Saturday, May 3, 2014


It registered today that I've been in Samoa over three months now... Crazy! Have lots to update on but I'll share one piece now.
Two months ago, I joined the Samoan National Pasefika Orchestra (SNPO). Having learned the clarinet in intermediate and played sporadically at high school assemblies (all-boys catholic high school band always needed help...), I anticipated only playing the clarinet in the Orchestra. However, the Orchestra possesses a number of unused instruments as membership hovers around 10 members. Instead of waiting for more musicians (finding dedicated members is a problem here...), we realized it made more sense to learn these instruments ourselves (duh, right?). I have since taught myself to play the bassoon AND cello. Freakin' random, huh! 
We've already performed one major concert for government officials but I'll post pics/videos from the next one (which will include a bassoon solo from yours truly...)  

Back in the States in two weeks. Will be interesting to see how different it is... 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014



That's the distance (in miles) between Salt Lake City and Apia. Two more days till the big day. And I'm a little worried. That I'm making the biggest mistake of my life... Haha! Dramatic much? 

Facing the unknown is a real fear. There is no guarantee that I'll thrive in Samoa. I thought the same thing in 2008 when I moved to Utah on a whim. And I've since carved out a respectable life... that I'm giving up. But I take comfort in my favorite poem by Robert Frost. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by 
And that has made all the difference 

I'm taking a road 5342 miles out of my comfort zone. I will miss Salt Lake City (even the dirty inversion and terrible drivers...) and the wonderful friends I've made. I will miss living with and near my brothers. And babysitting my rambunctious nephews. Thank you all for six years of amazing memories. Cheers!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

C-H-E-A-T-E-Rs definitely prosper

Erykah Badu had just completed a bluesy rendition of On and On when I finally forced myself to leave her concert early. I had a flight in an hour but almost turned around when Erykah cooed the first line of Tyrone... To distract myself, I pulled out my phone to update Facebook while crossing the street into the parking lot. Either my phone was acting up or internet was super slow because Facebook failed to add my picture of the songstress. Probably due to the high concentration of concert-goers... 

As I turned into the row where my car was parked, I saw a girl standing next to my car. She took a deep breath, loudly blew her hair out of her face and bent down to my passenger window as if inspecting something closely. Completely puzzled, I walked around the back of the car to watch her finish keying a giant R into the door. 

"What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing!"

(I sincerely apologize for the f-bomb but it's what I said) 

The young girl jumped back with a coin still between her index finger and thumb. "He cheated on me! I just saw him making out with some slut at the concert." she said angrily. I didn't understand what she meant until I looked back at the car and saw the capitalized letters C-H-E-A-T-E-R newly etched into the side of the car. 

I silently stared in complete shock when I noticed my half marathon medal and gold ribbon hanging above the dashboard. 

"But that's my car..." I said unsteadily. And then we looked at each other fully comprehending what I had just said. 

"That's MY car!" I yelled. Clearly, I was now livid. 

"Oh my god! I'm so sorry! Teddy has the same car!" She cried out while her hands cupped both sides of her face. And then she turned around, picked up a brown leather purse and ran around the front of the car. "I'm SO sorry!" the girl yelled while sprinting towards the parking lot exit. 

I thought about chasing and momentarily visualized myself tackling her to the ground. But I had no idea what to say or do when I caught up to her. It definitely wasn't worth it and I had a flight to catch. Instead, I walked around the car to ensure there weren't any other surprises and headed to the airport. 

Moral of the story: If you catch your man/woman cheating and you decide to exact 'Waiting To Exhale-esque' revenge, at least ensure it belongs to them. Because next time, I will tackle you to the ground. And then break your shit. 

Lastly, shout out to Teddy. The cheating bastard is the true winner. Got to suck face with some other girl at an Erykah Badu concert and his car wasn't vandalized. Haha! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Eat, Pray, Move?

After quitting Goldman Sachs, I planned a five week trip through the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Hawaii). At the time, I had no idea how necessary this trip was. Like I needed to sojourn on my own version of Eat, Pray, Love... haha! 

- I love to eat. It's just who I am. And while I was hoping to avoid gaining any additional weight... I knew it would be difficult being on vacation for 5 weeks and staying with family that would surely spoil me. It was in Auckland that I noticed my clothes getting a little tighter... But did I care? Hell no, I yelled while devouring delicious meat pies, sausage rolls and Samoan food 

- While in Cairns, I was super excited to scuba dive for the first time. And at the Great Barrier Reef no less! After diving the first of eight meters, I started hyperventilating. Despite my best efforts, these sob-like breaths were uncontrollable. And then I visualized the word BREATHE in bold black capital letters. After repeatedly tracing the word in my mind, I finally calmed down. I've started to adopt this strategy when frustrated. 

- I've always wanted to attend Teuila Festival. The annual week-long arts celebration is known for hosting the Miss Samoa pageant. But it's so much more. With a jam-packed schedule of competitions ranging from best cocktail, most impressive barista and traditional Samoan dancing (including fire-knife), it felt amazing to be enveloped in my culture while in the motherland. 

After a couple days in Samoa, I kept thinking that this island would be my new home. I tried to resist this idea. C'mon, I'm pretty American and not ready to live 3rd world... But then again, I've been in Salt Lake City for five years and am ready for a change. So it's official - moving to Samoa in January 2014. Can't wait!  And for anyone that reads this blog, start planning your trip out. I'm one helluva tour guide... haha!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Next???

Just realized it's been 3 months since my last post. During that time, I visited China, paused from school, vacationed in Costa Rica and returned to work only to give my two-weeks notice... Definitely not how I intended my life to play out. Haha! Sometimes even my spontaneity surprises me...

Fast forward to July 19th and it's my last day at Goldman Sachs. I had always bragged that when leaving the firm, I would cha-cha, shimmy and samba roll (youtube this if you're not familiar) my way out of the building. Instead, I received hugs from my three closest colleagues and walked out to their applause. This was way more emotional than I had anticipated.

What next?

I've heard this question a gazillion times since submitting my two-weeks notice. Honestly, nothing is solidified. I am truly flying by the proverbial seat of my skinny jean pants. So you know, this is incredibly scary and nerve-wracking. But it's how I know I'll find my next "thing".

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Perky Blonde...

In January, I signed up for the Lehi - Thanksgiving Point half marathon on April 26, 2013. That was about four months to train. I could totally be in great shape for it, right? After putting together a detailed running plan, all I had to do was stick to it and I'd be jogging through the finish line like a malnourished Kenyan marathoner.

Except I didn't stick to my plan. Two jobs and school leave very little free time. I did jog three-five miles at least once a week. But my diet? The usual take outs... sigh. So you'd probably understand my panic as I approached the half marathon start line. And then it was go time. Below is a summary of my "journey"

At mile 3, my legs wanted to give up

At mile 5, I was passed by an elderly couple

At mile 7, I finally stopped jogging and started walking (halfway up a hill mind you)

At mile 9, I was still walking

At mile 10, I started jogging and caught up with a perky blonde.

At mile 12, perky blonde and I are running/walking while trying to beat each other

At finish line, perky blonde passes me two steps away from the finish line

Considering my current physical state, this is the most ambitious physical activity I've attempted. And while I wanted to give up between mile 7 and 10, I'm glad I did it. Who knows - I might sign up for another one...  And if perky blonde is there again, it's on!

Picture: Lee, Paul and I recovering after receiving our finisher medals...

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Now that the tri-ward single adult general conference dance is over, I'm excited to get some free time back. If you don't live in Happy Valley, this is a major semi-annual social event for three local Polynesian single adult wards. At each dance, all three wards perform numbers/skits related to an underlying theme. Not sure why but I volunteered to teach a step routine in line with this year's theme of Boot Camp.

Random Fact #1: I was on a step team in college (bet you didn't know that...)

Random Fact #2: I enjoy teaching (maybe you knew that...)

Given both facts, I thought this would be easy. We probably needed a couple three-hour long practices, right? Wrong. In total, we practiced 23 hours these last two weeks. I yelled, shushed and barked 5-6-7-8 a million times (seriously tho...) And then it was the night of the dance and my ward was up:

Sure, there are a bunch of mistakes... But the raw energy and unity is infectious (how about that random person jumping in at the end???) My ward tore it up! And while I'm happy to have my week nights back, I'll definitely miss counting off 5-6-7-8 to these knuckleheads. Salt-Lake Se-cond (stomp clap!)