Celebrating Magnificence – Melanie Sue

Retired International Detective and Determined Student

Melanie Sue has set her sights on taking 100 classes during our two-month long Passport to Health Adventure! She wants to raise awareness and funds to Help the Girls. Since she joined Still & Moving Center in 2018, she has been one of our most dedicated students. Who is this determined woman with a mysterious past? Here’s her story:

The most interesting thing about me is my career in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The NCIS investigates any crime connected with the Navy, wherever it is in the world. I had always wanted to be a detective, during a time when I had three strikes against my being hired: I was female, Asian and short. And I still managed to get hired by the NCIS!

By the time I retired at the mandatory age of 57, I had 23 years of service under my belt, and I was one of only a handful of women with over 2 decades of experience in the NCIS. Things have changed a lot since I got hired years ago. They don’t realize it, but I paved the way for younger women to come. I helped “break the glass ceiling”. That’s what I am most proud of.

I liked this job because I could be anyone and do anything. I could interview an abused child in the morning then go to court in the afternoon to present evidence about a rapist, and buy drugs undercover at night. I met all kinds of people, lived in both Italy and Japan for years and have traveled to almost 40 countries.

I was more exposed to the negative side of human nature, and I needed to get together with my own family or friends to remind myself of what normal families were like. Now that I’ve become a ballroom dancer since retirement, I’m meeting loving husbands and wives who have been married and dancing together for 50 years! It amazes and tickles me.

The worst part of my job was being on call 24/7 – that’s why I don’t own a cell phone, TV or computer these days. I had virtually no personal life back then. I couldn’t buy a ticket to a concert because I would probably be called in for duty. I was always moving, so it was tough to make friends. I hardly ever celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family. The Navy did give us leave, but when emergency hit, we were called in anyway.

You could say I had to put public service above my personal life. And we had to be very ethical ourselves, had to be the role models in our positions. We couldn’t accept gifts – nothing more than a fruit basket – we had to be beyond suspicion ourselves.

I found dancing to be a great way to counter-balance my pretty heavy career life. I’ve been doing yoga since 1970. And I always danced for the joy of doing it, not to perform.

Wherever I traveled in the world, I would at least watch the dancing, such as very authentic neighborhood flamenco I saw in Spain. In Kenya on a safari I watched Masai warrior dancers challenge each other on how high they could jump!

In Japan, I belonged to a group of bon dancers who learned a very traditional style. We performed and got little gifts, such as an apple or peach. Once at the end of a performance I got all the bon dancers doing line dancing – so much fun! Oh – did you know that bon dance is a line dance?!?

I did a lot of line dancing all over the world for fun and exercise, and not just to country music. We danced to samba, waltz, cha-cha, all kinds. Sometimes line dance videos are in French; most routines come from Asian countries! It’s very international! I learned from trainers in many countries. I was able to learn by watching, regardless of what language they were teaching the dance in.

I love learning something new all the time and from all different cultures. That’s what I enjoy about Still & Moving Center. I’m attracted by the nice people, the novel, interesting practices you’re always introducing, the new teachers presenting things in a different way. I had always wanted to try Aerial and was attracted by the Aerial Yoga program at your 7th birthday celebration. Now I do a little of everything here!

Ikaika reminded us today in yoga class, “Say Yes to everything – just try it!” That’s usually my New Year’s Resolution: Try something new!


  • By Cousins Leonard & Olin Lamb 09 Aug 2019

    So happy ,Mel, that you’re happy in retirement. Warm memories of you as a little girl living with Uncle Johnny & Aunt Rose & me ( Leonard was 10 yrs old) in 1953 for a while. Enjoy dancing & all. We love retirement & doing 5K running events (25 each year) & little grandkids. Soccer tournament for 8 yr Nate this weekend. 5 yr Meyer Eve in gymnastics & soccer. Take care.Love, Cousins Leonard & Olin

  • By Sheila Wrede 20 Aug 2019

    Melanie – it has been a joy to get to know you and to take classes with you at Still and Moving Center. Kudos to you for accomplishing 100 classes during this challenge for the girls!

  • By Merle Lau Wong 11 Nov 2019

    Thanks for sharing your exciting career (and dance) adventures. I’d thought I had moved around a lot over the years but wow, your living in 40 countries exceeds my record by a long shot. What an amazing life you have had and you are an inspiration for someone in retirement. Thanks again for sharing.

    Might I ask, did you attend Marshall High School in Los Angeles?

Leave a Reply

Massage Special!

10% off of 3 treatments
15% off of 6 treatments
when booked with the same

Copyright © 2018 Still & Moving Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.