You never see a place quite the way you do when just arriving and right before leaving.
17 days and counting. I’ve been in Hawaii four years, give or take. A few months in Japan. A few months back in Ohio. But I have called Hawaii home. I have lived here, paid rent here, voted, been hospitalized, paid taxes, stood in line at the Hawaii State DMV. I have made friends here; and lost friends here. I have fallen in love with the island; and I have gotten sick of this place. I have gotten sick of the cost of rent, the cost of food, the cost of travel, of shipping, the ever present sun, the vog, being so far away, the lack of air conditioning, the lack of public restrooms, the cockroaches. When you first arrive, you don’t see these things.
When I first arrived, it was yellow, and warm, and the flowers smelled sweet, and everyone was welcoming. I loved the sun and the sand and the sea and the constant summer; I loved the culture and the food and the color and the vibrance and these were all I could see. After a while I stopped seeing these things. I became used to them, took them for granted. They would always be there.
There is a shift, where the things you saw become the things you miss and the things you miss become the things you always see. I think this is part of life, or at least my life; because after a while, in Hawaii, I became aware of all the wonderful things back in Ohio that I had missed out on in all my years living there.
And here lies the ironic beauty of leaving (17 days and counting). I’ve begun to see Hawaii again, the way I first saw it. I’m beginning to see the yellow sun, to smile at the flowers, to appreciate the rainbows again. I’m beginning to remember why I came here, why I stayed here, and why I’m going to miss this place. I’m even starting to get nostalgic about the cockroaches, which could be a bit overdramatic, but there you are.
But it’s okay. I’m in a great place right now. Because I see the beauty of Hawaii, but I also see the beauty of Ohio. And I’m excited.