I am continuously amazed at the twists and turns my journey has taken throughout my life. Twenty-nine days from now I will be relocating to Hawai’i. Last year in July, I had absolutely no idea that I would be moving to Hawai’i. In fact, I was making plans to move to California to complete my postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford or UCLA. All of those plans completely changed on this very day last year when I reconnected with a dear friend from high school.
Upon reconnecting, my friend shared stories about his life in Hawai’i, speaking about his love of the land and its people. There was a majestic quality to his words when he spoke about Hawai’i. He inquired whether I had ever considered relocating to Hawai’i since my childhood dream was to live on a beach and to my own surprise, I responded no. Hawai’i was never a place I had even considered living and upon thinking about it, anxiety arose. My mind created numerous reasons why moving to Hawai’i simply would not be possible: It’s too expensive, it’s too far away from my family, I may feel out of place, and I’ve never even been there, etc. Although I verbally dismissed the idea, the seed had been planted in my heart. As days went on and my relationship with my friend blossomed, my curiosity and courage peaked.
As anxiety settled and clarity emerged, it became apparent that the next step was to visit Hawai’i, so on October 31, 2012 that’s exactly what I did. I flew to Oahu and fell in love. I fell in love with the ‘Āina (ancestral land), myself, and my beautiful friend. I felt like a newborn, curious and excited about everything and everyone I encountered. During my trip, there were many times I was brought to tears by the intense beauty of the ‘Āina and the people.
One of the most touching moments was during a walk through a forest where we saw a man who was making designs and shapes out of palm tree leaves. Upon meeting, he openly shared about the history and art of palm tree weaving (fronds). During our conversation, I noticed that he picked up another leaf and by the end of five minutes, he created a bird for me (see below). I was deeply touched by the level of compassion he was sharing with us in that moment.
My journey to Hawai’i taught me that the Aloha spirit is real and contagious, it wraps you up and embraces you with warmth and unconditional love. The Aloha spirit is the very reason I am deciding to return to Hawai’i to make it my home, at least for now.
I intend to share my journey with all of you, as it is one of courage, love, and creation.
Wishing you all infinite peace!