From the age of five, I remember dreaming of living on a tropical island. I would draw pictures of myself dancing in a hula skirt with water and palm trees in the background and sometimes as a mermaid in the ocean. I don’t know where I came up with this idea since I had never been to an island. I lived in the heart of the city in Washington, D.C. surrounded by buildings and concrete playgrounds. Yet, I would draw the same images over and over again, sometimes on paper and other times with colored chalk on the sidewalk. Perhaps the craving for the tropics was in my blood since my father was born in the Philippines, a country comprised of 7,002 idyllic islands.