I miss Hawaii. (There. I said it three times, and clicked my keyboard 33 times).
I miss Patricia. I miss Brooke. I miss girl’s night out. And the ease of leaving the house. And the views. And the drive to the North Shore. And this big, spilling over the fence bougainvillea that filled me up every single time I was almost home.
I miss the photo ops. And the sun. And the warmth. And the sound of the rain crashing down all around our jungle hut.
But I don’t miss our jungle hut. Not one bit. Nor do I miss the fiscal nightmare that it was. And I don’t miss the traffic. And the tiny parking spots and horribly planned parking lots. And I don’t miss the monotney of the weather – well – I kind of do. It made getting everyone dressed SO simple.
I don’t miss the improper English everywhere or what my friend Patricia P called “the ghetto-ness” of Oahu …most evident to her by way of the lack of uniform police cars (any car with a light on top = police). Oahu ghetto-ness evident to me by the falling down, dilapidated houses; the plastic tarps as walls on open structures; the super sub-par school system; and the mostly very uninspired architecture … I don’t miss the all-nighters of New Years Eve and 4th of July fireworks that were loud enough to knock artwork off the walls.
It wasn’t all rainbows and hibiscuses. And sometimes I hated it. (I really did.) But still …
I miss Field Trip Friends. The zoo. I miss doing things with my kids that were “good” for them, but that I could also enjoy … The playground on the Airforce base that, thanks to the Monkey Pod trees was always shady and littered in big red flowers:
I miss all our go-to activities like feeding the ducks at the Buddha Temple, the views from the Hoomaluhia Gardens, feeding giraffes at the zoo, the short hike to the waterfall behind the golf course …and that we could do any of these things any time of year.
I miss The Baby Hui group and our play-groups. I appreciate that Hawaii had an infastructure for moms and babies.
I’m sad my kids didn’t get to do the kid thing in Hawaii, because it was so kid friendly they even have a word for kids, keiki. And the people there really do treat kids SO well. (ie screaming kids at mall / in restaurant – no problem. Because nothing really is blood-boiling angry in Hawaii. Like, no one even ever honked their horn at me once there.)
I miss my job. I really loved that job. And my students. I always miss my students. They make me laugh and they make me cry (usually in a good way).
I miss the instant stranger / street cred (or more accuratly facebook cred) a “Hawaii” locale offered. Hearing people say “Oh, you’re so lucky!” is so much better than, “Oh, my God. I could NEVER live there.”
Being cast away from the original 48, I still have the same struggle of living far from home and with the high costs that entails. It’s expensive living far, far away. Airfare, babysitters, the missing of milestone birthday parties, and missing all events in general, and grandparents, and shipping (and ergo, the high price of gas / groceries / everything that isn’t made locally)… it all adds up.
And speaking of shipping, I miss Target. God, do I miss Target. I miss strolls around Target with Brooke. And Aloha Salads. I miss “dream” talks with Patricia. I miss Kate for her totally classy way of life and ability to articulate anything in a way that helped you understand exactly what it was that you were also experiencing.
But if I were there – in Hawaii — right now – Mitch would not be. And he would be in a war zone. And he would be there for 15 to 18 months (because that is basically the tasking that his former department had been assigned to meet).
And that (him going to war for a year and some change, so that we wouldn’t have to move) would have been my choice. And I would never have lived down the guilt of him being away for so long. And, I’d miss him while he was gone. And, I’d be a frazzled (bad) single mom either living on my “own” on an island in the middle of the ocean, or in my parent’s basement. And neither of those are really great options. And 15 to 18 months is a long time to be away from kids who are 1 and 3 years old (like half or over half of their lives.) And going to war? Not something I really cheer for in general.
So, with that war-zone thing in mind, it’s a good thing we aren’t living in Hawaii right now. But still, I want to go back.
In the mean time, I can close my eyes and I can hear Brooke laughing and saying, “Shhesh! I know, RIGHT!;” and I can feel the breeze on Patricia’s back Lanai and smell the plumeria in the air as we sit side by side on her wicker love seat; and I can see Kate’s smile and her super white teeth and the gorgeous blue ocean views from the rocky cliffs on the way to her house.
And I’m reminded of the children’s book “Fredrick.”
And I think about how lucky I am to have four solid years of warmth, sun, and aloha on reserve to get me through this Alaskan winter. I’m so grateful to have such a colorful and heartfelt memory bank to visit (again and again); and I am so lucky to miss such a warm and wonderful place and such warm and wonderful people.
A Hui Ho Hawaii. I’m doing the Hula from far, far away.