Monday, March 21, 2005

1st Week in a crowded paradise

March 13, 2005

The sun is shining in Seattle on this beautiful Sunday morning. It has been a glorious week, but I have never been able to reconcile the seemingly endless days of overcast gloom with the few, fleeting, days of sunshine. I will never call it home again. I have been emotionally detached from this place since I moved back from Maui. I just flew over the ferries crossing Puget Sound, the Narrows bridge spanning the waterways between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, and the majestic Mount Rainier, named Tahoma, home of the Gods, by Native Americans. It is a green, enchanting place from the air. For most of my life I was connected umbilically to this verdant birthplace. But the cord has long since been cut. I just reset my watch to Hawaiian time.

I left a wonderful man at the airport. He was waving from outside the security check as I walked away. Last night I was overcome with anxiety at the thought of leaving him. My heart was already broken when I left my children and my grandchildren, but the thought of leaving Michael was almost more than I could bear. He assures me that the months until he joins me will pass quickly. I know that it will seem that way once I am on that side of time, but from this prospective it appears eternal.

My flight was smooth. There were so few of us on board that each passenger had three seats to himself or herself. The dividing arms were lifted and we all stretched out for a long nap. Flying into Oahu gives you a clear picture of how isolated these islands are from the rest of the world. For hours you see nothing but ocean, then suddenly, miraculously, land appears, and you get the sense that you might have missed the island altogether if the captain had not been paying close attention.

My sweet nieces, Tamara and Rebecca, welcomed me at the baggage claim with kisses and a beautiful, fragrant lei. They said when they first saw me they thought me to be the embodiment of their mothers and all the aunties that they miss so much. I represented the headwaters of their gene pool, if you will. I felt loved and situated. It is amazing to see these two strong, beautiful women, both of whom I have watched grow from babies to adults, fitting so naturally into this new environment.

They took me to Dukes at Waikiki for lunch, and we ate and talked as we watched the surf rolling into the sand. We walked around the International Market for a while then headed to my new home in Ewa Beach (the “w” has a “v” sound in Hawaiian). Our home is actually in Iroquois Point, a navel housing community. I'm not sure how the Iroquois got representation so far from their indigenous lands, but there it is. It is a large, two-story, four-bedroom unit, attached to another unit exactly like it. I met the neighbors that share a wall with us shortly after I got here. A warm, friendly couple with three delightful, tow-headed children, two boys and a little girl, who informed me she was “two and a half.”

Tamara and Rebecca fell asleep shortly after we got here, so I went exploring on Tamara's bike. I found the beach. I know I'll be okay.

March 14, 2005

I woke this morning to the sound of rain on the roof. Given my Northwestern roots, I naturally assume that means the whole day is going to be wet. Not so. The rain stopped and I explored a little more on Tamara's bike. By the time I got back to my writing the sun was breaking through the clouds, but it is still a little cold and windy, especially for Hawaii.

I met with some obstacles during the day. My Internet provider does not function here, so I was not able to submit my online application to Hawaii Department of Education, as planned. I guess I will have to mail it instead. Then I learned first-hand about Oahu traffic and was late for the meeting I had flown here to attend. Rebecca, who has been my transportation since I got here, was so apologetic. No worries, it was an informational meeting with no new information. It was over very quickly. It was pretty lame. I don't think I will be going the Special Education route. It's not really where I want to be. It just sounded so good over the phone.

March 21, 2005


I am lying in my hammock, on this beautiful Monday morning, listening to the sweet sound of the morning doves and the chatter of the finches. Our neighbor, Will, insisted they are sparrows, and Tamara and I didn't argue. We have some awesome neighbors here. My container got here on Thursday, and immediately we got three offers for help unloading it. I unloaded the first third alone, but my progress was blocked by the wall my son, Matthew, had built to stabilize the load. He did such a solid job that my hammer could not budge it. Lance, our neighbor to the left, poked his head in the container as he was leaving for work, and offered to help when he got home, which he did. A wall built with testosterone needs that same element to rip it down.

I took Friday to get more resumes out there, got the needed recommendation from a principal, then signed up for a substitute teacher class. Unfortunately, the class starting this week was cancelled and the next one doesn't start until April ll. I will need a job before then. Got a recommendation from my former boss in Lahaina for an art gallery in Honolulu. I'm going to visit it early this week.

Saturday morning Tamara and I hit the container again (Rebecca was in Maui for the weekend, visiting her Nina and Padrino). By the time we got to the heavy stuff, we had help from Will and another neighbor, Scott. We spent the rest of the day putting the futon together (only one call to Michael), unpacking boxes, and arranging the house so it looks like a home. Will helped me put my bed together and hang the hammock.

On Sunday after church Tamara and I went to China Town in Honolulu while we waited for Rebecca's plane to come in. We both bought those black cotton Chinese babydoll shoes that were very popular in the 70's. Then we sat in the courtyard and ate delicious Hong Kong dumplings and drank bubble tea. We were in the company of about 20 elderly Chinese gentlemen. No English spoken there. There was a Chinese teashop going out of business near the courtyard. The proprietor was from Taiwan and was selling a nice Taiwanese tea tray, like the one my family in Taiwan used, for only $5. I could not resist. Tamara bought a beautiful jade Buddhist prayer bracelet.

We picked up Rebecca at the airport and she and I came home. Tamara headed out to the North Shore to meet some friends. She wanted me to come with her, but I wasn't feeling well. I told Michael on the phone later, “If someone says 'go to the beach' to me, and I say no, there is something seriously wrong. I am much better today. Rebecca did not get to stay home and enjoy the new surroundings. She and her youth group had already committed to sleeping in cardboard boxes last night, presumably so they would be empathetic enough to go feed the homeless today.

I have been a Hawaiian for a week now. I don't have my Hawaiian driver's license yet, though, and my son, Peter, tells me that I can't be Hawaiian until I have it. I guess I wasn't Hawaiian when I lived in Maui because I didn't have a car.







5 Comments:

Blogger Jenni said...

You are so cute Auntie! I agree with Peter, you really can't be Hawaiian until you have a Hawaiian license. Just like my boys really didn't belong to us until they had SSN#'s ;)

I am glad you are getting adjusted. And for your sake I hope that you the next months go by fast so you can smootch your honey! And good luck finding a job!
Blessings, Jenni

9:27 PM  
Blogger Christian said...

Wow, you have a great writing style! Now you just need to convince your children and husband to start one of these blog thingys.

Looking forward to many more posts :)

Christian

PS
You arent Hawiian until Washington state declares you ineligable for in-state tuition.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to get Jen and Chris to fix your blog so I could comment. I have been checking at least once a day for a new entry, so I was glad to finally see this one!

Sounds like you are getting pretty well settled, Tamara is appreciating having furniture! :)

I do miss you, but I am glad you are there with our girls! give them big hugs for me!

I'm getting low on my "drugs" I'll have to call Michael. Oh wait do I have his phone #?!

Hugs and kisses for you and the girls, Love, Judi

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Boni, it's about time to update us all on your work search, becoming truly Hawiian, etc. :)

Love, your big sister, Judi

1:45 PM  
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1:42 AM  

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