Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reverse Progression

It has been a while since I wrote something. After returning back to Massachusetts I was graciously offered a summer job for a TRiO Upward Bound program. I was quite happy to have things line up so nicely so that I wasn't left struggling to find a more permanent source of income just yet. At the same time I only spent 3 weeks in my old room since I had returned from Hawaii. I had to pack back up and move into a college dorm because the summer program I was working for was residential. This was to give the high school students enrolled in the program the chance to see what dorm life on a real college campus is like. The seven weeks I spent living and working with 60 or so high school students at Wheaton College was both highly rewarding and demanding. Pictured above is the dorm room I spent most of my summer in. The first few weeks were a bit difficult due to the lack of air conditioning along with a serious heat wave. There a few other issues that arose along the way, but I truly enjoyed this experience. I also really appreciated the staff members I got to know while working there.
Being in the dorm was quite strange at times because I never lived in a college dorm during my time as an undergraduate student. At first it was incredibly hard to sleep because I'm a very light sleeper and the students, well they were just students so lets just leave it at that. As I thought about my temporary home I realized that 2013 has been a year of moment. It felt very nomadic. A few calculations made me realize that I had spent almost 6 months sleeping outside of my own room. Then again when I read that last sentence I begin to wonder if such a place really exists at the moment.
Since the summer program has ended I've been playing the cover letter-hand shake-interview game, but nothing has come to fruition. Although, I have been surprised by the fact that I have had a fair number of interviews since my return. As I progress through this experience I can slowly feel the tension rising. My mind has started to churn quite quickly once again. As my reserve funds are gradually melting away I find myself caught in a thought cycle revolving around student loan payments, retirement plans, credit card debt, groceries, transportation, and everything else that comes with being an adult in society. Just have to stay grounded.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Before heading off to the airport to catch my flight back to Boston I retired my local brand slippers. We had a good run for almost 2 years, but alas I couldn't find room to stuff them into my bag. Besides it seemed only right to retire them back to the place they came from. I knew I was in for quite a trip with a red eye flight ahead of me. My flight departed on a Tuesday morning and arrived early Wed Morning. I didn't have much of a choice, and I can never sleep on these flights.
Upon my return to Boston I was lucky enough to have a ride waiting for me at 7am when I stepped off the plane. I was graciously escorted to the Neighborhood Restaurant for breakfast before taking a long overdue and greatly needed nap. However, something I noticed after being back for a few days was how disorienting city life was. Even sitting in the passenger seat while driving on route 93 after being picked up at the airport was a bit overwhelming. Once we hit some of the city traffic that morning I felt myself tensing up inside. I became aware of how I had disconnected from the city so quickly. A few days after being back I went to lunch with a close friend at restaurant over in Kenmore Square. Upon entering I felt so overwhelmed I could barely speak let alone take in all the sights, sounds, and sensations that instantly hit me. Everything is so familiar, yet so strange to me right now...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Road To Hana

A few days ago we woke up early to drive the road to Hana, which takes about 2-3 hours each way. It's one of the biggest attractions on the island of Maui, and people come from all over the world to experience it. I drove this route the first time I came to the island. The first time I did it the drive was bright and sunny from start to finish. But, this time was much different because it was raining when we got up, and it had been raining steadily for the past 2 days. It was so interesting to see the difference along the drive in comparison to the first time I was here.

It was incredibly foggy, yet 80 degrees. I felt so thrown off by this because back home in Massachusetts its only foggy when its cold out. I felt like someone was playing a strange joke on me. The views along the road weren't quite as clear obviously, but the vegetation was extremely lush and overgrown. I had never seen anything quite like it.

As we continued our drive we encountered mud slides that were so bad the road was down to one lane (because of all the rain over the past few days). I wish I had snapped a photo, but clearly I wasn't thinking. The road to Hana also has 49 or 50 bridges that one must drive over, and most of them have waterfalls, which offer some amazing views. Pictured above is one of my favorite ones I managed to take a photo of. The first time I saw this waterfall it was barely anything, however, the rain was so heavy that this thing was a monster. We could barely hear each other talking over the sound of the water crashing down. 

As we continued on our way we also made a stop at Waianapanapa State Park, which is home to this beautiful black sand beach. We walked down to the water and let the waves wash over our feet, but that was about it. I was quite hesitant to go swimming because there were signs everywhere warning about the undertow and the water being full of man-o-war.

The black sand beach also had this cool little cave that led down to the water. I had a moment to myself in it and enjoyed the crashing of the waves against the shore.

As we continued on our way we stopped by a small stand to purchase some slow roasted coconut chips. I did this the first time I came here so I made sure to bring plenty of cash to stock up since I knew this might be my last time here. There were also a few chickens roaming around the area as well as this fantastic rooster, who had a beautiful plumage. he was fairly friendly and let us get up close and personal with him at one point. We continued on and stopped for some Thai food at a small stand near the Red Sand Beach, however, the beach was inaccessible because of all the rain so we couldn't go. I was pretty disappointed because this was one of the most amazing places I have ever been.

Yet, after our disappointment we discovered something just as amazing. We stumbled upon a beautiful salt and pepper (black and white sand) beach. Hamoa Beach was truly stunning! This was hands down the most beautiful beach I have every set foot upon. The sand was super soft and the water clear as crystal. When I stood at chest deep I could still see my feet. The waves were also quite impressive here too, not quite as big as Baldwin Beach, but worthy of mention nonetheless.

I figured I would end this post with a picture of myself at Hamoa beach because this will most likely be the last major exploration for me here in Hawaii. It seems as though my time here is coming to an end at least for the moment, and I will be returning home soon. At first I had no intention of posting this picture because I hate being photographed. But, I decided to post it not only to prove I was there, but because of the very fact I don't like pictures of myself. As I examine the photo of myself I find appreciation in the fact that it is me in my simplest form. A mere man standing on the shore. A small glimpse at a moment in time. Some day this will be but a memory of time long ago. I am so thankful for to have had this opportunity to explore this place and myself; to have reconnected with friends I deeply missed, and to make a record of my travels.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Quality of Life

The past few months here have been amazing to say the least. I have certainly had a great opportunity to explore and experience the many different aspects of Maui. I know I have spent a fair amount of time writing about food, which has been so good here. However, I noticed that much of it is not the healthiest choice. In fact, when we drive down the street the majority of places to eat in the more urban areas of the island are cluttered with fast food joints. I heard public announcements on the radio every day about eating healthy, and I also noticed a number of jobs in public health. My initial reaction to this is that many people there do not eat healthy because of the high cost of living. Pretty much everything except for coconuts, pineapples, lilikoi (passion fruit), and bananas has to be brought to the island. When I thought more about this my mind connected this to something I had seen on the department of Education website: Click Here to read and learn more about the statistics on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. Through my own experience in conjunction with the fact sheet I would guess that Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders face some of the greatest challenges in regards to not only eating healthy, but quality of life.
Thinking more about myself and my own quality of life leaves me questioning how to define that based on where I live. I mean shoveling 2 feet of snow versus a sunburn in tropical climate seems like a no-brainer. But, when you start to add up the good in comparison to the bad things don't seem so easy...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Get It Together

As of lately I'm realizing the fine line between passion, obsession, addiction, and attachment. I feel so blessed to have had the experiences that I have had. To travel to so many different places, meet so many people, and then some. But man do I miss playing records. Since February I have cut myself out of the loop because I know I can get so caught up in looking for the perfect tune, and being unemployed without a steady income while looking at records can be a dangerous combination.

With music on my mind I thought it would be a good time to mention something about next week when Boston's Together Festival is in full force. Please take a moment to check out what's going on and support if you can. I was lucky enough to be part of it the first year back in 2010. A lot people have put in some major work to get this to where it is today.

And, finally my own self promotion. For the week of the festival the crew and I have reached out to bring in Distance all the way from the UK. His tunes are super heavy, and his mix downs are just insane. I don't know how he does it, but his tunes are just straight mental. Some of the craziest stuff I have ever heard.  Here's a few to check out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


It's been a minute since I posted something so good as this. One of my favorite spots to eat around here is called Da Kitchen, over the past few weeks I've had the chance to sample some of their well known cuisine. The food is so good there I would eat there everyday if I could afford it and I knew it would give me a heart attack. Luckily, we spaced out trips there and I had plenty of friends to share with. Here's a few more definitions to give you an idea of what each dish is...

Grindz: Food, especially local food.

Spam Musubi: Spam musubi is a popular snack and lunch food in Hawaii composed a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori dried seaweed.

Chicken Katsu: Katsu is a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried cutlet (usually made with pork, chicken, or beef).  

Loco Moco: Loco moco is a traditional meal in Hawaiian cuisine. The essential loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.

Above: Deep Fried Spam Musubi

Above: Loco Moco with Chicken Katsu Cutlet

Loco Moco Notorious BIG (Loco Moco with spam, Portuguese sausage, chili, and bacon along with the standard Loco Moco base. Not for the timid!)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Push and Pull

I think it's quite amazing how the world exerts the force of push and pull on different planes. For the past two and half months I have been blessed to say that I coud call this amazing place home. Almost every morning I sweep the floor of my friend's place. When I reflect on this sweeping it seems to lie somewhere between a personal ritual and a form of gratitude. As a ritualistic practice I deeply appreciate the way not just sweeping the floor, but the act of cleaning seems to calm my mind. The simple act of cleaning seems to bring forth a peace of mind based on two reasons. The first reason lies in performing the act itself because when I focus my attention on the task at hand my mind seems to settle. The second reason that brings about calmness is in the result that comes from cleaning. As a form of gratitude this act is one simple way I can show my friends just how much i appreciate what they have done for me in giving me a place to stay for a while. But even as I clean, observe, eat, swim, or take in the sun I feel a pulsing inside. It's moving to the beat of the hard pavement and sidewalks I remember so well. The comforts and familiarities of the city. The heightened sense of alertness that comes with being there. I can feel myself being pulled back to where I came from.

Tune: Magnetic City by Kode9 out on Soul Jazz Records