Saturday, September 27, 2008

From 2000 Miles East of Cali to over 2000 Miles West...

...landing smack dab in the Pacific!

Yup, I've finally arrived and gotten almost completely settled into my new digs in Honolulu. The move has been pretty tiring and caused me to reflect on cumulative exhaustion from having gone through eight major moves in the past 12 years (La Jolla, Davis, Bay, Evanston, Bay, Eugene, Ann Arbor, Honolulu) and my growing craving to just be in one place indefinitely. That said, I can't complain about this latest locale. I've definitely noticed a strangely small town kind of friendliness here despite the fact that Honolulu is the 12th largest city in the country. And by small town caricature, I mean more a vibe of people seeming to have the time and willingness to talk to you and help when you tell them your new in town. It's seems way more laid back and a friendlier vibe just around town than most places I've been (with the exception of New Zealand, which also ranks right up there).

I will say though about moves, I've definitely learned (or relearned, cuz it seems I'd forgotten since the last move) that moves are always about three times as costly and take about three times as long as you expect. I think this move was particularly challenging because I showed up in Honolulu on my own and had to furnish my place on the third floor of this complex and my arms/wrists have been acting up again (for those of you who are familiar with my intermittent physical therapy fun, it's been coming back). Another major challenge is that Honolulu lacks many of the moving stores that I took for granted as a poor grad student on the continent (IKEA, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linens and Things). I cringe admitting this, but I actually had to go to Walmart for some things that I just couldn't afford elsewhere. Ick. I feel like a complete traitor to the labor movement. Another hurdle was both Honolulu's traffic and lack of any sort of street grid system. The latter of which led to many hours of getting lost, circling around and ending up on one way streets in rush hour (which seems to be many hours of the day here). So it's been a busy busy couple of weeks.

I arrived 9 days ago, and finally got all furniture built today, all (but one) boxes unpacked, all emptied boxes to the garbage, all food and patio plants purchased, and almost all electronics set up (still got to hook up printers/monitors, etc). I've even begun a Hawaiian language class (attended two so far) and got signed up for Students for Obama today while walking through campus. I'm hoping to do a few different volunteer activities in between research to see if I can meet some people. It dawned on me a few days ago that I don't know anyone here and have no friends nearby and that...well...stinks. It's the nature of the beast I know; moving. And not having close friends nearby is certainly not something new (those of you who've heard me bitch and moan about that for the past three years). But I think with this move, it's particularly challenging because in every other move, I have arrived to some sort of structure that would offer an immediate cohort (with school) or set of colleagues (with work), and this is very different. Any folks I'll meet out here, I'm gonna have to seek out on my own. I have some ideas in mind of where to go and how to do it, and I think with another week or two to get settled (more cleaning and get into a groove with work) hopefully I can get out there and practice my social skills again. They've certainly been rusty for awhile.

Another move, another adventure. I'll get my camera up and going soon and put photos up once I get out and around. I gotta say, I totally lucked out on my apartment. My landlord rocks, she's charging me about 400-500 dollars under value because she doesn't believe in price gouging students. Crazy lucky I am. I think I'll bake her some cookies. :)