Life in Hawai'i
I am starting to realize why people come to the islands for vacation. Yes, the beach, the sunshine, the warm 80 degree temperatures year-round, the relaxed pace, the ability to wear sandals and sundresses and tanktops in the middle of January, all are HUGE reasons to come to the islands on vacation.
But a larger draw, in my opinion, is the idea of 'getting away from it all'. At first glance, this technically means just leaving your workplace and the piles of papers, the ringing phone and the to-do list that never gets shorter, the bills, the errands, the monotony. But it feels that much more powerful when you literally place MILES and MILES between yourself and those day to day chores. The stress tends to add up little by little over time, compiling like someone else's money in a 401K. It grows and grows until you drain it somehow, and then it creeps in and rebuilds. So in order to release the stress, many of us run as far away from the stressors as we can possibly get.
Hawai'i is literally thousands of miles of ocean away from any other large land mass. So when you come here on vacation, it truly is getting away from it all. And you can feel that stress being lifted as you fly the miles and hours to arrive here. But when you start to live here, you begin to realize just how far away from everything you really are.
Everything is double the price, because it often has to fly halfway across the world to get here. So everyday items like shoes, toys, shampoo, milk, cost 2-3 times what they would cost on the mainland (this is Hawaiian for 'rest of the USA other than Hawai'i'). Gas, cars, everything has a surcharge here, kind of like a luxury tax for being able to reside in such a beautiful, remote, healing place.
Then you begin to realize just how long it takes to visit the ones that you love. And how far away you are when you are missing them... Today my mom flies here from California, and I cannot wait to see her. We are arriving early and waiting for her to come through the gate. I cannot remember the last time I actually parked the car at the airport and went inside to wait for a flight, rather than circling. It is such an event to have a visitor already. We have been 'living' in Kona for almost three weeks, and the time is passing by so rapidly. It feels like we have just arrived, and we are still in that phase where we are exploring, getting lost, finding new spots.
There are a few things that make us still visitors: (1) the rental car, that we are hoping to trade in for a purchased used car at some point in the next ten days before our rental contract runs out (2) the un-tanned skin: although we are working on remedying this situation, we still do not look dark enough to be islanders who have a steady base of sunshine on their skin (3) no permanent dwelling, no plans past next week
The things that are localizing us:
The fact that we carry in our car at all times: a boogie board, two towels, several wet bathing suits, a football, a cooler, sunglasses, and a beach chair. Just in case. You never know when you may need it. When you may just decide it is such a beautiful afternoon that we might as well stop at the beach and have a quick swim, which we have done at least every other day since we arrived. You would think that there is only so much time one wants to spend at the beach, but I will tell you that we have not yet reached that point. Basically, any spare moment throughout the day after work is finished, we either say, "hey, let's go to the beach", or take a dip in the pool.
We have island time down. In fact, I have always lived on island time. It was the rest of the world that had it wrong The islands are always moving slow, so being five, ten minutes late is recommended...and customary. I love this. Absolutely love it. And the fact that everyone wears easy shoes, and slips them off the moment they enter into anyone's home, so at least half of your life is spent in bare feet. Bodhi loves this. It is an easy life. But also a remote life.