days 55-58: budapest, hungary

august 28-30, 2023

marcus and i got into budapest around 3 pm after being on a train for 2.5 hours. the ride was fine, scenic, and then became increasingly uncomfortable and hot as more people boarded. 

we passed through fields and fields of corn and sunflowers. at first i was surprised to see them, idealizing their function beyond sunflower seeds until i finally realized and remembered that the sunflower oil business is a big one. 

they are sunflowers, kat, not poems

eventually i fell asleep, sitting across these 2 british women around the same age as us. they had these huge backpacks, worn in. i was self-conscious about sleeping with my mouth open. 

the budapest station is big and kind of gritty. the signs to catch the local trains are confusing and the ticket booth logos don’t match the train logo. but luckily we didn’t have a long ride and once we got back into the hang of matching names to destinations and train direction, we were good. 

when i got up the stairs to the main road taking us to our airbnb, i stopped to look up at the buildings. wide roads lined by aged roman style architecture. there are stark contrasts between old and new, and some places were straight up falling apart. some parts of the city are grey this time of day, loud, unfamiliar, but still, i quickly liked it. 

we waited until 7:45, then the lights came on at parliament

we walked past a couple sitting on the curb smoking ice or crack (i heard foil crinkling), and it didn’t bother me that much, although it was memorable. SF either really trained me for this or i’m just tired/ready to be here. the prospect of an air-conditioned future also made me really happy. we haven’t had AC in the heat in 3 weeks. 

our airbnb is on the 3rd floor of an old building that looks dodgy but once we got into our apartment, it was complete modernized and COOL. finally. air conditioning. a luxury. i thought of the 99% invisible episode on how AC allowed people to move into previously undesirable parts of the US, like the arizona desert. there’s a small sign in the apartment asking us to turn off everything when we leave due to “well-known recent world events” causing resources to be limited — so vague but nonetheless true and applicable timelessly. 

i thought of how even AC and electricity can be considered a right or luxury that can wield, sway power and influence over others. discomfort can cause people to make irrational decisions. even just being in the cool apartment for 10 minutes immediately changed my mood from irritated to jovial. until marcus said something to me, i forgot how annoyed i have been with him. 

i’m writing all of this in a stream of consciousness that feels good and real and unrushed and unlimited. i have been writing for maybe an hour or more, and have gone through feelings of resent then resolve. i have wondered about therapy for travelers moving across countries since therapists are typically licensed for one state or one country. for a little bit of time, chatgpt was useful, but writing like this and working through my thoughts is more gratifying and i feel proud because it’s self-sufficient. sometimes i need someone else, like a real person, to help.

when the rain stopped, we took a small tram around the city center to get the szecheyni baths. the trams run underground and are old, narrow, party made of wood, rickety but sturdy, and have low ceilings. the stations we stopped at are also a thing from the past. unchanged. the tiles are white and maroon with the station names in hungarian. 

rainy day, we play golf

a few stops later we were in the park where szecheyni baths are. it’s a huge building with tile art, gold embellishments, and tiles everywhere. the baths are located inside and outside. the big, scenic ones i saw in photos are located outside. everything except 1 pool is thermal, eggy.

there’s a mix of tourists and locals here and there’s even a chessboard at the end of one of the pools where a few older men were playing. we stayed there for practically the whole day until closing. here i decided i should go to baths more often. it’s really relaxing but not exactly part of my routine. the water in the pools outside is a bright turqoise and the structures look roman. tall columns, big, muscular sculptures of men and women. it felt luxurious?

we left and took the train back to our neighborhood and was more impressed with how locals/people can take the tram and go to this bath pretty easily. often i think, wtf is going on in sf. it’s expensive, public transportation is not that extensive, some people can be so cranky. the weather is mild year round although i would love to have some warm summers without having to drive 2+ hours. 


days 52-54: vienna, austria

august 24-26, 2023

in the areas of europe i’ve traveled to where english may not be spoken by everyone, my limited knowledge of portuguese has gotten me by. there are enough shared words across romance languages to sufficiently understand, to order or find something, or to get somewhere. picking up on syntax is sort of quick to pick up on, although i’m definitely not conjugating verbs. 

it also helps that i’ve traveled with people who speak the local languages in the azores and france.

anyway, i was feeling accomplished, like my brain was spongey and my tongue was flexible. google translate was the most used app on my phone. then we got into vienna and reading signs, trying to catch the train was disorienting. 

my brain off the plane, in vienna, trying to read the train station destination signs

german is strikingly different from portuguese, spanish, and french. many letters, long words that can initially look like each other. it took a moment to acclimate to the signange and eventually we were on our way to our apartment near naschmarkt.

extreme action

st. stephen’s cathedral

a nice storefront near st. stephen’s cathedral

unexpectedly, our neighborhood has a lot of asian people and restaurants. it eased my tension and self-consciousness. living in america, i’ve been exposed to bilingual asian immigrants who can speak their native tongue and english. i hadn’t even considered that elsewhere, the secondary language is different. here, it’s german and their native tongue - english, not so much. that caught me off guard. this is my honest observation. i…am…so…westernized

we’ve been lucky with unintentionally timing out our trip with visiting art and photo exhibitions. there are also a lot of good museums here too. and sculptures all around the city. 

louis vuitton, innere stadt

belvedere palace

belvedere palace

belvedere palace

emotion painting, ferdinand hodler

there was a steve mccurry and a yoshitomo nara exhibit. the mccurry show we learned about after seeing a poster at the train station. the nara-san show i learned about after asking chatgpt what POC artists were creating art at the same time as picasso, then again seeing a poster at the train station. 

i really liked yoshitomo nara’s show. playful, angsty, bright-hearted. there were drawings and paintings of girls i’ve felt like at different points in my life - rebellious, angry, feminine, independent, and cute. the back room had a bedroom structure with windows built out of wood and glass, imitating a peek into the artist’s studio in a small japanese town. american rock music from the 60s and 70s was playing on the speakers, and the room’s walls and floor were covered in drawings, paintings. it was voyeuristic and casual. i could imagine the process.

yoshitomo nara



gummy girl

one day we took the train out to the danube to go swimming. the water was greenish and i saw some swans in the distance, some white, some brown. i watched them for a while until i realized they were getting really close to me. i wasn’t sure if they’re aggressive, so i turned around to slowly swim back to shore away from them. but then they surrounded me, swam ahead of me, engulfed me into their group. all i could do was close my eyes and hope they wouldn’t peck at me in anger. they swam away and i was good. 

not as refreshing as i expected

after the danube, we took a ride on the giant ferris wheel at prater where the cabins were made of old trams. you could pay extra to have a dinner on them too, which means the cooks have to time each course to be ready by the time the ferris wheel makes its way back around again. we saw an older couple having dinner, a big cabin all to themselves.


at the end of the night, we went to a vietnamese restaurant. this tall, lean man took our order and he later asked us where we’re from, sharing that he loved his first and only visit to SF in 1996. he said he felt at home there. he ended up in vienna on accident, his refugee parents mistaking austria for australia. it bummed me out, especially because he mentioned the locals make it hard to break into their social circles. he also said many asians often keep to to themselves, to their own ethnic groups vs mingling. i wonder how much of this differs across younger generations. i wondered if my parents had to go through the same experiences migrating to the US.

next, we take a 2 hour train ride to budapest. 

days 46-51: nice, france

august 19-23, 2023

we have reached the final part of our france trip in nice. after driving from arles to marseille, we took the train from marseille to nice. it’s a beachy town with a long, lively promenade along the water. i hear more english spoken around me here than i have in other places we’ve visited in france. i also notice more apartments with balconies, and it reminds me of apartments i’ve seen in waikiki. 

nice promenade

nice promenade

one of the first apartments i saw leaving gare de nice-ville

and one of the others i noticed on our walk to the beach

i liked her braids

we spend most of our time walking around town and hanging out at beaches. one day, we took a <10 minute train ride to villefranche-sur-mer, although the whole trip ended up taking nearly an hour because we missed our train and waited at the station for the next one. marcus forgot his towel and ran back to the apartment and then to the train station, sparing barely a minute for us to get through the gates and to find our platform. yeah right, of course we didn’t make it, but there wasn’t really a rush to get there anyway.

the watermelon man came at the right time




nothing new - it’s hot but especially in this city and in our airbnb because for some reason, it’s incredibly challenging to get the air flowing. i haven’t been this uncomfortable in the heat in a while and it made it hard to sleep at night. there’s a small portable AC in the living room that has a minor effect in cooling the place down. our rooms are next to each other, so one night, we set the AC in between our doorways, experimenting with splitting the air to both rooms. it was a good and funny idea, but unfortunately it didn’t work. maybe the wall between our doors got really cold?

apartment elevator

refined meal before the big burgers

old town

on our last night, we had an early birthday celebration for tilly at a beachside restaurant. the sky was a light, faint powder blue that occasionally blended into the horizon line dividing it from the ocean. further on the right, the gradient darkened and the separation was more clear. i haven’t seen anything like it, like a painting. 

hbd tilly

days 39-45: marseille, arles, aix-en-provence, france

august 12-18, 2023

it’s my first time in france, and i’m lucky to  travel here with someone who can speak the language. we met kevin and tilly in marseille - tilly studied abroad in aix-en-provence. it’s a welcomed change to be on the coast and for marcus and me to be around people besides each other. 

a familiar greeting in an unexpected place

tilly and kevin in arles

to get around for the first few hours by ourselves, i learned a few french words to bookend the english parts while interacting with people at stores and restaurants. and it seems that if i smile and try, we both attempt to figure out what the other person needs. 

coming to europe in the summer has given me a view into holiday leisure and, in france, cool nonchalance. in smoking at the beach, riding a bicycle, walking on a red light, hanging at the cafes. these are all things i do or have seen other people do, but it’s hard not to notice the spirit behind these basic actions between being in a new country and coming in with a simplistic perception that everything is somehow better out here. it seems like it is. i’m an outsider, so i’m observing a lot.



dinner at monstre in arles


swimming in the calanques


like in portugal and spain, i’m eating breads and pastries, except here, there are boulangeries that serve baguette sandwiches with ham, salmon, pate, and sometimes vegetables. and i’ve tried moules frites for the first time, which i now want to have more frequently back in san francisco and eventually learn how to make. for me and probably many others, food is an easy connecting point. and really, the food in many places is better than i’ve had it in the states. 

it’s a french thang

my first time eating moules frites

we’re trying mcdonald’s in every country, no shame

i ordered this not knowing what it was. really good fresh tomato sauce inside

za in marseille. alottaburrata

so far, we’ve spent 3 full days in marseille, 1 day in arles, and will be in aix for 2 days. while in marseille, we walked around the town and old port, to the beaches, and drove out to cassis and into the calanques to hang out by the water. in arles, we stayed at the time machine of a hotel called les cabanettes, which was originally built in 1967 and renovated to retain the style. very pleasant. we walked around the town in arles and visited the LUMA - an incredibly spacious and diverse contemporary museum that is free to enter. artists to remember for the future: theaster gates, carrie may weems. we also saw greater flamingos, grey herons, and coypus at the ornithological park in ponte de gau. 








hey arnold?

hotel les cabanettes

hotel les cabanettes

tile art at the ornithological park in pont de gau

the view of arles from the top of the LUMA tower, designed by frank gehry~



view of arles farmland from a morning run

dead, drying sunflowers in arles. some of them are reused as building material, like insulation at the drum cafe at LUMA

now in aix, we get some downtime. it’s a landlocked city - one of the most expensive in france - and the center is very walkable and quaint. our aix airbnb is eccentric, like a museum filled with various furniture pieces and decor that could double as art pieces. i don’t know the words for the style or era, but mostly a mix of asian and european. the ceiling banisters are hand painted with flowers, and what looks like baguettes and olives. the space was restored in the early 2000s. when i first walked in, i couldn’t believe places like this still exist and are accessible to live in.

our temporary home in aix-en-provence

spiral staircase to the lofted space marcus and i slept in

the kitchen space in aix

tiling above the stove

the living room

with hand-painted banisters. we’re thinking baguettes,  olives, and flowers

idyllic. aix-en-provence

i think i can stop calling bigger/popular european cities cosmopolitan - i now think it’s just characteristic. in my untrained eye, these places are more classy and tasteful than places i’ve traveled to before, which does not include much of europe.

days 36-37: madrid, spain

august 9-10, 2023

again, the heat makes us slow and keeps us from spending more time outside. the air is heavy and unhealthy to be in - air quality is not good. 

however, we did visit the reina sofia where i learned about more surrealist and cubist artists on my way to see guernica by picasso in person.

i remember learning about guernica in high school art history class, and seeing it is the sort of thing you do in madrid if you can and if you care. it’s a big piece but looks sort of undone, not in a way i am drawn to. but there were pieces by many other artists that i connected with more. no photos allowed of any of the art in the area guernica was located.

francis picabia (reminds me of barry mcgee’s work)

angeles santos

hermen anglada camarosa

salvador dali

we went around to do more siteseeing - essentially historical palaces, fountains at the center of roundabouts, and shopping districts where we can only look at stuff because we are traveling only with backpacks. of course, we ate more paella and jamon, and marcus got a waffle shaped like a punani, dressed in dark chocolate, filipinos (a european biscuit), kitkats, and a cleverly-situated pink gummy.

day 35: madrid, spain

august 8, 2023

we arrived in madrid yesterday after flying in from san sebastian. leaving san sebastian was a little frantic. we planned to take a bus to the airport, but didn’t know the bus stop nearest our hotel had temporarily(?) removed the bus we wanted to take. in broken spanish and english, we figured out another stop we could go to to take another bus. a couple of kind women asked the driver to make sure we were taking the right bus to the airport. on the bus, i had little hope that my temperamental bladder could hold the tea, coffee, and water i drank at breakfast. 

like san sebastian, madrid is quite cosmopolitan, which is perfect because i brought a combination of clothes that make me look like i’m camping or hiking.

nothing notable today, or that’s how i feel now. it’s hot, between 95 and 100 degrees, so it makes it hard to want to be out. i wish there was an ocean or pool we could jump into. we walked around el retiro park, stopping by the temporarily closed palacio de cristal to see what an empty 19th century glass building looks like. it’s pretty and not as delicate as i thought. 

like last night, we made dinner at home. a modest dinner of pasta, salmon, and sauteed salad greens with tomatoes, garbanzo beans, onions, and garlic. 

rather than just saving money, i wonder if i’m just nervous to get a meal oustide. in san sebastian, we both got shy toward the end of our trip ordering pintxos. pintxos culture is not for the timid or socially anxious. i think it sucks not being able to speak spanish outside of hello, thank you, please, excuse me, i’ll have this and that - it puts me in a purely transactional position that i don’t like. i’ll have to get used to being a tourist especially as i get further away from romance languages and my novel familiarity with the portuguese language will no longer matter.

i finally quit my job

i quit my job in february after holding on for much longer than i probably should have. it hurt a lot to do that and now, i’m sure i’m still mentally wrecked because of it. but i’m working on it. 

when i graduated college, i had a ~dream~ to travel abroad for a year with no savings or actual plan on how to make that happen. instead, i took a “marketing journalism” job to afford continuing to live in san francisco, and the rest is history!! i had a lot of fun playing dress-up and taking the muni downtown to go into beautiful office buildings, then meeting up with other friends doing the same thing as me to get drunk at happy hours. over the years, i became increasingly unhappy and wondered whatever happened to that big dream of mine.

everyone talks about saving up a rainy day fund, but i didn’t have that. i say it took me 10 years to save for this trip, but really it took me 10 years to pay off yo-yoing credit card debts, pay for rent and other life expenses, land a job that offered stock options! bonuses! money for just working there that i invested, and to save funds on top of that. god how was i so stupid with money before this. 

in the last couple years saving up for this year off, marcus and i stayed in a lot, essentially slowing down our social lives to save money. it helped that that time coincided with 2020/the pandemic and that we went alcohol-free in 2019. drinking is expensive but munchies and rideshares home also add up. but i’m not preaching - do whatever you like.

anyway, i quit my job and spent extensive time in oahu, new york city, and traveling by car to national parks in the southwest of the united states. i saw a lot of beautiful places and connected with family and friends, many whom i haven’t seen in a long time. 

emotionally, i often braced for pain, expecting the worst to happen. admittedly, i thought leaving a job would automatically turn on this switch for happiness, but it didn’t. this last time in oahu, i was deeply saddened that going home wasn’t this grounding experience that it usually is. instead, i was annoyed with all the visitors crowding places where i used to go to find peace and solitude. or how much it felt like it was my responsibility to fix what i didn’t agree with my family and in their home.

so far, that’s been the most disappointing reality of this adventure i’m on. no matter where i go, i am the same. in the last 2 years, i’ve changed a lot, becoming rapidly unhappy, depressed. i’m coming to terms with how stark some things are with my family and how it feels like i’m doomed to take care of it sometime in the future. i have a temper and live many days in a low hum of darkness. sometimes i can’t pinpoint why. i’m just mad or sad or both. 

the good news is that i have more hope that i’ll make it out than i did before. i continue to meditate, journal, and have noticed i’m getting better at detaching from the thoughts. that’s the first lesson of meditation - to not identify with emotions or thoughts, especially the bad ones. 

anyway, now i’m little over a month into traveling abroad and realized my future self would really like some kind of regular documentation of my travels, reflections. what i did and how i felt - that’s what it’s about.

mount tam at sunset

marcus, tofe, and i drove up mount tam after work to take photos at sunset with some other folks. 

the last time i was here was not a good memory. it was fall last year and i was on a bike, so tired and under-fueled on a 70-mile ride from the city to alpine dam and now at these hills, called seven sisters. i thought i could get by on two gel packets and water bottles. by the time i got to this part of the ride, i was light-headed and talking to myself to keep going. i made it out fine but learned the hard way to bring the right food.

i left home in a funk, my mood mirrored by the gloomy, cold weather. but the sun and heat came through as soon as we crossed the golden gate bridge. the feeling was unfamiliar, even though i was just back on oahu last week. i wasn’t sure if it was marin, my allergies, or some illness. 

we watched the sun go past the mountains behind stinson beach and went home to eat a late dinner.

all my friends

hello again

in many ways, i feel like i’m starting over, back in time. i haven’t blogged in several years or really shared more than a few lines under a photo to tell everyone what i’m up to. 

for the last 3 months, i’ve been slowly disconnecting from instagram. i don’t log on or share posts or stories, although i really want to. it started to feel like a big party where i didn’t know most of the people and then i got uncomfortable.

in a twisted desperation for self-expression, i’m here, repurposing this space for mostly unrestricted thoughts. i’m out of writing practice but i think i’ll get better at it. 

blogging is my favorite internet era. writing in my own corner of the digital world, waiting for someone to find me. 

marcus and i biked up hawk hill on monday morning. it was quiet and foggy. we watched the haze blanket the city, from downtown to the coast. and then we biked down and down and down.

these are the things i miss

originally written sometime in 2020. i found this in my drafts and i’m not sure why i never published it.

closing out week 3 of sheltering in place and week 5 of working from home, i’ve settled into a new routine but i’m missing my normal routines lately. there was a nice 2-week period where this whole thing was kinda fun, mainly because i didn’t have to worry about waking up early the next day. if i knew that the last time i’d see my closest friends was at a trampoline workout we did at house of air, i would have taken quality time more seriously.

here are the things i miss:

  • seeing my neighbors while riding muni
  • having dedicated time to read or listen to a podcast
  • being nosy about muni drama
  • going to art shows, museums, concerts, friends’ homes
  • spending time inside a store or restaurant
  • not having to wait in line to buy groceries
  • hanging out at the park without feeling guilty
  • surfing
  • hugging people who aren’t marcus
  • not over-wondering why my nose is running
  • going to planet granite
  • working out with people
  • going to noise, buying records, saying hi to sara
  • camping
  • wandering outside at a state park, national park, anywhere away from the city
  • going on long drives
  • not wiping down delivery boxes and groceries every time i get home
  • shaking people’s hands
  • reading about good news
  • knowing my parents are employed, getting paid, doing okay

what i don’t miss:

  • waking up before 7 am
  • riding to work and home on muni
  • being in an office
  • not being able to go to golden gate park while there’s still light out
  • “prior commitments”
  • not having time to do things i want to do, whether it’s cleaning, making something, getting rid of shit, or just being alone

stuff for my brain to cling to, april 5

in this new and hopefully temporary era of staying at home, i’m experiencing many emotions slowly. less rapidly than i would if things were normal. for the past two weeks, i’ve been wanting to write reflections on how coronavirus has kept me from burning out, but it may be too soon to tell. 

it is certain, however, that in through this situation, my current life routines have slowed down a lot. my mind is at peace and i don’t rush. living and working in places that are about an hour apart make it hard to get away from one to do or enjoy the other with enough time left for sunlight, dinner before 10 pm, doing nothing. 

now, those two places are the same. and it’s incredible for the most part. at least, that’s how i feel so far. i’m spending more time outside, inside, with myself, and others. i’ve abandoned routine. i’m seeing my friends and family more often.

what i like:

» proximity to golden gate park. note that i only go here to exercise. i distance myself from others and am always cautious of keeping my distance on sidewalks and trails. 

i’ve spent a lot of time at the park, but it’s becoming more clear to me lately that there’s still much to see. a couple weeks ago, i went on a run with marcus where the goal was to only run on small trails and no main sidewalks. there are many options. 

i’m enamored by the polo field that has both a paved bike track and packed dirt running/walking track. it’s vast and feels like a big, hidden pocket in the middle of the park, hiding among the trees and framed by main roads and so many small trails connecting people between the richmond, sunset, and the panhandle. it’s not far from home and to have full control over the length of my runs without having to worry about a longer run back home. it’s widespread, so that makes it easy to stay away from other people. i get distracted by the tall trees and feel like i could be alone out here. that feeling is eerie and enlightening at the same time. you could relate if you’ve ever been stoned at the park as the sun is going down and everyone is leaving and your mind is racing through sticky emotions of nostalgia and wonder. maybe just me!

another place i like is the golf course, especially now it’s closed and empty. those great, tiny white flowers that i’ve been told are weeds are growing back now that it’s spring. i’ve spent a few days now taking a detour into the golf course on my runs back home, laying out the grass and letting the sun hit my face. at the same time of day in the normal world, i’d be sitting in the back of the 5R or driving to/from the gym feeling exhausted and even a little sad. this is a small peek into my rote world filled with exciting activities that some days lose their luster because i know what i’m doing every day, monday - friday.

i prefer to spend most of my afternoons after work at the park. it’s what i look forward to the most these days. i’m trying to burn into memory the paths into the park from 43rd and fulton. these walks are probably sacred to me than i realize now.

» recognition of space. i’ve lived in this apartment for over a year now. we’ve made careful, thoughtful adjustments and additions to this place with our art, books, music, and spaces for settling down, but a majority of the time i spent here before all this was distracted. always working on something or getting ready to leave. these last couple weeks, i’ve liked sitting on the couch next to the window and reading in silence. or just staring out the window and noticing the gardens my neighbors have taken really good care of. the neighborhood is lush and sleepy.

i’ve never spent as much time here just noticing things before as i have in the last 4 weeks. we own a lot of knick knacks and they bring more personality and story to different corners of the home than i expected they would when i first put them there. this space feels like an honest extension of my identity and that is comforting.

» mental clarity. this is the most obvious to me on my runs. when my mind is distracted, my brain feels dirty during a run. i can’t focus on breathing, i’m thinking about what i need to do afterward. the run is more taxing than relieving. this is happening a lot less these days.

» seeing my family. ariel is my niece and she just turned 9. my parents are getting older and they’re out of work through the end of the month. i’m in a group facebook message with my parents and kim. ariel sometimes messages in the group through my mom’s phone, too. we video chat once a week. it’s good to see them doing well. my dad seems to be getting more sleep now that he’s less stressed.

another great by-product of staying at home is all the cool stuff there is to find on the internet. that’s really what i wanted to write about. this is a mix of music, photos, informational articles, and other nice things to look at, many of them a part of my blackhole dive into sites/articles related to design resources i found while doing reading for a class i’m taking. 

i’ll share more later

til next time…


yeah it was freezing

i spent the weekend in cazadero, california to go away and work on this. 

2 years later, im reading through my posts here, cringing, laughing, and admiring how much i feel things. i am slowly admitting to myself that is who i am. is this what happens when emo grows up?

anyway, i recognize a big reason for this outlet is my own achievement of self-importance by establishing an identity and individuality totally separate from whatever i currently do for work, whatever that i think i view as stiff/corporate/lifeless. but the truth is, i am really loving what i do for work at the moment and maybe don’t mind the association. it comes down to how i will never stop writing and trying to understand people. and the latter can be a really nice, constant daily challenge.

i’m working on some other personal projects that explore just that. it’s cooking. i’ll share later.

trust the process

me in chicago. october 2017

it’s been a few months since i’ve created anything not work-related. i don’t feel much genuine inclination to create either – just the inkling that i should be making something to keep up with my peers. i don’t really care that much to. 

i’m focused on my day job and i feel good about having a 9 to 5 grind that’s kept me more busy than usual for the past few weeks. there are higher hopes to make something that matters when inspiration strikes. i leave this here as a reminder that up to something, that i am aware, that work isn’t my life, that i am capable of building personal brilliance out of nothing.

page 26: this one’s for kai

elliott and kai. sandy beach, oahu. august 2010

on the day i found out kai passed away, i was riding muni on my way to work, scrolling through facebook on my phone. alotta times when people talk about death, they talk around death. so no matter how much i clicked and clicked through facebook, i couldn’t figure out what exactly happened to him. a little bit of me was certain he was gone, but mostly i was trying to confirm that. “rest in peace” is straightforward but at the time, unconvincing. 

kai was elliott’s kid brother. he was 18 when he passed, but i’d really only known him long before that. happy go lucky guy with a knack for getting pretty good at anything he picked up – piano and bmx, from what i remember. my memories of kai are hazy and endearing…frozen in time. he had a quiet enigma, but when he opened up, his kindness was this palpable energy. i can’t explain it. in my thoughts, he’s a handsome and goofy 13, 14 year old boy who spent time with me and elliott in the summers at the beach, my house, their house. he’d also be the one i’d reach out to to let me into their apartment when elliott and i got into big arguments and locked me out to get some space. looking back, i appreciate his patience in those less ideal times. 

i never saw kai after 2013 or 2014, but when i saw recent photos of him, i had a hard time wrapping my head around him looking so grown up. to me, he was still a kid. but in these photos, he was a taller young man with muscles and facial hair and larger hands and that same big smile.

the first thing i did when i heard about kai passing was reach out to elliott. things were chaotic and sad after we broke up, so we cut ties. two years later, reaching out felt familiar and cautionary, but i wanted to connect, understand, sympathize properly. i think we’re much better now. less manic, more nostalgic and grateful. it felt good to reminisce, i’ll leave it at that. 

time grows. time passes. time heals. rest in peace kai!

shot on holga 135bc
sandy beach aka sandy’s, oahu, august 2010

page 13: prelude to makapuu

tyler skatin off makapuu lighthouse road. oahu. january 2010

it’s been a while since i’ve written about me adventures, but over the weekend, i listened to an episode of blamo!, the one where he interviews writer jon moy, and i got a kick in the ass to keep pushing myself to continue sharing what i have created. i realize if you can make something, write/talk about it, share it somewhere accessible, and do those 3 steps regularly, you understand the bare bones of marketing. (going viral, getting traffic and followers…that’s another thing.) i’m in marketing. i think i do my job well. i think i do this okay. but i’m doing it, and it’s keeping me sane and helps me sleep at night, knowing i am working to archive a living, breathing account of my life outside of my day job. 

equal parts of the good sun in northern california and the scattered rain force me to get out and shoot, and to stay indoors and write. in other news, i recently traveled to japan and i’m in the slow and steady process of scanning photos. it’s sort of troubling to feel disdain for something so manual and rewarding. i  j u s t  w a n t  t o b e  d o n e  a l r e a d y. i can’t wait to share those photos.

in another installment of remembering my adventures with tyler and ed, i dig back through the simplest pleasure to a photo from winter break, 2010. another slow summer day spent roaming familiar, homey spots on the island via ed’s parents’ mini van - a spacious 2003 black chevy venture that i spent a handful of summer and winters sharing spaces with people, bikes, music stuff, and a foam skeleton head ed put makeup on (MAINLY eyeshadow, eyebrow color, and lipstick), stuck on his dashboard, and named mimi. i can’t remember if it was before or after this photo that they both told me we were going to keneke’s, a “beach” on the east shore of oahu, after i whined and whined about getting some sun. keneke’s turned out to be a plate lunch spot. smh

shot on holga 135bc
makapuu lighthouse road, oahu, january 2010

page 13: haiku stairs (stairway to heaven)

last mile, stairway to heaven, oahu. july 2011

stairway to heaven is one of my favorite hikes on oahu. it’s just a few miles long (no info online is consistent), and is made up of nearly 4,000 steps going up and over the ko’olau mountain range. 

the stairs were build in the 40s by the US navy to give people access to the top secret radio station used to transmit signals to the navy ships sailing through the pacific. it’s been shut down since the 80s because sections of the wooden and metal stairs are totally decrepit, dangerous, and weak, but tons of people ignore the ‘keep out’ and ‘kapu’ signs to do the hike. 

this day in 2011 marks the 2nd but successful attempt doing this hike. the first time we went, my friends and i left the house too late (we were supposed to get the trailhead by 2 am), traveled through a sewage pipe and someone’s private backyard (wrong), and took too long to find the trailhead. by the time we got there (after 2 am), the guard was already at his post, a chair under a blue ez up, ready to ward off hikers. you couldn’t get in trouble if the guard was at the trailhead once you finished the hike. i’ve heard that if you do happen to run into a guard at the trailhead, you could probably bypass him/her pretty easily and wouldn’t have the cops called on you if you came bearing gifts – spam musubis, beer, malasadas…   my friends back home tell me that the guard is now there 24/7 and that there’s a pretty gnarly fine (anywhere between $600-$1000) for getting “caught” finishing the hike. 

we started the hike at 1:30 in the morning. i think i was better prepared this time around – gloves and good shoes were probably the most important things since so many of the pipes i was holding onto had rusted, sharp holes, and the steps were slippery. hiking stairway to heaven is like scaling a very long ladder, broken up by 3 platforms. it was dark, pretty misty and cold since we were out at that hour and i ended up taking off my cheap plastic poncho cuz all it did was get in the way of stepping up (i’m short) and sliding my hands up the pole. as we stopped off at each platform, we took a look out at the city lights in the distance and the freeway overpass way, way down below. stairs and stairs and stairs, platform – we repeated this another two times before we hit the radio building at the top along with about a dozen other people. it was about 4 in the morning, and so we waited for another hour, hour and a half for the sun to rise. at this point, we were hovering above the clouds, so the sunrise we saw were rays peeking through all the fog and clouds. 

on the way down, the sun came up a bit more, the rain disappeared, and all the stairs beneath us came to light. it was kinda hard to believe that we’d scaled those stairs in darkness. this post by unreal hawaii continues to be one of my favorite photo blogs of this hike. when we finished the trail, the guard was at his post but he didn’t give us any trouble. we took a different route back to the car and ended up in vast field of tall weeds and red dirt, seeing another mountain range out in the distance. when i got home, i slept til the late evening. 

i plan to do this in december and i plan to pay whatever price it’ll cost me.

shot on holga 135bc
stairway to heaven trail, oahu, july 2011

saltwater therapy

earlier this month, i went back home to oahu and spent a day surfing with eric and janelle at our homebreak in waikiki. we’ve had our fair share of surf days in california, but it’s been about 3 years since we’ve been able to surf together in this special place. 

being here makes me happy. since i started surfing seven years ago, waikiki has shifted from a beachy, concrete jungle of tourists, to a charming, charismatic place i hold in my heart. i mean that. i’d never spent as much time in waikiki as i did during the summers of 2010-2014. my parents work in the hotel industry, so as a kid, trips to waikiki often meant mom was picking up or dropping off dad, and vice versa, or that mom was going to give me and my sister a tour through halekulani and give us a box of chocolates before dad took us home. when i got older, trips to waikiki meant roaming down kalakaua and kuhio with friends, and prom season. 

on this day, i took a moment to reflect on how this place has blessed me with countless memories. i think about the first handful of times i paddled out, unable to catch a wave. i think about the next handful of times after that when i went out and spent those days kneeboarding. i think about the day i caught my first wave after the sun had set, feeling accomplished. i think about all the nice people i’ve met in the water – people who’d just moved there, already in love with the island, visitors from all over the world on their way out, and locals who were there most days we were out. all the funny flirting, all the talkin shit about some tourist who crashed into your board, all the simple conversations about yesterday’s and tomorrow’s surf conditions. it’s funny because im no pro but i get excited and real passionate when it comes to the last two. i also think it’s hilarious how confusing it is to see someone you know from the lineup out on land – sometimes it’s hard to recognize people with clothes on. 

i get attached to places and people, leaving is bittersweet and feels like quitting. i think that’s why i stay in places and with people for long periods of time. one of my favorite days was when we had a barbecue on the beach, cooked up some of the fish and tako the guys caught, and surfed between meals. on another day, we met up with david night fishing on the shore. one of the very last times i surfed in waikiki, i remember paddling after a sunset session back to shore as the moon appeared. i’d just graduated college and was spending some of the summer at home before looking for a job in san francisco. i floated on my back in the waters close to shore for a few minutes, looking up at the moon, thinking about how much i was going to miss those carefree mornings, days, and nights being so content with playing in the warm ocean. 

there is a spiritual cleansing i feel being in the water. if there’s one way to feel humbled, small, and human, it’s by getting tossed around and being fooled by the unpredictability of the ocean. waikiki is a forgivable place to surf - i learned how to paddle, get up, and turn on little 2-3 feet waves. but the one summer the waves hit 10-12 feet, i learned how to hold my breath for a long time, how to stay safe under violent waters, and how f ing painful it is to get smacked in your mouth by your own damn board. 

this past trip brought back a lot of good, old times! i’m thankful and still so obsessed. 

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
waikiki beach, oahu, june 2017

writing this was inspired by something i recently found on my old blogger, much of it still relevant, some of it funny to read in retrospect. :-)

November 19, 2013, 12:03 am

i’ve been thinking
i write this to remember because i like the way it makes me feel.

i’ve been thinking about how much i want to turn the dial back to the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012. driving out to the beach around sunset, 9’0” in tow, picking up janelle, sitting in rush hour traffic for about 20 minutes, eventually reaching the parking lot, scouring the car for coins to feed the meter, stripping down, finding a smart place to store my key (either knotted in my bikini or a secret compartment in my car or in david’s lockbox), and walking down to canoes to paddle out to an already packed line up.

the sky is hazed a gradient of orange, pink, purple, and blue — the kind of sky that’s so pretty that every time you see it, you kind of forget about it a little less and less until one day, you leave and come back and realize what your eyes had been missing. we paddle out for some nice 3-6 foot waves, wading around, trading boards, soaking in what’s left of the sun. a set kicks in and everyone paddles for the first, second, third party waves. every now and then, janelle, eric, david and i catch the same wave. a few times, i tried hopping onto david’s board. i did it right once, and the other times i bailed and lost my balance.

i think about all the nice people i meet in the water. the ones who come in from out of town, after a work shift, or are there every day. 

i don’t care how packed it got from all the surf lessons and the canoes riding waves in. 6 pm rolls around, lessons clear out, and the hula show on the shore starts so we can hear all the live hawaiian music playing while we’re out in the water. waves start picking up, and slowly, people start disappearing. there are about 5-7 other people out there surfing with me past sunset, and each of us get our own wave. it’s nice. it’s peaceful. it’s surreal.

i remember surfing on friday nights, when the fireworks show would come on at 8 pm. i remember surfing on new year’s eve. i remember surfing on christmas day. i remember surfing at night on a full moon with the gang, and catching waves i couldn’t see too well; our marker was the way the moon shined on the wave’s peak, a two-second preview, then you sort of just trust yourself and start paddling to catch a…well, rogue wave. i remember the overwhelming fear that came over me every time i had to paddle back to the lineup, unsure if i would pull up my arm with each stroke because maybe a shark would get me. i remember the rush i got catching what felt like a huge wave. standing far back on my board, leaning back as much as i could, gripping the board with my legs bent, back straight, zipping down the line, and nearly running into a short boarder with a glow stick wrapped around the tip of his board. he was cool about it

i remember dawn patrols, and finding the best parking in waikiki at 6 in the morning. it’s pitch black, the moon is still out, and i’m paddling out with janelle, eric, and david into cold cold waters, and we have a bunch of waves to ourselves and probably 5 other people who were out there too. once, i went out alone and passed by a drunk couple walking home from the night before. waikiki leftovers. lots of folks think it’s a grody, kitsch part of oahu, but i love it. i’ve learned to love it.

i also remember leaving the house at 5:30 in the morning to drive out to waianae with david, eric, janelle, and joe to catch what we thought were gonna be some amazing waves. but it was flat. janelle and i slept in the car for about an hour, driving in the dark to get to the other side of the island. we were tired and sleepy, but i guess we’d do anything for that stoke. the beach was on some military ground, but joe was able to get us through. we surfed there until the afternoon and i got a really bad sunburn

once, we surfed at tong’s, right behind diamond head, a view that’s slightly different from surfing at canoes, and a lot more untouched. that day we went out, we surfed with scott caan, who was pretty good. there’s a huge rock that kind of sits to the left of the break and the reef there is a bitch. i scraped my fin on it, and bumped my tail on the rock. apparently, there’s a resident shark who lives there too.

i think about the days i go out with eric, janelle, and david, and the days i go out by myself. to think, to feel better, to feel good, to get better, to enjoy the ocean. some days, i bump into joe and catch up with his life. i remember when joe used to work at a surf shop, he let me borrow the in the pink takayama board and i thought i was dreaming. one, two paddle, and i was up. that thing was a floater, and i barely had to do anything to get in a nice ride. even on a two foot bump

i think about the days we used to go out to rockpiles. i never looked forward to driving around that parking lot to find a spot. i never looked forward to paddling out. all that reef and vana (sea urchin), and those steep drops. i couldn’t handle it, and i’m pretty sure i’ve only caught a handful of waves since i first went there. most of the time i’m out there, i psyche myself out thinking about scraping my back on the reef a second time. this is also where i stepped on vana for the first time and lodged a few needles in my toes.  

when i went back home in september i upgraded my board to a 9’0”chronic. something that was barely used and custom made. a green yellow white blue marbled board. it’s nice to look at and to ride, a bit different from my old yellow 9, my first board, the one i bought for $100 off a craigslist ad. that yellow board was my baby. i decked it out with pink wax and on a day i was feeling especially tacky, i’d also wear my rainbow rash guard with it. green bottoms on select days. there’s no doubt you wouldn’t not see me in the water from the shore.

page 10: maunawili, 2012

maunawili falls, oahu. july 2012

back in 2012, my friend aryan stayed in honolulu for a week and it was my first shot at being the best damn tour guide i’ve ever been to anyone. there are certain staples of home that i still love to show visitors, and this place is one of them. maunawili has changed a bit since this time. these days, it’s a little more crowded, there’s a bit more sunscreen in the water, and sadly there’s a ton of trash that gets left on the hike that’s threatening to close it down for good. 

but on this day and in this year, we caught maunawili on a pretty untouched morning. i remember ditching my shoes in the last mile of the hike since it was so muddy and letting the soil between my toes. 8)

aryan’s the guy in the blue shorts on the ledge, waiting to take his jump after another hiker jumps off from ~30 feet above. careful of the leptospirosis - keep your mouth closed and stay out if you have cuts

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
maunawili falls, oahu, july 2012

page 9: waikiki etc

waikiki beach, oahu. summer 2011

cockroach cove, oahu. summer 2010

waikiki beach, oahu. summer 2011

so here is where things get a little interesting and intimate. over the past week, i’ve been trying to figure out how i was going to talk about elliott. i knew the first photo above was next in the zine, and i wasn’t going to skip or overthink it really, but when it comes to speaking about certain people in your life, you want to do it right. 

elliott and i were together for almost seven years, from when i was 16 and 23 years old. i had a lot of fun, felt a lot of love, and tested many degrees of my boundaries - my patience, temper, willingness to understand, gumption. imagine seeing the person you cared about the most only twice a year for five years straight, living off facetime and text messages. even worse, imagine fighting with the person you cared about the most and putting up with a turned off phone until the other person felt like talking. long distance relationships are super fucking hard!   

ultimately, we grew apart, i started chapter 2 in san francisco and it didn’t work out. after we broke up in 2014, i went through some of my darkest, most challenging times in life. i learned what it meant to be single and feel lonely. i wrote a lot and read a lot and went on postsecret a lot. i also drove and smoked a lot and dug up old memories in my brain i thought i’d forgotten, and then wanted to forget. at one point, i remember i came across a whole roll of film photos of just me and elliott from some summers ago. man, i cried so hard looking through those pictures because i missed him. it felt like a cruel joke from god, or something. i found that roll again a couple years ago, and i tried to cry but i couldn’t. haha it sounds mental but i felt this sadness looking at those same photos because i felt like i was looking at a stranger. no emotions ran through me. i tried to connect with those memories and didn’t feel a thing. i went from knowing everything about him to absolutely nothing, and in that moment, i understood what i’d lost. 

it took a couple years for me to pocket the anger, confusion, and melancholy. i eventually learned what it meant to be single and have fun. holy shit, life got really exciting when i started to see all the possibilities and adventures i’d been holding back on because i was afraid to step toward discomfort and unfamiliar territory. that didn’t just mean spending time with people, but also relishing time alone. i went through some not-so-smart phases, spent too much money, gained weight then lost it, and party party partied. then i realized “eh this isn’t as much fun anymore”, started to wean off of that, started new hobbies like rock climbing and finally saved up money to bring back old hobbies in my life like surfing, learned a lot about what i want and definitely don’t want, and then re-met my boyfriend marcus.

now i hardly party party party and im in a healthy relationship having the time of my life. and of course i gotta talk about how loving, sweet (you have no idea), and hilarious he is. i remember i used to see pictures of couples on instagram, the caption “my heart is full” or some shit and not understanding what that meant. i get it now! it sounds corny, but i feel like that most days! life baffles me sometimes when it doles me some tough shit and then over time, serves up something great to make me realize why certain situations just don’t work out the way i wanted it to. chill

elliott in this zine is and isn’t about that. to include him and say i look past our relationship would be a lie because that experience had a formative influence on how i love, cope, argue, and see the world. to include him and say it’s a gesture of longing wouldn’t be true, because while these were good memories, i don’t look back on them with sadness anymore. besides, i caught up with him a year ago or so, and i think we’re a-okay. so now, i can say genuinely things like:

these are some of my favorite photos because as much as elliott hated the beach, we managed to often find ourselves at the beach in the summertime - mainly because i forced him to go. a girl’s gotta tan and swim sometimes, especially when summer’s got a time limit! i tried to take him surfing a few times but that just stressed me out too much so we stuck mostly to land/sand. unless there was some kind of activity, like jumping off rocks, going to the beach was a chore for elliott. i remember he told me what scarred his memories of the ocean was the time his uncle pushed him off a pier when he was really young. his uncle was trying to teach elliott how to swim. when he hit the water, he swallowed a bunch of it, padded and splashed to get air, and felt long, slimy seaweed at his feet, which is also why he never swam at makapuu when the kelp was washing in. these pictures make me laugh because his expressions in the first and third can’t be any more honest – stale vexation and disgust juxtaposed with hotel charm and natural beauty. in the second, a settled compromise in fun. i can almost imagine he’s thinking “welp, fuck it!” hahah gotcha!

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
1,3: waikiki beach, oahu, summer 2011
2: cockroach cove, oahu, summer 2010

page 8: lost in maunawili

maunawili valley, oahu. february 2016

marcus and i got lost as fuck during our hike to maunawili falls during our oahu trip in february last year. but let me back it up a bit…

the day started at 2 am. we’d just taken a nap after staying out the night before, drinking at tiki’s with our friend abe, from cali, and his coworkers and bosses on one of their many work trips to oahu that year. stupid decision, considering we had our head set on hiking the stairway to heaven early the following day. 

making it onto the trailhead means going at some graveyard hour right before the guard gets to his post. the thing is, hiking the stairway to heaven (or haiku stairs) is illegal. it’s dangerous - lots of the stairs/ladders are rusted, decrepit, and unstable. yet like most things that aren’t accessible, the payoff can justify the risk. 

for my friends and i some years ago, getting onto the stairway to heaven hike meant getting to the trailhead at 1:30 am, so marcus and i shot for about the same time.

of course we woke up late at 1:15 am, tired, still drunk. we packed up our gear and while we were driving, it started pouring. we got to the residential area where the walk to the trailhead begins. it was pitch black dark, and i instantly felt this pit in my throat like going out into the darkness, abandoned dirt field, and bamboo forrest to get to the trailhead in the RAIN would be a terrible idea. we’d also be one of the only people out there, too, so if we got hurt, that probably wouldn’t be so great. scaling those rusted, wet and slippery ladders up a mountain could’ve been trouuuuble. we went back in the car, turned around, got to my house and went back to bed

the next morning, we were still kinda bummed stairway to heaven didn’t work out, so we did another hike instead. maunawili falls is a fairly popular trail. it’s short, 3 miles, in and out, and ends in a waterfall. because it had rained the night before, the dirt valley trails turned into ankle-deep mud puddles. i’ll never forget how much they looked like large bowls of curry. squish squish squish squish… 

what normally would’ve taken 45 minutes to get to the waterfall took us about an hour and a half. it was hard to see the trail for part of the hike, so about halfway through, after passing over a few streams and a couple fern fields, we got lost. the whole valley was lush, towering, kind of like a giant cocoon. i spotted this prime banana tree, all silky and glossy from the rain, and i had to take a shot. we found our way back on the trail eventually but the detour was right. more photos from this hike to come. 

shot on olympus stylus epic
maunawili valley, oahu, february 2016

page 7: from here to eternity

nick and carmela halona/cockroach cove. july 2010

to be honest, i’ve never seen from here to eternity. and i heard about the movie after visiting this beach. 

this is halona cove. (i like “cockroach cove” better.) it’s not too far off a spot called halona blowhole, which is where a tourist a few years ago died after getting swept off the rocks. that wasn’t the first time that happened either. stay safe people, and be aware of the warning signs. anyway, this beach is tucked away underneath a short turn on kalanianaole highway. it gets pretty busy in the summer, but on a normal sunny day, it’s easy to find a space to hang out. when it’s low tide, there’s a ledge on the far right you can jump off of and into the water.

i’m not sure what it is about this photo but it’s still one of my favorites to date. carmela’s dark brown skin, the lady in blue in the back, someone in the way back getting ready to lunge off. i took this picture on the very first disposable underwater fujifilm camera i bought at walmart, and i’ve always loved how this particular film saturates the blues and greens when i’m outdoors under clear, sunny skies. the two people in this photo are my good friend carmela and nick, her guy at the time. we spent this whole day out on this side of the island, a couple hours at this beach before we drove off to do the gnarly hike down to swim at makapuu tide pools. 

here’s a shot i took of cockroach cove from the koko head arch trail, one from the warped series.

shot on old ass kodak 400 film on an olympus stylus epic

first photo shot on disposable underwater fujifilm 800
second photo shot on olympus stylus epic
cockroach cove, oahu, summer 2010

page 6: kailua beach ed

tide pools at the far east side of kailua beach. august 2010

one of the best things about shooting with a plastic camera is that its expected, okay, and charmingly modest to come out with shit pics. but sometimes the real appeal is in the story - what happened that day, and why i still love this picture and included it in the simplest pleasure

around this time, i had a cruiser bike that i loved to trek everywhere with. one day, ed, tyler, and i went out to kailua – me on a bike, ed on a bike, tyler on a skateboard holding a rope tied to ed’s bike. we went through the town and eventually made our way to kailua beach. the bike path on the freeway went right along the water, so we picked up our heavy bikes and went down the side of a short, steep hill off the road. at the bottom of the hill was a secluded area of the beach. no shore here, just tide pools. we spent a few hours here wading around, finding small stone stoops to sit, and watching the fish. these two guys are the biggest goons i know…i remember tyler pushing me into the ocean off the reef and i scratched up my leg. 

later, we hiked our bikes back up the hill, biked/skated to ed’s truck, loaded it up and headed back to town for gas station ice cream. simpler times are alright!

shot on holga 135bc
kailua, oahu. august 2010

page 5: waimano home road

somewhere in pearl city, oahu. january 2011

to be honest, i don’t remember most details from this day. but from what i can recall, i spent the morning at the aloha stadium swap meet with one of my best friends eduard. it was some day over christmas break, and we walked around, got matching friendship bracelets and trucker hats that said “suck em up hawaii” over a beer mug.  

the matching friendship bracelets and trucker hats that said “suck em up hawaii” over a beer mug

at the time, ed lived at his parents house in pearl city on waimano home road. there was hike at the end of the street he’d been wanting to check out for a while, so when i went home for christmas break in 2011, we trekked it. i don’t think we made it far past the steep hill of roots and soil before we got high enough to see over the tree tops and over to some mountain range in the distance. i can’t remember why we didn’t finish the trail to go down to the pond (and we never did) but i think he eventually did years later. 

for whatever it’s worth, ed’s one of those friends i’ve known almost my entire lifetime. we get along pretty well…similar music interests, bad dumb humor, and a soft spot for goodwill. it’s surprising how far those 3 things can take you. we’ve kept in touch despite me moving away, the kind of person i can hang out and enjoy a conversation with even if i haven’t seen or talked to him for long periods of time. i’ve always sort of liked and loathed that aspect of our friendship. 

ed’s talented, loves music and making music like nobody else i know. i remember one time he got really upset with me because i lied about listening to a deerhoof album he burned for me. i still feel bad about it today. in the summer and winter breaks i was home for college, we spent lots of time together hanging around chinatown or kaimuki, biking all around kalihi, chinatown/downtown, waikiki, and kaimuki, driving late night to vantage points and beaches on the island, cruising around walmart to pass the night. when i first got my holga, we took a bunch of funny double exposed shots like this one… 

the pawn shop + the shop next door. kaimuki, oahu

i think my fondest memory with ed is from our junior high talent show - ed played guitar while i sang no doubt, don’t speak. and the mixed cd’s and letters he sent me while i was in college! when i was in the third grade, i had a harmless crush on eduard…so i asked him for his school photo. he didn’t write a note on the back, so i wrote one on it, in case my mom found it so she wouldn’t think it was weird.  it said “hi kathleen. here you go. from, eduard”

for a very very short time in high school, ed and i were in pseudo garage band with our other friend tyler. we were called parlor family and made songs about ed staying out past his curfew (999), going to starbucks (coffee), the days tyler accidentally became his neighborhood’s pick-up (1985 re deux) [not sure where the year came from since we were born in ‘91], and rabbits on wheels (whererabbit). tyler shouted/sang and did things on bass, ed played guitar, i was on the drums. we practiced in an empty room in tyler’s late grandma’s house that had a drum set, and some other gear ed brought from his house, and we spent some summer days making weird but good lo-fi music. 

so maybe i don’t remember much from the hike up waimano, but there’s still lots of love for these summer/winter friendships. it also happens to be ed’s birthday today. happy birthday, my friend. i’ll see you in a few months

all photos shot on holga 135bc
waimano loop trail, oahu, winter 2010/2011


last year, my mom gave me her olympus style epic. (it’s almost identical to the one i currently shoot on, but it comes with a panorama feature.) the camera was probably sitting in a chest for over 10 years in an area of the living room that’s warm and gets a lot of light, and luckily for me, there was a roll of kodak 400 ultramax already loaded in. color film ages so badly in the heat but i left the roll in there anyway and took a bunch of shots on oahu and in san francisco between febuary 2016 and march 2017. 

the pictures came out slightly distorted, and the low light shots have a haze of purple, and something like a narrow pool of oil running across some of the shots. my head hurts from looking at this photo set…as if staring longer would tone down the blues and add some brightness. despite that, i refuse to edit these (outside of removing dust marks). i thought some of these came out kinda interesting! the golden gate bridge shot has gotta be my favorite.

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

cockroach cove, oahu. february 2016

leonard’s bakery, oahu. february 2016

ggb from lincoln park, san francisco. february 2016

sweeney ridge trail, pacifica. december 2016

sweeney ridge trail, pacifica. december 2016

big sur. march 2017

big sur. march 2017

big sur. march 2017

inner richmond, san francisco. march 2017

the castro, san francisco. march 2017

page 4: alan davis

alan davis, oahu. summer 2011

this is alan davis. 

from what i remember being told, years ago, someone dragged a fallen telephone pole from the street to this beach, lodged it into the rocky shore, and laid it out as a plank to jump into the ocean. alan davis is on oahu’s southeast shore, accessible if you veer right from the makapuu lighthouse trail and into a wide, grassy field. the nearest street/telephone pole from this beach is about a mile away. thank you, kind, committed, strong stranger…

jumping off at alan davis, the drop is nothing too crazy, maybe three or four feet. in this picture, there are a couple of ropes to bring you back to the rocks and at the end of the log, a tightly tied towel which i’m guessing adds a nice traction if you took yourself to the edge. not pictured (and behind me) is a view of what you jump into - a small, kinda isolated beach, and cliffs right off kalanianaole highway. i have a picture of that squared away for later… 

my friend ressiel, the one in this photo, told me someone sawed off the log into a dumb ugly stump. then more recently, i heard someone replaced it! (where are all these telephone poles coming from?) whatever’s happened to this place now, i hope it’s still a fun spot. 

god knows we love jumpin off stuff in hawaii…

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
alan davis, oahu, summer 2011

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