“Good to see you again, old friend. Bring me fortune.”

I say this quote from the movie “Gladiator” whenever I return to a special place after years of separation. I’m trying something new at this very moment: I just arrived in Hawai’i and I’m blogging this entry from my iPhone!

So for the next 8 days, I’m in the beautiful island of Oahu. It’s been years since the last time I was in Hawai’i. 6 years since my first time to the islands, Oahu to be exact, with my family. 4 years since Maui, when I ran the Maui marathon with the Runbutans. It’s always a good feeling to come back to the islands where I’ve refreshed my mind and soul and where I’ve had several spiritual revelations. It also feels good knowing I’m 2,000 miles closer to the homeland.

I’m in Honolulu this time around for the annual Association of Asian American Studies Conference. The topics in this year’s panels are just awesome and will mos def be getting as much as I can out of them. But what I hope this time around is dynamic panelists to go along with their dope topics. I’ve been to several of these conferences and most panelists tend to just read off their paper. Interesting topics, but dull and robotic delivery. Not a good combo.

I’m here representing with none other than my fam, Pin@y Educational Partnerships. There’s always a buzz around us whenever we present at these conferences, because, not to sound cocky, but we deliver the creativity and engagement in our panels! PEP is definitely not boring and dull when it comes whatever we do. A lot of people have already said they’re excited about going to workshops and panels. To hear that is truly a proud yet humbling feeling knowing we have had great impact in the field of Asian American Studies, particularly Fil-Am Studies.

Of course, I’ll be balancing my time here with visiting relatives, the beaches, some pick up volleyball, hiking at Diamond Head, and hopefully some snorkeling. I can’t wait to beast out on mixed plate dishes and Hawai’ian BBQ! And of course I’ll be paying respect and taking in as much of the indigenous culture as I can, never forgetting the struggle for national sovereignty of indigenous Hawai’i.

It’s also finally begun to slowly sink in that I’ll be a doctorate student this coming fall. I now realize that it’s a huge deal to my community because there’s not a big representation of Pin@ys in doctoral studies outside of medicine. I now feel comfortable in celebrating this next big chapter in my life, and what better place to celebrate than in Hawai’i! I’m just glad to be celebrating here with my PEP fam and hopefully some newly gained mentors at the conference.

I’ll be blogging about my experiences here as much as I can, filled with pictures. Mahalo!

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