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My name is Courtney and many moons ago I left my home in Hawaii to pursue a college education.

I am of Filipino and Japanese descent and both of my parents made incredible sacrifices for me to embark such a beautiful journey. My mom is a third generation Japanese American, whose mom (my grandma) was a Japanese/English translator during the start of WWII- an Era in Hawaii where it was no longer safe to be Japanese American.

My dad is a second generation Filipino American whose parents came to Hawaii to escape corruption in the Philipines. Hawaii had many job opportunities at the time. It was an island that became US territory and over the years, a tourist attraction that offered locals job opportunities. At the start of O’ahu’s industrialization “phase” (what I call it any way), construction workers were needed to lay concrete on Hawaii’s first strip mall known as Ala Moana. Today it is now the largest upscale mall and condominium complex in all of the Hawaiian islands. My Grandpa George and Grandma Carmen came to Oahu to find work and Grandpa George became a worker of the state to help build and construct the foundation for Ala Moana.

My grandparents on my mother’s side were raised in Hawaii, but their ancestors came to Hawaii to work in the sugar cane plantations in Maui, which they had to tend to after school as well.

My Grandma Aiko, (from my mom’s side) taught sewing lessons in their family home. My Grandpa Yukio worked in the sugar cane plantations for a long time, until he was able to save up enough money to eventually buy and own his own fish market. This fish market became an extremely popular and successful hub among the Kihe community and to this day, it is recognized as one of the most successful family owned markets among the local “old timers.” Noda Market was a treasured gem upon the community and it was my family’s legacy.

I take pride in my family heritage and I take a great deal of pride growing up in Hawai’i as most Hawaiians and Hawaii locals do. We are loyal beings, deeply rooted in our culture and everything I do is a tribute to the ancestors who came before me. Coconuts in the Bay is a blog on my journey outside of Hawaii. In every city, state and country, I will always remember who I am and where I came from.

I’m inspired by nature, architecture, and people.  You can usually find me in the sand chasing down a volleyball, or out in the world chasing light with my camera.