My first National Convention as AREAA's Event Coordinator was a success! Of course it came with its highs and lows but that's expected with any trip let alone a work one. Through moments of stress and doubt, it was my coworkers and friends who kept me motivated to push through the negative thoughts and make this the best convention ever!
The event consisted of 19 breakout sessions, 1,200 attendees, 3 keynote speakers, and a variety of networking events that celebrated our sponsors, members, and our incoming leadership for 2020. My most memorable parts of the event all include being able to participate in the networking events. As an event planner, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing the event come together and hearing about how much everyone enjoyed it.
I'm so grateful to have developed so many friendships within AREAA already, to the point where it's okay that they poke fun at me because I'm constantly working when they see me. They know it comes with the job though and are willing to wait up for me to celebrate with them. I loved that I was able to bring my best friend Maddie with me because she was a life saver. It's also nice to have someone you know well help you through the mental process of planning and hosting an event.
Towards the end of the event, I began to get sick from lack of sleep and stress, and probably the cold air, but it was all worth it. What was super helpful was that Maddie made sure that I took care of myself and other AREAA friends would bring me little care packages with either medicine or food. I am so grateful to have the best support team! I guess it takes a village in all stages of your life!
I wasn't able to get out of the hotel and explore the city until after the event. Fortunately for me, my Uncle John lives near Boston, so he and his family were able to show me around and take me to the local spots. Of course they gave me the tourist spots first, showing me around the Freedom Trail, North End, and Fanueil Hall, but my favorite part was going into the local pubs and being able to catch up with family that I haven't seen in over a decade.
When I travel, I always notice similarities and differences between other places that I've been to. The streets and roads reminded me of Paris, and in some sense, the older architecture did as well, especially the gold dome on the Capitol building. The modern buildings reminded me of San Francisco and how condensed these tall buildings are built within the city's landscape. Seeing the old architecture hidden in the shadows of the modern skyscrapers were pretty inspiring as well. I think this contrast and blend of architecture throughout the city will be what makes Boston stand out to me.
Our last day in Boston, it was just Maddie and I. We explored on our own for and headed down Newbury St and visited Fenway Park. Overall, it was a great trip and Boston is an amazing city. It wasn't as cold as I was expecting, which was good, but still chilly nonetheless. I am definitely planning on coming back to spend more time learning about the city and visiting the sites.
Part of me wants to go in great detail about every second of my trip, but the other part wants to leave these parts to myself and let you see the pictures and videos. You tell me! What do you think of Boston based off the pictures and video? Have you ever been before? Let me know what your favorite places are!
You've read about my experience with Heiva for the Friendship Photoshoot, but this week is about my experience with IslandEdge Designs!
This shoot was extremely memorable as I got to work with some of the most amazing people. Also, this was my first time doing a catalog style shoot so it took me a step out of my comfort zone.
The day after the pageant, Alex, my best friend Maddie, and I drove up to LA where we met Aunty Venise (the mastermind behind IslandEdge) to model for her new line of clothes. One of her Aunty Venise's close friends was the photographer, her niece was her marketing consultant, and her nephew modeled the male line. And like how Alex was there for me, her nephew's girlfriend was there for him. Everyone on set was so genuine, supportive, and down-to-earth.
Because catalog is out of my comfort zone, I needed some help posing and there were moments when I would be stuck in my head. But the team quickly helped me relax and if I was stuck, they would make me laugh or tell me how to pose.
We left that day with some great shots and lots of love.
About a month after the shoot, it was so bizarre to jump on Instagram and see pictures of me posted by Heiva and IslandEdge back-to-back on my feed. I'm so grateful to have the experience to work with not only great organizations, but also amazing designers and companies who are uplifting the Pacific Islander community every single day.
Click on the button below to shop IslandEdge Designs!
I cannot believe the amazing trip that I was able to take this summer with my hula family Kaleo Onalani to Spain for PIFE (Pacific Islander Festival of Europe)! It was such a wild experience full of ups and downs, but in the end it was all worth it and I wish I could go back.
Our adventure began by taking a bus ride to LAX, an 11 hour flight to Barcelona, a one hour flight to Calafell, and a 5 minute walk to our apartments with loads of luggage and costumes. We spent went was left of our first night and the following day getting acquainted with the area and spending lots of time on the beach of Calafell. Then we had a day to visit Barcelona and sight see on a hop on hop off bus. It was amazing to see the landmarks you hear about and see in movies but in person. (Pictures below). The next day was filled with teaching hula and tahitian workshops and practicing for our first performance.
Our first performance was in a courtyard in the shadow of an old abondaned castle in this quaint picturesque town. It was amazing and we gave 110%. The mana we felt from the audience was unreal and we were able to spend the rest of our night celebrating and drinking wine at a beautiful hotel nearby.
The rest of our performances quickly approached and each one was followed by a night of celebrating with our family. We performed on the big stage at the event, on the beach, and even had small flash mobs practically every where we went.
Although we saw some beautiful places, performing and the mix of emotions that came after every show was the highlight of the entire trip. People in Europe really don't get to see the culture, and to see audience members crying after our performance was so humbling. They said that they were inspired by us, but their reactions and stories inspired us in return.
After 13 days in Calafell, our flight arrangements were messed up so we had to fly to Paris for 2 days. It was a dream come true to be able to end our trip in the City of Lights. We took another Hop On Hop Off Bus to take us to see all the major attractions. With only a couple days we didn't have time to go inside and visit anything specifically, but we were able to learn about the history and take lots of pictures. On our second day in Paris, we got to cross Disneyland Paris off of our bucket list! It's small than the OG Disney and California Adventures in Anaheim, but it still packed all the fun. I really enjoyed that Disney Paris had larger (and just overall more) rollercoasters that packed more of a thrill-factor. And of course they pay homage to Ratatouille.
The next day we were on a 12 hour flight chasing the sun from Paris to Los Angeles- no seriously, I didn't see any night sky for the entire flight! This trip was once in a lifetime and I'm so grateful for the deeper bonds that were created between my hula family, the places that we were able to visit, the "first-times" that we were able to experience, and the impact that we were able to make.
Basically since I've been living on my own, I've been with Alex. We began dating right before summer and that's when we spent most of our time together going through the honeymoon phase. It's crazy to think about but we've created so many summer traditions that we look forward to every single year. It's easily one of the many reasons why summer is my favorite season of the year.
Of course some of our summer traditions include PIFA, going to the Del Mar Fair, and some kind of vacation, but one of our most underrated traditions is going to Wonderspaces. The first year that Wonderspaces came to San Diego was in 2017, a year after Alex and I started dating. There wasn't a theme their first year but in 2018 it was 'with creative license' and this past year it was 'in common'. It's been special to see Wonderspaces grow and begin its legacy and footprint in San Diego. You might've heard of it or seen it on Instagram since it's one of those really cool aesthetically pleasing exhibits that lots of people go to just for the pictures. Of course we grab some cool pictures while we're there but we really try to piece together the meanings of the pieces and how it ties into the overarching theme.
Coincidentally, we also seem to go every year before we head on our summer vacation. This year was before our trip to Spain, last year was before our trip to San Francisco, and 2017 was before our trip to Costa Rica. It's a pretty amazing send off/ last thing to see in San Diego before participating in our epic summer adventure. If you're in San Diego during mid-summer, I definitely recommend taking the time to check out Wonderspaces and getting in touch with your inner artist. A pretty cool feature is that they always include a VR exhibit that takes artistry to the next level. There's other interactive pieces that connects and brings out some of your interpersonal thoughts. It's 100% worth the cost of a ticket and a very cool summer tradition.
By now, it's no secret that for the third year in a row, I lost the Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego pageant. Does it suck?... YES. Does it hurt?... Of Course! Is it hard to talk about?... Hell yeah!
But I want to share my honest and most vulnerable thoughts surrounding the event and the outcome.
Let's back track to last year. I felt humiliated. Never in the history of Miss PIFA has someone ran twice and not won the second time (so imagine how it feels to do this three times! Hey... at least I set a new record). I took the loss way harder than I thought I would last year and wanted to come back stronger and better than ever. My grief and embarrassment is what created Sincerely, Alana.
This year, just like last, one of the first thoughts that run through your head is "why am I not good enough?" That thought and doubt is one of the most painful feelings and it's one that I've experienced too many times throughout my life. The difference with this year was- that negative thought only lasted for a brief second. I knew at that point that there was nothing more that I could've done and that I did EVERYTHING in my power to be the best version of myself that I could be. I will say that the experience after it was announced was one of the most bizarre moments in my life.
Almost nobody clapped and everyone looked around bewildered. Of course I had friends and family that came up to me, biased, who said I should've won. But then Teini's family and multiple board members started saying the same thing. Everyone looked just as confused as I was feeling. And this is not to take away from Teini's win - this is just my experience. People left and right were literally crying. To hear the immediate out pour of love and support and reassurance was heartwarming but it didn't take away the pain or embarrassment.
There's this cycle of emotions that you go through when something like this happens. Embarrassment, sadness, anger, rage, humor, and then a sliver of hope and positivity. Then it repeats until you gather enough positivity about the situation that the rest of the cycle dissipates. I had lots of plans for PIFA this year that I know no one will be able to execute the way that I would. And those plans might not happen. But one thing that's helped is that I have a good feeling about Teini and what she can accomplish with the title. People have asked me if I'll run again and my immediate answer and feeling is no... however this isn't a definite and my feelings might change. My plans for PIFA aren't for me or my ego or the title, it's for the community. I keep running for the title because when you have a position of power, it's easier to get certain things done.
The last part that has helped me move on and stay positive, is Sincerely, Alana (SA). Without failure, this platform would've never been created. When I first began this journey with SA, it made me truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Losing sucked and it still does, but a part of it also makes me excited to see what this reason is. To see what else I can create from this downfall and how I will get back up. It's crazy to think about, but after the pageant it began raining (at the end of June in San Diego). And I just know that was Alex's Grandma Lorraine (aka Grandma Rain) watching. Then there was a double rainbow, and I knew that was my grandma. Both of them were there cheering me on, crying with me, and cleansing me of all the negative thoughts that ran through my mind.
I guess you can say that over the last year I've grown a lot. A lot of humility, confidence, and personal security. I know that I've contributed so much to the community in such a short amount of time because it's what I love to do. I know I will continue this journey, maybe not as Miss PIFA, but as Alana Godoy.
Maxine Alo is a dear friend of mine and an amazing P.I representative in the San Diego community. She's a proud Hawaiian photographer who has an eye for capturing the different and an energy that empowers everyone she comes across. She was a wonderful guest to have on our episode about Pacific Islander Representation and Empowerment (Season 2) and added such valuable insight.
We talked about what it feels like to be P.I, how we're treated differently for not being raised on the islands, and how representation can create a world of difference for young P.I boys and girls. Maxine's ability to speak her mind and her willingness to share her experience is phenomenal.
As a photographer, Max was recently interviewed for an article about her published by SD Voyager. When i saw this article posted on Facebook, I was almost brought to tears. Max was doing the damn thing and being recognized for her talent and story. Talk about being a representative in the PI community.
One thing that I admire most about Max is her ability to capture insane moments. She has such a creative and artistic ability that you are able to immediately pick up on when you view her portfolio.
I can't thank Max enough for coming on the show, being such a wonderful friend, and for inspiring so many keikis to follow their dreams. Maxine is someone who is truly paving the way for Pacific Islanders in the industry.
I love you, Max!
Since I was a little girl, writing was always my go- to way of expressing myself and escaping from the rest of the world.