Friday, May 31, 2013

Perks of being jobless, friendless, and living in the middle of nowhere

1. No pressure to get dressed. So what if I've worn the same sweatpants, socks, and "bear feet" slippers all week?

2. No alarm clock. Let me tell you the secret to getting over jet-lag in the slowest way possible: continue functioning as if you're still living four hours behind everyone else.

3. Having time to spend with family

4. Catching up on all the time I never spent watching TV/movies when I lived in Maui and had a life.

5. Having time to practice piano and study languages for grad school

6. Being stuck here, with these people:

7. Being able to have spontaneous dance parties whenever I find a good song (in my sweatpants and bear feet, of course):

8. No reason to feel embarrassed when I bring a blanket to church because it's so.stinkin.cold here.

9. Being there to help little brother through a meltdown. Poor kid. Having to clean up your own messes is hard.

 (word to the wise: don't watch the whole thing. it will just stress you out.)

10. Having time to stop and enjoy this

and this
and this
and this

11. Finally starting to work on all of the house projects I've planned for so long:
  • Deep clean living room. [check]
  • Deep clean kitchen [check]
  • Fix lawnmower [half-check]
  • Keep lawn mowed [ongoing]
  • Trim trees
  • Put in backyard fence
  • Deep clean, repaint, and retile bathroom
  • Clean out and reorganize back storage room 
(my mother should pay me more)

12. Feeling loved because people here are happy to see me, and people at home miss me.

13. Getting pictures like these texted to me from people who miss me:

Life is a great reason to rejoice!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Men on Maui

I am writing to you from my living room sofa (actually, I live in a studio apartment now, so it's my living room/diningroom/kitchen/family room/bedroom sofa). I just finished watching the beautiful 'Ulalena show for the fourth time (thank you talented hula dancer coworker for the free tickets), and am now comfortably in my basketball shorts, Superman-CTR Tshirt, and glasses, eating Corn Chex from the box. It is on my mind to tell you some stories about the main subject that I think people wonder the most about in my life: men. In case you are wondering, yes, I do date. No, I am not dating someone right now. Maybe you will understand better why after hearing what I am about to tell you. But first, some prelude.

My landlord's name is Mike. He is Caucasian, male (obviously), and probably about 46ish years of age. He is in great shape, runs a para sail and handyman company, owns a large, beautiful house of which he takes immaculate care and rents different parts out, and he is also a bit of a hippie. He has long hair, usually a few feathers hanging from his ear, plays bass and "yells" (his description) in a rock band, and is absolutely alone in life excepting friends, renters, customers, and his cat, Sneakers. I didn't realize how truly lonely he must be until the other night when my roommate and I were headed out for a walk. He came out on the porch and started talking to us, asking us if we had any friends he could date. He said something which initially surprised both of us, but has since brought amazing clarity to some confusion we both had. His news: for every three women on Maui, there are seven men.

Wow, right? (sidenote: I know A LOT of girls who would almost commit to a daily commute across the pacific just to live in a ward with those kinds of odds at BYU, but I digress).

This statistic, which apparently comes from (I know this isn't a good source, but we're going with it for creative purpose), is apparently the reason why Mike isn't dating anyone (because usually those three women are crazy, according to him), and sheds a whole new light on the everyday living situation for my roommate and I. All of a sudden, SO MANY THINGS MAKE SENSE. Like why, all of a sudden since moving to Maui, we feel like hotcakes on a griddle, whereas in Utah/Idaho/any where else we've ever lived, we can go months without any acknowledgement from a member of the opposite sex that we even exist?

So  now, some stories:

Two hours into my first day on Maui I met a man who was working at the Hostel I stayed at. Shirtless, wet, he had just come back from snorkeling. Early 50's, shaggy hair, caucasion. He winked at me and told me Idaho girls are easy to fall in love with. 'Oiaue. I have been avoiding making eye contact with him every time I've seen him since then.

A week later I was at the beach by myself. A man approached me in the water, started talking, being friendly, and then asked if he'd seen me somewhere before, possibly at the nude beach the previous Sunday? Um, no, definitely not. I was in church. Too bad, he said. I should check it out some time. Wink. Gag me.

And one of my (least)favorite's--a bearded man with double nipple piercings who called me baby, asked what time I got off work, and promised that we would have fun. Um, no thanks.

In the following weeks, months, and now in two years, I have accumulated quite the collection of "pick up" stories, from the grocery store, the bus, front street, the mall, work, etc. If you're a girl and like free food, I can tell you that the beach pathway is a great place to walk around late afternoon time. I have been impromptu invited to dozens of BBQ's, bachelor parties, birthdays, and "just to have a few." I'm telling you, being a girl on Maui makes you feel like an important commodity.

Sort of.

Because there is a huge downside. Like, despite the fact that there are seven-to-three options, there are no real options. At least not for me. I'm sorry, but I'm not attracted to beer belly's, womanizer winks, or kava drunk requests to to'a (represent the traditional village virgin and serve the kava). Added to how unattractive the offers have been is my natural shyness and discomfort when men I don't know start talking to me. My coping mechanism is usually ignoring attempts to flirt, brushing whomever it is off with excuses, or being as short as possible when someone whistles at, yells for, approaches, or in any other way tries to "hit on" me (ps that's a weird phrase. Why do we use that? What does it even mean?)

And that leads me to one of my latest encounters.

On Saturday I went to spend the evening at my family's house across town. I have a car but I love to walk. There is a park adjacent to the neighborhood my family lives in, and I was taking a short cut and walking through it. In the distance I noticed that there was a group of Hawaiian men who were all sitting together talking story and laughing right in the area I was going to have to walk through. Being accustomed, for the past two years, to being called out to when I usually encounter such situations (I had actually already dodged two men already that night, including the one from the hostel, haha), I braced myself. As I got closer and closer to them, I noticed them look up and acknowledge me. Oh boy, I thought. Please don't say anything to me. I really don't feel like being hit on right now*. I kept my head up, tried to look confident, purposeful, and busy, and continued in my path across the park. I made it past them fifteen feet, breathed a sigh of relief, and thought I was home free. Not so.

"Hey! Ui! Seestah!"
"Hey! Seestah!"
I turned around to check who was yelling. A medium size Hawaiian guy, shirtless, belly hanging slightly over his surf shorts, no slippers, beer in hand, had gotten up and was walking towards me. He motioned at me with his hand.
"Hey Seestah, com hea"
Dude, I'm not your sister. Me, waving my hand in a distracted fashion, turning around and continuing walking "No thanks!"
Him, louder: "Hey! Seestah!
Me, continuting to walk.
Him: "Hey I jus wanna talk to you. You don gotta be afraid."

Lol! I'm not afraid dude, I just don't feel like being on stage for you.

I continued on, didn't look back. I was too tired and uninterested to feel like stopping, even just to be polite. But I laughed and laughed. "Hey! Seestah!" Classic Maui. So classic.

I'm not sure that this happenstance is something I'm going to miss once leaving Maui, but I do have to say that it has made life a little more interesting here. For the most part I've never felt in danger (there were a couple of guys, but thanks to different friends who showed up at the right time, nothing has gotten out of control), just a little cornered a few times. My advice to any men who might read this who are interested in finding a girlfriend anytime soon: treat girls like people, not merchandise. It's not flattering, it's demeaning.

Mahalo for your kokua.

*Tangent: I'm not sure if men understand that (at least for me, maybe it's different for other girls) it's really not flattering to be whistled or yelled at, and it's REALLY not flattering to be ogled or followed. My thought: YOU DON'T KNOW ME. Any attention that you're giving me right now is based solely on your judgement of my outward appearance. And in my opinion, based on my calculation that beauty really has very little to do with anything aside from genetics and hygiene, that really doesn't mean anything to me because IT'S NOT ME.  Are you picking up what I'm putting down here? I get the concept which is that appearance is the first things someone can see and judge, but I'm just saying I don't like feeling like that's all someone cares about when they meet me. Especially if it's someone I feel hounded by. KthanksforreadingI'mdonewiththisnow.

But a real PS- I'm still rejoicing! And you should find reason to, too. :)