But fortunately, I had already posted most of the good ones on my blog. My dad and I took all the same pictures the last couple days, so at least we have one set of copies. Whew. All of the pictures I post from my parents’ visit from here on out will be ones taken by my dad.

Quick update before I dive into a recap… the worship band played at the Saturday night service tonight, and afterwards I went to Shikinah’s and Ryan’s apartment to help Shikinah book the plane tickets, hotel rooms, and rental car for the HIM Conference in Honolulu. I’m SO excited. Like, giddy excited. Our group consists of me, Dillon, Shikinah, Ryan, Olivia, Amanda, and Robbie… the YWAMers are going separately, but we’ll meet up with them for shopping and city-exploring. AND… as if a weekend trip with friends isn’t awesome enough… Tony Campolo is one of the featured speakers at the conference! Amazing!

Ok, and now to recap day four of my parents’ visit to Kauai, which was a busy day. I picked them up at 8:00 a.m. and we went straight to the Princeville airport for a tour with Sunshine Helicopters. None of us had been in a helicopter before, and it was a good first experience. After we checked in, we sat in the small lounge area waiting to depart and met the other two ladies (Kathy and Karen) who were on our tour and just happened to be from Canton, Ohio. Small world. We chatted with them until it was time to leave (turns out they and my parents have some mutual friends), and then we all boarded the chopper: my parents in the front, me in the back right window.

The first fifteen minutes or so I felt a little airsick, but once I stopped trying to focus on the views through the lens of my camera, I was fine. The scenery was incredible… jagged, triangular cliffs of myriad green shades. Sometime I’ll get ahold of some more of my dad’s pictures and share them, but for now all I have is this one he snapped of me before the chopper took off:

After we landed and returned our gear, we were solicited to buy a photograph the company had taken of us standing outside the helicopter before it took off. We declined, but this was after we had made small talk with the receptionist, who was impressed that I had moved to Kauai all on my own, so as we were leaving, she said, “Hold on honey, I’m going to print a picture for you, no charge.” It’s a really good picture of all of us, so I’m glad she was feeling generous… but I got the impression that she only did it because she thought I was much younger than twenty-four and needed something to look at when I get homesick. Ha. Here’s a picture Dad took of the picture:

As soon as we got back to the resort, we changed our clothes and then left for the south shore. We stopped at Spouting Horn to take some pictures (and buy a couple souvenirs), and then we went to Port Allen to check in for our reservation on a dinner sail with Captain Andy’s. First we ate lunch at Port Allen Sunset Grille & Bar, then we took off on the boat. It was a great afternoon… saw some whales spouting and a few breaching… sailed along the Na Pali coast and (Dad) got some great pictures… and I didn’t get seasick this time! The trip back to the port was cold and damp, but it was worth it to be out on the water watching the sun go down. Gorgeous. I’ll end with a few pictures of my parents and I on the boat. Aloha!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Computers, Couchsurfing, Conferences

Well. My Mac is in the computer hospital having surgery, so I’m stuck using my employer’s extra PC. It’s fortunate that he has a spare for me to borrow... but it’s serving as a very good reminder of why I switched to Mac. So until I get my Mac back, and my pictures with it, my recap of my parents’ visit is being put on hold. Instead, I’ll recap my last few days.


I had a nice Valentine’s Day, and that’s all I have to say about that. 


If you’re below 30 and have never checked out, you’re missing out on an entire world of cheap travel and interesting people. Whenever I’ve had my fill of living in Kauai, I plan to spend a few months couchsurfing across America. And when I say “I plan to,” I mean I have mapped it out and started making connections.  

The couchsurfing network, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is made up of over two million people in over two hundred countries. The couchsurfing experience is two-fold: you can either couchsurf (stay in host’s homes) or host couchsurfers (give travelers a place to stay and, if you want, show them around.) The website is professional and well-organized with verification systems that give members credibility. It’s a great way to make connections with people around the world and travel cheaply.

Many cities host CS (couchsurfing) meetups. These are large-scale events for local CSers (both hosts and surfers) to connect and get to know each other. Until last night, Kauai has never had a CSing meet-up... but, epically, Chris 1, Chris 2, Vee, and I all collaborated through the website forums to plan the first ever Kauai CS meetup. With one day’s notice, we threw together a bonfire at Kealia beach, just north of Kapa’a. Only the four of us and Chris 1’s friend Wanda could make it, but it was a great night.

Between the five of us, we had hot dogs, bacon, chips, crackers, candy, drinks, s’mores, popsicles, and raw ahi (tuna) that was actually pretty good. Chris 1 collected opihi (also called limpet... or snails) from some nearby rocks and cooked them on a flat log over the fire. They were slimy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and very salty. Vee brought a box full of old math papers to be burned, so we took turns burning old homework and notes. It was poetic.

The whole night was rather poetic, in fact. Not much beats sitting next to a fire by the ocean with a near-full moon shining overhead, eating food and getting to know new people. Chris 1 is a web developer from Pittsburgh who is nearing the end of his 4-month stay in Kauai. Chris 2 is a Kauai native who lived in Vegas for a few years before returning to Kauai. Vee is a Vietnamese math teacher at a local college... she has an awesome shoulder tattoo of the number 3.1415926535. She calls it “a piece of pi.” Wanda (a friend of Chris 1) moved to Kauai six months ago and works in healing/alternative medicine.

So that was the legendary Kauai CS meet-up of February 2011. We’re already planning subsequent get-togethers, and I’m sure more CSers will quickly join our ranks. 

Wednesday (today):

Tonight, in place of Bible Study, we had a going away part for Eric and Anya, who are moving to Texas next week. People come and go a lot on Kauai, but this is one couple that I wish were staying. Anya is one of the most adorable people I’ve ever met... she’s such a sweetheart and has a cute Russian accent that automatically makes anything she says interesting. So we ate a lot (Sage made pasta) and sat around talking all evening.

It looks like a group of us might be going to Oahu in late March for a HIM (Hawaiian Islands Ministries) conference. It’s geared toward young adults and sounds like it will be similar to Summit (the retreat my band played at in Colorado the week after Christmas 2010.) Shikinah and I researched hotels and airfare, and it looks like we can manage to pull off the trip without spending ridiculous amounts of money. If we all cram into one hotel room, that is. The conference itself sounds pretty cool (David Crowder Band is headlining), but I’m equally excited to see Honolulu and do some shopping... Shikinah is also insisting that we get gourmet coffee and mani-pedis at her favorite places. I won’t object. :)


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 3

Quick recap of my day (just for the sake of documentation): went to church, came home and finished up some work, then met some friends at the pier (in Hanalei.) The beach was crowded, so we went instead to a pool in Princeville. The girl who had the key to get into the pool area couldn’t find it (the key), so we scaled the fence and spent a few hours switching between playing Frisbee in the pool and lounging in the hot tub. All in all, a good day. :)

Last Thursday (Feb 3), my parents and I drove down to Waimea Canyon, an excursion that took most of the day. It was a nice day, but there’s not a whole lot to write about (and my brain is exhausted from typing all day long, with the exception of the swimming break). The panoramic picture was taken with my iPhone.

On the way back to Princeville, we stopped at the Sunshine Market in Kilauea, where I bought rhambutans and a fresh coconut (they chop it for you and give you a straw.) We ran into my friend Michelle, and then randomly met an 85-year old woman who moved to Kauai from Alliance, Ohio (the town next to where I grew up) and used to teach gym at Maple Ridge (an elementary school in our school district.) After dropping off my parents at their resort, I went to Radnight. We played staff vs. kids tackle football, and I scored a touchdown. I was so proud. I don’t even care that my opponents were middle-schoolers. I’m just happy that I knew which direction to run once I got the ball. Plus, some of those kids are fast!

Alright, I’m burnt out. Time to relax. Goodnight! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 2

Before I continue recapping my parents' visit, a brief bit of information:

Today I found out that Ben Stiller and Will Smith live within five miles of my house, Julia Roberts and Pierce Brosnan within fifteen. Pierce evidently frequents Bar Acuda, the restaurant where my parents and I ate the first night. I didn’t realize Kauai was such a celebrity hot spot, but I’ll definitely being paying more attention to the people around me from now on… I guess celeb sightings are semi-frequent on the beaches.

In other news, Radnight last night was enjoyable as usual… it’s becoming the highlight of my week. I’m starting to get to know all the kids’ names and forge relationships with some of the girls, who are completely awesome in an adorable, trying-to-be-grown-up type of way. Plus, the staff members are all ridiculously cool. For instance… when I went to Radnight last night, I left all of my belongings in my car, including my purse, keys, and spare set of keys. And I locked the doors. BUT! Ryan, because he’s cool, happens to own a pump wedge, so Shikinah, because she’s also cool, ran home and got it for me. Ryan performed car surgery to retrieve my keys, and all was well. (Side note: I locked my keys in my car once when I was 16, once when I was 17, then had a few good years before doing it over ten times in the past two years. It would probably be beneficial to figure out some sort of way to avoid this.)

And now, a recap of day number two (Wed Feb 2) of my parents’ visit to Kauai.

1. I picked my parents up at 11:00 and we went to Hanalei Bay. We spent the late morning and early afternoon lounging in the sun, snacking on fresh fruit and crackers, watching dozens of surfers, and floating in the waves. I eavesdropped on a surfing lesson being given to a young couple (honeymooners?) behind us, and when they finally hit the water, the male half of the couple caught the first wave that came his way, rode it all the way to shore, stood up out of the water, fist pumped, and shouted, “First try EVER!” It was epic. Here are a few pictures of the beach and my parents on the pier.

2. We went back to my parents’ resort, got cleaned up, then headed down to Wailua for the Smith Family Luau, which is arguably (but pretty much unarguably) the best luau on the island. We spent the first part of the evening riding a trolley through the Smith gardens, where I got some beautiful photos… check out the naturally-colored bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree in the last photo!

3. When the trolley ride was over, the luau guests were free to walk the gardens before the presentation began. As I was photographing the roaming peacocks, one of them spread his tail in a gorgeous arch. I was snapping away like mad… but minutes after he had tucked his tail back down, I realized that my finger had accidentally switched the camera onto a bad setting and not one of the pictures had turned out. That’s something that would only happen to me. Luckily, my dad was able to catch a shot. (The first one was taken by him, the rest are mine.)

4. The presentation began outside with a ritual of two men blowing conch shells facing north, then west, then south, then east. Then they used spades to unearth the kalua pig, which had been roasting underground since morning. The rice pudding had also been buried in the underground oven. They carried the pig to a table, and we were able to see down inside the oven.

5. Next, we went inside a massive pavilion for the meal. Since we had to wait a bit for our food, there was a band playing Hawaiian music on a stage toward the front. A lady danced hula to a few songs, and then invited “volunteers” to come up on stage and learn a simple hula dance and they all performed it together.

6. Finally, we got our meal. I know I tend to speak in extremes, but seriously, I’m for real when I say that I’ve never eaten so much in my life. Ever. Ask my parents; they were there and saw my plate. And my second plate. And my desert plate. All piled high with kalua pig, beef, sweet and sour mahi mahi, Hawaiian sweet potato (which is purple and served cold), salad with guava-based dressing, mashed potatoes, brown rice, pasta salad, bruschetta, coconut milk jello (much better than it sounds), cake, and rice pudding. Plus coffee and Hawaiian punch (not the cheap, sugar-water, mass-produced junk… the real stuff.)

7. And finally, we walked down the path through the gardens to a beautiful amphitheater looking on an outdoor stage set with a waterfall, volcano, moats, and lush greenery. It was quite a brilliant production featuring dances from all the different cultures that have influenced Hawaiian heritage: fan dance, Chinese dragon dance, fire twirling, etc. I didn’t take many pictures—the show was too enrapturing—but I did snap a couple.

And that ended day two of my parents’ visit. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 1

I (believe) I’ve (for now) recovered my lost inspiration for blogging. Thanks to a week-long visit from my parents, an email from a semi-famous indie music artist, and an experience using EFT tapping to overcome my fear of a cane spider, I have plenty to think/write about for a while.

I’ll start by recapping my parents’ vacation one day at a time—today I’ll cover the first full day of their trip, which was Tuesday February 1.

1. Monday evening I picked them up from the airport, lei’d them (tee-hee), and chauffeured them back to their resort, the Westin, which is in Princeville about ten minutes north of where I live. They checked in and got settled, then we popped over to Foodland so they could pick up some food for the week. Afterward, they were exhausted (understandably), so I dropped them off at the resort and we called it a night. Here's a picture my dad took of my mom and I at the airport.

2. The next morning, Tuesday, I met them at the resort at 10:00. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we decided to take it easy since my parents were still adjusting to the time difference, so I drove them down the east coast to see 'Opaeka'a Falls and Wailua Falls (both of which I recently visited and posted pictures of.) I didn’t take pictures at ‘Opaeka’a, but here are a few shots of Wailua Falls, just because it’s so pretty… and because there was a fun little message spelled out in river rocks on the bank at the base of the falls.

3. After spending a bit of time at the waterfalls, we drove back to historic Kapaa and cruised the town for a bit, stopped in some of the touristy shops, and then ate lunch at Olympic CafĂ© (I ate their once before, in October.) It’s located on the second floor of a row of stores, and has open-air seating overlooking Kapaa. We sat along the street and enjoyed a nice lunch of various seafood (the California tuna-something wrap I ordered wasn’t my favorite because of the wasabi sauce, which I’ve determined I dislike) while catching up.

4. On the way back to the north shore, we stopped at the Kilauea lighthouse, which I, surprisingly, have never visited. The lighthouse itself was under construction and had an unattractive black tarp tied around its top half, but the view from the peninsula was amazing. From our vantage point, we could see several whales spouting in the ocean.

5. After the lighthouse, I drove them through the gated community in which I live and up to lookout point, which provides a nice view of the lighthouse… but we got reprimanded by security because I “don’t own land” in the community… I just live in the community, and evidently that doesn’t count for much. So we drove back through Kilauea, stopped at the pharmacy, and returned to the Westin, where we took a relaxing dip in the hot tub (it was early evening, so the weather had cooled.)

6. After cleaning up, we headed into Hanalei for dinner at Bar Acuda, which is easily my new favorite restaurant on the island. The menu is tapas style (translations: appetizers) and meant to be shared, so we ordered several dishes and all shared them. We got house cured chorizo sausage, whole roasted tomato bruschetta, pizzetta, slow braised short ribs, and bacalao. I meant to take a picture of all the fancily-presented food spread across the table, but as soon as I started eating, my mind went blank. Seriously some of the best food I’ve ever had. The short ribs and the sausage were… well, I have no adjectives to describe their amazingness.

And that concluded day one of my parents’ visit. Check back tomorrow for a summary of day two. :)