Thursday, March 24, 2011

Insomnia and HIM

Friends, family, strangers…

I’m off to HIM conference in Honolulu, which means I won’t be posting again until Sunday. Upon returning I shall have a plethora of stories and (perhaps) pictures to share, as well as a recap of the first few days of this week, which were filled with fun. On another note, here’s an account of the hours I’ve slept this week:

Sunday night: 2 hours

Monday night: 4 hours

Tuesday night: 6 hours (which includes a nap from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the next morning)

Wednesday night: 2 hours  

This is the first time I’ve battled legitimate insomnia… I've found it leaves one feeling rather raw during the day. And exhausted. I don’t have high hopes for getting much sleep during HIM, but there’s no way that’s going to spoil this trip. It just might make it more interesting.

‎"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." – Isaiah 40:29

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hiking and Hitchhiking

The last few days have been blissful. A recap:

Thursday: Only three kids showed up for Radnight, so after eating our dinner (Subway—Shikinah got me my favorite sub again!) we cruised around Kilauea. We got drinks at the Kilauea Bakery (caramel latte for me) and then played soccer (in the dark) on the soccer field behind the gymnasium. (I like parentheses.)

Friday: This day was a combination of working and relaxing. I watched some How I Met Your Mother, made tacos for dinner, and snapped a couple pictures. The first is a gecko hanging out in my office window, the second is a shot I took of the bay around 10:00 pm, but it’s illuminated by the light of the (almost) full moon.

Saturday: I spent the day hiking the Powerline Trail with Sam and Mikayla. The hike closely follows a powerline running from Princeville to Wailua, covering 9 to 13 miles (depending on who you ask or what sources you read), and ascending over 1,500 feet. I picked up Mikayla and Sam in Princeville and we left my car at the trailhead, shouldered our backpacks, and began the hike. The weather couldn’t have been better for a day hike—cloud coverage prevented the sun from exhausting us, but there was no rain except for a brief five-minute drench in the afternoon.

The hike itself was filled with a variety of sceneries and landscapes, ranging from swampy to jungle-y to rocky. The first few miles of the trail were boggy and wet. Sam had waterproof hiking boots, but Mikayla and I had tennis shoes. It was the first time I had worn mine ($12, from Walmart), and I wish I would have taken a picture of them before we started hiking to accurately document their transformation from fluorescent whiteness to brown filthiness. At the end of the hike we took off our shoes and socks to find our feet pale and shriveled from the water.

Anyway, the first few miles were boggy and wet. At first Mikayla and I tried to dodge the muddy trenches and swampy water, but after a few missteps, we gave up and plowed through. But the water was oddly refreshing, and mud is squashy and fun. So we hiked for quite a while through marshy, swampy fields and hopped off the trail once to see the view from a lookout point. Pictures:

We stopped to eat lunch about halfway through the hike at some sort of old radio tower (or something?), which resembled a Dharma station (“Lost” fans, please appreciate this.) We hopped the barbed wire fence surrounding it and climbed the ladder to the top of the tower where we ate lunch, which consisted (for me) of a peanut butter sandwich, strawberry Nutrigrain bar, and chocolate/caramel power bar. We lingered on top of the tower for a bit, admiring the view and stretching our legs. Here are a few pictures of the view (you can see the path of the powerline), my and Mikayla’s muddy shoes (they got much worse; also, our ankles aren't tan--they're covered in a film of dirt), and the tower we climbed. It’s hard to gauge size, but the barbed wire fence at the base was about 7 feet high.

After lunch, we hiked the last half of the trail, which was mostly downhill and (deceptively) seemed to go a lot faster than the first half. The landscape was breathtaking. We hiked down a redrock trench with turquoise soil patches, through large-leaf forests with curtains of vines, and along ridges overlooking the distant mountains. The trail was deserted; we only passed one other pair of hikers. There was something equally exhilarating and calming about being out in the middle of nowhere with no one around. We talked most of the hike and at one point defied our logical sides by eating mysterious wild berries that resembled raspberries but were bigger, a little firmer, and had smaller segments. Sam accurately described them as tasting medicinal, but they were good. Oh, and I know this is mind-blowing, but we discovered a dinosaur footprint.

When we finally came out at the end of the trail, we were at the end of Kuamoo road (same road as Opaeka’a Falls) in a park area. We then did another shorter hike (a walk, really, though all uphill) that began in the park and was a mile each way. The picnic area clearing at the top provided beautiful views of valleys and mountains. It would have been a gorgeous place to watch the sunset, but we were a bit early for that. So we unwound at the top of the hill and sat in the grass for a while relaxing, chatting, eating, and deciding what to do next. We knew we would have to hitchhike back to my car, but we were hungry for dinner (the Powerline hike had taken approximately five hours) and decided to go to Smalltown Coffee for Greek food, which they serve every Saturday night.

So we headed back down the mile trail and, on the way, met an older couple visiting from England who had just arrived on the island that day. Mikayla and I chatted with the wife a bit while Sam whipped out his map and showed the man some good places for snorkeling and hiking. It’s nice to meet people. People are awesome.

So we got to the end of the trail, took off our socks and shoes, and waited on the side of the road to hitch a ride. We had observed a group of four older hikers at the picnic point who looked like they might be coming down soon, so we waited for them to see if they would give us a ride. Luckily, they were willing and let us pile in the back of their rental van, mud and all, though we left our muddy shoes on the mat. They took us a ways down the road and let us off (they lived in a little community just off the road.) We thanked them for the ride and they thanked us for our adventurous spirits. We started walking and thumbing, and it didn’t take too long for a pickup to honk and pull over, offering to take us out to the highway. We jumped in the bed and rode to the highway where we got out, crossed, and began walking toward Kapa’a, thumbing. The third and final ride was interesting—mom, you can keep reading if you agree not to badger me. :)

We had been waiting for a while and making a game out of who could guess how many cars would pass before we got a ride (it was well over 200), when finally a beat-up old pickup stopped. The jovial, middle-aged driver said he’d give us a ride if one of the girls sat up front. Sam told him that would be ok as long as he kept the window open between the cab and the bed, so I hopped in the front seat amongst old mail and empty beer bottles, and we were off. It was a short ride, under ten minutes, and our conversation went as follows (picture a laughing, half-drunk smooth-talker as opposed to a creeper):

“What are your names?” he asked.

“I’m Laura, and in the back we have Mikayla and Sa—”

“Mikayla, you said?”

“Yeah, Mikayla and Sam.”

“Laura and Mikayla,” he said. “Gotcha. Where ya’ll from?”

I briefly described that we had all moved to the island semi-recently and lived in various places on the north shore, and that we had met and become friends at a local church.

“Ah,” he said, “I’m a man of God too, so I probably shouldn’t be drinking and driving.” He said this as he took a long swig out of an open beer bottle. “Just let me know if you want to take the wheel at any point. I’m going to take a little detour, if you don’t mind.”

I gave him a Look, and said, “And just what kind of detour are we talking, here, mister?”

He laughed and said, “Oh, the kind where I take you to a deserted shack and gut you all. Just kidding, it’s the bypass.”

Luckily, I was familiar with the bypass and was able to follow along and make sure he was going the right way. Sam was paying attention from the bed, as well. At that point, the man explained that he was a Native American who grew up in Arizona, then moved to Oahu, then to Kauai where he lived on the beach for a while, and now he and a friend run a bike rental shop on the main highway in Kapa’a. He ended his story by saying, “Now I’m just looking for a young, good-looking, child-rearing woman to marry. Eh? Eh?” he grinned and waggled his eyebrows. I laughed and said, “Keep looking, buddy.”

He made several other borderline inappropriate comments, backtracked on the route just a bit to point out his bike rental shop, and finally dropped us off at Smalltown Coffee. After getting out of the truck and gathering our shoes/backpacks, we thanked him through the window and he said, “Boy, you girls sure are purty! P, U, R, T, Y—Puuuuuuuuurty!” And then he made a motorboat noise with his lips. Yep. He really did. We walked away mid-motorboat and crossed the street into Smalltown coffee, where our friend Anna greeted us (she’s a YWAMer and works there) and we ditched our shoes in the back, used the bathroom, and ordered AMAZING Gyros (with feta cheese and black olives.)

We sat around eating, relaxing, unwinding, stretching our aching muscles, and reflecting on the day. Anna informed us that the rest of the YWAMers were on their way to have dinner at Smalltown, so we waited for them and spent the rest of the evening just chilling, and stayed until about 10:00. Sam and I debated hitch-hiking home, but he insisted that I make the decision, so I decided to wimp out and have the YWAMers take us back to my car. So Mikayla, Sam, and I all squeezed into Anna’s car and we rode back to the YWAM base in Anahola, then Mikayla was kind enough to drive Sam and I back to Princeville to get my car. From there, Mikayla went back to the base and I took Sam home (he’s finished with his YWAM DTS, so he’s living in Princeville.) I got home and showered… I had to scrub my legs twice to get all the dirt off of them. They are now covered in cuts and scratches. Great battle wounds.

Today, Sunday, was wonderfully relaxing. I woke up exhausted, despite having gotten enough sleep the night before. My body feels like it’s been run through a garbage disposal. After laying in bed all night, I almost couldn’t walk on my left foot and ankle this morning. But oddly, I’m  embracing the post-hike muscular burn. Stretching feels so freaking good. Anywho, today I went to church (we had a guest band this morning, so I got to sleep in an extra hour) and ate lunch there, came home and took a luxurious nap, did a few hours of work, then met Shikinah for coffee at Java Kai in Hanalei. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store where I ran into my friend Melia and made plans to go to the beach tomorrow. On schedule for the rest of the night is a hot bubble bath, a glass of wine, and either a good book or a few episode of How I Met Your Mother. Pure bliss.

So, in store for this week (besides work) is: beach with Melia, couchsurfing bonfire Tuesday night, Bible Study Wednesday night, and HIM conference on Thursday! So stoked. Since most of our time will be spent either at the conference or shopping in Honolulu, I’m thinking about skipping my flight home from Oahu and staying a few extra days to sightsee around the island. I was planning on couchsurfing, but there’s a chance of Shikinah staying longer too, in which case we would probably stay in a hotel.

And lastly, though I’d rather not end on a sad note, I do want to mention that the hike yesterday came at an especially convenient time… it helped to get my mind off the fact that my cat, Peaches, was being put to sleep that morning. I’ll close this blog entry with the most recent picture taken of her, in commemoration. Aloha loves. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

A tour of the outside of my house...

For anyone who has been wondering what my house looks like from the outside, here is a visual tour:

I'm pretty sure the outside of the house has walls and windows and stuff, but I can't see past the spiders. I  tried to count them all, but lost track somewhere after fifty. And it's not just my house--they're all over the island, covering nearly all vertical surfaces. These X-shaped spiders build webs (see the awesome zig-zags on some of them?) and stay put, so I'm not nearly as afraid of them as I am the running, jumping cane spiders. Still, they give me the heebie-jeebies. It was only with the help of my zoom lens that I was able to muster the courage photograph them. Also, a few pictures were taken from inside looking out the window. Here's a little contest: without me telling you how many there are, who can find all the spiders in the last picture? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I've been up to:

 1. Watching lots and lots of How I Met Your Mother. I started out watching it on Netflix, which was taking forever because I only have a one-disk-at-a-time membership… but as of a few days ago I found a website where I can watch seasons one through five online. I always tell myself that I’m just going to watch one episode, and it usually ends up being five or six. I evidently have very little self-control.

2. Bidding on Ebay. I realized a few days ago that I don’t have a hard copy of my favorite book (novella, really) “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry. I first read it in French (the language and the class) in high school and have read it multiple times since in English. So, in three separate Ebay auctions totaling $22.42 (which includes shipping), I bought the book in English, French, and Spanish. I’ve been wanting to brush up on my French and learn Spanish for a while, and I think reading a book in the languages will be a good way to teach myself the conjugations, grammar, and vocabulary.

3. Couch-surfing bonfires. We had another one last night, this time at Lydgate Beach just south of Kapaa. Vee and Chris 2 were there from last time (there will be no more Chris 1; he’s traveling in Europe, now), as well as Jenni (a photographer visiting from Germany for a few months), Daniel (a friend of Vee’s), and James (a friend of Chris’). Sam stopped by for a few minutes, and will probably join our group for events in the future. Chris brought his ukulele (pronounced by locals as “oo-koo-leh-leh”) which no one knew how to play, so I strummed on it for a bit… we sat around the fire cooking hot dogs and smoked salmon smothered in salsa (courtesy of Vee)… and spent the evening swapping stories and discussing nuances between German and English. James had a pretty great story about a brawl he got into in the Netherlands, and Jenni had a pretty great story about accidentally wandering into the set of a porn movie being filmed in Germany.

4. Cooking. I know, right? Shocking. I’ve actually only made two meals, and both were super simple and kind of experimental. I made rice (which was crunchy) with fresh green beans (which were squeaky on my teeth—one of my more severe pet peeves) on one occasion, and buffalo chicken crescent roll ring on another. I usually just have cereal, frozen boxed/bagged dinners, fruit, or chef’s salad… but with potluck lunches at church on Sundays, Sage’s dinners for the bible study group on Wednesdays, and the Thursday dinners at Radnight made by volunteers from the church, I’m usually pretty satisfied.

5. Getting excited to travel. Next weekend is the HIM conference in Honolulu, and there’s talk of a trip to the Big Island with Vee and Jenni in April. Now that Sam’s back from the YWAM outreach, we (and others) are going to set aside a few days sometime this spring to hike the Kalalau trail, which should be an epic adventure. Although I’m still planning to roadtrip the U.S., I’m becoming more and more enchanted by international travel, and am researching a few specific places I’d like to visit in the next few years... specifically Ireland, Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, and Israel.

Aloha. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A blog entry, shaped roundly, swirling

As of this past Tuesday, my YWAM friends are home from their three-month outreach in India, China, and Nepal. Most of the students leave for their homes early this week, but the staff (Raquel, Mikayla, Anna, Kimberly, Jordan, and Josh—all my friends, all in their twenties) will all still be here, as well as Sam (the German raised in India who dressed up as Aladdin for Fall Fest.) Josh shared some pretty gnarly stories at Radnight on Thursday—he was sick for two of the three months of outreach. Like, super sick. His poop was white.

This morning at church, various members of the mission teams shared about their experiences. I caught up with Sam after church and our talk gravitated toward literature, which is a never-ending discussion, and by the time we wrapped it up his ride had left. I took him back to the YWAM base in Anahola to save him from having to hitchhike, and I explored the base a bit when we got there—they have an orange cat! His name is Leo, and he’s adorable. Everyone was scattered around either getting ready to go to the beach, thinking about going to the beach, or already at the beach, which is a quick walk across the street from the base. I just happened to have a swim suit, towel, and sun screen in my car. I’m either well-prepared or really messy. I’ll claim either.

So I got changed and walked with Sam to the beach to set up camp with the YWAMers who were already there. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. Sunny, warm, clear. After laying out for a few minutes, Mikayla, Sam, a married couple who I don’t really know, and I got in the water and spent quite a while floating over the (small) swells, chatting, and body surfing. I should probably admit that I only actually body-surfed correctly once… the other times included a lot of unnecessary underwater tumbling. Great fun. After the water-playing, Mikayla, Christina (one of the students who is leaving on Tuesday) and I laid out in the sun and talked, talked, talked. 

I went home, sandy, slightly sunburned, and happy.

For a while now, most of the YWAMers have been pressuring (no, not pressuring… encouraging) (maybe begging) me to do a DTS. I’ve mentioned it in my blog before, I think, but a DTS is a Discipleship Training School consisting of three months of Bible teachings followed by three months of outreach on the mission field. I would love to do a DTS. I would love to spend six solid months living in community with these people. I would love to attend lectures and listen to speakers. I would love to travel overseas.

But it seems too easy.

The word Sam used to describe it, after I explained my mess of thoughts to him, was “convenient.” It would be very convenient for me to apply for the September DTS, raise the support money, continue working part-time during the first three months or training, then take off three months for outreach. It would all work perfectly. Fit right into my life. Neat and tidy.

But I don’t want a DTS to be a “eh sure, might as well” decision. I want to have to wrestle with it. I really, really wish I felt “called” (a tricky concept in itself) to do a DTS. I wish it was something about which I felt a raging passion. Because seriously, it would be awesome. But my friends who have done DTSes have done so out of an unquenchable desire to serve the world and bring about social justice. I like social justice; I think it’s super cool. I’m just waiting for that unquenchable desire to spark in me, and in the form of direct gospel ministry. I hope it does. I have a feeling it won’t.

I was explaining it to Jordan (one of the YWAM staff, covered in tattoos, possibly the quirkiest person I’ve met, totally rad) this morning after church, and by “it” I mean my confusion about what my “calling” is. I raved about how I want to road trip the U.S., but I want to simultaneously be in some sort of ministry, and I want to write meaningful things, and I want to travel overseas, and I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. When I stopped talking and sat back to breathe, he said, “Sounds like you’ve got it figured out to me.”

I suppose he’s right.

He worked it into a pretty accurate analogy: all of those things I want so desperately to do are clustered together in a ball—a ball of awesome, abundant life—and as I wait for the right time to pursue those desires, the life experience I gain and the knowledge I receive all swirl into the ball, informing those desires and filling them out. The task, then, becomes to mold the ball into something linear, to pull out the desires that are ripe and act upon them.

Oh, and just to give you a visual, my ball is orange. I don’t know why; it just is. Yours can be whatever color you see, but mine is orange. Bright orange, and swirling.

This blog entry is in ball form—a cluster of bright orange, swirling ideas and moments and conversations. I wish I had the time and energy to fashion it into something linear that is easier for you all to read and to understand where I’m coming from. (From where I’m coming?) But the kind of time I need to make sense of all this isn’t measured in minutes or hours but in years, in a lifetime. I told Jordan that I have a feeling I’ll spend most of my life remolding the orange ball, bouncing it around off of walls and ceilings in experimentation, and by the end of it all, the ball will be the same and what will have ripened are the eyes through which I see it. (The eyes through which it I see? Through which eyes… screw prepositions.) He wasn’t quite ready to subscribe to that belief, and I don’t blame him. I’d like to believe that life can make sense as we’re living it, too, and not just at the end of it all.  


…does it really matter? This afternoon it sure seemed to matter, the whole “purpose” and “calling” thing, but after writing about it for a while, I’m ready to put it down for the night. Because… I’m super young. I have a plethora of plans and dreams. I love the people I’m surrounding with, all of them. I’m going to have an awesome life. I currently have an awesome life.  

Basically, formless though it may be... my bright orange ball rocks.

(Post script: In case you feel like I’ve left you hanging… the tsunami (thankfully) ended up being a bit of a non-event on Kauai, though parts of Maui and the Big Island sustained a bit of damage. I’m crafting a blog entry concerning the tsunami events; it’s coming soon. I was overwhelmed by how many of you from back home prayed for the island and our safety… thank you all, truly.)

Friday, March 11, 2011


I’m sitting in a comfy pull-out bed at the Gauthiers’ house at 1:00 in the morning, watching the news and waiting for a tsunami to hit Kauai at 3:07 a.m. Tsunami sirens are blaring, airports are closed, low shoreline areas are being evacuated, and people are stocking up on non-perishables in preparation for mass power outages. Shikinah is bleaching her bathtub and filling it with water. There is already no AT&T cell service, and it’s likely that we may lose internet connection, which receive not from a satellite but from an under-ocean cable. By the time it reaches the shore of Kauai (the first of the Hawaiian islands to be hit), the tsunami is expected to be, at worst, a series of 6-foot waves lasting a few hours. The news channels are running a constant commentary including updates on weather conditions, interviews with officials, evacuation procedures, and a countdown to 3:07 (which will be 8:07, Ohio time.) The reporters say it’s a “wait-and-see situation.”

I had no idea the island was under a tsunami warning until I finished a documentary I was watching and did a quick facebook check before bed… my mini-feed was flooded with status updates (pun intended.) To quote a few:

“please pray for us on Kauai, and all the islands!”

“In line at Foodland prepping for the tsunami”

“Tsunami warning!!”


“well, it will be an interesting night. Hope nothing comes of this tsunami warning.”

“To mainland family worried about the tsunami warning - we're well above the evacuation zone, but pray for the islands' residents safety and for power and other utilities to either be unaffected or quickly restored.”

“Tsunami warning. I hope it doesn't hit! Anybody need a place to come, come over.”

“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’ Psalm 91:2”

Evidently Shikinah had been trying to get ahold of me for a while to warn me, but my cell service had gone out. I got some information through facebook and various news websites, and quickly decided to go inland to stay with the Gauthiers’. (Mark Gauthier is the worship leader at my church, and they open their house to us weekly for Bible Study. They also happen to have four awesome daughters.) I’m sure I would have been fine at my house, which is on a hill on the north coast… but I’m glad I’m not there. My employer is away, and tsunamis freak me out. I have recurring dreams about them (I also have recurring dreams about kittens, my teeth crumbling, and demons. Separately. Not all together.)

So here I am, sitting in bed in the guest room at the Gauthiers’… watching the news and waiting for 3:07.

We’ll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parents' Visit to Kauai: Day 6

Hello all! I had a very relaxing day today—the first in a few weeks. I’m finally on top of my work to-do list, but have fallen wayyyyyy behind in my personal to-do list. Things like writing, laundry, reading, and keeping up with friends/family have gotten put on the backburner the last few weeks, and I’m hoping that after relaxing today I’ll be motivated to spend the rest of this week catching up. And working. There’s always that. I did make time to trim my hair and cut a bunch of crazy layers in it this morning, which has needed to happen for a while.  

Bible Study was nice tonight. Shikinah made enough spaghetti to feed all of us and all the neighbors, so everyone took home a plate of leftovers. We also had garlic bread (which I brought), salad, cookies, cupcakes, and pie.

Ok, and now, finally: a recap of day 6 (Sunday, Feb 6) of my parents’ vacation to Kauai!

I picked my parents up early (7:45) so I could be at the church on time (8:00) to practice with the band before the service. My parents took my car to get coffee at the Kilauea bakery down the street. They came back a few minutes early (and when I say a few minutes early, I mean a few minutes before the service was scheduled to start. It always starts 15-20 minutes late) and had time to meet Mark (the worship leader) and Sage (his wife.) Church went well, and we stuck around for quite a while afterward. We ate lunch outside on the benches, and my parents met Ryan, Shikinah, Travis, Pastor Steve and his wish Trisha, and numerous other people—some who I knew, some who I hadn’t yet met. (I’m way too lazy to think hard about whether that should be “who” or “whom.” Just a disclaimer.) We walked through the new church building, which is still under construction. As much as I love the open-air tent in which we currently meet, it will be nice to finally get in the building and have a decent sound system.

After church, I took my parents home to meet my boss and give them a tour of the house. We made it a quick stop, because we had plans to hike to the Kilauea waterfall, and it looked like it was going to rain any moment. We went back to the resort to change, then drove back to Kilauea to hike to the falls. In the meantime, it started to rain—but not hard enough to stop us. The head of the trail is located behind a construction site, so we walked through mounds of red dirt/mud to get to the path, and then hiked the mile back to the falls. It’s not a difficult hike by any means, but there are steep hills that get very slippery when it rains. We took our time, and once we got to the waterfall it was completely worth it. On a nice day we would have spent a while swimming in the hole and sunning on the banks, but since it was cold and wet we didn’t waste any time taking pictures (the following are the only ones I have at the moment) and heading back. By the time we got back to the car, my slippers were caked in muddy red dirt. Side note: I will never, ever wear slippers on a hike again.

We went back to the resort and got cleaned up. My mom spent a while scraping the mud off their shoes and then my dad washed them in the tub, but mine were so stretched and dirty that I just threw them away. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the last half of the Super Bowl, then went to Hanalei Dolphin restaurant for dinner. Dad and I both ordered the teriyaki ahi and veggie k-bob. After dinner, we hung out for a bit in my parents’ room at the resort, watching TV and deciding how to spend our time the next day (Monday) before their plane left. The end!

I was planning to blog some more, but I’ve hit a wall. I’m done for the night. I'm not even going to proofread. Aloha!

Friday, March 4, 2011

One of those weeks.

So I’m not going to lie; I’ve had a pretty sucky week. Part of it, admittedly, may have to do with the fact that I’m PSMing (that’s right, I said it), but the other part is a combination of work exhaustion, missing every person I’ve ever met who doesn’t live in Kauai (my brother most severely), and the looming death of my cat whom I’ve had since I was ten.

Does anyone else just “know things” sometimes? Not in a psychic way, exactly, but intuitively? When I first began to consider taking this job in Kauai, one of my first thoughts (and I’m not kidding) was, “Peaches is going to die in early 2011, and I won’t be home for it.” That was over seven months ago, before she was even sick. Last night I dreamed that my parents came to visit (again) in Kauai, tagged along to Bible Study, and told me in front of all my friends that Peaches had died the day before they’d flown out. I woke up to a text from my mom asking me to call her, and when I did she told me that my cat had cancer and would probably need to be put down in a few weeks.

I’m not trying to be dramatic—it’s just weird, isn’t it?

In any case, as sad as I am that I won’t be able to spend the last few weeks of my cat’s life with her, I’m actually relieved that I’ll be halfway across the world when she dies. I would rather be locked in a pitch-black room with ten thousand cane spiders than take Peaches to the vet to have her “put out of her misery.” Honestly. I would never, ever, ever be able to muster the willpower to do it. I left Ohio in January knowing that it would be the last time I saw her, so I’ve already said my goodbyes (if such exchanges can be had with an animal)… and even though I’m sure I’ll still bawl like a baby when the day comes to put her down, I don’t think I could deal with it any other way. (I’ve given up trying not to be dramatic. I am dramatic, and I love my cat.)     

Right, so. Crappy week, but whatever. Here are some things I enjoyed (or tried to) this week:

1. Mini Golf on Wednesday with the Bible Study crew. Evidently, no one calls it “putt-putt” here. Weirdos. I paired up with Shikinah, Michelle, and Olivia to play a round, and Michelle and I tied for first… but we didn’t really play competitively (which took much self-control, on my part.) We had gelato afterwards and sat around talking. Fun night.  

2. This awesome snail I found on the stone pathway beside my patio.  It’s hard to tell size, but it’s about four times as big as the one I took a picture of a few weeks ago.

3. Coffee-flavored ice cream.

4. Sushi.

5. Leftover half-priced Valentine’s Day candy. (Anyone else see a theme, here? I’m a stress eater.)

6. Radnight. We played an awesome game called Zip-Bong. Again, my competitive side came through and I made it to nearly the last round before I showed my teeth (automatic disqualification.) It’s such a nice break to get out of the house on Thursday nights and play ridiculous games with ridiculous kids (and ridiculous adults) and laugh at ridiculous stupid stuff. 

7. Constant rain. It's been pouring for days (and nights) and we're under all sorts of flood warnings, but for some reason... I love it. The sound is so soothing, and the weather is still warm. If there were ever a time to make out in the rain (it's on my bucket list), this would be it. Takers?  

8. How I Met Your Mother. I’m midway through Season 2, and I’m in love with the characters.

9. Angry Birds. ‘Nuff said.

10. Roadtrip/Couchsurfing/Writing plans. So I’ve been in contact with a group of people through the Couchsurfing network who are setting up Writer Houses in select locations across the globe. There’s potentially going to be a WH starting in California this summer, and I’m interested in being a part of it. It embodies my ideal existence: a group of writers living in community with each other, sharing food and cooking together, staying up all night swapping ideas and motivating each other to write, discussing art and religion and politics (I know nothing about politics.) I doubt it will work out for me to be a part of it at this stage in my life, but if I make it through a U.S. roadtrip, a year in the city, and backpacking through Europe without falling for some sexy, foreign hippie and getting married, I will absolutely pursue living in such a community.  

The end. Next time I’ll continue recapping my parents’ vacation. Yeah, yeah… I’m dragging it out. Get over it. I’m grumpy.