Sunday, November 11, 2012

Goodbye, Again

Again, I'm leaving in more ways than one.  To another adventure, but one that I know.  And off of this blog.  I lost touch with this thing somewhere between the last few transitions and it's probably best that I move on.  I left all my angst and frustrations in therapy, so this thing has little use for me.  Until I have adorable children and then I can compete with the best mommy bloggers out there, cause that's basically all that exist, right?

But, in real life, I'm going back to Hawai'i for the winter.  I know.  What a drag.  On an island for the winter?  Ughhhh, make it stop.

The farm I worked on earlier this year offered me a paid position and I jumped at the chance.  The work is hard and enduring, but it's worth it.  And the winter chub has already started to rear its ugly head, so I'm ready to get back into macadamia nut husking shape. And I'll be back with that incredible family that taught me how to live minimally, yet fully.  Composting toilet, I've missed you only a little.

SO! Anyone that wants to come visit, you have a home with me.  And, yes, I'll let you use the composting toilet.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

You Can't Go Home Again

That's what they say anyway and in a month I'm about to put it to the test.

In the two and a half-ish months I've been in Hawai'i, I've had a lot of time to do some thinking.  After my grandfather passed away, I realized how far away from home I have been for the past 3 years.  Too far.  Sure, everything is just an airplane ride away now, but I'm tired of being away from my family.  My family is my crew.  They have been with me through thick and thin.  They support my every move, challenge me when I need to be challenged, and rejoice in my adventures.  As my grandmothers age and my nieces grow up, I want to be around for weekend visits and lunch dates.  It's time to be home for a while.

In the same breath, I think I've found something I really like.  Farming.  It's such a refreshing and rewarding occupation.  Doing advocacy and human rights work was rewarding, but in a completely different way.  Learning how to organic farm hasn't worn out my emotions or my mental state, but instead my hands ache with pre-arthritis in the mornings and my knees have this weird new pain when I step up.  And at the end of the day we weigh the coffee that we picked or count the bins of macadamia nuts that we sorted and know the work we have done.  It's tangible, it's countable, it's visible. It's a fairly simple life, as we respect the land, farm it, and only take what we need.

So, I'm going to move back to North Carolina.  For how long?  I don't know.  I hope to find a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains where I can work.  And maybe I'll be able to nestle into a community there as well.

That's the plan anyway.  We'll see what happens.  I still have a month left here in Hawai'i, which includes a week of pure travel around the island.  Things still on my list to do:
  • Get a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage (that's happening tomorrow!)
  • Go to the green sands beach!
  • Go to the top of Mauna Kea (which is taller than Mt. Everest, except part of it is under the water)
  • Go to Pololu Valley - supposedly compared to the likes of the Garden of Eden
  • Make it to Hilo (the other side of the island)
Lots of time to do them and also lots of time to just hang out, which is lovely.  I'm really gonna miss this place.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


This is Pa, of Lala and Pa.  My dad's father.  As of Tuesday, he isn't with us anymore, but I'm sure he's watching Wheel of Fortune and eating all the chocolate pie he wants in a real comfy lazy boy somewhere.

I was lucky enough to be able to come home for the funeral on Friday and be with most of my family this weekend as we remembered who Pa was, learned new things about him, and supported each other as this man of 92 isn't sitting in his chair anymore. 

He and Lala were married 67 years and she now wears his cross necklace and wedding ring around her neck.  The beauty and strength and grace and peace that I have seen in her over these last few days form a lump in my throat as I think about her.

But Pa's memory will always live on, as my father has traits and characteristics in him that were created, nurtured and molded by Pa.  And every time I look at my toe ring, I will imagine him asking me "Leah, what's that ring on your toe? Are you engaged? Haha, my oh my, I've never seen anything quite like that before."

Thank goodness I never take it off and can think of him often.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I'm alive. I promise.  It's just that I've been a bit too preoccupied with going to bed at 8pm and rising at 630am that I haven't had time to do anything but live in freakin' Hawaii.  My bad :)

My gosh I can't believe I arrive here one month ago.  To the day.  February 23rd.  And wowzah it's been pretty awesome.

Since I last wrote an entry, I have walked on volcanoes, sat on black sand, sipped on lulo, used a chainsaw, met with Pele (goddess of the volcano), gotten a million more freckles, danced my booty off, and laughed until I peed (a couple of times).  It's been wild.  (Why do I keep using that word to describe my experience?)

But seriously. I wrote an email to my friend the other day describing the difference I feel.  Yes, I feel self-indulgent.  Living to live and take care of myself and make myself happy.  But I feel happy.  And that is a fairly new feat for me.  Living for the care of others was awesome and rewarding in different ways, but this feeling I have almost consistently is strange and new.  I laugh.  A lot.  More than usual.  Like laughing until I have to sit down and can't speak.

I don't know if it's this island or the people I am with or the work that I am doing which is releasing endorphines everyday into my blood stream, but I like it.  And it's felt really nice to not be worried about things except my task at hand, which can consist of sorting mac nuts or picking coffee or shoveling out a trailer or washing bins or weedwacking or pulping coffee.

I'm starting to think a lot about what the next few months hold for me and I'm not so sure.  Maybe stay here a little longer?  I'll definitely return home for our annual Goshen trip at the end of June, but where I'll be between then and now is unknown to me.  Any ideas?  South Korea has been thrown into the mix.

Life is an adventure and I'm trying not to plan it out too much, but you can't take the Leah out of the mix either. And that ol' Leah, she is a worrier and a planner.

Hawaii is good.  It's great.  I think we are meant to work out for a little while longer.  Aloha!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


It's amazing.  Just like I thought it would be.  It's more jungly and country than I thought and not nearly as overrun with tourists and resorts as I pictured.

I'm learning a lot and have already realized that I know VERY little about most anything having to do with farming, cooking, or being of nature in any way.  So, I'm soaking things in, asking questions, and trying to let my knowledge grow.

It feels like a vacation so far - we harvest coffee beans on Friday for about 5 hours and then a big rainstorm came through so we called it a day.  Tomorrow will begin a full work week, so I'll get the feel for being a bonified farmer a little more this week. Yay! So far it's felt more like a vacation - went to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (Place of Refuge) on Saturday and did some snorkling.  AMAZING. Wow. Beautiful coral and fish and turtles.  Wow.

And today we went to a Hookena Beach and it had black sand which is hot hot hot.  We brought the snorkle gear and did some more snorkling, but it wasn't quite as beautiful as the day before (can you believe I can say things like that?).  The sun is my frenemy, so I'm trying to embrace it and let it embrace me without it burning my very pale and freckly skin.

The family is incredible.  So kind and warm and they have 3 nutso kids, but they are sweet and bubbly.  But also intensely wild at the same time.  The littlest one has this curly white blonde hair and the best imagination ever.  He's pretty stinkin' cute.

I'll try to get my head out of the clouds and write more things down to share with you all soon!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chillin' In The Bu

This weekend I went on a last minute camping trip up to the Malibu (affectionately nicknamed The Bu) with my pals Clay and Amy. It was amazing.  I've spent a little time with C and A since I've been in L.A., but I wish it had been more!  They are by far one of my favorite couples.  You know, one of those couples that are individuals, but sweetly affectionate to each other in intentional, not let's-touch-each-other-all-of-the-time-even-when-we-hang-out-with-our-single-friends. Couples take notes from these fine folks.

So went drove up to La Jolla Canyon and camped the night before and then got up the next morning, Amy made some yummy breakfast burritos, and then we set off for our hike up Point Mugu.

Who knew California could get so cold? Brrrr.

Such a gorgeous view from Point Mugu.

At the top!

We left a little "Suckas, we made it!" kind of note.

Mmm, meadows to run through.

I keep endorsing all of my activities, but, seriously, if you make it to L.A. drive north and camp and do this trail.  It's strenuous enough in some places to make you feel like you got a workout, but easy enough in other places to make it enjoyable. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marking Time

Breathe, Leah, breathe. This time next week you will be in the airport waiting to board your plane to begin your (ugh) 15ish hour journey to Hawaii.  Even though it ain't the prettiest set up of traveling, you'll still be on your way! And one can never complain when I am traversing across an ocean to a tiny island by way of FLIGHT.

In the meantime, I am trying my darnedest to enjoy the here and now.  Which means that I am trying to do "L.A. things" that I've been meaning to do.  On Monday, Marshall and I hopped on the train and rode it North several stops to the city of Watts.  The historic Watts riots happened here, after the Rodney King shooting, so there is a history of racial tension, as well as poverty.  It's improved since then, but still remains as a predominately non-white, lower income neighborhood.

On our way to our destination, Marshall and I saw this rad staircase and as we stopped to take pictures, we definitely got heckled at by some middle school kids.  I laughed cuz I was skeered.  Kids are so mean!

We moseyed on over to the Watts Towers, which was our final destination, and my final "L.A. thing" to see.  The Watts Towers boils down to being beautiful folk art.  The story goes that a man named Simon Rosia, in 1921, began to build these cement sculptures/towers (ordained with reclaimed materials like glass, tile, bottles, rocks, etc.) in his backyard and continued to work on it for 34 years.

He did it all by hand and after he sold the property to a neighbor and it got lost in the shuffle of property exchange, it finally got into the hands of a preservation council and is now considered a historic site!  Pretty badass, huh?

If you ever come to L.A., GO HERE.  Make sure you take a friend, cuz it's kind of sketch, but GO!