Thursday, March 4, 2010

Without Breath, Learning to Breathe...

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello.

A folk etymology claims that Aloha derives from a compound of the Hawaiian words ALO meaning "presence", "front", "face", or "share"; and HA, meaning "breath of life" or "essence of life."

In ancient times Hawaiians greeted each other by touching each other at the bridge of the nose (honi) therefore "experiencing and exchanging the breath of life". This is very honorific as this represents the exchange of ha--the breath of life, and mana--spiritual power between two people.

The coming of the foreigner and the hand shake, in place of the honi, as a greeting created the word "ha 'ole" meaning "breathless."

Life in paradise is good! I have been in Oahu now for 1 month and 15 days. As usual I have not wasted any time jumping "head first" into life here. My job is going well. I am learning a lot about the importance of agriculture in Hawaii, as my boss is the chairman of the House of Representative's Agriculture committee. I also received my first pay check in 3 years, it has been a long time since I filled out a checking deposit form.

Her and I have been venturing around the island having a blast. We have been surfing at diamond head and Waikiki, took a stand-up paddle board to Kaneohe Sandbar, ate poke (cubed Ahi tuna sashimi marinated with Hawaiian sea salt, a small amount of soy sauce, inamona, some sesame oil, limukohu seaweed, and chopped Hawaiian chili pepper) and drank tall boys of Heineken in heaven, enjoyed a sun set at the blow hole, spent love day on a stay-vation (a vacation in the area where you live) at the Moana Surf rider in Waikiki, watch the fire work show from Waikiki on Fridays at 8.00 p.m. from our balcony, strengthening my yoga practice with plenty down dogs, warrior A poses & Savasana adjustments and waited out a tsunami warning with brownies, tofu curry and carrot cake with no tsunami ever arriving.

A parting shot...

All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity."
- Robert F. Kennedy

Aloha, with breath and essence of life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


What a year 2010 has already been! From Bucharest to Morocco, to Madrid, back to Bucharest, to Michigan and finally to Honolulu, Hawaii. That was my itinerary from December 26, 2009 through January 13, 2010. There are 12,718 Kilometers, 7,903 miles and 6,867 nautical miles between Bucharest and Honolulu. I made the move across the world out of Love, curiosity, the spirit of living life to the fullest and the passion to shake up the world.

It was an interesting feeling leaving Romania. Back in 2007, when I arrived there, every thing was so new and foreign, never in my mind did I ever think that one day my life in Romania would become my constant, my steady, my home. It did and I look back on my time there with great pride, full of fond memories and a warm smile. Words cannot describe what I experienced over the past 35 months, but what I can say is that they were life changing, humbling, daunting at times but more than anything inspiring.

I was in Michigan just for a quick second. Despite my short stay it was great to be back at my original home with family. I unpacked my bags one day and started repacking them the next, only this time the wool sweaters and long johns stayed in the closet.

I have only been in Honolulu for 6 days but I am loving it. Life moves at a much more relaxed pace, the people are friendly and take time to say "good morning" to strangers and things like the sun set seem to be much more than just another sun set. Each and every morning I wipe away the sleep from my eyes to the stunning panoramic view of downtown Honolulu and Waikiki beach. I have started work at the Hawaii State Capital and am looking forward to all the new experiences it will have in store for me as this session's calendar progresses.

The real reason for moving half way across the world...Her. After spending the last 6 months of seeing each other for 6 days here, 2 weeks there, skype dates each morning and evening, here we are "better together" in Honolulu.


There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing But I can try for your heart,
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
like a shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart, like Why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together...

- Jack Johnson

Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy 2010! Morocco is a beautiful country with a very unique culture and such an amazing and ever changing landscape. Cruising the streets of Casablanca snacking on freshly steemed chick peas, dodging the endless flow of scooters in the narrow streets of Marrakech's madina, getting lost in the beauty of the Atlas mountains and Sahara desert as its beauty changed by the kilometer, bringing in 2010 directly under a full blue moon, watching the sun slip away behind the Atlantic on a sea wall in Essaouira...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Bucharest!

Dragi prieteni,

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a Happy New Year!

I am currently in Bucharest, Romania watching the snow melt away that accumulated over the past week or so....there still will be enough around to make it a white Christmas. This holiday season will mark another great adventure for me. December 26th Brynne (a special heart & soul) and I will meet in Casablanca, Morocco for a 10 day journey exploring the bazaars of Marrakesh & Casablanca, the sea side of Essaouira and the highlight of the trip...bringing in 2010 under a full moon in the middle of the Sahara desert while on a 3 day desert excursion, treking on the backs of camels, sleeping under the stars and eating authentic Berber cuisine!

I feel the winds of change beginning to blow as that familiar restless feeling gets stronger and stronger. As is the case of the future, 2010 is uncertain but one thing I can say is that it will be full of new adventures, journeys & changes...all of which I patiently await and am ready to embrace with open arms!

Much Love & SUTW

Alex :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Something to think about...

December 1, 2009
New York Times

Well In Month of Giving, a Healthy Reward

When Cami Walker of Los Angeles learned three years ago that she had multiple sclerosis, her health and her spirits plummeted — until she got an unusual prescription from a holistic health educator.

Ms. Walker, now 36, scribbled the idea in her journal. And though she dismissed it at first, after weeks of fatigue, insomnia, pain and preoccupation with her symptoms, she decided to give it a try. The treatment and her experience with it are summed up in the title of her new book, “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” (Da Capo Press).

Ms. Walker gave a gift a day for 29 days — things like making supportive phone calls or saving a piece of chocolate cake for her husband. The giving didn’t cure her multiple sclerosis, of course. But it seems to have had a startling effect on her ability to cope with it. She is more mobile and less dependent on pain medication. The flare-ups that routinely sent her to the emergency room have stopped, and scans show that her disease has stopped progressing.

“My first reaction was that I thought it was an insane idea,” Ms. Walker said. “But it has given me a more positive outlook on life. It’s about stepping outside of your own story long enough to make a connection with someone else.”

And science appears to back her up. “There’s no question that it gives life a greater meaning when we make this kind of shift in the direction of others and get away from our own self-preoccupation and problems,” said Stephen G. Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University on Long Island and a co-author of “Why Good Things Happen to Good People” (Broadway, 2007). “But it also seems to be the case that there is an underlying biology involved in all this.”

An array of studies have documented this effect. In one, a 2002 Boston College study, researchers found that patients with chronic pain fared better when they counseled other pain patients, experiencing less depression, intense pain and disability.

Another study, at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, Calif., also found a strong benefit to volunteerism, and after controlling for a number of variables, showed that elderly people who volunteered for more than four hours a week were 44 percent less likely to die during the study period.

How giving can lead to mental and physical changes in health isn’t entirely clear, although studies suggest that altruism may be an antidote to stress. A Miami study of patients with H.I.V. found that those with strong altruistic characteristics had lower levels of stress hormones.

By contrast, being self-centered may be damaging to health. In one study of 150 heart patients, researchers found that people in the study who had more “self-references” (those who talked about themselves at length or used more first-person pronouns) had more severe heart disease and did worse on treadmill tests.

And like Ms. Walker, numerous people have reported feeling better after helping others. A 1988 Psychology Today article dubbed the effect the “helper’s high.” Analyzing two separate surveys of a total of 3,200 women who regularly volunteered, the article described a physical response from volunteering, similar to the results of vigorous exercise or meditation. The strongest effect was seen when the act of altruism involved direct contact with other people.

For Ms. Walker, a former creative director for an advertising agency, most of the gifts involved time, emotional support or small acts of kindness. After the first 29 days, she began a new cycle, a pattern she continues. Neither she nor Mbali Creazzo, the spiritual adviser who taught her about the month of giving, knows why it is 29 days rather than 30 or 31 — it may have something to do with the lunar cycle, which is 29.5 days.

Ms. Walker says she now approaches daily giving as a crucial part of her treatment, just like regular medication. She has also found new purpose in her experience and started a Web site,, that encourages giving to improve health.

“Giving for 29 days is not suggested as a cure for anything,” Ms. Walker said. “It’s simply a coping mechanism and a simple tool you can use that can help you change your thinking about whatever is going on. If you change your thinking, you change your experience.”

Dr. Post, of Stony Brook, agreed. “To rid yourself of negative emotional states,” he said, “you need to push them aside with positive emotional states.

“And the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Back in Bucharest, working off jet lag, trying to get back in the swing of things Romanian style and again working off jet lag…coming back east of the Atlantic always hits me harder than going the other way. I had an excellent month of October 2009! I returned home to the USA and Grand Blanc, Michigan for the first time in nearly 2 years.


The feeling of seeing my family at the airport on the evening of October 1st was something I cannot describe. Granted we talk on the phone every Sunday afternoon, but there is nothing like the real thing! Within the first week of my return my family and I all ventured out to the city of sin, Las Vegas for some sunshine, gambling and good times. We all had a such a great time out there enjoying the warmer weather, the pool, the food, the atmosphere all that a city like Vegas has to offer. It was the first time in a long time we all as a family were together on a vacation, it was nice for everyone to get a little break from Michigan. As much as I love Romania, there is no place like home. Sleeping in my own bed, reading the New York Times in my dads recliner (one of the most comfortable chairs around), sipping on a Starbuck cappuccino at the breakfast table with my Mom & Dad discussing life everything from little things to really big things, joking around with my brother the only way the Kuch boys can, going on shopping expeditions with my sister, 2 year old niece and Mom on a Saturday afternoon like in the old days, reading a book to my niece with her in my lap absorbing everything like sponge and full of innocence, having family pizza night at my sister & brother-in-laws house, Saturday morning breakfast at the Big Boy in town, celebrating my 28th birthday with a cake, candles & cupcakes…all the little things of just being home.

Friends and So Much More:

Out in Vegas, I was able to reconnect with my buddies Adam, who flew in from L.A. for the weekend and Fever, who lives in Vegas (the reason why we went to Vegas in the first place.) It was great catching up, picking up right where we left off. Fever has actually visited me in Romania, in the village for the last two years, so it was a change to see him without horlinka flowing like water. Where as I have not seen Adam since the last time I was state side, which was December 2007. Days were spent by the pool with my family, Tecate, turkey club sandwiches & fruit plates, nights at Playboy Club and Club Moon with way too much Patron…it was great to get the band back together and have some fun. As if Vegas could not get any better, Brynne, who is such a beautiful soul & woman and very special to me, made a trek from Hawaii to sin city to hang out. It was her first time in Vegas. So despite making our rounds to most of the casinos on the strip we also had a night on the town with Fever up at the Playboy club and club Moon at the Palms. We were also able to catch Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” at the Mirage, a celebration of The Beatles, which was spectacular! In Michigan I was able to also catch up with quite of few friends who I had not seen since my adventures to Romania…there was a lot of talk about up coming weddings, jobs and the good ol’ days etc., which is all pretty standard since we are all approaching our late 20’s and these are things people talk about when their in their late 20’s I suppose. Then towards the end of October, I also made a quick two-day trip out to New York City, and absolutely magical city. It was 2 days of fun to say the least. Eating sushi while drinking sake bombs, open bars at private parties at the Bowery Hotel, brunch with bloody maries in the west village for 4 hours, New York Style pizza at 4 a.m. followed by chipotle burritos just a couple hours later for lunch…need I say more!

It is good to be back in Bucharest where I have a lot of work to catch up on between the two organizations. I was able to speak with my host family in the village a couple of times while state side, but my Romanian is still a bit rusty. So while I am brushing up on that and readapting to life in the big city of Bucharest…I am starting to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Thanksgiving will be spent back in the village, this time with Brynne as a special guest visitor. Then Christmas holiday off to Morocco to bring in the New Year Moroccan style!

To the journey! S.U.T.W

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1 year & 10 months

3:45 a.m. Bucharest Otopeni International 2 hours and 15 minutes my journey back to the States and more specifically to Grand Blanc, Michigan begins after 1 year & 10 Months abroad!

To the journeys...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain