Chasing Rainbows

March 10, 2010

Here in Hawaii, it’s safe to say that we get our fair share of rainbows. It’s been rainig a lot lately, so we’ve had quie a few. Today, on my way home from work, I snapped this picture, because the rainbow was the best I’ve seen. Of course, the picture doesn’t begin to do it justice, but I promise it was amazing. Everybody else pulled over too, to take photos (note the car in front of me). The pasture I’m stopped next to is a horse pasture (see the sign!), and it would have been great to get a shot of the horses and the green grass with the rainbow and the blue sky….but I was rushing to get home and don’t really have any photography skills. But a full rainbow is still impressive!

This has been my first week of work, and it’s been so great to be busy!

Monday was orientation, where we spent 8 hours listening to the heads of various departments talk about the hospital’s mission, vision and values.  We also watched movies on customer service, how to handle a natural disaster or flu pandemic, MRI safety, bariatric sensitivity training, Confidentiality, and so so much more. Castle Medical Center really does seem like a great place to work, and now I can be glad I didn’t get a position at any of those other hosptials! We got copies of the 2008 quality review, which illustrates the hospital’s superiority 🙂 We were ranked the best hosptial in Hawaii! Go Castle!

Yesterday I started training in my department, and it’s been a little less exciting. I sat at a computer for five hours yesterday, going through training modules and then taking quizzes on what I learned. I also got my uniform, which is an aloha shirt, of course!

Today was another 5 hour day, but I got to sit in with the PBX (switchboard) lady to get trained on the switchboard for the first half. Admitting covers for PBX when they go on breaks, so we have to  know how to do the transfers, page people on the intercom, and also how to handle codes! I got to listen in on the calls with a headset, and it was fun seeing how she handeled it all. She had to call security to go to the morgue for  pickup, but they call it the “holding room”….creepy!

The drive down and back hasn’t been too bad, except that it’s sucking up a lot of gas! I filled up over the weekend, and then had to fill again last night, and I’m already at half a tank! It seems like it costs me about $10 or more per day to drive there and back…but it’s worth it. Yay for employment!

A Worthy Home

March 8, 2010

I saw the most amazing apartment over the weekend, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. It was truly something special. I feel like I’m in love. I almost feel like I shouldn’t talk about it , as not to jinx it.

Maybe just a bit.

It comes fully furnished, and when I say fully, I mean that it even includes linens, dishes, empty picture frames and coffee table books. And these are not just any furnishings, they are stunning. The furnished apartment was featured in Architectural Digest. It was built in a converted water tower on a huge, elegant estate in the Pupukea hills. It would be like living in Architectural Digest, which is to say it would be like living in a dream.

I would give anything to live in this apartment. What’s shocking is that it’s affordable, but we’re running into some problems getting our application completed. They want us to fax a credit report for each of us, and I have no printer and no fax machine. They also want one month’s pay stubs, and we both started new jobs so we don’t have pay stubs. They also want to call our current landlord, and we haven’t given notice, for fear that they will kick us out when they hear. See, we have no lease, and the last tenants who gave notice were given an afternoon to pack their things.

So there are some hills to climb to get to the most amazing apartment in the world. But we deserve it. It feels meant to be.

Please God, please give us this apartment!

If all goes well, I’ll be able to post pictures. If not….I might just cry for what might have been.

On my first trip to Hawaii, I noticed the tsunami sirens scattered about the island. I naively assumed they never got use, and was surprised when I found out they test them on the first of every month. But it turns out that being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has its risks, tsunamis being one of them.

I think our roommate was watching the news really late, because I’m sure I heard her get up at 2:10. I thought she was just taking the dog out to pee, but when Filippo’s parents called at 4AM, and I saw the hall light was still on, I wondered why she was still up. I heard Filippo say to his mother “Don’t worry, if there was a tsunami they would sound the sirens”. So I went back to sleep. Then at 4:45 Filippo’s sister called him, again asking him about a tsunami. Again he dismissed it.

I don’t know why I wasn’t alarmed by any of this. Apparently I really like sleeping, and the potential threat of death doesn’t bother me.

At 5:45, after falling back asleep again, my dad called. He was so calm about it.

“Did you hear there may be a tsunami coming your way?”

“We’ve been getting calls, but the sirens would have gone off if there was a threat.”

“Oh, well CNN just said they’re setting off the sirens at 6AM. There was an 8.8 earthquake in Chile.”

Then I got up. It took a little while to sink in. After I got off the phone with my dad, I turned on the TV. Sure enough, they were talking about the tsunami scheduled to arrive at 11AM.

Five hours is a good amount of time to prepare, so I didn’t really hurry while I listened to the news. They said pack warm clothes for a few days, so I packed up a suitcase. Realizing that we were actually going to be evacuated, I thought I should take a shower. I don’t like going 24 hours without a shower.

In the shower the adrenaline started to kick in. My thoughts went directly to the 2004 tsunami, and I assumed there was going to be destruction. I imagined the speech they would give at the orientation for my job:

“What a crucial time for you all to be joining Castle Medical Center, in the wake of a devastating tsunami. This natural disaster will require you to undergo a new training procedure, to handle the many victims and their families…”

I’m not sure if I was scared or excited! I knew we had plenty of time, so I didn’t fear for my own life. But I assumed some people would die. Or at least get hurt. We loaded the car up with valuables and necessities, and I headed up the hill and inland to our friends’ house, who were having us over for a BBQ today anyway.

I didn’t really feel scared until Filippo decided to drive separately, and leave after me. Our roommate needed a ride to her family’s house up the hill, and she didn’t want to leave too soon, for fear that “looters” might steal our “valuables”. I was irritated that she would put her stuff above our lives, and that she thought that we actually had “valuables” in the house. All there is here is a bunch of crap….

But that’s not the point. The point is that when Filippo and I had to say goodbye, I suddenly wondered if he might get stuck on the North Shore. What if they blocked the roads to the North Shore? What if the tsunami washed out the roads? (Remember, in my head, the tsunami is going to be huge. 8.8 is a big earthquake)

So I hugged Filippo tight, told him to be careful, wear his seatbelt, and leave as soon as possible. That was the scariest moment.

The warnings were for nothing after all, thank goodness. Well, I really do wish there had been something to prove there was a tsunami warning…some kind of damage that I could photograph. Now all I have is a memory of spending the whole day with our friends, who fed us an amazing breakfast and lunch, and distracted Filippo with video games. I guess that’s pretty great too.

The weekend in photos

February 22, 2010

I made sure to carry around the camera this weekend, and got some great shots. It’s easy to take good pictures when you live in paradise. I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am!

Saturday night's sunset drive

More tree and sunset beauty

I was blessed by a bag full of plumerias

So I got crafty and decided to make a lei!

It came out quite nicely, if I may say so myself

On Sunday we went to a beach party, where Filippo donned some goofy shorts and went kayacking

Filippo hacked away at a coconut so we could eat the meat, and it was good

The boys did handstands

while we enjoyed the sunset

and pondered the heavens

The simple life is the good life.


January 15, 2010

The job search is finally gaining some speed! My interview went well yesterday morning, and I got a call today informing me that instead of being a 24-hr/wk part-time job, it is now full-time, which makes it even more perfect! I should hear back about it in a week. The position will include three days at the Hawaii Community Genetics office, and two days at the Palliative Care office at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

I didn’t know what Palliative Care was, so I looked it up:

Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of diseasesymptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relievesuffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.

I haven’t had any experience in Genetics or Palliative care, but I love getting exposure to new fields, so I really hope I get this job!

I also found out that the job pays $15-16/hr with full medical and dental, which is more than I’ve ever had before!

Thinking about getting this job has sent my mind spinning onto all kinds of exciting subjects, particularly getting an apartment of our own.

Yesterday our roommate left Filippo a note asking him to clean the bathroom and kitchen after each use, and to put the trash out on Tuesday nights. I find notes of this nature a bit offensive, since we see our roommate and speak with her several times a day, and she has plenty of opportunities to talk to us face to face. I also thought it was odd that the note was only for Filippo. It especially bothered me because we have made an effort to be very good roommates, and it isn’t like she is very clean herself. But these are the things you have to put up with when you share a house, so I need to just let it go.

But one productive thing I can do is start checking out new places to live! We have more or less decided that once we both get jobs, we’ll move into a place of our own. It’s fun imagining the perfect place: on the North Shore, two bedrooms, one and a half bath ( at least), accepts dogs (I miss my toby!), washer/dryer in-unit, utilities included, full kitchen, open floorplan, big windows, ocean breezes…..aaahhhhh.

As for activities, we took a trip down to the Macadamia Farm with some friends yesterday. It was a fun little trip; free macadamia nut samples, free coffee (mmm), we got to crack open our own nuts and enjoy the soft nutty goodness inside, and then they even gave us a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts for the ride home! What generosity! Filippo knows the owners, so that might have had something to do with it 🙂 The farm is on the east side of the island, so the drive was of course gorgeous. We also stopped at the Kahuku Superette for our favorite Ahi Poke.

Tonight is my good friend and yoga partner’s last night on the island, so we’ll hopefully have a little get together for her. I’m sad to see her go, but I’m sure I’ll be able to recruit someone else to go with me to yoga. Then tomorrow I’m babysitting Alyssa’s kids!

What a great day! I started out in kind of a bad mood because my online job search wasn’t getting me anywhere. But then, at 2:54 PM, I got a call from an unknown number on my cell phone. I expected a telemarketer, but no! It was a woman calling from Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children! She wanted to set up an interview with me for a Patient Service Representative position!

Here’s the job description:

“Under the direct supervision of the department manager or designee, acts as a liaison between patients and the professional staff by facilitating clerical and reception responsibilities and assisting in administrative tasks.  Interviews, registers, admits, updates, and creates patients’ medical records.  Performs accurate, complete, and timely processing of all professional/ technical fees generated by department providers.”

I can TOTALLY do this job. I’m really hoping this is the one I’ve been waiting for. That wonderful job that I’ve imagined myself having since I got here. My fingers are crossed! I think I’m going  to keep having butterflies in my stomach until after the interview on Thursday morning.

In other good news, a friend (who is also job searching) told me about a job fair that we can go to on Wednesday. So if the interview doesn’t go well, I will hopefully have some other leads to follow from this job fair.

This afternoon we took a hike on the Kaunala Trail at the end of Pupukea Road here on the North Shore. It was a gorgeous hike, with some great valley views. The trail took us through a eucalyptus grove that smelled wonderful and reminded me of San Diego’s Balboa Park.  I also picked some tea leaves to make lei’s with one of these days. On our way back down the hill, we stopped again at the Heiau to see the view of Waimea Bay. A big swell came in again last night, so some of the crazy big wave riders were out, and it’s always fun to watch them risk their lives :p

I’m so relieved that my days of stressing out over the job search may be coming to an end. I’ll try not to count my eggs before they’ve hatched, but if I get this job, I am going to be SO excited. So everybody please send your thoughts and prayers my way on Thursday morning!


December 16, 2009

I’ve been going to the North Shore Yoga Co-op ever since I got here, and I feel I need to write about how wonderful it is.

The classes are by donation, and they accept donations on the honor system. They don’t ask for a dollar amount, like the metropolitan museum’s “$15 donation” admission. It really is a pay-what-you-can system. Which I think is wonderful, because I have no job and can’t pay much. But one day, when I do have a job, I would feel honored to pay more, because the classes are so wonderful.

So, aside from the classes being affordable, they are held several times a day, at several different levels, and with these fantastic instructors. I have been to several different yoga classes in my life, but I feel now that I had never been to a real yoga class until now. The instructors have such a deep understanding of all of the positions, knowing exactly what adjustments each student needs to make to get deeper into the pose. There are so many poses that I had always done wrong, and a simple correction was all it took to get me to understand what my body was supposed to be feeling. But not only do they understand all of the poses, they instruct each class with a different routine, always leaving the body feeling balanced at the end. So they might be focusing on one part of the body during the class, but they know exactly what to do to make sure that during the final savasana you can clear your mind, instead of focusing on the pain in your knee or back or whatnot.

The part I like most (but also the part I didn’t go to yoga for  in the first place) is the spiritual aspect. They aren’t preaching anything or being forceful about the spiritual aspect, but many of the instructors invite you to set an intention for your practice that day. Often they will guide you even more. For example, today the instructor reminded us a few times to actively “let go”. Before the  savasana, she had us take a deep breath in, telling ourselves “Let”, and then while breathing out  tell ourselves “Go”.

Let Go. That simple instruction meant so much to me today, after having spent the past month trying to find a job, with hardly a nibble back. Tonight I had to realize that I need to just let go. I need to realize that there are times when all of my trying, all of my searching and calling and writing and searching some more, will not get me anywhere. I need to just let go, and accept that the doors that need to open will open when it is time. Obviously, now is not the time. And this is not to say that I should sit back and do nothing. I should still search and call and write, but now I can take the pressure off of myself. It will happen when it is supposed to happen. And if the money starts to run out, and still nothing is happening, I need to make a bigger change (like moving closer to town). But for now, I can just let go. It’s ok.

Needless to say,  I’m totally hooked on the North Shore Yoga Co-op. I look forward to yoga all day, and it is the best way for me to bring everything into perspective.

Welcome to Paradise

November 19, 2009

Just over a year ago I reluctantly left my vacation in Hawaii. I had never been a place with such an amazing spirit. I struggled to explain the feeling of peace and contentment to those who had never been to Hawaii. That feeling, of course, is Aloha, and anyone’s life is richer if they can experience it.

Today, shockingly, I find myself back on Oahu, sitting on my porch where the sound of the waves just barely overpowers the sound of Kamehameha Hwy. I never expected we would live right on the beach, but here we are!

We are renting a room in a fairly old red modular home. Lucky for us, the woman who lives here is on vacation for another few weeks, so we have the place all to ourselves. It’s basic, and a bit rustic, but it has everything we need. It’s not likely to be our long-term home, but it’s perfect for our time on the North Shore.

Life has been easy since I got here. I’ve casually been applying for jobs (unfortunately I lost my dedication to the job search the minute I got here). I’m hoping to hear back from a hospital in town about an entry-level position, but I’m mostly just enjoying the change of scenery.

Filippo and I have been zipping around the North Shore in our little ’89 Toyota Carolla station wagon. It’s the perfect car for this lifestyle. It’s low-key, low-maintenance, with an unbeatable price tag of $500. It’ll do just fine…at least until we get jobs.

We’ve found an amazing donation yoga co-op in Waialua, about 15 minutes away. You pay what you can, and the instructors have been great. We’re turning it into an every-other-day routine, and I just love it. It stretches and relaxes the muscles, and calms the mind and spirit.

While it’s been nice lounging about the past 4 days, we’re both starting to realize that finding jobs is quite urgent. Everything is more expensive here, and with rent to pay, our reserves may run out sooner than we had expected. It’s hard to get worked up and motivated to find a job here because of the relaxed atmosphere. But when it comes down to it, that relaxation is a blessing. There’s no reason for us to get worked up about finding jobs. Doors will open, and we just need to be aware enough to go through them. In the meantime, life could not be better!