Monday, December 22, 2008
Put All Your Stuff On A Boat...
I've been asked a couple times how it is that I ended up living in Hawaii. The short answer is, I got transferred with work. If you want the details, read on...
As a springboard diver in my senior year in high school in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, I had an opportunity to get a scholarship to college. And as my luck would have it, my coach there in Ohio happened to know the coach at University of Hawaii... and apparently the two had a discussion at some point which resulted in a phone conversation between me and this Japanese coach where he offered to pay for my schooling if I agreed to move to Hawaii and dive on the team. Uh, let me think about that. It was February and snowing outside my kitchen window as my arm was not so violently twisted into accepting his offer.
So off to Hawaii I went, without even one of your typical college visits to see if I would like it. Of course I would like it. It's Hawaii. I skipped lots of class and had a really good tan both years I attended college here.
It turned out that the coach who'd offered to pay my way wasn't such a good fit for me as an athlete (his old school traditional Japanese thinking that women should be seen and not heard just didn't fly with me). In my junior year I transferred to Arizona State and finished up my diving career happily as a Sun Devil.
Fast forward about 12 years and I'm living happily in Scottsdale, working for a pharmaceutical company and doing lots of swimming, biking, and running. Out of the blue one day I get a phone call from my boss that says my company is downsizing and my territory no longer needs a rep. After picking myself up off the floor, I listen to my boss tell me my options... take the severence package and find a job with another company, or move to a location where there is a job opening within my current company. My first reaction was to ask if there was a position open in Hawaii. Turns out there was, and it was a promotion from my current position. I had to compete with about 25 other applicants to get the job, and I think a major factor throwing the decision in my favor was that I'd lived here before... so I knew what I was getting myself into. It's not all perfect being a single white girl and moving to a place where you're going to be a minority. The culture here is quite different from the mainland and it's really not for everyone.
Anyway, my company paid to put all my stuff on a boat and get me here. That was great.
My best laid plan was to live here for 3 years and then get myself promoted again and moved back to the mainland. The first 6 months or so living here I was pretty lonely because I didn't know so many people and making new friends as an adult can be a challenge. But once summer hit and I had the opportunity to start participating in the local races, my social life exploded. My goal at each race was to leave with a phone number of another new friend or training partner... My plan worked, because now I've got a great network of awesome friends, most of whom are athletes that I've met through training and racing. (Yes, that's The Bachelor Andy Baldwin... before he was famous...)
I mentioned that my plan was to live here for 3 years and then move back, but after 2 years, the thought of only having one more year here was unbearable for me, and I was in no hurry to leave. Then I met Scott, and the rest is history..
Posted by Michelle Simmons