Ahhh…home. There’s nothing quite like the moment you step off the airplane, and come back to everything that is familiar.
When I left Hawaii as an 18-year-old trekking into college life, I said a quick, unaffected farewell to my home. I was moving on from island life, and about to embark toward bigger and better things. Hawaii felt too confining, too small town, and too blah. I happily left it behind me without looking back. I promptly settled into a new life in a large city.
After living elsewhere for about 10 years, my relationship with Hawaii feels quite different. I appreciate parts of island life that I barely noticed before. Like the smells of fragrant flowers, salty sea breeze, and warm tropical rain. Like the hole-in-the-wall shanty town eateries that serve delicious local Hawaiian food on shoddy paper plates. Like the honks from other cars on the road that signify “Hey, what’s up,” and not “Outta my way, jerk!” Like the family-owned grocery stores run by frail old ladies speaking Pidgin English. Like the experience of seeing clear blue ocean of both sides the island in one glance.
Now when I return to Hawaii, I feel a deep sense of love. I feel like I am truly returning home.