‘oleo no’eau

‘Oleo no’eau are sayings to remind you how to approach life. “A’ohe pu’u ki’eki’e ke ho’ao e pi’i” means “no cliff is so tall that it cannot be scaled”. This saying resonates with me because we must remind ourselves that there is always a way to succeed in your goals. the second saying I enjoyed was, “e lawe i ke a’o a malama, a’e oi mau ka na’auao” which means, ” he who takes his teachings and applies them increases his knowledge”. I like this because there is no point in learning something when you never plan on using it. You should learn what is appropriate to your interests so that you turn your learning into useful, applied knowledge.

Working Through Three Generations

Times change and people do, too. It’s hard to fathom how much the world has changed in the last 100 years. From what we wear, to what we eat, and also to how we work and live.   Women’s roles in society and in the workforce have also changed dramatically. Through three generations in my family, not only have the type of jobs changed, but the need to work has changed, as well. I have examined three generations of women in my family to find out the role and what types of jobs the women in my family have held and how that compares to me. I will be examining how our different educational backgrounds have influenced our roles and jobs as working women from my grandmother, to my mother, and lastly to me. I believe that the need to work has become more apparent through the generations and that the quality of education and jobs has declined.

My grandmother, Margaret Marion Metcalfe, was born into a wealthy English family. She had a good private-school education. At that time, social classes were very prevalent in England, and she was destined to “marry well.” Women were expected to have a decent education, but not to have to support themselves later in life. In fact, there was something known as a “marriage bar”, “whereby married women were barred from certain occupations like teaching and clerical jobs (but not lower paid jobs) and those working were sacked upon marriage” (Post World-war II, par. 4). Basically, women were bound to their role as housewives and had no other option. However, during WWII, women had to work. Most of the men had gone overseas to fight in the war and the women had to take over their jobs. My grandmother took a course in typing and became a secretary. She worked for a Solicitor’s office, which she didn’t particularly care for. After the war, “Women were demobilised from ‘men’s work’ to make way for the returning servicemen” (striking-women, par.1). After stepping up to keep industry alive, they were sent back to their lives as housewives. They were no longer needed. During this time, my grandmother found out about a secretary job in Geneva, Switzerland, working for the United Nations. This was where she met my grandfather, Humphrey Owen Jones. My grandfather was a Navigator in the Royal Air Force during World War II. His plane was shot down over Germany, where he was held as a Prisoner of War for from 1939 to 1944. According to my brother, Edmund, “He tried to escape many times” (Graves, 2017). The story goes that he was held by the Russians in Germany, and that they released him towards the end of the war. After the war was over, he went back to being a Chartered Accountant. He was doing an audit for the United Nations, in Geneva, when he met my grandmother. They were married, and she didn’t work again. Her role was now a house-wife. She had seven children and lived an opulent life. I’ve seen home videos of them travelling to chateaus in France and my grandfather racing his Bugatti. Each of their children also had their own nanny, so my grandmother didn’t have to do too much work in that department. Their lifestyle and roles were fairly typical for that era.

It’s hard to compare myself to my grandmother because we aren’t expected to just “marry well” these days. I have about the same amount of education that she had, but it seems that with more people working, the job field is much more competitive. I don’t think I would be able to get a job with the UN with the same qualifications that she had then. An article in The Independent states, “Young people are increasingly likely to slip down the social ladder as they enter adulthood because there is now so little room at the top of the best careers” (Green, par. 1). This quote illustrates how my situation of being in a lower “class” thant my predecessors is not uncommon, and also how “good” jobs are much more highly coveted. Once my grandmother was married, it wasn’t necessary for her to work anymore. With the cost of living now, I can’t imagine a situation where I wouldn’t need to help my partner financially. I have to maintain the role of mother and wife, in addition to helping my family financially. I am currently working on furthering my education in order to be qualified for a job with a decent salary. Although it sounds like a nice idea to just be taken care of, I am happy to work hard to reach my goals.

The next generation of working women in my family is my mother. Prudence Myfanwy Owen-Jones was born into the opulent lifestyle that my grandfather provided. She grew up with a full staff and spent time travelling around Europe with family. My mother and all her siblings were sent to boarding schools. The school my mom went to was a Convent, which wasn’t as driven by academics as it could have been, but it was well known. My mother was dyslexic. It was only due to the patience of one special nun that she learned to read at age 14. (Now she absolutely adores reading.) Being from an older generation, my grandparents expected her to also “marry well”.  When my mother was 16, she left school. Around this time, my grandfather lost his money. There went the opulent lifestyle and chance of financial support from her parents. At that time, things were changing in the world, and women were much more present in the workforce. The women’s liberation movement was in full effect. My mother’s limited educated didn’t set her up well for a career, but she worked hard. After leaving school, my mom moved to Greece and taught English. A couple of years later she ended up moving back to London and working as a receptionist. After a few years at one company, she was selling apartments in London and making good wages. Then, she decided to take a vacation to Alaska, to see family, and didn’t return. She met my father and became a fisherman’s wife. Life in rural Alaska was very different to what she was used to, and the type of jobs available weren’t the same. The upward mobility women had enjoyed in the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s and sort of plateaued. She was a cook on a Salmon Seiner until she had me and became a full time mother. When her marriage didn’t work out, we moved back to England. By this time, there was much more competition for jobs, and my mother struggled to support us. She had various jobs such as cleaning houses, landscaping, and working in retail, but never really a career. Although she had certifications in a couple of different fields, she couldn’t compete with those who had degrees. My mother always sought to better herself, so we ended up moving to Hawaii, so she could study tropical plants. However, the cost of living and raising two children meant she had to work. According to an article in the New York Times, “The result is what many women term a ‘balancing act’ in which they must juggle family and work responsibilities” (Associated Press Par. 11). Women at this time often had more than one role. Shuffling between working on a ranch, at plant nurseries, and in retail, she maintained her role as mother and sole provider to my brother and me.

My mother’s role was very different from my grandmother’s. She had to support her family on her own and worked hard to do it. When I asked her to list all the jobs she had worked, her response was, “ Oh god, I’ve done everything!” Her role was mother, father, and breadwinner. Her lack of education made it harder for her. I think I am more similar to my mother than grandmother. In this day and age, it is very hard to get a job with good wages without a degree. It is something that affected my mother and has affected me. The jobs my mother had didn’t require a degree and, therefore, didn’t pay very well. With more people being more highly educated, the job field is more competitive. Between my grandmother and mother, I see a decline in education and a decline in the quality of jobs available to someone with less education.

Lastly, there is me. My mother always stressed the importance of education to me. She told me that I needed to go to college after high school and have a career in which I could support myself. Growing up, I had planned on going to an Ivy League University and being a Nuclear Physicist or an Anesthesiologist. I had big plans; however, after high school I went straight to work. My mom had moved back to England again, and I needed to support myself. I worked at a feed store in Waialua for 12 years. It was hard work and nothing like what my friends who had gone to college were doing. Being a young adult, I had lots of wants, so I worked more to make more money. I started bartending when I was 18. I also worked at a few restaurants, busting my butt to make tips. Meanwhile, my friends with degrees were travelling to cool places with their spiffy jobs. I have taken the first step towards a better life for my son and me. I am now doing what I should have done straight out of high school. I got to a point after staying home to raise my son for a couple of years, where I needed to start to earn money again. I had a look at what was available and realized how much I would have to work to be able to fully support myself, should the need arise. Do I want to work multiple jobs to make ends meet? Am I willing to miss out on important moments in my son’s life? No, I don’t, and I’m not. An article I read recently said, “Although it has not been spelt out to them most young people know that they have no real future and that many of the opportunities that their parents had will not be available to them” (howitends.co.uk, par. 8). In this day and age, there aren’t as many promising opportunities as there have been in the past. Despite all the movements for gender equality, there are still struggles. My role is more similar to my mother’s. I am a mother, and soon, I will be a provider, as well. Hopefully, I won’t have to take on the father role, as my mom did.

I have started out on the same path as my mother, with little education, but I intend to change that. I am going to change our downward trend into an upward trend for generations to come. My role in my family is somewhere in between my mother and grandmother. My job experience is also somewhat in the middle. While it will never be as easy as my grandmother’s, I hope that by educating myself I will be able to carve out a good life with a good job. According to an article in The Guardian, “Occupation is associated with a greater chance of upwards mobility. Those in professional occupations, such as teachers and lawyers, had a 55% increased chance of upwards mobility” (Hill, Par. 10). This quote shows how education is key for upward mobility. To me, this means I am taking a step in the right direction. Since I wasn’t born into money, the need to work is definitely real for me. Each generation in my family has needed to work more. Meanwhile, the availability of a good job now comes with the need for higher education. My grandmother’s jobs are probably highly coveted these days; as is her role in the family. My mother’s jobs were good in her younger years, then became less lucrative in her later years. Jobs became more difficult to find without having a college education. Her role in the family was very demanding. She wore all the hats, and I admire her greatly for doing so well. I have yet to finish my story, but I hope to improve on it. As the times have changed, we have to change, too.

“But I’m Wearing Pink Pants!!”

On a warm and balmy night in 2010, I ended up spending the night in jail. It wasn’t where I had planned on spending the night, but maybe things happen for a reason? Let me start at the beginning; it was St. Patrick’s day and my roommate, Crystal along with my friends Ole and Lance decided that the newly-single me should go to town with them for a proper Irish drinking night. We drove the exhausting one hour commute to Honolulu from the North Shore at light-speed in anticipation of a memorable night. Little did I know how memorable it would be. We managed to find parking in the bustling, overcrowded, party hub of Waikiki and chose a venue to start the night. It was filled with inebriated bodies packed in like sardines in a can. We went single-file and managed to weave through the crowd like salmon swimming upstream. Only our destination wasn’t a spawning ground, it was the bar. As our first drink enlightened our tastebuds and numbed our senses, we could see that a lot of other people had the same plan as us that night. The bar smelt of spilled drinks and sweaty bodies lacking inhibition.

As the night progressed, we laughed, danced, told stories, and made jokes. We were enjoying life that night and celebrating being young and free. We saw some old friends and made some new ones. At some point, we decided it might be an idea to start thinking of making the trek back up North. We inventoried who had drank what and decided that Ole should be the driver. After making that big decision, Ole and Crystal went outside to smoke a cigarette and to “sober up”. Lance and I decided that since we weren’t driving, we could afford a couple more sweet libations. We chugged a few more drinks down as if we were racing a clock and then stumbled out with the sweet taste still on our lips to meet our friends.

After searching the vast and unfamiliar concrete jungle for the right car, we found Crystal

and Ole. Ole had since decided he was too drunk to drive and turned to me and said, “Sof, you gotta drive.” I, having had a few more ounces of Dutch Courage, all too willingly agreed. We sat in the car for a few minutes and decided the best route out of town to avoid the DUI checkpoints and then set off on our mission home. Having made it out of Honolulu without a police sighting, we started to relax thinking we were home free. Crystal cranked up the music, and we settled in for the rest of the ride. We were passing Mililani when Lance piped up that there was a cop behind us and that I should slow down. He followed us for a few agonizing minutes before the blue lights started flashing, and we heard the “bwoop bwoop” of the police siren indicating to us to pull over. Oh great! I thought to myself. I had been pulled over before and being a girl, I had gotten out of the tickets 90% of the time. I was expecting a good telling-off and that’s about it.

When I got to the side of the road, I was right at the Mililani Tech Park exit; it seemed so close to home! The officer came to my window and asked me for my license and registration, which I produced proudly. He told me I had been swerving a bit, and that’s why he had pulled me over.  I explained to him that it wasn’t my car, so I wasn’t used to it, but that I was sure I had been driving safely.

“So why did you cross over the white line back there then?” he asked me.

I replied, “Because you were on my ass!” It was at that point that he asked me to step out of the car to perform a field sobriety test. Still not realizing the gravity of the situation, I jumped out of the car still feeling a bit sassy from the evening’s drinks. I walked a line, followed his finger with my eyes, and stood on one foot. I thought I was going to be driving off in a minute, but then came the breathalyzer.

“Blow hard into this for ten seconds,” I was told. I tried blowing in it softly, hoping to get away with it. “You have to blow harder!” the officer told me.

I replied cheekily, “No one has ever told me that!” They didn’t find that as funny as I did. I repeated the breathalyzer test which scored me a .16 blood alcohol level, twice the legal limit. He then told me he was going to place me under arrest.

“But I’m wearing pink pants!” I exclaimed. “I can’t go to jail in pink pants!” By then, there were a few officers there, and they all chuckled under their breath. The female officer patted me down, and I was seated in the backseat of one of the patrol cars. It was solid plastic with little recessed areas at the lower back for handcuffed hands to fit in and smelled of puke. They let my friends drive off home, and I was driven to Wahiawa station.

Once at the station, Officer Murakami escorted me inside for processing. I was handcuffed to a school desk and told I could make a local phone call for someone to come bail me out. Crystal’s number was from Washington, so I couldn’t call her. I couldn’t remember Ole’s number, so I tried calling Lance; he didn’t answer. What the hell! I thought to myself. Why isn’t he answering? He knows I need help! I sat there for a few hours calling Lance intermittently, which went unanswered. I’m slightly allergic to stainless steel, so at that point I was starting to get a rash around my wrist from the handcuffs.

“I’m allergic to stainless steel! You have to un-handcuff me!” I whined to Officer Murakami, who was trying to finish his paperwork.

“Well you can go and sit in there with her if you’d like?” he replied to me, pointing to a holding cell with a woman in it who seemed very unstable, to say the least.

“Uhh…that’s ok” I said meekly. After a few hours of sitting there and sobering up, Crystal showed up with $500 to save me! She went through the process of bailing me out, and I was released with such an excellent feeling!

With my license taken away, the next few weeks were a bit rough. I hired a lawyer and started working on the process of getting it back. What a process that was! I had court dates and hearings, and after about $4000 worth of lawyer fees and fines, I still didn’t have my license. I was unable to perform some of my duties at work. Part of my job at the time was to drive the delivery truck, which I could no longer do. I had to go to AA meetings and take classes in town. It was in those classes, that I watched videos of first hand accounts of stories similar to mine that ended tragically. It ended up taking me about two years to get my license back. It was a long and arduous process, but I did learn something from it. I realized that it wasn’t only my life and my friends’ lives that had been at risk; what if I had killed someone or ruined their life by injuring them and making them a paraplegic? That scared me. I had always only worried about myself and had never once thought that my actions could hurt anyone else. I’m not sure I could bare the guilt of ruining an innocent person’s life by making such a decision. I grew from this experience in ways that would have taken a much longer time otherwise, or could have had disastrous consequences.  I’ve grown up a lot since this incident. I am adamant to never drink and drive again. Now that I am a mother, I have yet another reason to make it home safely. It also makes me fearful and conscious of the fact that drunk drivers often kill children. I wouldn’t want to put another parent through the pain of losing a child. I’ve learned that there is never a good enough reason to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. It’s just not worth risking someone’s life for. Although it cost me a lot of money and time, I am grateful for Officer Murakami for doing his job and teaching me a lesson which most likely saved a life.

Get Help Paying for School!

“In 2014-2015, about two-thirds of full time college students paid for school with the help of financial aid” (“Financial Aid”: FAQs, par 2). There are lots of resources to help students pay for tuition, school expenses, and living expenses. You and your family don’t have to struggle! Here at Leeward Community College, our Financial Aid Office is staffed with friendly faces waiting to help you. The office itself is easy to find, located in AD-210, and actually visible when you first walk onto campus. You don’t need an appointment, and it also features walk-up windows for your convenience. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. I think all students should take advantage of this resource for several reasons: you may be eligible for grants, the staff is very helpful and may be able to help you apply for aid that you didn’t know was available, and if you manage to get multiple forms of financial aid, you might be able to put your energy towards school rather than trying to pay for it on your own.

The first reason everyone should visit the Financial Aid Office here at Leeward is because many students are eligible for a grant and don’t know it. A grant is not the same as a loan; you don’t have to pay it back. It is like a gift from the Federal Government for furthering your education. According to Nerdwallet.com, “Students missed out on as much as $2.7 billion in free federal money in the past academic year” (Simons, par. 1). There is a lot of money going unclaimed, which could be very useful to most people. There is no way of telling if you qualify for a federal grant without applying for the FAFSA, so you won’t know until you try. It doesn’t cost money to apply, nor do you have to write an essay or anything like that. You put in some information and press send. Depending on your age, you may need your parents’ financial information, as well. Financial Aid Officer, Jolyn Jardiolin stresses, “Don’t assume you don’t qualify, just ask!” (Jardiolin). With a minimal amount of effort, you could receive help financially. The Financial Aid Office is here to help you.

The next reason I think everyone should visit the Financial Aid Office is that the staff is very helpful and can steer you in the right direction. According to the Leeward CC Financial Aid website, “Leeward CC is committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. It all starts with being sure you know about Financial Aid opportunities” (Financial aid, par. 3). For example, the best student loans are only available to those who apply for federal aid. Unless you complete a FAFSA application, “You won’t be able to access the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, which is the superior loan for students” (O’Shaughnessy, par 3). The Financial Aid Office wants to help you receive aid and find all available aid options for you. Joylyn, of the LCC financial aid office, pointed out to me that there are also “scholarships for students with specific ethnicities or that are enrolled in particular programs” (Jardiolin). The Financial Aid Office also has aid specifically for Native Hawaiian students, military and veterans, and international students. If you are any of these groups, the Financial Aid office would be more than happy to assist you in finding scholarships and grants.

The last reason that I think everyone should visit the financial aid office is that if you qualify for multiple forms of aid, you would be able to focus more on your classes. Can you imagine how stressful it is to be a full-time student and have to work full time? It could also affect how much time you have for school-work, which in turn can have an effect on your grades. Joylyn Jardiolin informed me that, “Offices work off the federal app to see if they qualify for other aids” (Jardiolin). Once you have completed the FAFSA, you may not have to do anything else to qualify for additional forms of aid. Ideally, you could end up with several forms of financial aid, which could cover school expenses and more. By using these resources, you could be setting yourself up to being able to focus more wholly on school.

The Financial Aid Office is one resource on campus that anyone and everyone could benefit from. Whether you know it or not, they could definitely help you find financial resources to make paying for your education easier. Everyone should visit the Financial Aid Office because they could help you receive a grant, they can inform you about other types of aid you may qualify for, and receiving financial aid could make your educational experience easier. There’s nothing to lose! Go see the friendly staff at the financial aid office today!

North Shore Grown

Although I moved a lot in my early childhood, I’ve lived on the north shore of Oahu since I was ten. I lived in Haleiwa, but went to Kahuku high school because, at that time, Waialua high school had a terrible reputation for being a very under-par school. Haleiwa is known as a surf town and tourist destination. The population literally doubles during the winter due to all the surfers coming into town. Waialua was once a vibrant plantation town, but when the sugar mill closed, it seemed to lose it’s identity. These days it seems to be known for its drug problem and high homelessness rate.


When I was little, my mom told me that she had wanted  to spell my name Sofiia, but that my dad had spelt it wrong on my birth certificate. From then on, That’s how I spelt it. That spelling is the Russian version of Sophia, which means wisdom. I’ve always loved my name and the spelling of it until it came back to haunt me as an adult. I had to have several legal documents changed to match the spelling on the birth certificate because, apparently, the government doesn’t like it when you spell your name differently.