It’s already the end of January which means it’s time to take a quick look back at the first month of the year AND we are that much closer to our little one’s arrival! It’s been a super busy month with preparing to be a first-time mom and trying to finish up all the tasks still on my plate at work before I start my maternity leave. Wish me luck…I’m going to need it! And as always, I like to think about some of those little things that I’ve been enjoying throughout the month. So here are things I’ve been loving in January! (more…)
As I was reviewing my Things I’m Loving list for May, I discovered I never posted my April list! I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because April felt like a string of deadlines held together with days of increasing stress, moments of thinking I was about to have a lull in my schedule to relax, and realization that there was yet another extra project/reading/paper thrown at us. April was definitely not my best month but I was able to pick out a few things that made it a little less stressful.
1. Spring flowers!
April was full of both spring showers and spring flowers. Walking between classes, it was always nice to just breathe in the fragrance and take a moment to concentrate on something outside the stress of school work. And it brought back memories of relaxing walks through Showa Kinen Park to view the Flower Festival there last year. It makes me want to go back right now!
2. Study groups
When studying up for finals, I’ve found that study groups can be a huge help. If there was a concept I was trying to figure out, sometimes hearing someone else’s perspective would help things click. And I found that explaining concepts to others was helpful not just to them but also to me as it helped me solidify my understanding since I had to be very clear in my explanation. A win for everyone!
Yes, that is the name of the public transportation system here in Honolulu. 😉 You might be thinking this is a strange thing to include on my list, especially if you’re familiar with public transit in the US. When people think of public transit here I’m guessing the first thing that comes to mind for most are the hassles of buses not showing on time (or at all), standing out in the rain waiting, etc. Usually I walk to campus and work just for the exercise but during April when my schedule was so tight, that extra time for sleep was much appreciated. And really I never encountered any problems with the system here. I would simply check on my phone to see when the next bus would arrive and head out to the nearest stop. Of course traffic can always make the timing a little off but the buses I rode were all carrying a tracker so I could simply check my phone for an updated ETA at any time. Convenient!
4. The Blacklist
Granted, I didn’t have a lot of time for watching TV as finals approached, but I did try to keep up with some of my favorites, including The Blacklist. This series starts out with one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals, Raymond Reddington (played by James Spader), turning himself in. He offers to share with them information on other criminals they don’t even know about but will only talk to Elizabeth Keen (played by Megan Boone), an FBI profiler brand new to the job. The show is in it’s 3rd season now and the mysteries surrounding Reddington and Keen are still being slowly untangled. It’s a fantastic series and I think Spader steals the show. I would definitely recommend this!
5. Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantucket cookies
These made a regular appearance on my shopping list, so much so that if my husband was stopping at the store and asked if I wanted anything, he’d say, “I know, cookies. Anything else?” And no, cookies weren’t making up my entire diet. I simply trusted him to come up with the rest of the meal plan and I focused on the dessert. 😉 Each cookie is packed with dark chocolate chunks and you know how I feel about dark chocolate. With or without milk, these are just so good!
So that’s my list for April. It was a very hectic month and I think I allowed myself to get much more stressed than I would like to admit. But these items helped make the month a bit more pleasant and May has been quite different as you’ll soon see with my May list. Stay tuned!
I’m back! It has been such a busy couple of weeks…I organized an event on campus, started a new job, and had midterms. I’ve had a lot of fun while being busy because these are all things that will give me great experience and help me figure out my career path but it has been exhausting. I just finished my last midterm exam this morning so I wanted to celebrate with a post of something happy and light. Thus, I present to you the night-blooming cereus! (more…)
This past month has been so very busy. At the end of July we’d pretty much just arrived in Hawaii and were staying with a friend while we looked for an apartment. Now that it’s the end of August, I’m happy to say we are settled into our very own apartment and starting to get into our new routines. The past few weeks have been packed full of buying furniture, moving things out of storage, and then of course the dreaded unpacking. I cannot believe it but I still have one box to unpack! >_< There were also two hurricanes that threatened the islands and threw us into “secure everything” mode and really delayed our settling into the new apartment. Thankfully the hurricanes turned and didn’t affect our area though they did do damage on the Big Island to the east of us. Now that things seem to be settling down, it’s time to share some of the things I’ve been loving this past month!
Okay, so this could really be on the list every month but it has just been so great to see our Hawaii friends again. We had a lot of fun with friends in Japan of course and I do miss them but we’ve been having a lot of fun catching up with friends we haven’t seen for so long. (And I am trying to convince friends in Japan to come visit us in Hawaii. ^_~) Our change in time zones has also meant it’s been easier to find convenient times to talk to friends and family elsewhere in the US. That’s definitely a plus! And remember how I mentioned we stayed with a friend until we found an apartment? This was the view from our temporary home! (In case you are wondering…no, our own apartment has no such view.)
2. Wind maps
One of my friends showed me a website where you can see current (within a few hours I think) wind patterns for the entire world. You can get a wide view of the earth or zoom in for a closer look at your own location. The photo is a screenshot of the wind patterns here in Hawaii after hurricane Iselle had already passed and we were waiting to see which way hurricane Julio turned. See those little dots to the left of the hurricane at the center of the picture? Yep, that’s Hawaii. I found this absolutely mesmerizing to watch!
You might have noticed from the many posts I’ve done on visits to parks that I really enjoy surrounding myself with nature. One of the things I’ve really been enjoying this past month is that I have only a short drive to so many great hikes. And unlike the manicured parks I mostly visited in Japan, these are hikes through wild rainforest. There is just something about being surrounded by nature and getting away from the sound of civilization that is so relaxing and energizing to me. I love it!
4. University of Hawaii campus
That’s right. I’m a student once again! Classes have just begun but I spent some time on campus even before classes started just to take care of some admin items and reacquaint myself with where everything is. The campus is really beautiful with many tropical plants and a Japanese garden, too. They even have a map of various spots with botanical points of interest so you can take your own walking tour. I have a feeling I’m going to get to know the campus really well by the end of the semester.
5. Dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts
I have such a weakness for these! As soon as we went grocery shopping, I was hunting these out to add to our shopping basket. They come in several different varieties but the dark chocolate is my favorite by far. It’s dark chocolate and macadamia nuts. What’s not to love about that?! The only danger is that once I’ve opened the bag, I don’t want to stop. It’s a serious exercise in will power.
So that is my update for now. I’m going to seriously carve out chunks of blog time in my calendar so I don’t come back at the end of September only to discover I’ve barely posted anything. I still have a lot of things from Japan I want to share and I’m already thinking of lots of good stuff from my adventures here in Hawaii that I’ll be sharing, too. Look out September, here I come!
On our last day in Okinawa Prefecture, we said goodbye to our resort in Ishigaki and flew back to Okinawa Island. We had most of the day before we had to be back at the airport for our flight to Tokyo so we had time for at least one more sightseeing spot around Naha. Since my husband is really interested in modern Japanese history, we headed to the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. (more…)
One thing I loved about our stay in Ishigaki was that we could easily hop a ferry to visit one of the other nearby islands for a day or afternoon. On our third day, we took a day trip to Taketomi Island, a small island southwest of Ishigaki. It’s the location of a traditional Ryukyu village that has been beautifully preserved. Just a 20 minute ferry ride from Ishigaki, it’s well worth a day trip to explore the village and enjoy the beautiful scenery and beaches. (more…)
During our trip to Okinawa, we decided to treat ourselves and stay at a resort since it was our anniversary. We stayed at the Fusaki Resort Village on the west coast of Ishigaki and were completely impressed with the quality of the resort, wonderful service, and beautiful beach-side location. Oh, and let’s not forget the delicious food! (more…)
I know it’s been a while since the last post about my travels in Okinawa but I’ve just been super busy playing tour guide for our visitor. But I have not forgotten! I’m still working through all the photos but here are some from our first day at Ishigaki. We went to Kabira Bay, which is perhaps the most popular observation point for the island and understandably so. With its white sands and turquoise waters, it’s a beautiful spot for photography and just kicking back to enjoy the scenery. (more…)
What’s a great way to spend a beautiful day around Tachikawa? Taking a rowboat out on the lake at Showa Kinen Park!
Yesterday I took a look outside at the clouds threatening rain and decided to take a chance (along with an umbrella) on a walk at Showa Kinen Park. The weather held and, probably because of the weather, I almost had the park to myself. That meant plenty of peace and quiet to enjoy all the May flowers! (more…)