HI&CA: The New Hawaiian Boy

Jonah, an old name I haven’t spoken about in a while, but now, it was brought up so frequently. But he wasn’t the old Jonah I knew. He was different. No more smiles on his pictures, not even in his texts. You looked anywhere, this kid hardly smiled. But I remember that first day we spoke, he was all smiles. I didn’t want to bug him about what happened to him. I stuck to what my objective was. I asked plenty of questions about Hawaii. I probably sounded like an annoying tourist to him. The next day, I texted him, and the day after that, and the day after that.

I started to notice, that even thought he didn’t smile, he somehow managed to make me smile. That old happiness returned. I wasn’t sure if I was giving back the same feeling. Since the guy I was with at the time only argued with me, we were hanging by a thread. And now all my attention was Jonah. I started getting curious, I wanted to dig deeper than just bland questions about Hawaii. I found an  old travel book about Hawaii. I looked at the maps, skimmed about every island. I pin pointed where Jonah was, I read about Maui endless times, I asked him about legends, that were briefly mentioned in the book. He wouldn’t let me in. It wasn’t necessarily hostile, but he wouldn’t budge.

It took time, it was like comforting an animal that was defensive and ready to strike, I had to show that I meant no harm. I told him a Mexican legend. In return, he told me a Hawaiian one. He was very protective over it, because I was an outsider, he thought I wouldn’t accept it the way he does. I’m not a tourist, in fact, I love discovering other cultures, I’m slightly obsessed with the Native American culture.

Very slowly, he began to open up. Even an occasional smile. I would get super hyped knowing that I was able to make him smile, since now they were rare, they had more value to it. Jonah would say he was spoiling me based on how many smiles I would get out of him. We starting staying up late, like realllly late. And texting starting to not be good enough, we starting calling each other, spending hours on the phone. Laughing together, or at each other, since the way we spoke was so different than what we’re used to hearing. It was addicting, I couldn’t help it; it started to be an everyday thing.

I didn’t notice how close we were getting until one day he didn’t really text me, and I was worrying like an over controlling parent on prom night. What was I getting into? I had no idea, but i kept digging deeper.

I was tired of staring at pictures of him on Facebook, I wanted to see him. I asked him to make a Skype. I could easily tell it wasn’t his thing, but I kept bugging him to, I mean asking. Finally, he made one, just for me (lovely isn’t it?). Oh gosh, I’m getting super nervous how I was with phone calls a few years back. Shoot. He said he’s on, maybe I shouldn’t have done this. Oh my glob. I couldn’t step back now, I stood my ground, and got on. I was a nervous wreck, I couldn”t even look at him in the eyes. I felt like such a weenie. I didn’t think that seeing him with movement would make such a difference. Maybe it was the fact that he could see me. I don’t know but I felt so awkward, I felt like I failed.

Oh wait, now I recall why I was a hot mess. Because a few nights before that. I know that I broke up with the dude I was with. I depended heavily on Jonah to lift my spirits, although I never mentioned it. He was my motivation to strive to all that I can (that’s another story). But one night, over the phone, I couldn’t hold it in again, I had feelings for him, stronger than the last time. However, I held my tongue, I didn’t want a relationship since I was just getting out of one, but I felt such a strong urge to tell him how I feel. I was beating myself up, holding my words back, biting my lip, I eventually blurted it out, assuming that it’ll be the same as last time. I just figured, let it out, you’re just going to mess it up again. Idiot, why can’t you show some self restraint? I started breaking down, crying. But something different happened this time.

He told me something that went like this, hey Tomiko, you know this little bird told me that he likes you too? Wait, what? He likes me. He likes me too! It’s different this time! I was so happy, even though I probably looked disgusting, it was such a relief.

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HI&CA: A Few Years Later

I guess I never really thought about it much, the fact that I no longer spoke to Jonah. I suppose friends really do come and go. So why am I wasting my time talking about it? Because they truly do come and go. He came back… Well technically speaking, I came back.

When we first spoke, it was sophomore year of high school. Now I was in my senior year, with a boyfriend of a year and some months. I’ve been getting bombarded by colleges telling me to go to their school. The one that caught my eye the most, was Hawaii Pacific. I told my dad I wanted to go there, he thought I was just saying that so I could be on a four year vacation. Eh, he was right to some extent, I mean, who wouldn’t want to study in paradise? But no, I just felt like it was my way out, a way to nature and biology. I’ve been dreaming of that place ever since elementary sandbox days.

My dad ends up going to Hawaii with my step mom, and two little brothers and little sister. They come back and tell me it’s a good school, and were more at ease with me going there. I was like… are you kidding me??? You can take a one year old and an eight and a seven year old, but not an eighteen year old, who always wanted to go?! I guess I didn’t qualify as a daughter that time. But regardless, that was the final straw, I was set, I’m going to Hawaii.

I told my (former) bf. And he said that his dad’s girlfriend’s (also the mother of two of his kids) father lives in Hawaii and maybe we could go move in with them there. I was desperate at the time, with tensions in my house with my mom and step dad, I wanted to go, but he forgot to mention it could take years since everyone is still stationed here in Cali. I couldn’t wait that long, sorry.

Besides, we weren’t exactly on the best terms either, with our off and ons, I doubted it would really happen (I just so happened to be right in the soon future). But to pass the time, I wanted to do research, get a little feel of where I’m planning to go. What better way than from someone who was born and raised in Hawaii? OHHH JONAH. Good thing I kept his number after those two years (even though I had him on Facebook). So I texted him. Let the games begin.

HI&CA: Lost…

So I don’t exactly recall the details of what went on when we first spoke to each other, but Jonah wasn’t hesitant to give me his number, and off the bat we got along with each other. Generally we would just talk about the differences between Hawaii and California, and of course, ourselves.

Funny thing is, whenever I asked for his address he would kind of be weirded out; I mean who wouldn’t be? But I wasn’t discouraged, it was always fun to talk to him. When I went on my trip to Florida, I would be the last one asleep, out of my coach and teammates. Even with the time change, it didn’t work on me, and guess who I would be up texting until the morning? Yup, that’s right, Hawaii boy; he would even have to tell me to go to sleep for my games the next day.

He was always caring, even if he never said much about himself. And he never judged. Sooo you can guess, I started getting feelings for him. When I would call him, I would have this huge dorky smile on my face, and I would giggle whenever I heard his accent come about. As I said earlier, I didn’t believe in long distance relationships, so I have no idea what I was thinking, but I couldn’t help it, because, in fact, I wasn’t thinking. I just told him one day that I liked him. His response back was that he didn’t believe in long distance relationships, and he was sorry. I just played it off, yeah, that’s cool bro. But on the bright side, he never stopped talking to me.

I really enjoyed it, but somewhere along the line we just gradually stopped talking to each other. No more texts from the 808.

HI&CA: Prologue?

I’ve never been one to believe in long distance relationships. It was a joke to me, or a pathetic way for guys to feel good about themselves, because they could easily have two girlfriends at one time and boast about it. Never, in all my 18 years, did I everever, think I would be in one.

I guess, this could pass as a love story (still crossing my fingers for a happy ending, not that I want it to end), maybe Hollywood will take it and make it into a movie like The Vow. Who knows, but regardless or what will happen, this is an old story. It started years ago, during a summer, about two or three summers ago. I was about to go to Florida for a national soccer tournament for AYSO. I was super hyped up, being that I live in southern California, traveling across the country just to play soccer during July was an amazing dream come true. It was also an awakening.

Hey, I’m not going to be in California anymore, there’s a  whole other world out there. With this curiosity floating in my head, an old desire for a pen pal, and being fresh out of a year long relationship with my first serious boyfriend, I was set to find a new friend. Someone who isn’t from where I am. Well, no one really does mail anymore, so I went on my Myspace to start a search. I thought, where’s the coolest place ever? Hawaii. Duh. I only been longing to go there ever since I was a little girl. So I narrowed it down to Hawaii, and male, and thus my search began. I went of the profile pictures first. If they didn’t look appealing, onto the next. If one interested me, I’d look at their profile, to see what kind of person they generally say to be. I still remember; white tank top, a big smile, long black hair. I clicked on it, he seemed pretty chill. I read his stuff. It was his quote that snagged me up like a hook with the best bait to catch bass.

“Love is like a wave. You can’t control it or own it, and sometimes you don’t even see it coming. when you’re on it, you feel like you’re on top of the world, and when the ride is over all you can think about is getting back on it. Sometimes it lets you off easy, and other times you get dragged under. But in the end you just gotta go with the flow and see where that wave takes you.” – Jonah K. Baisa

Jonah Kaulanaokouioakalani Baisa. What a middle name. What a quote. Okay so how to make this the least creepiest. “Hi, I’m Tomiko, a weird stalker girl from California that wants your address so we can be pen pals.” No… That won’t work. However it exactly went, he handled it well.

Interracial Marriage

I wanted to choose the topic of multiracial families, even though there was only one small little paragraph about it in my book. I am not only apart of a blended family (post nuclear) I am also apart of a multiracial family. I’m 3 races, and on top of my mom being a Japakin, and my dad being a full Haitian, my step mother is Bulgarian, and step dad is Hispanic.  I think, being apart of so many different cultures, really opens your tolerance for others as you become more accepting to different things. Or as Mrs. Patino says,”A multitude of cultures, living in close quarters with each other and learning to accept and appreciate their differences and similarities.”

The book didn’t say much about the effects of multicultural families, just primarily the history if how it used to be forbidden, so I wanted to find something more closely related to the heart. What better way than a blog of a white woman married to a Hispanic man? She explains the difficulties she faced (faces) with joining an entirely new culture. “..his parents gave him the talk…you know…the one where they tell him that a woman who isn’t Mexican (or at the very least, Latina) isn’t suitable for marriage.  He was told that he could only marry a Latina…period…and it was preferred that she be Mexican.  His mother would harp on him again and again that he’d better NEVER marry a black woman (that’s saying it politely).  And of course, I got the same speech from my mother (at age twelve no less!)”, says Mrs. Patino. There is always this pressure, not always in that form, but maybe in stereotypes or crude humor with smart remarks, it feels like it’s a sort of judgement that is always given, as if the other person isn’t “one of us”.

I can’t even imagine how it was for my great grandparents and grandparents. My great grandparents were immigrants from Japan, both full Japanese. All three of their kids (my grandma being one), married to someone not of Japanese decent. My grandma Nancy to a Mexican, and my aunt Taki to a Mexican as well, and an uncle to a white woman. I’m sure there were arguments  but why would there need to be any in the first place? Who’s to say marrying outside of race is bad?

Our good ol’ history of course. As Conley states,”…from 1913 to 1948, 30 states enforced antimiscegenation laws, primarily aimed at black-white unions.” Slowly after the unconstitutional ruling of the laws, mixing races has become more accepting. However, that doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy, I recall one hilarious moment; it was a track meet and I was walking with my bf (now ex), he was a lighter Mexican, who could easily pass as white, and this black couple passing us slowed their pace and stared at us, with the most distraught and confused expressions on their face. I couldn’t help but laugh after I passed them, but it’s funny how it’s still seen as such a shock.

I even discussed this problem with an old team-mate, and she said she gets looks all the time, with her being white and in a relationship with a mixed African-American, I don’t think she had it that bad since he was pretty light, but    she still expressed the same sort of feelings that I had. People need to be more accepting of differences and stop being so hostile when something new comes along.

” There needs to be more transparency and education about true diversity…not just the ‘token’ acknowledgement.  Throwing a black character into a television show does not create diversity or multiculturalism.  In order to find understanding, we must be clued in to the experiences of people of color.” When I read this statement by Mrs. Patino, I couldn’t agree more. This especially caught my eye because of the analyzing media project I’m doing for my class, in commercials, you’ll see dominantly more white people, and occasionally a few black people, like 4 white girls and one black girl in the back. It isn’t full acknowledgement.

I usually don’t open up about this frequently, but I’m attempting to be apart of those rare exogamy relationships. Not necessarily speaking in marriage, but just a relationship. I have been talking to a native Hawaiian for a few months now, although I’ve known him for years, it is now taking a different turn as we constantly talk. And I swear I thought I had the culture thing down, being so that there’s so many different ones in my family, but it is just completely different. It was a shock to me, but I’m not saying it was bad. I enjoyed discovering something so new. Almost everyday I would bug him to tell me a story, a Hawaiian story, or what we call myths or legends. I was so into how even everyday life was completely different. Him and his family are so kind and accepting, they’re willing to take me in, a complete stranger. My mother, on the other hand, isn’t as accepting. She even thought that he would be turned against if I bought him a California shirt to wear.

I don’t mean to look at it and always analyze things, but I do, and in a sociological way. I even considered blogging about it, and how it progresses  just to help others in a similar situation, and also for my interest. “As another blogger puts it, “…people in an interracial marriage or bicultural marriage [can be] ambassadors or diplomats…I think we have a responsibility to use our marriage as a teaching tool for others who haven’t had the learning opportunity that we’ve had“.  Well said!  This should be our goal as interracial couples“, I couldn’t agree more, and I believe if I get my story out there, that it actually can affect people in a positive way to help people be more open-minded and accepting to multicultural families and interracial marriages.

The ‘Good’ & ‘Bad’ of Interracial Relationships | Bicultural Mom                        http://www.biculturalmom.com/2012/04/09/the-good-bad-of-interracial-relationships/

Reflection Paper on Voting: Not the Hassle it Seems to be

         I always told myself that I wouldn’t vote. My father is the involved one of my parents, he always been. In education and government wise, my dad was active, he was a strong Democrat. I avoided politics because I think that it brings out the worst in people. I used to come home from my government class and tell my dad all the stuff that my Republican teacher would tell us; my dad would simply shake his head. Even my teacher, he was really easy going but when it came to politics he would be a jerk; he even said that anyone with Obama on their class ring wouldn’t be allowed into class (I hope he was messing around). I never wanted to choose a side because it would come with the stereotypes. I didn’t want to vote because I know that I would be bombarded with mail. My mom always stayed away from the voting because she would say that politics are stupid and knew people would bug her about voting. So I went under my mom’s shadow and strayed away from the “horrible” voting process.

            However, it wasn’t even as bad as it people make it sound. After I was offered an extra credit opportunity, I saw an ad online for “Rock the Vote”. The process was very simple, and short too. First it just asked for general things like my address, name, and email. Then it took me to another screen to finish my registration where it asked more detailed questions and the most trouble I had to go through was getting my driver’s license out. I requested the mail in voting so I could do it at home. But by the time I got my mail, the deadline to send it out passed. So I worried that I had to go to vote in person. Seeing the long lines on T.V. scared me, I didn’t want to be stuck in that, especially because Election Day was a busy day for me already. I get off of work at 1 then class at 2, and then I had my second job at 6, and needed a nap before then. I was thinking, where am I going to fit the time to stand in line? When I read the voting mail, I found out I could just drop of my mail at a designated spot, and there was one at city hall, which was down the street from my work and school! I was so relieved. And when I opened the papers I thought to myself, this is it? It wasn’t a hassle at all. In fact it was so simple I had to re-read the instructions to make sure I wasn’t skipping anything.

            I enjoyed it because I felt like I was making a difference. In the back of my mind was that voice saying I’m just one feeble person who isn’t going to make a difference in the system, but like in A Bug’s Life strength comes in numbers, so I knew I would be helping the cause, adding onto the accumulation of individuals. I felt responsible, exercising my right to vote, not being lazy and avoiding it; so I felt pretty good by the end of the day. When it came down to my choices I considered my family, or my father, what he has taught me and how I’ve been raised. So I am a Democrat, but as I told my dad before, we don’t have to fight, I think Republicans have some points sometimes and sometimes Democrats may not be always right about everything, so people should come together for the better, instead of always bickering at each other. Religion wasn’t involved since I’m not that religious, but I also kept education in mind, primarily why I voted was for prop 30 to pass. I wanted to do my part to help.