#ThrowbackThursday October 2007

This month 10 years ago, I was in a very different living situation.

I was a senior at University of Hawaii, living in one bedroom of a 4 bedroom unit in a complex in a very sketchy neighborhood for $500/month.

I worked at least 3 jobs on top of a full time senior course load. I was looking forward to graduating with a BA just two months later, and getting married and moving to Japan within six months.

Every day I woke up early, took the bus into town, went to class, went to work, ate my homemade wheat/veggie/egg sandwiches, drank my v8, and after going home I usually fell asleep on top of my computer or school work before being woken up by long distance calls from my fiance in Japan.

One morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. I couldn't walk it off, sleep it off, I could barely stand up straight. I called my boss to let her know I wouldn't be able to come in, and she recommended I go straight to the hospital. I took a taxi to the closest ER where they found an 11cm cyst on my left ovary. I was immediately ordered to not exert myself physically until they could remove it surgically.

In October 2007, I had the surgery. It was a same-day laproscopic surgery, they kept me overnight because of my low blood pressure. I went back to my room, ate frozen TV dinners I had bought myself in preparation, and since I had the surgery on a Friday, I went back to class and work on Monday.

I was on fire. Nothing could keep me down, not even a medical condition and surgery. I had my goals right in front of me so close--graduation, marriage, and life in Japan with the most important person to me.

10 years later. 2017.

I graduated, I got married, I lived in Japan and worked 3 jobs there teaching English in preschools, cafes, homes, by telephone, and I got to do some other stuff too. We saved up and in just 4 years we were able to move back to Hawaii and buy a condo. I have two amazing children. I currently work one part-time job early in the morning to accommodate the hours I have to put in as a mother and housewife, and freelance as a translator/interpreter.

My growing issues with depression and anxiety were finally starting to slow me down. I was becoming unable to hide it or hide from it anymore. My children need me, so I became more proactive in seeking the help I needed. I cut toxic people from my life and kept moving forward. I don't need people around me who don't respect me or my family. I also don't need people around me who don't respect themselves and make excuses as to why they can't reach their goals.

My sense of self and identity changed as I became a mother and in my 30s. I felt myself stagnate as I gave myself to my children as they needed me.
But I think I'm ready to take myself back. At least for now. I'm ready to light the fire again. I need to show my kids who their mom really is, and pass on that fire to them.

More weights are being tossed away, and more good things are coming.


Various musings - Home ownership and Health

May- Mother's Day....bittersweet since I have to see/hear about how great other people's moms are, but on the other hand I got to spend a day with my kids eating pizza and walking around a botanical garden. 

June- Chinami's Preschool Graduation - an important milestone! We had a small ceremony and party at the school, and even though her favorite Aunty got her flowers and  a lei, I made sure she had a couple leis from us because local tradition is to just drape em all on until the grad can't see anymore. I never got any leis at my UH graduation so I'm going to make up for it with them! 

July- Chinami's 5th Birthday and Kairu's preschool debut. We had our traditional BBQ in the courtyard with Yasushi's fresh sashimi boat, and I did a Moana themed cake, swimsuit for Chinami, favors, etc. Kairu is a lot more shy and withdrawn than Chinami was at his age but he tries super hard not to cry when I drop him off. Tries is the key word. After the initial shock he does enjoy all the toys and songs, I'm told. 

August- the 3rd anniversary of purchasing our home. For me, 3 years is kind of a long time to stay in one place. I've been moving from place to place ever since I was a small child. The longest stay I had in white picket fence bumfuck PA wasn't exactly the most amazing time of my life, and the years after that I was moving in and out of places as much as 3x/year. So recently I've become aware of the fact that if I don't clean things, they may never get cleaned. There is no cleaning service, no move in, move out, nothing like that anymore. So it's my responsibility to periodically deep clean random things I've never cleaned before. Behind the stove, the door jamb leading out to the balcony, taking off the toilet seat and reattaching, many places I've never cleaned in my life are getting looked at. And while I was raised in a household where I was violently beaten for not tidying my shoes properly, surprisingly enough I was never really taught practical, useful information about cleaning, laundry, etc. so recently I have been learning a lot of new things at home. 

September- my 31st birthday. We went to a tattoo shop to get a consult for my long-awaited second tattoo! My first tattoo(s) were done at age 18 and 21, 3 flowers on my left pelvis, and they are all stretched out and spread out so time for some new and exciting ink to celebrate....well, to celebrate me being myself finally! I had a few designs I was thinking of but the one I felt closest to at this stage in my life was a pinwheel. 5 sides/colors to represent the 5 elements, a common theme in nature based religions and some pop culture as well. The pinwheel itself is derived from the pinwheels used to promote awareness against child abuse. Altogether it's a symbol of my true spirituality and love towards my children. A tiny little detail is a semicolon on the stick holding the pinwheel up, representing my struggle with mental illness and my past suicide attempts. The sentence is definitely not over yet! 
On that note, Yasushi took the initiative to get the whole family life insurance policies. It was a race to get all the paperwork done before my birthday to lock in 30 year old rates. And as I did the physical exams I was so proud and grateful that we are both in great health, very likely because we eat a variety of whole foods and stay active. Especially now that we have kids, it's so important for us to live out our full potential and be there for them as long as we possibly can, and also to set them up with good diet and exercise habits. 

The past few months have been good, and for some reason I feel like October, November are going to be even better. We are getting rid of more toxins and pollution from our home and hopefully welcoming more health, positivity, and motivation to be our best selves. 



It's already Spring, which means Ostara/Spring Equinox for us Pagan leaning people, Passover for the Jewish, and Easter for Christians. In March, my husband acknowledged that he has officially been an executive chef for two years. We solemnly noted that it had been six years since that tragedy on 3/11. We joyfully celebrated our son's first birthday on 3/16 with a small BBQ attended by beloved friends and family. 3/21 was officially the first day of Spring, and not too much later, cherry blossoms began to bloom in Japan.

Time is flying by so fast....I can't believe it's already been a whole year since I gave birth to "Kyle" in our home, with my husband, daughter, best friend and fairy god-midwife-mother by my side. I feel so happy and blessed to be able to give him a stable home, a loving family, and a good healthy start in life. He is a sweet, funny, active boy who already walks, dances, gives kisses, and responds to his name with an "ah". He also, just like his sister, spoke his first word just a few short weeks after his first birthday...except while hers was "Thank you" his is "Douzo" (Here you are in Japanese). These two continue to surprise and amaze me with how well they mesh together.

Coincidentally, on my son's birthday, I also recieved an acceptance letter for Chinami to a local charter school. Chinami starts Kindergarten in the fall, and since we don't live in the best school district and don't have the finances for private school, I have been applying for charter schools and geographic exemptions on her behalf. The school she was accepted to goes up to 8th grade, so barring any unforseen circumstances, I won't have to worry about more applications until then. It's also walking distance from home, which makes things a lot easier for all of us. And lucky for her brother as he will get priority in the lottery when he's old enough to enter.

The past year being a mostly stay at home mom has been kind of lonely at times and every day is a challenge to myself to stay active and stay positive. I have consistently been keeping my resume current and staying in the job market, and I have had to turn down a few attractive offers due to the circumstances of having to raise 2 children. However,with Kairu turning 1, it's time for him to prepare to enter daycare as his sister prepares to leave. I've already been putting myself back out there, making more and more connections in the community, and starting some interesting things, one of them strangely enough involving a renovation of an enormous mansion in Hawaii Kai. It will be a relief when I start getting more income, and I love challenging myself and furthering my abilities in Japanese and other fields. And one more thing I'm looking forward to with Kairu becoming more independent is being able to zip around on my bicycle more and more!! Well, at least I can do it all year round! Happy Spring to everyone not living in the tropics!



This hashtag has been going around on Twitter for the last few weeks, and I feel that a picture, or 140 characters would not be nearly enough to sum up what #2006vs2016 means to me.

When 2006 started, I was living in Japan, doing the third year of what would be 4 1/2 short years culminating in a B.A. in Japanese from University of Hawaii. Soon into the year, I got engaged to my long time, long distance boyfriend. I also lost my future father-in-law in a tragic accident, and the resulting stress made my already overworked system break down, and the anxiety and depression I had been wrestling with since my early teens went into over-drive, and I started having regular panic attacks. I made a trip back to the US to reset my visa before staying in Japan for the summer. Over the summer I found Youtube and began what would come to be known as "vlogging". After summer, I went back to start my 4th year and started living off-campus with a few roommates.
 I was 19 turning 20, engaged to a man living in another country across the ocean, a full time student with 2 jobs or more, dealing with what I thought was just a bad reaction to stress and grief.

In 2016, I am in Hawaii after a few amazing years living in Japan. My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years now and we welcomed our second child in March. I work part-time for one of the biggest Japanese tourism companies in the world, at an easy low-paying job with benefits. The hours work well with being a full-time stay at home mom, and when the kids get older I will work at another place or two again. I also live in a condo we own, and we rent out our bedroom........to one of my roommates from 2006, who sadly never took the advice and opportunities given to him way back then and is still paying for bad decisions he made and continues to make regarding his finances and his own physical health.
I have been working on my anxiety and depression as much as I can with the help of therapy, supplements, and living a healthy lifestyle in general. Getting diagnosed with C-PTSD and really finding a root cause has helped a lot.

The past 10 years have been amazing, and I am excited for the next 50, or 60, or however many more I have left.