My apologies for keeping away from everyone for awhile. Holding down the fort with four kiddos meant that anytime they weren't awake, I was sleeping. It was much harder than I had originally anticipated which is like saying that when bacon gets close to a frying pan, it might cook.
Now that my husband is back I have ample time to discover that I am extremely homesick. After five years in the Islands, I am no longer sure I know how to be a mainlander which I am sure makes my Island friends laugh out loud. "But you were such a California girl when you was here," I hear them say in my heads. And they are right; I was. Before I moved to Hawaii, I had never heard of a leper colony on Molokai, never heard of Queen Lili'uokalani or King Kalakaua, never heard of revolts or soveriegn rights for the only state that used to be a kingdom. Hell, I never learned the names of all the Islands. I walked like a Bay Area girl sprinkled with some Marine, or maybe it was the other way around. I was not malihini, certainly not kama'aina, just a really dedicated tourist. Perhaps I deserved to be called a haole, maybe not have it hurled at me, but I least told I was one.
Now that I am back here in California, I do not fit. In the same way that I once longed for the ocean like a fish out of water in Wyoming, now I find that keeping your shoes outside is not standard practice. I sent my kids to school with musubi in their lunches and listened to them send tales of shocked faces home. I have bamboo kitchen utensils and little koa honu statues. Instead of country music or rap or rock, Jack Johnson and Hapa and Paula Fuga waft from my radio. I actually told the cashier at Rite-Aid mahalo. And didn't realize it until I was at the car. Taking the kids to the playground, I find myself thinking of Laupahoehoe Point or malasadas from Tex's. I say "Howzit" and "slippah."
What makes a person from where they are from? Every time, every single time, I have come back to California I have thought to myself, "I am going home." Now all I can think is, "I want to go home."
Don't misunderstand, I am glad that we are here. The kids needed to be here near their other sets of grandparents; I needed to be here. This is where we were supposed to go next. And it really is a cute little place. Lots of older Victorian-style homes, everyone still says hi on the street, I can walk just about anywhere, and summer is coming with its promise of camping and fishing, of swimming in the river and roasted marshmallows at night. We did the right thing.
But the smell of beach whispers to me on the wind. The smell of Waimea fog, completely different somehow from San Francisco fog or mountain fog, lingers on the night air. My heart is strangely both here and lost, as if I were a comet with a split tail.
I will keep that fragile creature called aloha in my heart, hoping against hope. I wish to walk on it with my two Hawaii-born children. And they are so frightfully Island. You can even tell which ones. Ruth, born on Oahu, is the one I will catch surfing at Bowls off of Waikiki, no fear and plenny joy. And my Big Island boy, James Kekoa, mellow as the day is long and always kicking off his socks to feel the sand beneath his toes.
One day, you'll see.