I never ever in a gajillion years had any kind of life's dream or ambition to live in Hawaii. In fact, when the job opportunity that ultimately brought us here was put on the table for us to consider, I was actually quite nervous about the whole living-on-an-island thing. I'd never been on an island. If I'm keeping it real, I had an honest to goodness fear that I would fall off the island into the ocean. That's just how unfamiliar with islands I was. And did I mention my fear of oceans? Vast, deep, open waters full of creatures with fins and teeth? No thank you very much.
To set myself straight and alleviate my irrational fears, we convinced the company wanting to hire Willy that they needed to send us to Hawaii to check out the housing situations and schools, etc. And even as we flew above the Pacific Ocean on our way to check out the island, it didn't really seem like a legitimate possibility that our family would move to Hawaii. We were just feeling lucky to score a free trip!
Maybe you would think the first thing to take my breath away would be the view of Hanauma Bay or Pearl Harbor from the sky. Or the distinctly varied shades of blue in the ocean and along the beaches. Maybe the iconic view of Waikiki would seal the deal. But nope. For me it was the mountains. Tall, strong, green and gorgeous mountains. I grew up in a valley surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains and I had missed them so desperately during our time in California that when I first saw the mountains on O'ahu I turned to Willy and said "I can live here!"
We moved here in July 2008. The first few months involved a pretty intense adjustment period. The humidity hated me almost as much as I hated it. The cost of living made me want to curl up in a fetal position and cry for my Mommy. And the first time I saw one of the GINORMOUS B-52 Bomber Cockroaches on the wall of our home (the first night we were in it!) I made such a shrieking, gasping sound that my then 7 year old started crying and said "Mommy please don't make that sound ever again! I thought you were dying!" But with a little passage of time my hair and the humidity started to cooperate (and my skin has an amazing relationship with the climate here), we learned what corners to cut and what free activities were available to us to ease the cost of living weight and I even made some semblance of peace with the local wildlife. Peace as in "Sure! C'mon in my home! You won't mind if I squash you with this size 14 slippah right?"
I had a conversation with a woman a few months after we moved here. I told her that I felt like Hawaii was getting inside me and that I really didn't think I'd ever want to leave this place. She said "Some people come to Hawaii and get chewed up and spit out. Others are simply meant to be here. You're obviously one of the people meant to be in Hawaii." I couldn't agree with her more!
I love the people. I love the places. I love the food. I love the rainbows. I love the weather (even more now that I can get through the hottest months [September and October] with central air). I love the laid back attitude and the aloha spirit. I love the slower speed limits and the slower pace of life. I love the strong sense of family here. I love spending weekends with my family exploring the island. I never thought it would be true but I LOVE the ocean and the amazing creatures in it. I love the feeling of sun on my shoulders and sand between my toes. I love the beach. I love the music. I love the dance. I love the culture. I love this amazing opportunity we've been given to experience something so special. I love it so much that sometimes I have a hard time not bubbling over with love for the island, even though I know sometimes people think I'm bragging about it. I assure you it has nothing to do with boasting and simply everything to do with just being in love with this place. I know that in the reality of life, we probably won't live here forever, but we're certainly making the most of whatever time we have available to us while we live in this amazing place.
I'm so very thankful for Hawaii.
Now that my thankful post is wrapped up, indulge me a bit as I share a few videos. I've shared them on Facebook already (so by all means, skip 'em if you've seen 'em!) but I wanted to put them here on the blog to make it easy for my mom and dad and other family who follow my blog to see them. These videos are from the most recent hula performance Molly and I participated in just last weekend. It was Molly's very first dance performance and she was so stinking cute! Hula is just one of the things that has changed my life while living in Hawaii. That may sound dramatic but it's true. I love the way I feel when I dance hula. I love the grace and the way a story is told and the feeling of the music. And hula got me back on stage after a very, very long time of avoiding any kind of spotlight. I missed it.