“ Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustav Flaubert
I'm so sorry I've been cheating on you. What can I say, I can love more than 1 place at a time. Deal with it. No, no, really I'm sorry. You deserve better from me. After all, you are the place of my birth, where my immigrant roots go back 4 generations. My great-grandfather found his way here, and started the family in the coffee life; for some cousins, it still continues. For me, I just drink the stuff.
I love that I have extended family here (and more on my mother's side in Hilo). I love that we get together for holidays, birthdays, graduations, and all those life-marking events. I am grateful that I can participate in remembrances honoring the dead at funerals and bon festivals. I love when I meet someone and I can connect to them because they know my cousin, or aunty, or uncle. Once, I met an elderly man at Oshima's Store who knew my dad, who has long passed. I love going to the high school and knowing that my dad also walked those halls. I love when my cousin brings us fish. There is a sense of family connection here.
Kona, I love you more when I go away and get my "city fix" somewhere, Honolulu or somewhere on the mainland. Though, you are still having growing pains, and some traffic issues, it is nothing like Honolulu. I can STILL find parking in town most of the time when I want to. And we are not cut-throat drivers here. I love your more relaxed pace. And then there is your natural beauty.
I loved Hualalai greeting me every morning on my way to work. Now that I am retired, I don't see that visage daily, but like Diamond Head on Oahu, it is the feature prominent in my consciousness when I think about you, Kona. Hualalai has a soul, a personality. She is shy, in a way. Many times, she is clothed in clouds. But when she emerges, I see her majesty, and she is a comforting presence. I live where Hualalai and Mauna Loa join. It's kind of like a cradle.
And Kona, your anchialine ponds are still here. So few places in the world have these unique brackish water ponds. The combination of being a volcanic island with an upland slope draining freshwater to mix with the sea water is rare geologically. Though most are in trouble being overrun by invasive plants and animals, I still love them for their uniqueness and the opae ula (native shrimp) that manage to survive somewhere within the porous lava. Restoring and protecting the ponds is a task, a goal to work on.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.