On expectations

I was taught implicit expectations were ok. It was ok to expect certain behaviors from certain people, for example:

  1. You expect your SO not to see anyone else if you agreed to be mutually exclusive
  2. You expect your SO to treat you with respect.
  3. You expect your SO to show up to a date or meeting at the agreed upon time
  4. You expect your SO to support your dreams and console you during your failures

And you would expect all of the above of your friends too, with the exception of #1…

With colleagues and business associates, you expect, for example:

  1. That they respond to you within 2 business days, if it warrants a response and they are not on vacation
  2. You expect your company to pay you on your pay day
  3. You expect your company would not like it if you did casual Friday on a Wednesday (unless you work in Tech)
  4. You expect your manager to “manage”

All that goes out the window with dating.

You cannot expect anything of anyone.

  1. You cannot expect that the person who you went on 2 great dates with will call you back for a date #3
  2. You cannot expect that he will want to “date” you after sex (or even call for that matter)
  3. You cannot expect he even likes you (even if you’ve been ‘dating’ for 1-2 months)

So keep expectations low, and have fun, girl.


When you’re ready to date (again)

  1. You know that you won’t attach yourself to the first human who talks to you & force them to commit

Part of learning to date again is understanding that the behaviors that you do in a long term “comfortable” relationship is…odd to be doing with someone who you just met. A lot of the times, we “idealize” a person, who we think sounds great on paper. In real life, we fail to genuinely connect with them, heart to heart, because we think we connected with them in our minds. That is extremely toxic and detrimental to ANY relationship, whether it is platonic or romantic. The funny thing, is though, we do not have a habit of doing these things in platonic relationships. So why do we do it in romantic relationships?

  1. You are genuinely ready to share your life with others & let others into your life

After being so intimately involved with someone for a length of time (it can be 1 year, 2 years, 6 years), there may be a period right after the breakup where you need to recharge yourself. For X amount of months you were dating someone, you were devoting your time and energy to support someone else. You may not have treated yourself with the utmost priority. It is during the time, right after a breakup, where we must spend time doing the things that nurture us as individuals. Everybody moves on at their own pace. Some people begin picking up the pieces before the relationship is truly over, some people like to do the whole get shit-faced for 2 months, mope, skip work, be alone thing before they are ready to move on, and even then, they never truly get over the break up until months down the road.

When you feel that you have established a routine, that you are trying new things, and creating an interesting life for YOURSELF, the irony is that other people want to hang out with you! When you try to make your life interesting because you think other people will be into that, people will be able to see through you as a fake person who is doing all these interesting activities because s/he wants to appear interesting, not because s/he is.

We all should take the time to invest in ourselves to create a genuine person: who is warm, kind, gentle, caring, optimistic, and open. When we reach a place for that ourselves, then that is when other people want to be with us, and want to be a part of our lives.

  1. You are ready to meet new people for the sake of solely meeting & getting to know them

Not date them.

  1. You do not feel pressured to connect with them at the expense of losing who you are as a person

I know whenever I think I’m ready to meet someone (when I’m not), my desire to please him is great. I want to show him I am interested in all the things he is interested in (rather than simply showing him I’m open to trying new things), to prove that we are a “match” or good fit for each other. There is nothing wrong with being open to hiking every week or cooking, but there is something flawed about trying to force yourself to say, “Hey, I’m already this type of person,” even though we know we are not. For example, I’m open to practicing my cooking skills, but if I were to say I love spending all my free time in the kitchen, that is B.S… I am the type of person who rather spend my time eating than cooking, and I actually rather clean & wash dishes than prepare a meal.

  1. When you’re not looking for a relationship, but searching for the right person

The idea of labels or no labels, at its core, really shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that we are trying to find the right person for US. The right person should:

  1. WANT to be with you
  2. WANT to spend their time with you
  3. WON’T be flakey
  4. WANT to text and call you – you shouldn’t have to pin them down!!

There will always be people who may be great on paper: smart, handsome, educated, kind, shares the same religious and political beliefs as you, want the same end goals in life. BUT if they don’t want to spend their time with you, THEY ARE NOT THE RIGHT PERSON FOR YOU!! It’s useless trying to pin after them and try to change their mind. You will be UNSUCCESSFUL in convincing them to be with you in the long term!

They may want to be with you in the short term because it’s “easy” – after all, you’re already chasing after them – but the truth is that, they are ambivalent about you and you WON’T change their mind! They’ve already decided that they don’t want to be with you or they don’t see a future with you. Be with somebody who WANTS to be with you!

  1. When you can relinquish control

When you’re interested in someone, you have to relinquish control. You have to understand that whether or not they would be interested in you, whether or not they would text or call you back, whether or not they want to see you again…. You have NO control over any of that!

When you’re ready to admit that, and when you can relinquish control over these matters, then you may be ready (emotionally) to start dating again. If you’re still trying to FORCE them to call you, FORCE them to ask you out, FORCE them to text you back, FORCE them to even talk to you or to even remember you exist – you’re not ready, girlfriend. Why should you have to FORCE anybody to do anything??! See point #5 above. Dating should be fun, light-hearted, not too serious. It should be about TAKING the time to discover if you both want something more (or not, which is fine too).

Find peace with control.

We cannot control what other people do, we can only control our own actions. Practice treating everybody we come across with kindness, compassion, and empathy.

  1. But know that you know that YOU hold the key to your own future

You are responsible for your own happiness. There will be guys who want to play you, who will guilt you to seeing them again even though you know you don’t want to be with them, who omit information they know as important, but will write it off as “oh, didn’t know you would care.” There will be guys who are hot and cold, who text you whenever they are bored, who couldn’t care less whether they see again, but will see you if YOU do all the work and chasing.

The thing about these boys is that they will drive you crazy. They will make you question your sanity and neediness. They will make you feel guilty and upset, they will make you feel sad and insecure. There will always be boys and girls like that. BUT the key difference is that YOU are YOU. Even if you can’t control their actions (point #6), you can control YOURS. You can choose to not let these types of people into your life who bring with them their negative vibes. You can do whatever YOU want. You are responsible for YOUR OWN HAPPINESS! Your own sense of self-worth and happiness will not come from anyone other than YOU! So make yourself happy.

Things I want to ask

There are many questions I want to ask, like, how have you been? Are you eating well?

Are you sleeping ok? Have you been taking care of yourself?

Do you still go to the gym in the mornings, waking up at 4:30?

Are you spending the nights playing video games, and enjoying your time with your roommates?

Are you still the one always taking out the trash?

Have you been cleaning the bathroom?

Have these nights still been too hot for you? Are you turning on the A/C or fan?

Did your nieces and nephews like their presents?

Have you finally set up your desktop computer?

I want to ask you all these things because I still care about your well-being. Even though we weren’t compatible as a couple, I hope one day we can still be friends.

How to remain sane when everything is changing

As 2017 is nearing to a close, and I look back on all my goals from the beginning of the year, I realize how much I’ve changed. Some things are still the same – for example, fitness is still a priority though I did put it on the back burner for 80% of the year – but some things have changed. When I was 20-21, one of the biggest goals I had for myself was buying a house by the time I turned 25. Though I am still 2 years away, I realize somewhere along the way, that was not an immediate priority of mine. Although I do want to own a house one day, I also want to live a life of adventures. I want to be able to create stories, which will ultimately dictate where my paycheck flows.

When I turned 23, a sense of restlessness awoke. I wanted to see everything, learn everything, experience everything. Keep in mind, these experiences turned out to be uncomfortable.

There are still nights I wonder why did I want to throw away the easy, “perfect” life I had, living out in the quiet and safe suburb just to experience new things “in the city”? Why did I feel like I was missing out on life and common experiences? I knew in my gut that I was still a child in some respects. I’ve been sheltered all my life, from being taken care by my mom, then being taken care of by K. I never really knew how to take care of myself because people were always taking care of me. And I knew that they did it out of love, but I also didn’t know whether I would be ok if one day, everything changed.

And it did, but I brought it on myself.

So here are the things I’m discovering as I navigate my way to finding and “re-finding” myself:

  1. Find your happy place
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The gym had always been my happy place, and it began years ago without any influence from anyone. To think that years ago, I didn’t even KNOW what people wore to the gym! I wore some denim cut offs my very first time to a real “gym” because they were the only pair of shorts I owned. Now years later, I can say it has honestly been the one thing that has been constant source of happiness and excitement in my life. I have actually met people whom I later became friends with, at the gym, and I have also became better friends with at least 1000 people because we share an interest for the active lifestyle.

Gym has made me realize how small and minute some things I worry about are, but it has also instilled in me perseverance and discipline. When I started going to the gym, I was so overwhelmed and intimidated by the idea that people there will judge me. That they will think that I am weak or why is a girl lifting? And I learned, that who cares? To be honest, everybody at the gym is there to better themselves, and they could care less about what you do. But it has also taught me that the only opinion which matters, especially at the gym, is my own. I don’t need to be afraid to do things I want to do because I don’t want others to think negatively of me.

I may not have my dream body right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever get there. To get there, though, I need to keep trying, and no matter how small my progress may be – or how short my workout sessions are (even if I could only afford to spend 30 min. at the gym because I overbooked my day), I realize that the importance is really just showing up.

  1. Just show up

Which brings me to the next point: just show up. By making an attempt, no matter how small, I am opening myself up to new opportunities. It’s hard to be welcoming of new or foreign things, especially when we think we know we won’t like it and when we’re at a point in our life where we’re “comfortable with the way things are”, but it’s so much more difficult to stay close-minded about all the positive things we may gain from these unfamiliar experiences.

  1. Stop living out of boxes



The very first thing to do when you are lost is to remove yourself from the situation, physically.

The midst of the chaos of moving, though, is that we start to just ignore things that will ultimately benefit us. One of those things for me is living out of boxes. I am dreading having to go through my things which I have accumulated through the years, but I also know it be very beneficial to do so. There are some things that I wish to donate and others which I should toss. Right now, I do not even know what I have because I have so many things.


  1. Keep your routine

When things are changing at an alarming speed, it may be hard to stay up with your normal routine. You are thrown off balance from just trying to keep your head out of “water.” It may be difficult to continue treading on top of the million and one things already on your calendar. But, it is during these times that it is essential to keep your routine as much as possible. My old routine was to go to the gym after work, eat dinner, then go to bed. Then for a while, I stopped going to the gym because the new gym was too inconvenient. In hindsight, I realize how stupid it was, especially if we’re going back to #1 (Find your happy place). So for a while, I was angry at myself for not doing what ultimately made me happy, but at that time, it was a worthwhile sacrifice because I wanted to spend as much time I could with K. Driving 1 hour each way for my commute was already hellish, as sitting in Hawaii traffic for 2 hours can even bring out madness in the calmest of people. It took me a long time to reevaluate my priorities (#8), and to finally convince myself that my own sanity was what I needed to focus on (#7).

  1. Meditate and find peace in the quiet

The part I still need to get used to living by myself is coming home to an empty, quiet house, and being at peace with the fact that nobody else will be coming through the door after me. It still spooks me to some extent because I’ve only had the apartment for a week and it does not yet feel like a home. I recognize what it means to be “lonely”. It is a superficial type of loneliness though, just a void I feel at night, because no one can be by my side 24/7. But I know I am surrounded by very loving friends who have given me emotional support and are willing to answer my calls and texts at 12 a.m, haha.

At the same time, it is also peaceful. Since my life is at chaotic point right now “running” my household, staying on top of the gym, opening myself to learning all the things I wanted to do, but never got around to:

  1. Surfing
  2. Cooking
  3. Riding a bike

It’s nice to be surrounded by serenity. I don’t know if this is a living situation I want to stay in; I miss the overall presence of people and just the company in general, so after this stunt by myself, I will look into rooming with other people. But it is nice to have this moment to myself, and to just use this time to be as anti-social as I want.

  1. Take steps forward

I am a decision-maker but also a decision-muller. More often than not, after I had made a decision that I know is right for me in my gut, I regret the decision I chose for myself because I tend to live in the past. I made a decision, but I seem to be unable to live with it.

But no matter what the past was, it is a past. The only thing we can do is acknowledge that we did what we thought was best for us at the time, given the information we knew. They say hindsight is 20-20. So when I look into these things in hindsight, maybe this decision is wrong for me, maybe it is right, I do not know. But I know I do things based on the feelings I feel right now, and for me, this decision is right for me right now. I shall no longer keep looking at the past, because the only action I can take are steps forward.

  1. Refocus on things you value in yourself

The shittiest feeling in the world in heartbreak. The thing about heartbreak is that it hurts like fuck. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of heartbreak, regardless of whatever caused it, you realize you never want anyone else to go through those feelings – not the stranger on the street, not your grandma, not even on an enemy or someone who you don’t really like. But, is heartbreak worse than forever living in unhappiness over a what if? So, even if I thought I valued “niceness” in myself, I do not think I stomach these feelings of unease forever.

As selfish as I may be, I value my own happiness, and I am sure everyone else does too. No matter, trying to make someone happy, or succumbing to the guilt you feel, is not a way to live your whole life. For a while, I knew I already felt these feelings, but my actions so far were because I was 1) so afraid to stand on my own, and 2) feeling guilty that I was ruining someone’s life that I forgot to even think about my happiness and my wants – I wanted to engage in the charade a little longer.

The things I value in myself:

  1. Confidence
  2. Playfulness/silliness
  3. Open-mindedness
  4. Good listener
  5. A story-teller
  6. Reevaluate goals and wants

Like spring cleaning, it is extremely refreshing to take this time to reevaluate yourself, your own goals, and wants. It has to be something that you want for yourself – and not something someone else wants of you. Definitely not something other people want for themselves that may involve you. It’s difficult to think about your own goals, because sometimes what we want may be influenced by other people. The only way to get a clear understanding of your own desires is to give physical distance and time away – just for yourself to understand, is this truly, truly what I want? And if not, then what is? What are the goals I have for myself, and for my future?

What are the necessary steps I need to take in order to get me there?

  1. Make progress

Similar to #6, but also its own topic. Making progress means to identify things that are important to you (#8) and take steps to achieve them. These goals can be performance based (run a 10 minute mile, break a PR), or within thyself (#7, be more kind, be more open, handle rejection better), and it is important to track those. Understand that the only thing that can help you is time, and constant effort to improve. And we’ll make mistakes along the way, break relationships, ruin opportunities, but it will always be a state of constant self-improvement which we must reflect upon.

  1. Don’t make rash decisions

When we’re emotional, we tend to make rash decisions which may come from our fight or flight evolutionary biology. However making rash decisions will only further the pain and regret process. It’s hard not to make a rash decision when we think “we’re following our gut.” The difference between making a (rash) decision and making a decision is to consider how well we are making decisions based on things we know for certain. Good leaders are those who can make a decision based on known quantifiable facts, and lead a company through hard times. They are good at making decisions and standing by their beliefs.

  1. Stop saying things you don’t mean

When we are angry or emotional, we may say things we don’t mean. Things like “I hate you” or “don’t contact me again”, or “I’ll never call you again.” When we may not really mean it. I know I have a habit of saying those things over and over, but I’m making an attempt of resolving the problem. I want to stop saying those things because I know it is hurtful to other people on the receiving end. When we are saying those things out of spite, and we forget that sometimes the things that hurt the most are words. In summary, if you think you’ll regret saying something when emotions have cooled, better to hold your tongue.

  1. Recognize that a change is a change, and will take some getting used to

There are lists I still make of things I miss about old life. Included are things like: cuddles, random kisses, emotional availability, someone to be silly with, security, and did I say random kisses and cuddles? One day, I might be able to stop making them. There are also things I don’t miss too, like the roller coaster of emotions, the fluctuating sadness and anger, the differing goals for the future, and the sexual incompatibility that made it a bad match in the long term. Despite it all, I miss having a best friend who I could snuggle with at the end of the day, who would rub my back and plant kisses on my forehead when I was having a rough day, someone who would spontaneously eat lunch and dinner with me, and who didn’t mind having a “second dinner” when I couldn’t finish my food. Living this new life does take some getting used to, but I want to keep looking ahead at all the opportunities that are waiting for me ahead.

  1. Accept that some nights will be easier than others

I have learned to accept that there are nights where it goes by easier than others. Some nights, I am so busy with cleaning house, doing laundry, going to the gym, etc. that the time goes by so fast and I barely have any time to think before I K.O on the bed. There are also nights where time goes by slowly. I don’t have internet at the apartment yet, and I don’t have a T.V. I miss watching Netflix. I miss cuddling up, I miss just talking about our days, and just lazing off on a couch. I miss splitting the chores – you cook, I wash the dishes, you put the laundry in the wash, I fold, and so on.

  1. Spend time for yourself

The thing is, I don’t want to spend time by myself anymore. I want to share my time with people. The self-destructing thing is, sometimes it is with people I care about (which is good), and sometimes it is with people who I barely know (which is bad). Sometimes, I think that these people who I barely know want to spend time to get to know me as a person, and I recognize how naïve this idea can be. There are some people out there, whose sole intention is to have fun – which I’m not disrespecting, but that is not my idea of fun.

It is a bit difficult to accept that I do need this time alone, just to clear my head, and learn to be independent. I certainly do miss the companionship that comes with being in a relationship, but I want to be looking at something sustainable long term, not just short term consolation.


There is nothing world shattering about being a Valedictorian

Have you ever wondered what happened to school Valedictorians later in life?

Well, research shows, not much.

It makes sense. Being a Valedictorian is about order. It is about diligence, and a great ability to follow rules. It is about sticking to the tried and true, and following the safest path. While that path will definitely lead to various modes of success, these traits that make Valedictorians who they are are not the traits of “visionaries.” Not the traits of risk seekers, of those who have enough confidence to venture out on their own.

The average GPA of 700+ millionaires who participated in the study averaged a GPA of 2.9. College GPA and future subsequent success have no correlation to one’s college GPA.

Coming from someone who graduated with a 3.7 in high school AND college – and with the distinction of my department’s class marshal, this research is extremely… bittersweet. As a first generation American, and the first in my family to graduate college, school was all I had been trained for.

Countless hours poured over studying, at the instance of my mother. Eventually, though, my desire for academic achievement was driven nothing but my own discipline and momentum. Now that I’ve been out of college for six months, I realized that perhaps my pursuit and priorities were… not in the exact order.

One thing I wished I spent more time in college doing was spending time developing myself personally and spiritually. I wished I spent more time hanging out with friends, taking a few exercise classes at the gym (they were free!), and enjoying my college experience.


The 2017 Change

2016 has been apparently a big year for the world. The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, the UK voted to leave the EU, and Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States.

In 2017, I got a full time job as a Project Engineer – an entry level position – at a construction consultancy. However, there are some goals I want to accomplish this year that I feel will lead me to more personal growth

1. Workout more

Getting back into the mindset is extremely difficult. After being on my feet 8-10 hours a day at work walking the field, running around, I am exhausted. And more than not, I’ve succumbed to the mindset of, “Not today – just too tired. Maybe tomorrow.” To me that has to stop now. It’s a Catch 22. I feel awful because I am not working out and I am not working out because I feel awful.

I want to look better, more full figured – not the body type of a stick 😦 And I want a stronger immune system.

I want to get my eczema under control too.

2. Be more present in the present

This year, I am making a vow to be more in the present, of being less distracted with my “phone” and being more present for person to person conversations.

3. Be more productive 

I want to be more productive. Learn more skills. Watch less TV. Stop browsing the internet so mindlessly. Be more engaged in the type of work I am doing, and consistently pushing myself to be better.

After college, I had big plans. Like “oh, I’ll do this and this after college when I have more time.” Senior year beat my ass. However, that is not a good way to think about things because our lives will always be filled with so many various activities – if not this, it’ll be that. So we can only work to be the best version of ourselves.

Counting Blessings

After 4 (and 1/2) years of school, guess who can say she graduated college!!


That’s me 🙂 In 10, 20, 40 years, I have no idea where I’ll be with a Bachelors of Environmental Design degree… but hey, I’ve learned to live life in the moment. It’s hard to predict the speed at which society is changing… technology will change… people will change… values will change. The point is, nothing will stay the same, so for me, it is difficult to say with absolutely certainty that “I will become an architect” or “I will do ________.”

I like to think I am open minded about these things, but flexibility can be mistaken for lost, as some may view me as not having any defined, really clear goals. However, I do have a purpose, and my purpose is this: to live the life I want to live, to put my soul into everything I set my mind to, to always be improving, bettering myself, pushing myself to my limits, and discovering what, and all that I can be capable of.

I can say with absolute certainty that I am so so so extremelyt fortunate to say I’ve graduated college with no debt. Looking back at my decision, I do not regret it one bit. Hawaii is a small place, and many who’ve grown up here all their lives want to explore adventures elsewhere. I was one of those kids. Senior year of high school – even freshmen year of college – I yearned to experience the “mainland college experience” many of my friends got to experience.

In the end, I chose to attend my public state school due to financial reasons, and I opened my heart to give the school another chance. I am so glad I did, because I would have never otherwise met the incredible people I did.




All journeys start with a purpose, and many purposes inevitably change with time. Once many moons ago, I started on a journey to become an engineer, and came out with a background in architecture.

Idea: Curriculum is More Important than School Rank

When I was a senior in high school, I was so so so obsessed with the idea of school rank. I thought the rank of my choice of school was a testament to how smart I was, and how much potential I had in life. Upon further reflection, I realize how naive that assumption is. A school rank is merely just a number of how well certain jurors felt it ranked based on a list of criteria. It satisfies the needs of parents and students alike and gives them a sense of what they “should” desire.

More importantly, I think, is the idea that the curriculum of a school is more important than the prestige that is associated with a certain school name. The curriculum of a school will invariably shape the character, beliefs, and ideologies of the student.

I am seeing this now more than ever, especially in schools of architecture that have had influences from  very influential figure(s) during its history. The three most prominent examples that come to mind are Auburn University’s Rural Studio, Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, and Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology.

Therefore, this is a statement and a wish for myself, and for others, when deciding whether to attend or enroll in a certain school, be sure to check its syllabus and curriculum to decide if the mandatory and supplemental courses offered are in line with what you perceive is required or helpful to succeed in the 21st century.

Taking a Leap of Faith

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to say I am thankful for many things, among of which are:

  1. the health of my parents
  2. the health of Kevin
  3. being able to attend college (graduating Dec. 2016!!)
  4. having a job I love

Number 4 brings me to another point about risk. I was recently informed that my current employer is not looking to hire any additional employees until more projects come in. I was hired on as an hourly employee, and was interested in staying with my current employer and being brought on as a full time salaried employee after graduation.

I understand this is a financial decision for the company. As an hourly employee, I will be making $20 x 40 x 52= $41,600/year, but the hope is that new projects will be brought in early 2017, so I will only have to stay on as an hourly employee for 2 months longer. However, because these projects are still in the air with no contract signed, I feel that it will be a considerable risk I will be taking, as other companies are looking to hire now.

What if these projects do not materialize? I am still considering all my options. The only thing I can say for sure is that I really enjoyed my time at the company.


Community vs. NIMBY-ism

I tend to shy away from politically-charged opinions, but after seeing a post on my Facebook newsfeed recently, I felt so passionate about this topic that I thought I should write this down so I can have a memory and record of my political beliefs at 22. It might be interesting to see how it can change when I’m 32, or 42, or 62.

In short, there is a Facebook group called My Kailua, which is run by residents of this small, beach town with high property values. This FB group purports to be about touting community, but IN MY OPINION, it is one of the most exclusive groups meant to hate on “non-locals” for commercializing “THEIR” town! They hate on every single media mention of Kailua because many of the members of that Facebook group think it will destroy “their” Kailua – evident by their use of “MY Kailua.” Of course, the group is sometimes used as a medium to report community news, like missing persons or items. However, generally, the posts expressing the opinions of their founders are very negative of the ‘paradise’ attention that THEIR Kailua is getting.

This was the post which I saw, which is really the reason of this post:


Word for word:

The Branding & Marketing of My Kailua 👎

Jesssica lost 38lbs, Eric lost 39lbs… And we’ve lost our sense of community thanks to the commercialization and exploitation of our residential family neighborhoods. 

And all I can say, is really? Keep in mind that this weight loss ad has NO mention of the place where it was filmed. And so, it begs the question, why so much hate? The founder of the group is, well, ethnically white. So to him, what is “local”? His ancestors who ultimately lived in Kailua before him were, to what extent, “local”? Because in Hawaii, the only true “locals” were the Native Hawaiians.

And how long can you preserve this closed-minded idea of WHO Kailua should be for? Though your neighborhood is a “beach”, it is a PUBLIC beach. I do not see any “aloha” in that group, except toward other Kailua residents.

Lastly, just as those founders are expressing their freedom of speech, I am as well.