IMR: People: Jen

[ Jen ]  
Ozawa, Jennifer Anne Eno
Aliases: Kilinahe, Kitten, Doobie

I met my wife in January 1994 while attending UH-Hilo. After giving up her crush on a 40-year-old bald man, she decided I made for tolerable company. Our first outing -- though neither of us called it a date -- was to see the uplifting, romantic blockbuster, "Schindler's List."

Several equally odd movie choices later, and after spending a Spring Break pining for eachother from different islands, we were declared an item by mutual friends. The declaration was ratified shortly after midnight on April 1.

I all but moved into her room in the all-girls wing of the Hale Kanilehua dormitory for the remainder of that semester.

Jen, originally from Florida, had an appreciation for the islands that I never had -- spoiled as I was having lived here my whole life. Through her, I rediscovered how lucky I was to be in Hawai`i. Oddly enough, it was her one semester of Hawaiian language -- during which she was given the class name Kilinahe -- that sparked the hunger for cultural awareness that later inspired me to use my given Hawaiian name and study the language myself.

We developed an affinity for Hawaiian music, late night drives around Hilo, loco mocos at Ken's House of Pancakes, long drives to Hapuna Beach and $4.50 movies (albeit often bad movies).

We switched host dorms in the Fall, moving to my room in Hale Kehau, which we shared with my roommate, Manuel Pearsley, and his girlfriend, Joy Yamaguchi. Meanwhile, I was appointed editor of the UHH student newspaper, and it wasn't long before Jen was the office manager.

Nepotism at its finest.

In January 1995, Jen and I and our two roommates grew tired of sharing our bathroom with a Resident Adviser and moved into an apartment on Kapi`olani Street, just across the street from the campus. Many a feast of macaroni and cheese was had by all.

I moved back to O`ahu over the summer, having won the editor's seat at Ka Leo, the UH-Manoa daily. Jen and I weren't terribly happy living 500 miles apart. My great paychecks were swiftly consumed by airfare in flying her in to Honolulu nearly every other weekend.

She transferred to the Manoa campus in January 1996.

Her financial aid, unfortunately, didn't follow, and by the fall she was out of school. While Ka Leo sucked ruthlessly at my soul, she ended up working the midnight shift at the Tower Records on Ke`eaumoku.

Suffice it to say, things got a little shaky. 1997 started off on entirely the wrong foot, and after a ghastly series of unrelated trauma, we separated for several months.

Nonetheless, we still saw eachother often during that time, trying to sort out our feelings after three years together. Overtures were made for several weeks toward reconciliation, but things were cut short when she had to fly back to her parents' home in Florida over concerns about her father's health.

It was while there that she learned she was pregnant. Getting back together again was pretty much decided that day.

With the turmoil we'd seen in the preceding months, and the wondrous terror of becoming parents, Jen and I rediscovered ourselves and how right we were together. We were married in November.

Katie was born in January.

After a brief attempt at returning to work, and a subsequent battle over the Family and Medical Leave Act, Jen ultimately evolved into a wonderful stay-at-home mom. When Katie started going to preschool, Jen returned to retail at Liberty House (which later became Macy's). She returned to full-time motherhood, though, after becoming pregnant with our second child.

In June 2002, our first son Zachary was born. Alexander followed in August 2004. She's had her hands full ever since.


Although she strives to be a "local girl," she's held back by her stubborn refusal to accept the joy of Spam into her life. (She will, however, eat sushi.) She loves cheesy eighties music, hockey, and cooking shows.


Born 13 August 1972 in Jacksonville, Florida. Graduated from Lake Weir High School in 1990. First attended Central Florida Community College, transferred to UH-Hilo in Fall 1993 and then to UH Manoa in Spring 1996. The end of her financial aid forced her out of college a semester later. Sporadically employed by Tower Records and Macy's, she now stays home to raise our three kids.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 20 December 1997 · Last Modified: 22 March 2005