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Forget the Octopus. Gimme a Coral Garden.

I’ve been traveling a lot for my job. Job? What job? Yeah. I was hired the first day of my internship at a private forensic psychological practice. My employer is one of the most notable forensic and clinical psychologists in the field and I say I won the lottery. We travel for Court trials all over the world. I was also able to travel to Maui, and also spent a week at her home on the Big Island. I work hard and we get along great. She treats me like a professional and is very generous with her knowledge and time.

Larry and I have also been exploring Hawaii quite a bit, hiking and checking out the different beaches. Each part of the island of Oahu has its own culture, and the beaches are no different. While the hiking and mountains are certainly second to none here on the islands, the snorkeling I have experienced is still not as impressive as Guam’s many beautiful reefs. Even Bonaire and Aruba couldn’t compare. Guam’s natural beauty is a treasure…in that way. Now… the black mold and awful radio stations (lookin’ at you, I94) are a different story.

My two nieces, 7 & 14, visited me last week here in Hawaii. We did all the sights, cultural activities, seaside hikes, and lived the beach life. My oldest niece told me this trip has “changed her life.” Secretly, that was the idea. Neither had left the continental U.S. before. Virgin daiquiris (“lava flows”), a Pearl Harbor memorial visit, Polynesian Cultural Center, beach days, Dole Plantation, Chinatown in Honolulu, Kailua shopping, snorkeling with Hawaiian sea turtles off the coast of Diamondhead, lunch aboard an ocean catamaran; we even went to a luau at the Hale Koa. I guess I’d say a spring break on Oahu is a pretty good way to spend your time.

You know sometimes you feel a little down. Today I felt that way. Moving to a new area, no matter how idyllic, extroverts still need that dose of social energy each day. For those of you who have moved to a new city, you might understand. While most people my age befriend coworkers, my job is just me and my employer in a private practice. & I don’t hear a lot from my friends back on the mainland. But you know what? The drive to and from work today was the most beautiful I had seen yet. Also, I received a lovely voicemail message from my niece’s father who said that my niece sees me as a role model, a mentor, and is very inspired. It sure is nice to have someone tell you “I appreciate you.” When I am down, I only have to look around to be reminded of the good things in the world.

I’ve also joined the local Rotary club after having to leave my Bossier City, Louisiana club where I was the pioneer social media outreach committee chairperson.  This club, Windward Sunrise of Oahu, is a smaller club, and was very welcoming. I immediately set to work setting up the social outreach, including online media. Since the 2020 Rotary International Conference is being held in Honolulu, I asked to be my club’s president for that year, so I could take part as being a host club. This is a great honor and I am so amazingly stoked! My president-elect role begins in July.

How predictable am I… watching a documentary on Netflix about how volcanic Pacific islands are born, and the flora and fauna within. I dare you to find an animal documentary where they omit the line “…& the competition is fierce…” And when they play Skyrim style music, they are talking about disappearing cultures. What is that? Whimsical bassoon? Must be a Bowerbird decorating his nest or a Bird of Paradise showing off a comical mating dance. And forget it if you hear intense drumming. That flamingo doesn’t stand a chance against that hyena. Damn.


Oh yeah, I graduate with my Master of Science in Counseling next month. Nice.

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Palm Trees & Warm Sand.

What did I do this month? Because nobody asked and I’m going to tell you anyway, I moved 4,000 miles across the globe to an island in the Pacific ocean. I live in Hawaii now. It seems unbelievable, but it’s happened. I live in a town called Kailua, on the Windward side of Oahu. It’s green, tropical, rainy, and everything is less than a half mile from my house. I’m sure you saw my Instagram feed blowing up with photos of the new digs. Honestly, I call it The Land of Athleisure. Healthy people. Yogies. Lulu Lemon. Local organic markets. Healthy people and Yogies wearing Lulu Lemon and eating at local organic markets everywhere. Our Whole Foods actually has a waterfall in front of it. & thank the nine divines.

…but I’ll be damned if I spend $24 per yoga class.

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This beach is a 0.8 mile walk from my house. The two little islands are what make this location, Lanakai Beach, memorable. Right now I am getting the house set up and toeing that decorating fine line between tropical and tacky. But hey, where else would you do tacky tropical besides Hawaii? Anyway, Christmas is next week, I think… and it’ll be my third one in the Pacific (after two in Guam). Larry made reservations for a nice Christmas Eve dinner at Japengo in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. He showed me Waikiki my second day here. I am overjoyed we chose to live in lush, green Kailua. While the tourist stuff is fun, I’d rather live in a real jungle than a concrete one.

life.jpgLastly, I’m finishing my MS in Counseling from LSU here: All I have left is a semester of internship and I graduate this May. I have two different internship sites here. I’ll be working in local transitional housing for those who are exiting state psychiatric care (leading groups and teaching meditative yoga), and I’ll also be working for a reputable forensic psychologist who specializes in military courts martial. So I guess the two-year break will be drawing to a close; I have to start looking for a job in March. Dang. What do you mean I can’t be a career student? I think if I find the right job fit I’ll be less anxious about it.

So yeah, Mele Kalikimaka… Better photos soon. There’s a hike I want to do this weekend, and of course, scuba and snorkeling are on the agenda when it’s not so cold. Cold. Ha.

 

 

 

 

 

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Take II

So in exciting news, I am leaving Shreveport, Louisiana for a second time. Larry is being sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for his next assignment. I suppose I’ll go with him. Twist my arm. The notification came down rather quickly to the move date, so I am in a bit of a free fall; like a cat – I’m trying to instinctively go with the flow and land on my feet. It’s working so far. I’m moving after the semester ends at LSUS.

IMG_0875By the way, I finish all my coursework for my MS in Counseling this fall. I’m currently interning at the VA Hospital here in town. It is an absolutely joy to work with these veterans. I’ve been working in the Vocational Rehabilitation program on my first rotation: I have an interest in career counseling and wanted to be involved in a little social work to groom myself for a career at the VA or military bases. The veterans I work with are fabulous and I can’t say enough about how great the people are: just like being in the military. Sure, you don’t always get the funding or first rate resources, but you make do and you’re in it together. It’s the people that make it worth doing. I’ve been leading a group since my second or third week there; the feedback I’ve heard through the grapevine is that the guys say I “treat them as an equal,” “don’t talk down to them,” and “make you forget that your problems may seem hopeless.” They call me “Captain.” That nickname is fine with me! I’m going to really miss these guys when I leave. Man. To finish my last semester of internship in the spring, I’ll be transferring to the Tripler VA Hospital on O’ahu, so it shouldn’t be too much of an upheaval. Then I’m graduating May 2018!

But if I want to move to Hawaii I have to work for it. I’m taking 15 credit hours of master’s work, including internship and finishing my thesis, I will need to take my Comprehensive exam for Counseling, pack up my house and move, and secure the dog’s passage to Hawaii. I’m scared to ask what else might pop up.

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Earlier this month I went to Washington, D.C. and was a student aide for the American Psychological Association’s annual conference. I love networking, and even met a woman attending from O’ahu: she was 74 and just finished her second Ph.D. #Goals. You never know who you will meet! Let’s be real: Larry and I visited D.C. so we could see the Game of Thrones pop up bar. It was crowded, lively, and the drinks were awesome. I’m not sure the Lannister theme song really gets the mood shaking though. A little macabre.

Hey, if nothing else, my Instagram is gonna be fire in Hawaii. Can’t wait to scuba dive and bike and hike and all those things I did in Guam. Larry insists Hawaii is prettier; I insist Guam has its own dirty, yet charming appeal.

There are so many more things I’d like to chirp about, but I am heading out to hang out with my boyfriends at the Veterans Home and play some jazz. Life is good and I have much to be thankful for. People are what make my life worth mentioning.