I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the islands of Hawaii numerous times in the last 25 years. From family vacations and holidays to university studies, I feel unbelievably blessed that this place is so familiar to my heart.
I’m back on the Big Island for the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents and the nostalgic scent of sweet flora, rustling of palm fronds, warms breezes and mesmerizing blue waters sends my soul to elation. I feel like a child here, the way I return to youth at the State Fair. Maybe it’s the Vitamin D I so desperately need, but it is here that I feel free, full of joy and near to God.
Since my first visit to Hawaii when I was 5 years old, I’ve thrown a flower or lei in to the water. As island tradition would have it (or maybe its just something my mother made up), if you throw flowers in to the ocean before departing from Hawaii, you are destined to revisit. Throwing with all my might, I’ve watched those plumeria, orchid, ginger, hibiscus, or any other flower that I had my last day on holiday float away on the warm current. Watching closely, as their fight over the breakers ensured my future visit. I’m not one for superstition as I’ve grown older, but I continue this tradition in the spirit of quiet gratitude for a wonderful visit and prayer to soon return.
It is these beautiful islands that taught me so much growing up: airplane rides are the best, because they have (well had) free food and endless amounts of POG; other cultures other than my own exist and they dance with great passion and sometimes fire; the ocean is not to be feared but to be discovered-play in its waves and don’t step on the corals lest they die; tropical fruit is the best fruit and more importantly everything that is coconut should be consumed; you can always bargain for more papaya and sugarloaf pineapples; waves curve perfectly like a knife is carving them out of the water and they leave perplexing patterns on the sand as they recede; waves bring meaning to my name and I still sit and watch those wonders in engineering for hours; nature is to be respected, because it could at any moment decide to explode and take out your house; there are treasures to be found on beaches, in castaway storeowners and at the bottom of my shave ice. The lessons go on and on and on…
It’s November 2011 and I’m back, sitting on the lanai, eating my papaya and starfruit I picked from the empty lot in front of the condo. Remembering the site of my flowers floating away on turquoise waters in April 2010, I am once again thankful that I’ve returned to my beloved islands.