Tag Archives: moving

Young Man Went East #1: Hana Hou

I’ve done it again. I sorted through my possessions, packed up the priorities, and moved to the end of the country. This time I went east. And I wasn’t alone.

Jenn and I both had been wanting to move to New York. I thought I needed to play nomad in a few more cities before making it to the Big Apple; she thought she needed to be accepted to a grad school there. We both stopped relying on those excuses and relied on each other instead.

Having a significant other is not the only difference between my move to Hawaii and this one. This time, I had a job secured; I am transferring to the Bubba Gump in New York located in Times Square. While I don’t plan on being a shrimp-slinging waiter for the rest of my life, it will be nice to have an immediate income. Especially considering our housing situation.

We didn’t secure a plane to stay before we moved. Similarly, I hadn’t found a place in Hawaii prior to moving there three years ago, but I had family. I never intended to impose on them for too long, but I knew I could if it came to it. I don’t know for how long we can crash with our various New York friends.

So here’s to adventure. Here’s to discovery. Here’s to finding a place, finding new food, finding more friends, and, perhaps, finding my future.

At least I can stop looking for love.

Don’t let her fool you, this picture was HER idea!

P.S. If you hadn’t noticed, this blog has a new name and a new URL (that means “website address” for the less-than-savvy folks). Be sure to change your bookmarks to YoungManWentEast.com!

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Young Man Went West #43: Why I Left

Take-off from Honolulu International Airport: Wednesday, 6/6, 7:15. Local time.

It has been two years, eight months, 20 days, 19 hours, and 35 minutes since I landed at that same airport to start my nomadic lifestyle. My initial goal was to make a year, but no more than two. My time in Hawaii stretched out even longer than that, not for lost ambition nor an addiction to beach-side living, but rather for logistics. If I had moved before my road trip–as I had originally intended–it would have been less than two years but I wouldn’t have had enough money to move. And I wouldn’t have met Jenn.

I’m glad I stayed as long as I did.

But now it is time to go. I had previously wanted to move to a new city every year to fulfill my fantasy of a nomadic lifestyle, hence the one-year-in-Hawaii time limit. After a few stabs at starting anew, I would have eventually moved to New York for my finale. As it were, I found myself in Hawaii for nearly three years and with a girlfriend who’s had a decade-long dream of New York. I’m ready to fast-forward to that finale.

Jenn and I left Hawaii to arrive in California just in time for my sister’s 30th birthday and my cousin’s wedding. I know meeting a hundred family members would be overwhelming, but she has been taking it with grace. My parents love her and she formed a bond with my sister within hours. The tables will turn during our second week in California as she reunites with some of her west coast-based friends and I try to live up to their expectations of me. At least it’ll be on my turf!

We will finally arrive in New York the following Wednesday (all my adventures seem to start on a Wednesday!), where my nomadic lifestyle will come to an end. . . as will this blog. It wouldn’t make sense to keep writing under “Young Man Went West” if I’m no longer in the West. . .

Hence why I bought the domain YoungManWentEast.com!  Go ahead and type it in, you’ll be redirected back to this home page.

Be sure to change your bookmarks to “Young Man Went EAST” (because “Young Man Went WEST” will become defunct soon) so you can keep up with my next big move the best big city.  No time limit this time, just infinite dreams for an indefinite future.

Young Man Went East [dot] com

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Young Man Went West #42: Just One More State

As we made our way from the snack stand to the fake river’s edge to watch the “Rainbow of Paradise” canoe pageant, a thought crept into my head: “I’ve done this before.”

This exactly? No. I had never been to the Polynesian Cultural Center before. I had never filled up on a meal of chili rice and mac nut ice cream. I had never squeezed in among tourists to watch a river parade.

But I have done “this.” I’ve explored the most touristy attraction of a region with equal parts admiration and cynicism and my good friend Ian by my side. Sure, our summer roadtrip had ended eight months prior, but apparently he and I had one more state to explore: Hawaii.

Ian came to stay with me during the second week of May. He had been talking about visiting since I moved here almost three years ago, but it wasn’t until news of my impending move reached him did he make plans to come. That, and his savings account had to recuperate after our cross-country adventure. I was excited to have him come. Ian and I went to the same middle school, high school and college. We have a lot of the same friends, interests, and opinions. We spent three months together in a Honda Civic. It was weird to think that something as familiar to me as Hawaii was something he hadn’t truly experienced before. I couldn’t wait to fix that.

I had played tour guide to a number of friends before Ian, so I knew what I was doing. Jenn and I picked him up from the airport ready with a couple containers of poke. In the span of six days, he also tried traditional Hawaiian food, shave ice, Spam musubi from 7-Eleven, Storto’s sandwiches, Kahuku shrimp, and a Zip Pac from Zippy’s. We did the requisite trips up to North Shore, around Waikiki, and into Chinatown. And even though I couldn’t go because of work, he got to visit Pearl Harbor, too. I’ve not only eaten, seen, and done all of these things countless times before, but I’ve also made a point of introducing them all to my friends.

But this time, it was different.

I realized that these mini trips and food experiences were as much for my sake as they were for his; he was exploring these places for the first time, and I was exploring them for possibly the last. At least, the last time as a resident. A transplant local. Universities say you need to be living in state for a year before you can claim residency; on my one-year mark I got a tattoo in honor of my first “kama’ainiversary.” Since then, I’ve transitioned from wide-eyed newcomer to indifferent local. I don’t go to the beach anymore. I no longer walk around Waikiki for the hell of it. I barely leave my neighborhood except to go to work. I decided to use Ian’s visit as motivation to rediscover my island.

On Ian’s first full day here, I swallowed my pride and participated in a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. For the past three years, I’ve been told to avoid this tourist trap, but before our day at PCC  was even half over, I was legitimately enjoying the entire experience! Unlike Germaine’s Luau and Paradise Cove, PCC isn’t just a luau–which by today’s terms means a low-quality Hawaiian food buffet with a cheesy dancing and an even cheesier host–it’s a theme park as well as a stage show with high production value. I mean, it does have that aforementioned type of luau, but it’s sandwiched between two much better experiences.

Even though the layout of the 42-acre collection of “villages” looks as fake as Disneyland, it’s more of a living museum than a theme park. There are demonstrations at each of the six main villages every half hour. Each village represents a different major Polynesian culture (Samoa, Aotearoa a.k.a. New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, and Hawai’i), and each is run by natives from those places who are dressed in traditional garb, demonstrate dances and instruments, and drop some first-hand knowledge of their respective cultures. I learned a lot from the demonstrations, and not just about the characteristics of those six cultures, but also about the distinctions between them. This came in handy for the evening show, which was an awe-inspiring spectacle that told a legendary tale while exploring the six major cultures through song and dance.  Ian and I were equally impressed with our time at the PCC, especially since this was supposed to be our ironically touristy day in Hawaii.

While Ian’s first full day at the PCC was an experience most locals don’t partake in, his last full day was something we almost all do: spend a day on the North Shore. It was his first legitimate Hawaiian beach day. We jumped off the rock at Waimea, got shave ice in Haleiwa, and ate shrimp in Kahuku. To top it off, we spent that Friday night barhopping in Chinatown and Waikiki with Jenn and her friends. It was typical and it was perfect at the same time. I’d never seen Ian lament over leaving a place as he did the next morning. He did just enough of everything in six days to realize that six days wasn’t enough. While I think nearly three years was plenty of time for me, I can expect that my last day here, much like Ian’s, will still be filled with a similar sweet sorrow.

The week Ian came to explore one last state with me was not only a good epilogue to our summer road trip, but also a good ending to my time in Hawaii.

My hat: the past. My shirt: the future.

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Young Man Went West #38: HNL to OAK, SFO to JFK

And so it’s official: we have tickets.

We bought our first set of tickets–Hawaii to California–a couple weeks ago one lazy morning from my kitchen table. That wasn’t a hard decision; we needed tickets to California for my cousin Jen’s wedding anyway, so we knew we had to jump on the cheapest ones we could find. Buying one-ways gave us the ability to back out of our New York plans and return to Hawaii after the wedding.

Not that we thought we would.

6 June 2012: Honolulu International Airport –> Oakland International Airport

The more daunting decision came later. After trying to plan out what we’d need to do when we got to New York, it became apparent that everything hinged on our arrival date. We couldn’t set anything into motion until we settle that date first. So, while studying (read: eating lunch near our books and laptops) at one of Jenn’s favorite restaurants, town, Jenn started browsing the Internet for tickets from the Bay Area to New York. Much to our surprise, we found some for under $200 each. Great deal, right? We had to jump on it.

As we were filling out the plethora of information forms needed to fly through the air, it slowly dawned on us: this is it. This is the start of the Big Move. Our one-ways to California allowed us to chicken out of those plans, but buying this second set of tickets meant there was no turning back. . . without paying cancellation fees. A second before hitting “Purchase,” I paused. We looked at each other and attempted to contemplate the gravity of the decision, but laughed it off and I clicked the button.

20 June 2012: San Francisco International Airport –> John F. Kennedy International Airport

Now that the date is set, we can start contacting landlords about apartments, employers about job prospects, and friends about meeting up (and crashing on couches). Now that the date is set, we can also start planning what to do and who to see in the Bay Area for those two weeks. Now that the date is set, we can actually count down how long we have left on this island to say goodbye.

We’re ready for this move. Are you?

Aloha, New York.

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YMWW #22: Bust a Rut

Before I start, I would like to extend a heartfelt apology to my dear cousin Avery who, though serving as the focal point for my six latest Facebook albums, felt distraught by the fact that I failed to mention her in my last note.  Apparently, any mention of my trip to Seattle must be accompanied with a “Thank you, Avery.”

I went to Seattle.  Thank you, Avery.

Gangsta Cousins: Lil' Ave, B-Rad, and Young Man

All kidding aside, I love my cousin and will actually focus the first part of my note on her.

You know for how no reason at all, everything in your life just falls apart and you find yourself spiraling down a never-ending vortex of despair?  I don’t.  Not offense to anyone currently down on their luck, but recently, good things just started happening to me.  To me.  Be it fate, luck, or karma, my quotidian life is simply getting better, and through none of my own doing.  Not that my life wasn’t kinda awesome before, it’s just more awesomeful now.  Yes, I just made “awesomeful” a word.

And it all started with Avery.  My return from Seattle opened my eyes to a routine.  Avery’s return from Seattle a week later broke that routine.  There’s now another face at my family dinners, another buddy at my late-night bar outings, another brain with whom to discuss everything from TV shows to philosophical quandaries.  Moreover, she shares my weird yet witty sense of humor.  Avery, I’m glad you chose to move back to attend UH Law (you’re welcome) because I love having you around.

What else is changing, you ask?  The size of my social circles, I say.  It’s no secret that by knowing people, you get to know other people.  It’s like a pyramid scheme, except that instead of being screwed over and losing money, you’re connecting with other human beings and spending money (that’s different from “losing money” because it’s justifiable).  By accepting  invitations to after-work happy hours and late nights at a jazz lounge, I’ve recently expanded my social circles to include bartenders, musicians, and crazy people like David a.k.a Guitarzan, a Jazz Minds regular that possibly plays guitar and definitely screams like Tarzan every few minutes.  I found myself taking on-the-house shots with The Deadbeats after closing time one night, and listening to the horror stories of a former navy medic the next.  Opportunities like this seem to be happening more frequently, and all I have to do is say, “Sure, I’m down to go out tonight.”

The greatest and most serendipitous change, however, was in my living situation.  Most of you are aware that I have been living in an three-bedroom townhouse with up to nine other dudes.  At first it was pretty sweet because I had roommates from all over the world.  However, people came and went and the atmosphere of the house went from eye-opening International House to filthy frat house.

I conveyed this situation to my cousin last week and he said, “Oh, you remember Jeremy’s girlfriend Gaby?  She lives a few blocks away from you and is looking for a roommate.”  Several calls and a few days later and I found myself in the process of moving into her clean, two-bedroom apartment.  I’ll be taking over the bedroom she’s not using for the same price I currently pay, which is great because it’s bigger and I won’t have to share it.  I imagine it will be far easier to live with one female instead of nine guys, especially one who cleans and cooks (and cooks pupusas, as rumor has it!).  All I needed to do was find some furniture. . .

Fast forward half an hour after meeting up with Gaby: I tell the great news of my move to my coworker Amanda and the first thing she says is, “Do you need furniture?  I’m trying to sell and get rid of everything I have before I move at the end of this month.”  Still giddy over my newfound place, I listen as Amanda lists off the items she’s willing to sell/give me: a bed, a book shelf, a TV, a DVD player, a George Foreman grill, and so on.

Did that just happen?!  Does this just happen?  Do things just magically click in your favor?

Apparently, yes.  And it’s awesomeful.

The way things are going, I fully expect to be walking along Waikiki when I run into this chick, and she will say to me, "Man, I'm way too tired from surfing all day to drive back to my place on North Shore. Where do you live?"

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YMWW #1: Why I Went

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

(Originally posted on Facebook)

Touchdown at Honolulu International Airport: Wednesday, 9/16, 11:40 AM. Local time.

You know what else happened at 11:40 AM? This all finally became real. Despite buying the tickets, packing my bags, and having good-bye dinners, my move to Hawai’i didn’t really sink in until that tightly-packed airplane hit the runway. “Moving to Hawai’i” had become an oft-repeated phrase, nothing more than an idea. When I finally felt the tropical air and saw the bright blue water, it had become tangible. I had arrived. . . and I was finally excited.

I was excited, and not for the prospect of beaches and Roxy models, but for the self-congratulatory thought that I had followed through with the life outlook I had been claiming to live by: don’t worry about securing the future, just live in and enjoy the present. By buying a one-way ticket and leaving without securing a job or a permanent residence, I’m really going against Society’s Set Plan for Success, which would be something along the lines of:

  1. succeed in school to get into a good college
  2. succeed in college to get a good career
  3. succeed in a career to make money
  4. use that money to enjoy life
But a life long enough for that plan is never guaranteed, so in the wise words of Ted Mosby via Barney Stinson: “Don’t postpone happiness.”

Admittedly, I do have a great security blanket in the form of family. I know that no matter how miserably I fail at finding a place to live and a means to pay for it, I will never be a homeless beach bum (unless that turns out to be my next big calling). But I don’t want to rely on them; I don’t want to crash forever and I’m sure they feel the same way.

So, as I write this, I’m on a mission, not a vacation. I’m enjoying the aimless manner in which I moved to Hawai’i, not necessarily Hawai’i itself. The beaches and Roxy models can wait (but not for long).

Hold tight, baby. I’m coming.

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