Destination Life

Aloha 2016

2016. Oh, what a year. 2016 marked my first full year in Texas and the longest I’ve gone without going home to my beloved Hawai’i nei. It’s been one helluva a year but I’m so ready for 2017.

I’m definitely a social media addict (typical millennial) and I love these dumb top 9 photos from your past year. (You can get yours here.) Obviously, my top 9 is reflective of my favorite things – travel, family, food, & fitness.

The highlights of every year are always my travel adventures – or when people travel to see me! Traveling was to a minimum in the beginning of the year since I was still getting settled into Dallas, but the itch to wander never leaves me and after NM, it was all downhill (or uphill) from there. This year I:

  • Had my entire family visit me in Dallas (May 2016)
  • Went to a wedding in Albequerque, New Mexico (June 2016)
  • Celebrated my sister’s engagement in Phoenix, Arizona (August 2016)
  • Visited with my BFFs in Portland, Oregon (August 2016)
  • Had my first Eurotrip to Kythira, Athens, & Santorini, Greece (September 2016) 
  • Worked and played at Dreamforce in San Francisco, California (September 2016)
  • Rode a wine trolley in Monterey, California (October 2016)
  • Met my dad and sister in Las Vegas, Nevada (November 2016)
  • Spent Christmas with a friend’s family in Austin, Texas (December 2016) 

I love my little adventures and I’m so grateful that I even have the means to do so many YOLO weekend trips and some extended trips.

I’ve met so many new people and kept in touch with lifelong friends. I even let go of some toxic relationships.

I was disenchanted by society but my faith in humanity was restored. (Still getting over how strongly Christians defend Trump’s misogynistic statements.)

I found a new hobby that I’m actually pretty decent at and started the Pineapple Shack X.O.

I had highs and lows in my faith  and questioned what I believe, but overall strengthened my relationship with the Lord.

I gained new confidence in my career and got that “new city, fresh start” I’ve been longing for the past few years.

In 2015, I told myself I’d be out of Arizona in 2016. Little did I know, I’d take the leap and end up in Texas. Overall, moving to a new city where I didn’t really know anyone was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s scary and nerve wracking but a complete adventure and I don’t regret it all.

2016, you were so horrible and great at the same time. As I say every year, Cheers to 2017! May this year be so better than the last.

Destination Life

A Small Fat Greek Wedding´╗┐ (& Baptismal)

greekwedding_The handsome couple.

The main purpose of our Greek trip was to be there for a wedding and baptismal! I’ve been friends with my friend MJ since we were in middle school so much so that her family really feels like my own. When she told me her sister would be getting married in Greece and asked if I’d like to come, I didn’t even hesitate! I love weddings and I love the couple – it’s so obvious how much they love each other.

He said, “That dress is amazing!”

To be honest, I’ve never watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but attending a Greek wedding was quite an experience. I spent the morning tagging along running last minute errands while the bride got her hair done. I got ready and it was finally time for the ceremony at the Church of Agios Spyridonas in Kalokerines.

Giant candles at the altar.

I guess it’s part of Greek tradition, but when everyone is driving up to the church, they honk their horns incessantly while someone is shooting a shot gun in the air – it’s crazy! But the energy is so much fun! You can just tell there’s a celebration going on. The mass was held in a small Greek Orthodox Church (Kalokerines) but before we all walk in, the bride was walked to the door by her father-in-law.

The bridal party at the altar.

The mass was entirely in Greek and I really wish I understood what was happening, but regardless, it was a great experience. (Now I can say I’ve been to a Greek wedding!) Orthodox mass reminded me a lot of Catholic mass but several different things happen during the ceremony. The bride and groom walked around the altar 3 times, the maid of honor had these wire crowns tied together with a ribbon and would alternate back and forth between the bride and groom, and the best man and maid of honor also walked around the altar with them. I also noticed they put the wedding rings on the right hand instead of the left and everything happens in threes. At the end of the ceremony, there were a ton of pictures! And when the couple left the church, we three rice at them.

The crowns being alternated.

But that wasn’t all for the day! We went straight from the church in Kalokerines to the Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiosa in Myrtidiosa. It was kind of crazy being in a monastery but the inside of the church was absolutely gorgeous. It always amazes me how beautiful and detailed old churches are.

Walking into the monastery courtyard.

The church steeple.
The courtyard outside of the church.

When you walk into the church there’s a sandbox of thin candles. After some research, it seems like you light a candle when you walk in the church as a little prayer and remembrance of Jesus.

Candles in the sandbox.

How crazy is the detail in the church?!

I always wonder how they painted the ceilings back in the day.

Me sitting in the chair along the wall in the church.

The Orthodox baptism actually reminded me of Catholic baptism, too, but there were different traditions. I think what a lot of people who aren’t religious don’t understand, is that all the traditions or things that are done have a meaning behind it. Sometimes even religious people don’t care enough to find out, but I love learning the symbolism of things.

In baptism, the godfather plays a huge role. Ideally, the godfather is the main person in the ceremony and the parents are supposed to stand back and watch, he even brings the baby basket with the baby’s white baptismal dress. The ceremony starts at the entrance, really similar to the wedding, then eventually they move to the altar. The baby is then stripped and covered in oil and dipped three times in the water. Poor kid, she was screaming bloody murder! I know baptism means different things for different religions and I’m not sure what it means in the Orthodox religion, but it’s still beautiful. I noticed in the Greek Orthodox religion, they like to do things in threes. The also cut off the baby’s hair three times and I think I remember them walking around the altar three times.

After the ceremony, the baby is dressed in her baptism dress and there are of course food and pictures! While we were heading out of church, the church bells were ringing because the high priest and the other priests were heading into the church.

Following the food celebration, we had more food! We drove from Myrtidiosa to Kapsali to have dinner at Lemoni. Even though it was a small party, maybe less than 50 of the newlywed’s close family and friends, the Greeks sure know how to celebrate. Got to experience an authentic Greek toast OPA! and teach them the Hawaiian toast CHEEHUU and just eat, drink and be merry with some amazing people. I may or may not have had a LOT of fun but I am so grateful that I got to experience a little Greek wedding.

Me and one of my BFFs at the wedding.

Friends who are like family! <3

With the handsome couple.