What a hell of a ride. It is crazy to think that I have completed my four years at Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawai’i. The tournament in Switzerland – which is where I met Sandra – seems like a lifetime ago. The first time she approached me and told me about the opportunity to go to the USA and play Volleyball, I thought it to be a very unrealistic idea and put it aside, focusing on my last year of high school. When she contacted me again about it, I was in a different place in life and all of a sudden felt ready to accept the challenge.
I did everything I was told to do by Sandra until I ended up with some offers. Since my parents went to Hawaii on their honeymoon I gave Chaminade University of Honolulu my first try. The interview with Kahala Kabalis-Hoke went great and I committed. Chaminade University of Honolulu is a small school with a small athletics department compared to other schools. At first I wasn’t sure if this was going to be my final destination or if it was just going to turn into the one year sabbatical my parents hoped it to be.
The collegiate Volleyball season in the US is short but very intense. Before the season starts you have 2-3 practices a day. Regardless of schoolwork, you have 1-2 practices a day during the season, plus multiple games a week, and multiple one-week long road trips. Since we live on an island we had to fly to the mainland and travel from one school to the other every time we had away games. It was a lot to handle for me and my questionable English skills. After my first semester I didn’t want to leave home after spending Christmas break there.
It was the spring semester that convinced me to stay. Due to the busy schedule during the Volleyball season in the fall, I never had a lot of time to get around and experience the island of Oahu. This changed during the spring semester when I finally explored the beaches, went surfing, diving, hiking, and jumped down waterfalls. I was finally breathing in the island air and fell in love with it.
It felt as if I finally opened up to all the impressions and experiences I was able to make. I came to know the Aloha shared on the island and within Chaminade as well. I started to like the small community at the university. It was my junior and senior year when I really started to thrive. I guess I was enjoying it a little too much, since I actually extended my stay. I am currently getting my Masters Degree at Chaminade, which was made possible through a Graduate Assistant position at the Office of Advising and Career Development at the university. I never thought this experience was going to leave such an immense impression on me. I never thought I was going to call Hawai’i my home.
Mahalo nui loa, Kim