It has been 7 years since we first met. I was fresh out of high school and only intended to stay for my 2-month summer vacation before university. The moment I stepped off the plane your thick tropical air filled my nose with the sweet smell of plumeria, and my soul with anticipation of the adventures. Exhale. Was I really in this place? The place I use to dream about when flipping through the pages of surfing magazines? The place I’d doodle in the margins of my notebook paper during class? Inhale. Confirmation.
Amidst the excitement was nervousness. Did I make the right decision, using up all my graduation money to buy a plane ticket here? Only time would tell. It was dark out, and all I could see were city lights and the silhouettes of your glorious mountains as we drove along the H1, a freeway I remembered catching glimpses of in random surf flicks. I’ve thought about that drive every time I’ve ever left the airport since then.
I awoke to a vision of the greenest mountains pouring into the bluest ocean. This can’t be real, I thought. I still catch myself thinking that. This must be what love at first sight feels like. And in a way, I knew. I knew you would be with me for a very long time. I knew that you’d be my home.
Hawaii, You’ve seen the worst days of my life and the best days of my life. If anybody knows me, it’s you. That’s why you know that I have to say goodbye for now. Call it wanderlust. Call it the 7-year itch. But there’s so much left in this world I that I still need to see and experience in this short life of mine. I have new mountains to climb and oceans to surf. It doesn’t mean that I love you any less.
So mahalo, Hawaii. Thank you for cradling me from adolescence to motherhood. Thank you for the laughter that only comes when I get lost in your welcoming rainforests. Thank you for catching my tears with your comforting oceans and waterfalls, and for all your rainbows that put a smile on my face. Thank you for your beautiful people and culture. Thanks for filling my days with aloha.
Aloha, Hawaii nei, until we meet again. I’ll miss you every day that I’m gone.