The New York Transplant

This has already been quite an adventure. It’s only been two months, but I have to say that it is amazing to be back on the east coast. I really missed it. New York City is so alive! The sights, the sounds the smells… I have had a little sensory overload, but I am slowly getting used to it.

I’m currently staying with my Aunt JoAnne in Edison, NJ. She’s lives in a duplex in a really nice neighborhood. The building is split down the middle, so she has two floors and a basement. I’m currently staying in the basement, which is a little dark, but actually has a lot of room. When I got here, I bought a great TV to use as a computer monitor from someone my cousin knows. I also purchased a piano for myself, the new Casio Privia PX-5S, along with monitor speakers for it.

It is really nice to be living with family up here, because I really only saw them during holiday breaks when I was in college. Now, I get to spend time with them when I’m not in the city. I also haven’t had to look for an apartment or a job just yet, so it’s given me the freedom to go to auditions and just get used to the area.

I currently walk about 1.4 miles to Metuchen Station, which takes about 30 minutes. The walk is simple and pleasant, and I see it as one way for me to get my exercise in. The area is quaint, and a lot of the sidewalk is under tree cover, so midday walks are not too bad once I get in the shade. The train is often quite busy, as it travels through Newark Airport and Secaucus Junction. Luckily there are quite a number of express trains during rush hours.

My commute into the city can be a little bit of a pain sometimes, especially when I have to get up early. But being able to focus on auditioning and not having to work right now makes it worth it in the end. I also find that the walk gives me time to think and to work on material, like my songs and my monologues.

I am usually carrying the two backpacks that Kathy gave me. One contains my audition folder, and my iPod with my practice tracks on them. The other contains my dance clothes (should I need them for an audition), food, umbrella and water. I try to be as prepared as I can when going into the city, since I’m usually in for the whole day.

I decided to buy an iPad because it’s far more portable than my Macbook; this way I am able to get some work done on the train or in the city. The NJ Transit train can take about 45-55 minutes to get to NY Penn Station, so I am either trying to work or taking a nap. NJ Transit also uses Amtrak’s tracks, so sometimes we get delays because of congestion or disabled trains.

NY Penn Station is right between 31st-33rd Street and 7th-8th Avenue. This puts me right within walking distance to many of the studios where auditions take place. If I need to go further, I take the MTA (subway). My average travel time is about 2 hours total. Many auditions start at 10 AM, and arriving 1-2 hours before to sign up is ideal (or I’ll be waiting much longer, and might not even be seen). If you do the math, you can see that I have to get up VERY early. I currently try to get up around 6-6:30 AM.

Becoming a morning person again has been difficult; my brain is most active at night! Since I don’t get home until the early evening, I don’t have much time to take care of things and have time to unwind. It also doesn’t help that Hawaii is six hours behind, because I have the tendency to stay up late if I am talking to people at home. Over time, I think that it will get easier though.

I have had to do a lot of preparatory work since getting here. Sometimes I feel behind, but I just trying to push forward and get ready whatever I can. I need to remind myself that this is not a race; things will happen in time. So far, I have completed the following:

  • Prepare my headshots, with two options (thanks to Leah Wilson)
  • Prepare my resumes (theatrical, professional, and other work)
  • Prepare my audition folder (pick and prepare songs)
  • Prepare my monologues
  • Print business cards
  • Set up an online presence (website, Backstage, social media)

It took a lot of time to get my resumes completed, and then I had to pare it down to the single page. I have prepared some audition material, but I’m always trying to find more songs and monologues that I really connect with. I also have to consider age and type too.

I think that having a website and being active on social networks is also a necessity in this day and age. It allows people to look me up right on their laptop/phone if they want to see more of what I’ve done in the past. This is extremely helpful when I submit for appointments and maybe even in the casting room.

The fact that I was able to complete most of this in two months and still get to auditions fills me with a sense of accomplishment. There are always improvements to be done, but I can’t let it stop me from getting out to all the auditions I can. The more practice I get, the easier it’ll get and the more comfortable I will feel.

The next step is to get posting on my blog! Keep your eyes out for notifications on social networks. I have a few posts already in the works. I plan for the next one to be about auditions. Leave any questions for me in the comments below, and I can do by best to answer them!

Default image
Pedro Kaʻawaloa
Pedro Ka'awaloa has a BA in Music from Harvard University. He is a professional performer and music director, as well as a choir conductor, pianist, musician, teacher, and composer. Pedro is also a fitness and mindfulness enthusiast.


  1. Thanks for this glimpse into your new life. Sounds exhausting, but you have always packed your life with lots of work and fulfillment. Good for you!

    • Moving quickly is always exhausting, but I am working on realizing my dreams. It will all pay off in the end. Thank you for your support, as always, Ruth. I have always loved your positivity!

  2. So proud of you and all you have accomplished! IMUA! <3

    • Thank you, Suzi. None of this is fruitless; it will all pay off. This has been a fabulous new chapter in my life! <3

Leave a Reply