A true confession

I’ve been in Honolulu for almost six weeks. I’ve been swimming, stand-up-paddling, scuba diving, walking and boating. I have not been surfing. A true confession: I’ve been fear-full.

I got hurt twice on the surfboard my last few months living here and I’ve had recurring thoughts that it would happen again.

Today, I had a breakthrough! I booked a lesson and went out on my surfboard! It was magical! I started out slowly and on small waves. Then, as the minutes and waves progressed, my teacher had us paddle out further into the bigger waves. They were waist to head high, by Hawaiian’s measurements. They were beautiful and powerful and so FUN!!  I felt the rush as the speed of the water took me and my fears disappeared.

I must confess: I was scared and timid. The voice in my head was very compelling. However, I am not a quitter. I couldn’t be here and see my birthday board one more day without getting on it.





Big dreams DO come true

I kissed my sweet T (Tara) on the cheek (she won’t allow it any other way). She boarded the plane from Honolulu to LAX. She’s going to fulfill a big dream: she’s going to dance in a Disneyland performance!

Tara researched this course, applied for it, got accepted, negotiated with Mark and me and now, she’s on her way.

Proof: dream big and never give up.


Denise, very proud mom


How many new things have you seen today?

Walk around your city, you see things you’ve seen forever. But what if you look differently at the trees, flowers, garage doors, neighbors etc.

What will you see?

I invite you to look at your surroundings, family, friends anew. You may see something different. Let me know what you see…..

I’ll let you know what I see too.



Insights of expats, part 1

This is a borrowed essay~ I’m living it, but someone else wrote it. Enjoy


Want to make friends? Move to another country.

There you might meet a few of the locals who will eventually enter your social circle, but the most likely event is that you will end up with a large group of some of the best friends you’ve ever had, and they’ll all be fellow expats. This process will take about a week.

There’s a refreshing lack of pretension among expat communities.

Expats, in general, are friendly. They want to meet you, and know your story. They’re fun to be around. They’re people who “do” rather than plan.

I’ve never lived long enough in another country to think of myself as an expat. I have, however, hung out with plenty of expat communities in countries around the world, and I’ve seen a similar theme in the people I’ve met. They share certain traits that anyone would do well to take on.

Expats tend to be adventurous, to be risk-takers. After all, they’ve already left their friends, their homes, their comfort zones and probably most of their possessions in another country to begin a new life abroad. That takes guts. It’s only a certain type of person who’ll do that.

So the ones you meet living overseas are the ones who are prepared to take a punt on things working out for the best. They’ll jump in the back of that tuk-tuk. They’ll eat at that restaurant. They’ll board that boat.

This attitude to “doing” things is pretty likeable. It’s rare you’ll find an expat who sits around talking about all the things they’d love to do, without actually making it happen. People who’ve gone to live overseas are the type to just do it, to stop all of the planning and the wondering and just take things on.

Another thing you notice about expats is that, regardless of the fact that they might have been living in their adopted country for five, or 10, or 20 years, and that they’re holding down full-time jobs, and have maybe even started a family, they still seem to live life as though they’re on a permanent holiday.

They’re out most nights of the week, socialising, hanging out with friends. They’re going to restaurants and bars and living it up. They’re still travelling, too, going off on weekends away to other parts of the country, or to neighbouring countries. There’s always the sense that money doesn’t matter so much – it’s more about how much you enjoy yourself, how much you see.

There’s no reason why everyone can’t live like that, why you can’t treat your own city like a holiday destination. But people rarely do it. Masterchef is on.

Expats are incredibly friendly, and open to new people. There are no “set” groups of friends – they’ll take anyone in. I was in Seoul for a couple of days before I’d been invited to play in a football team and go drink beers afterwards at the pub. I was in Dubai for about six hours before I’d been taken out by complete strangers and shown a good time.

There’s a refreshing lack of pretension among expat communities. There’s very little of the “where did you go to school” snobbery. Admittedly that’s occasionally replaced with “what are you doing here” snobbery (English teachers to the back of the queue), but in general no one cares where you came from, or which school you went to, or who you worked for back home. You’re here now, everything’s different.

Capital cities in Australia can be pretty cliquey places, where everyone already has their mates and they’re not much interested in finding any more. For expats, however, there’s a constant revolving world of friends as old mates move out of your life and new people appear. It creates a culture of openness.

Strangely, I found that the more dangerous a country is, the friendlier its expat population will be. Maybe that’s just a numbers thing – with fewer expats around they’re still a novelty. There’s not the “just another Aussie” thing you might find in, say, London.

Regardless of where you go, however, if you do decide to move overseas you’ll always make friends, probably with some very interesting, friendly, dynamic people. People from whom we could learn a thing or two.


I’m living proof!




Honolulu Night + Market

Imagine four square blocks of a business neighborhood. One street of food trucks, one of artisans selling hand made jewelry, clothes, hats, hair accessories and headbands, one of popular restaurants serving amazing foods cooked outdoors on grills, fryers or crepe circle-stoves, one of street dancers, musicians, and models showing the upcoming school trends and another street of tables, chairs and bars and that’s Honolulu Night + Market.

We enjoyed the street scene with our friend Cat, who saw so many of her friends there, as the sun set and the crowd thickened.  The monthly event welcomes families, students, DINKS and seniors. The most outlandish you dress, the more fun you may have: stilts included!



Welcome friends

I am so blessed ~ a friend from my Power & Contribution course in LA, came to Hawaii on vacation and included me in her plans!! How wonderful! Emily and I met her and her beau, Lance, for dinner and conversation. We had a lovely time and nurtured a new friendship.

How wonderful to welcome friends from near and far into our lives and hearts. My heart is full. Thank you, Evan & Lance, for sharing a night of your vacation with me.



Evan Mendola and Denise
Evan Mendola and Denise


Special message to my dad

Wishing you a fabulous birthday! You are a miracle man and I am so proud of you for all your accomplishments. Every day is a gift and birthdays are for celebrating. Have a super-FUN day!

I love you, Dad!




NDB (never done before): Hand-board surfing

On the East-most side of Oahu, is a beach called Sandy Beach. It is known for danger: waves, fast breaks, hidden rocks and powerful surge. There is also a competition there: The National Hand-Board Surfing competition. Emily, Tara and I went, with our friends Kathy and John.

There were brave men and women using a single board on their hand to ride these waves. It was most enjoyable to watch!

It’s always fun to do new things….what new FUN thing will you do today?