Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dispatch from Hawaiʻi

Aloha kākou! Here I am again, in Hawaiʻi, to continue my extraordinary research adventure. Last time I was here was January. You can re-cap that whole previous leg of this research adventure here, via the links below:

Day 1 (Honolulu & Waikīkī)
Days 2-3 (Hilo)
Days 4-5 (Kona)
Days 6-10 (first week of research in the archives)
Days 11-12 (Waipahu)
Days 13-17 (second week of research in the archives)

So today, let's say, is Day 17.5, since I just arrived on Oʻahu around 2 p.m. today (a Sunday)... so nothing is happening today except getting settled in at the East-West Center.

My ninth floor room at Hale Mānoa, East-West Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Basically the same as my room in January except this time, instead of facing makai (towards the sea, including Waikīkī and Diamond Head), I am facing mauka (towards the mountains). 

Here's the view out of my window:

View of the Mānoa Valley from my dormitory at the university
So I've got nothing much to say in this dispatch except to recap where I left off in my California Research Adventure. My last post, Day 33, saw me visiting Orange County for the first time. Well, after that, on Day 34 (a Sunday), I met up with a good friend and colleague (also a historian of Hawaiʻi) in Pasadena. We got a great lunch at Zankou Chicken (very good falafel and hummus!) and then had coffee in "downtown" Pasadena. We ended up chatting for over five hours over lunch and coffee, basically until it got dark!

Then, Days 35-39, comprised my last week of research at the Huntington Library. I spent much of this week synthesizing all the notes I had taken, making some spreadsheets and graphs and even a new map for my California chapter, and incorporating new material into my draft chapters. Another thing I started doing that week was exercising. I had been living in a motel for three weeks and eating fast food everyday. I had gained weight and I just felt like a big blob. Not to mention how much television I watched in my motel room every evening. (When you don't own a television for many, many years, suddenly having access to one is quite exciting! Especially when Seinfeld reruns are on all night.) So I started doing twenty minutes of yoga each day in my motel room.

On Day 39 (two Fridays ago), I packed up and left Pasadena. Flew from LAX back to New York, arriving at home in our Manhattan apartment at around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. :)

Then I spent six days in New York. My wife and I had a lovely picnic lunch in Central Park. We went to the movies. We went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants. Even went out drinking a bit. A friend visited from Pittsburgh and we explored Harlem. I gave a few walking tours (one of my part-time jobs in the city). It was a great six days in New York. Except for the fact that my favorite coffeehouse in the city closed down while I was away in California. I have basically completed most of my Ph.D. work, and my work as a teaching assistant and instructor, too, for the past four years out of this coffeehouse. But luckily, with a little intrepid exploration, I have found a new coffeehouse that I don't love as much as the one I just lost, but it might just work for the next 12-24 months as I wrap up my dissertation and finish my degree.

And then, two days ago, my wife and I flew to Cincinnati to attend a friend's wedding. We very much enjoyed exploring Cincinnati and the wedding was just absolutely beautiful. Then today we woke up at 5 a.m. Eastern Time, which would have been 11 p.m. here in Hawaiʻi, in order to go to the airport (in Kentucky) where my wife caught a plane home to New York while I flew on to Chicago, and from there I transferred to a flight to Honolulu. 

Now it is only about 4 p.m. in Honolulu, but of course it feels like it is 10 p.m. for me, not to mention that I only slept for three hours last night (from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Eastern Time) because we were out so late at that wedding! It's a bit hard to imagine right now that less than 24 hours ago I was cutting it up on the dance floor in Ohio, and now here I am sitting in this dormitory room watching the clouds pass by over Mānoa Valley and the pali (cliffs) beyond.

But such is the fun and exciting life of an academic, am I right? :)

So here's to the next twenty days in Hawaiʻi. My Hawaiʻi Research Adventure continues.

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