I just poked myself in the eyelid when I ran into this Bird of Paradise.
I’m so resistant to blogging. Everything is happening so fast and we’ve been so blessed in this last week. The hospitality Ken and I have received on this island is so profound that it’s hard to process while we’re going through it. The house is a mess, most of our belongings are making their way back to NY, and the next few days are our last on this adventure.
I know when I’m back in NY I’ll catch a scent or see a flower that will bring me back here and I’ll long to be back. It wasn’t easy at first, but these days I can feel how much Hawai’i has changed me. I don’t think I’ve been this happy in years.
This place is made up of so much more than the rest of the world knows. More than I can know. It will always have a place in who I am. And I feel incredibly blessed by that. I only wish I could have written more here.
These days are mostly controlled chaos. We had a BBQ at our house this weekend to celebrate our friend’s birthdays and in a way to begin our process of saying goodbye.
This morning I started going through the books and papers I’ve accumulated over two years. I came across my folder of letters from Ruth that she sent when I first moved here. Every time I open it my heart clenches up. The first line of the top letter: Hullo, I hear Obama is in Honolulu.
Going back isn’t hard for me. I look forward to what comes next. But this place and the life that we’ve had here! I’m more grateful than I can express. It comes down to one thing: this house. It changed everything for me. The most painful parts of my life, Ruth was always there with me. She gave me the strength to face everything because I knew I had her friendship. In many ways, this house has eased the pain of losing her. I wake up everyday and I see the ocean and sunshine. When we move out, it’ll be like leaving a great friend.
We have four weeks left here. There’s so much that we’re trying to do before we leave. The last few weeks have been invigorating. K and I want to leave something behind that we can continue to contribute to even after we leave and alot of the pieces have been falling into place, but I’ll leave that for another post.
Four weeks left. Almost 2 years behind us. We’re returning to a place that you rarely see green, you don’t wake up looking at the sky, and mochi is not in abundant supply. So while we were having lunch the other day I brought a notebook with me and we started our Hawaii wish list: all the things that I hope we get to do before we leave. Some of these things we want to do together. Some only one of us wants to do (ie skydiving (eg not me)).
1. Volcanos (Big Island)
2. Black sand beaches (Big Island)
3. Swim with dolphins in the wild (with a life vest)
5. Take a surf lesson ( I don’t swim)
9. Stay on Kauai’s North Shore
10. Old Lahaina Luau
11. Merrie Monarch
These are sort of touristy things. Hopefully more specific ideas will occur to me.
In four weeks we’re back home. I find myself trying to take stock of all kinds of things:
what we want to do before we leave here;
what our new home might look like;
what kind of job I’ll get
wish us luck!
Our dog visitors left yesterday after spending a week with us. Jake was 14 years old. He had a pinched nerve so you couldn’t pet his neck and he dragged his feet when he walked sometimes getting his front legs crossed so that he would trip himself and fall face forward. I liked Jake. I hear the neighborhood dogs bark and I miss the low menacing woof and feeble snarl coming from somewhere near my feet…
On the heels of writing that I wasn’t going to blog about frogs and such anymore, a disgusting natural-ish phenomenon lands on our literal doorstep. We have a water fountain in front of our house and yesterday while I was on the phone and pacing the driveway, I noticed something odd: it looked like it was raining in the fountain. I put my hand out and didn’t feel any raindrops, so I looked at the fountain more closely…..
THOUSANDS OF TADPOLES! Blech. Sometimes nature is gross.
Around Thanksgiving was the last time I sat down and gathered my thoughts for writing a post. I’ve found, since coming to Hawaii, that very fundamental things can change over a few weeks time. K and I have grown accustomed to packing up and leaving places we love only to return three months later.
This past season has been the best for me here in Hawaii. Sometimes it hovers around one of the best times of my life in general. I think there will always be parts of NY that I can’t negotiate leaving behind. No matter how ideal the circumstances, I long for how I feel when I’m with friends eating Korean fried chicken in dark places, downing bottles of soju, and arguing about politics or tv shows. Or walking miles around the city with Kat or Eleanor for hours and hours on a weekday afternoon, coming up with unnecessary errands just for an excuse to walk and talk a little longer. I accept that I don’t have that here–and it’s totally ok because I don’t believe that I exist in both places anymore. Hawaii has won me over for the meantime. I love it here. I love being here with K.
I love K.
This year is almost a completely different Hawaii from last year. Due in large part to finding this house. Sometimes I walk up to the front door and I already anticipate missing it someday. Every time we come home my heart surges a little bit and I say to myself I love this place. Corny!
I also never anticipated how much a car would change every aspect of my life. The first day that I had it (and K was working), I was so confused. Even though I had nowhere to go, I kept thinking I had to DRIVE somewhere. I made a special trip to get gas even though I had almost a full tank. Kat explained to me that that wasn’t how it worked. That you buy gas when you’re already out doing things so as not to WASTE gas GETTING gas. These are the sorts of things I didn’t know. I wondered if it was foolish to have a whole separate car for me at all. That feeling dissipated very quickly.
And with that went the era of blogging about frogs at the front door, or giant spiders, or pictures of empty jello cups. I no longer do yoga everyday (or hula) and I haven’t written a poem since the summertime.
Which is all ok. In fact its better.
If I can find a new way to write about all of it maybe I’ll be able to explain why.
Over and out!
We thought that we’d be able to go two. Though later we found that both started at the same time. We decided to go to our friend Mark’s house for a traditional “pre-Western contact” Hawaiian dinner and then to the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe for dessert.
When we arrived in Manoa, the table was set so beautifully.
Mark had fish and breadfruit on the fire downstairs and I was so excited to eat. I love Hawaiian food: lau lau, haupia, and poi. Some people aren’t fans of poi because of its texture and bland-ish taste. But to me it’s like mochi pudding. I love it. I feel like I knew what it would taste like before I ever tasted it and I knew that I would like it.
We also had awa for the first time. Mark was straining it by hand for awhile before we ate. Kalei warned us that it doesn’t taste good and if she hadn’t I might have thought so. But you’re meant to drink it all down at once before a meal. It has a relaxing effect and prepares your body for the big meal ahead. Mark said that some people even use it to help them sleep. I drank it all and it wasn’t so bad…what was nice was the novocaine like effect afterwards. K wondered later ‘can you become an awa-holic?’ Mark answered ‘yes’.
The meal was so delicious but I got full so fast. I was all revved up to dig in and then all of a sudden everything on my plate was gone and I felt like I couldn’t take one more bite of food…and believe me I tried.
After dinner the sun began to set and it started to rain sideways.
It was a lovely dinner. But we were running late and had to head over to Kea’s for dessert. Before we did though, we had one more cup of awa.
When I was in college my boyfriend was in the Air Force. One Summer rather than go home to my parent’s house, I lived secretly on base with him. I have some really fond memories of that time. Life on base for an enlisted is not fancy, it can be kind of boring but there’s also alot of order and camaraderie. Which I really like. In some ways I was looking forward to revisiting a military base.
There were some construction issues so we drove around in circles for a little bit. It was interesting to see the neighborhoods–winding narrow roads lined by houses that looked very new, white and upright…like soldier houses. I was reminded by our host’s comment over the course of the night how easy it would be not to leave base at all. Everything you need is mostly there. K remarked how it felt like a city that could be anywhere–that we could have easily not been in Hawaii at all.
When we got to our friend’s house they had finished dinner hours ago and were busily cleaning up. The house was filled with young children and the TV was blaring Hotel for Dogs. There were alot of people there, mostly military families. The three men that were there had recently come back from Afghanistan and Iraq after multiple tours of being away.
At one point our friend’s husband offered to help the ladies in the kitchen with the dishes and everyone guffawed ‘the WARRIOR wants to help with the dishes!’.
Kea’s food looked fantastic. We were able to have some of her apple pie, pumpkin mousse, and home made sorbet.