Somehow, though, an entire month has flown by, and my departure looms ahead, just tomorrow. I’ve been trying really hard not to think about leaving. The couple times I’ve slipped, I’ve found myself tearing up and can only stop from breaking out in sobs by telling myself that I will NOT ruin what time I have left here being sad about leaving.
I’ve gone away before. This time is different, though. For the first time in the almost ten years that I’ve been on-again, off-again living in Hawaii, I don’t know when I’m coming back. I don’t have any trip scheduled on the horizon, tantalizing me with comforting trade winds and crystal clear water, good friends and a warm welcome home. I know I’ll be back…I just don’t know when, or where I’ll stay.
My house is going up for rent, hopefully to wonderful people who will enjoy the special beauty of this place. But I won’t be able to stay here like I normally would. My gracious neighbors and friends have generously offered the hospitality of their own homes for my future visits, nearly threatening me with bodily harm if I dare to stay in a hotel or vacation rental.
I think I handled this whole month pretty well though, really through no conscious planning or intuitive understanding of the situation on my part…better to be lucky than good, sometimes. I took my time with packing stuff up, never really stressing or wearing myself out on any one day to get stuff done. Yes, there were a few days where chores delayed my departure for the beach, but it usually rained those afternoons anyway. I could have waited another coupla days to put the big furniture I was leaving behind on Craigslist. But I had no way of knowing that it would only take 15 minutes for people to snap up two couches and two full-sized mattress sets. I should have looked for the title to the car when I first got here, rather than waiting so long that my sister had to spend $45 (!!!) to overnight it to me so I could take it to the DMV to get Mom’s name off to simplify the sale. And the yard free-for-all (instead of a yard sale) was a fabulous way to share memories of Mom with the neighborhood and friends (and get rid of a bunch of *stuff* that was still useful…to someone *else!*).
But on the whole, I had plenty of time to soak my lazy bones in sun-drenched sand and salt water, to meet new friends (even a really great guy who I wish I could have hung out with more…should have called him before Christmas instead of waiting for the day before New Year’s Eve, Silly Girl), to eat wonderful food – omg, the poke at B’s Bar & Grinds…*insane!*, to run and workout on a regular basis, and to share time with friends and neighbors without feeling like I was imposing on them or being left out of any of the fun.
And it’s not like the fun is completely over, either. I’m headed to Lake Tahoe for a week of skiing and snow-boarding (if it every starts to snow there!) with Molly and Billy, frie-bors (friends + neighbors?) from the 'hood. And then to my sister’s for a few days. And then to my Dad’s, meeting my sister there for Dad’s 70th birthday. The party will go on.
But tonight, I’ll go to Haleiwa Joe’s for Aloha Hour, to eat and drink and be merry one last night with the neighbors and friends that I’ve come to love dearly over the past five years before I head to the airport tomorrow. And in the morning, I’ll take the handful of dried leis left by well-loved guests down to Kaiaka Beach Park, and toss them into the ocean. I hope they, each and every one of them, find their return way to shore, so they can guide my path quickly back to this place that feels more like home than anywhere else I’ve been.