October 30, 2011

Life Updates & The Road To Hana

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sorry, I've been MIA.  But yes, Ben, I got a job!!!  I'm the new General Manager of a popular, growing tea shop company in Chicago.  Though I've been in management for years now, I've only ever been an Assistant Manager.  I'm fully confident in my abilities and truly believe I'm going to do a dynamite job for them.  At the same time, it's slightly terrifying; I'm going to be running my own store downtown!!!  All I've ever wanted was an opportunity and now I'm being given one by people that believe in me. It's time to walk the walk.  Pressure's on!  It's a huge challenge, a ton of hours... but I'm VERY excited.  :)

In other news, my beautiful BF gave me a free ticket to go see 'Red' at the Goodman Theater.  It was AMAZING.  It was definitely a 'life moment,' a moment where you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be, fully present.  I knew that the show was about an artist but didn't expect to walk away feeling speechless, moved, needing to process... I'm not art aficionado but I know the creation of art is supposed to be thought provoking, a dialogue starter... it's supposed to make you feel something.  This play is definitely a work of art and I was incredibly moved.  Not to mention, my favorite color is red- fiercely so.  As the last line of the show was spoken, I broke into tears. If you get a chance to go see it, you really should. 

So that's been me!  And now on a completely different note...   :)

I'd love to show you more Hawaii?!!  How 'bout it, folks!!???  :)  :)  :)

Joan and I did 'The Road to Hana Tour' with Polynesian Adventures.  I would HIGHLY recommend it.  It's an eight hour tour around the island of Maui.  You can drive yourself, and a lot of people do, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart!  Much of this insanely curvy winding road is one lane and while part of me would have loved to lolly-gag this adventure, stopping wherever I chose for however long I wanted to be there, it's pretty dangerous.  I can imagine it would be incredibly stressful to drive and the person driving would miss out! 

Anyway, it was the highlight of my entire trip... completely gorgeous.  Our first stop was Ke'anee Peninsula.  These pictures, OF COURSE, do it no justice.  (Toootally reminded me of the Dharma Initiative houses from Lost- ha!)

Another 'life moment' happened prior to this trip to Hawaii due to my friend Stacy.  We used to work together at a cafe in L.A. but over the past couple of years have bonded over Facebook, and even more so, over similar break-up experiences.  She, too, moved from L.A. in pursuit of a loving relationship that ultimately failed.  

The awesome news is that Stacer later found the love of her life in a handsome and tall UPS man.  He delivered a package!!!  Yeah, he did.  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  They are now married & have traveled all over together.  Her story has been an encouragement to me. On my worst days, she'll remind me to believe that real love is possible and that there are still good guys out there.   

All this to say, that while Stace & 'The Tall One' were vacationing in Hawaii, they climbed a volcano.  While on the top, she made a wish for me to Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, fire, wind and lightening.  I'm not sure what the wish was... But I'm 8,000,000% sure Pele played a part in me coming to Hawaii!  Again, this trip was deeply spiritual to me.

In fact, I talked to Pele the entire trip like Mikey talked to One-Eyed Willie in The Goonies!

I love, love, LOVE this black rock.  It was wet & shiny & smooth.  Having no money, I put a bunch in my backpack for friends in L.A.  I was going to send them out as a way of having them believe in their own adventures, that anything is possible.  I suddenly felt weird about it.  So I said, "Pele, I hope it's okay I take these stones.  I'd like to send these to my friends as a way of having their own adventure.  I don't mean you any disrespect."  It seemed okay.

Of course when I got home, my Noica flipped out.  "You don't take rocks off the island!!! That's the one thing you don't do!!!"  Apparently it's all curses, death & destruction.  I told her I talked to Pele and I thought she was cool with it, so Noics calmed down and said, "Okay, as long as you guys talked." 

But knowing that I got a weird feeling when I took them to begin with, I didn't feel right about it.  I did some research and decided to send those mothers back!!!  I really think Pele was cool with ME having them but I figured better safe than sorry.  So they're back in Hawaii now and Pele and I are still cool.  :)

So don't take rocks off the island!!!!

I still couldn't believe I was in Hawaii... I had to take this picture to believe I was really there.  I love the idea that I was touching fresh igneous rock (in the grand scheme of things) created by a volcano!!!! (I guess igneous rock from a volcano is kind of redundant).  :)

I really wish that these pictures did Ke'anee justice.  Everything just sparkles and shines. 

I love these twisted tree roots, too!!!

A Japanese man was perched up on one of these crazy trees.  His daughter was below him... I thought it was really cute. 

If you were to turn around, you'd see this church built in 1856. (This, too, TOTALLY reminded me of Lost-- what!??? I can't help it!!!) 

Our tour guide, Lehua, took pictures for everyone.  She asked if I wanted to do the hang loose symbol in my picture because that's what Hawaiians do and I'm sure she was trying to be a fun tourguide, which she totally was. But it's so funny--- it hurt my soul!  While I understand it's a part of the Hawaiian culture, it's also what tourists do that are on vacation.  She didn't know my story.  She didn't know the miracles that allowed me to get there, that Pele and I were on a first name basis.  She thought I was another silly tourist that wanted a picture for their Christmas newsletter. 

Now don't get me wrong-- I'm not knocking anyone having fun on their vacation.  In another circumstance, I'm sure I would have!  But for whatever reason, it made me sad that she didn't know the deep respect I had for her home, for this magical place. The way the stars aligned, this trip was a spiritual journey not a vacation.  I politely declined and the look on her face told me she thought I must be the most boring person alive.  I can't believe she couldn't read my soul.  ;)

But that was just the start of my day... These feet traveled all over Maui and there's much more to come!!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, awesome news about the job, congrats! I know you'll kick ass :)

Thanks for sharing more stories and pics from Hawaii, esp. enjoyed you communing with Pele regarding the stones ;)

MandiCrocker said...

I'm definitely a weirdo, Ben! Hahaha! Thanks so much for your comments- always! :)

Anonymous said...

LOL, and that smile on your face said so much more than "hang loose" ever would have, so glad you had that adventure and are kind enough to share it in such a fun way :)

Kellisays said...

Hmmmm - sounds like a screenplay. Someone takes the rocks without asking, sends them to friends, friends go off on nightmarish "adventures" before finally realizing what happened & all going back to the island to return the rocks & stop the curse. Then they have a luau, while Infant Sorrow plays some greatest hits & Peter Bretter does selections from his famous Dracula musical :)

stacymarie said...

My dearest Mandi Lou, I'll share with you a little secret; A park ranger made up the story of the rocks and lava just to prevent people from stealing them. As the Wamapoke Indians say, "White people are scared of curses"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who quotes Parks & Recreation :-)

I know your love and respect for the islands was well received by the Gods. You got it, and I hoped you would :-)

Love you miss

MandiCrocker said...

Hahaha, Kell!!! I'd rather here the Dracula Musical than 'Inside You!!!" ;) Love you!!!

MandiCrocker said...

Stacer, this doesn't surprise me. :) But still, I may invest in a 'Pele is my homegirl' bumper sticker. ;) Hugs to you, kindred spirit!!!

Anonymous said...

Love the pics!! You are making me even more excited to go to Hawaii.

BUT most importantly... CONGRATS on the job! I'm so happy for you. You'll do great!