Well, if I'm going to be keeping up with this blog I should probably update it. I've been here in Hawaii for almost a month now, but (big surprise) it really doesn't feel like it at all. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. But what exactly have I been having fun doing? Let's find out, shall we...
I guess to really get a feel of what's been going on we should start a little before my arrival on the island. Like I very briefly mentioned at the end of my last post, I didn't just fly BWI-LAX-HNL. Instead, my parents and I decided to seize the opportunity to fit in a cross-country road trip, all the way from one coast to the other. And not just any road trip either. Oh no, this time once we passed Amarillo, TX we'd be getting our kicks on Route 66. Although it was a rather long way to go (taking 10 days instead of the usual 3 or so for this kind of trip), it was really exciting to see the west at a slower pace, stopping at all the obligatory tourist stops and curio shops. In between guide books, online sources, local tips, and family suggestions I don't think there was a good restaurant, historic landmark, or cultural reference that we missed. (Not only did we see Amarillo, Gallup, Flagstaff, Winona, Kingman, Barstow, and San Bernadino, I also stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona just for good measure).
The trip was awesome, to say the least, and gave me plenty of quality, last minute bonding time with my parents before another long stretch without seeing them. After finally making it to California we spent a day in L.A., and then bright and early on the 12 my dad and I flew out across the Pacific to Honolulu. (My mom didn't come this time, a combination of the fact that work needed to get done and that she got to come out with me for my campus visit).
The flight was smooth, and when I landed it was just like I remembered it being from my few days here a year earlier: sunny, 80 degrees, and very different from Maryland. But it didn't feel as exotic as it had the first time, because guess where it's also sunny and 80 degrees? Costa Rica! (Duh...) Move in wasn't until Tuesday, so my dad and I made our way to where we were staying, and then spent the until then preparing for what was about to go down.
One major thing I had to get ready to do was my audition for the music school at UHM! If you didn't know, I'm really into music. More so, I'm really into singing and chorus. I had wanted to take some classes in theory and singing and the like, but when I went to register online I learned that you had to be a music major to take them. After further digging, I learned that you had to be a music major you had to be accepted separately by the music department, and that the application deadline had come and gone. After a lot of e-mailing, I got a last-minute, on-the-spot audition at their New Student Orientation. The audition went well, and by the time I left I was in the process of changing my major from Anthropology to Vocal Performance, enrolled in 6 music related classes, and suddenly headed down a very different path than I had been when I started the trek out here.
Then, on the 20th, classes finally started. My schedule is pretty full, but it's fun for me. I'm taking Music Theory, Aural Training, Piano, Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Applied Studies (just a fancy name for private voice lessons), Advanced French Conversation, and General Linguistics. It's been interesting being back in school after taking a year off, but I'm doing just fine. I've been learning a lot! It's great having a chance to speak French regularly, and hopefully next semester I'll be able to get Spanish in there. Linguistics is really interesting, too. It's about the technicalities of language, and since I'm verging on being tri-lingual it has real significance for me.
Of course, my life isn't all spent in class. I've met some great people here, and we've hung out a lot. I love being in a dorm. In all my exchanges I lived with a family, and I got used to having that sort of "fall back" relationship. Even if you were having trouble making friends at school, you didn't feel alone because you had your family. I was a little nervous before coming here and not having that, but I didn't realize that a dorm also gave you that. It's like a big house full of people you see all the time, just like a host family. We've gone down to the beach a lot, which is still a totally novel thing for me. I mean, just heading down on a Wednesday after class without planning? How cool is that! We all have unlimited bus passes, so we can get around really easily.
I also met a cousin of mine that I never knew before, which is really cool. Some of my new friends and I went out to dinner with him, and then one Saturday he took us out for an afternoon on his boat (a trip that involved a visit to the Marine base, stopping at a sand bar in the middle of Kaneohe Bay, and my first time tubing).
Hawaii is 6 hours behind MD and a full 12 behind France, which means once again I have to deal with time differences when talking to people. I don't feel far away, though. I guess that part of traveling has stopped being shocking. I'm starting to realize that I won't have seasons like I'm used to, which might be odd. But I'm not too worried, I love this Pacific sun!
I'm so excited for... well, for everything! I've got a few chorus concerts coming up, I've got someone who's going to teach me to play jazz piano, I have a voucher for surf lessons, and I'm making some fabulous friends.
I'll try to post again fairly soon, but until then try not to be toooooo jealous (hehe).
If there's anything that you're interested in hearing, or suggestions about things to post that I leave out, feel free to leave a comment!