As we are packing up the last few boxes and parting with the little bit of our remaining furniture, I have been thinking a lot about all I will miss here in Hawaii. So, I am writing this post more for myself than for you, about all the things I don’t want to forget, about the things that make Hawaii so special.
- When someone greets you or parts from your company, they will hug you and kiss you on the cheek. This is probably my favorite thing, except when I accidentally moved my head to the wrong side and kissed a lady in my bible study on the lips. People, when you give other people actual full hugs and kiss them, you can’t help but make friends. You are up in their space, their up in yours. It breaks barriers, forces you to be more present with people in a conversation because at any moment they could leave and come in for the kiss. You must be alert! Very little, if ever, do we actually touch each other. I think when we touch each other we sort of acknowledge them as a person and their presence. Anyways, hug someone.
- Potlucks. In Hawaii, you very rarely go to a meal at someone’s house without bringing a dish. Though some people might not like that they are always needing to bring something, I love it. Everyone pitches in, you eat some of the craziest combinations of food and their is such a sense of community when your eating it. It starts conversations about peoples favorite dishes, their nationality, their culture, their families. Plus, it is insane how expensive it is to live here so everyone acknowledges that they need everyone else around them to make it.. which leads me to my next point
- Everyone is just trying to make it. There is no pretending, no keeping up with the jones. Everyone here needs their friends, family and church community to stay afloat. You need the potlucks because you cant afford to have all your friends over and provide all the food. You need everyone to help watch your kids, so you can work. There is no pressure to have this killer house and nice clothes and pretty things. One, we live on an island so you are limited where you can shop and two, everyone is broke. It is so much easier to accept life. I’m less stressed about having my house a certain way or my kids dressed a certain way. Hawaii is all about people actually DOING life together.
- You address your elders by calling them Auntie or Uncle. First, I love the respect it teaches everyone for those older than themselves. Second, it creates a sense of family and community. The people you meet here actually, in fact, become family. You are either from here and everyone you see is really your family or you’re a transplant, have no family here so you are creating a new one. It never ceases to amaze me when I run into people I know here. Random but in Colorado I thought I knew a decent amount of people, I frequented a lot of the same places and I never really saw anyone I knew. I ran into the one person I know from the North Shore, halfway up a mountain the other day. I have ran into at least 1 if not 3 people every time I have gone to Waikiki. People, this is the tourist hub, you have no idea how many people are squished in their and I have somehow found people I know there. You become instant friends with most people here and you help each other out. We acknowledge that we need each other to survive here and want to be apart of other peoples lives.
- Driving with aloha. Ok, there are some things that drive me bonkers about driving here but for the most part it is glorious. Around our whole town, including the highway the speed limit is like 35. Everyone goes a bit faster but it is NOT a speedway here. Driving in California is like competing in the Indy 500. You can’t even blink or someone will cut you off and then possibly trying and flip you off for it. Here, if someone turns by you or gets over in front of you or sometimes even looks at you, you get a shaka. It is funny because some people just drive however they want and use the shaka as a way to get out of obeying traffic laws though. People here actually stop and let other cars pull out of the grocery store parking lot or back out of their drive way. You just slow down here, there is no need to drive 90 to the library.
There is a lot more I could say but I must get back to life. All this is to say, I love Hawaii. I love the people here. I love that we (my Hawaiian family) acknowledge that life is just better when we do it together. When we help each other out not because we get something in return but simply because they are human. We take care of each other out here. We, as a family are going to have to work so hard to bring this style of life to California. Not all of it will work, probably the kissing people on the cheek part but Im going to try and bring some Aloha to California.