Is there a place anywhere in the world you would like to return to, somewhere you were so happy you should have never left?
I think we all do. Our wise and sensible self tells us it would be pure folly, a step destined for failure. But I ask, why not? Perhaps we all could use a bit of wishful thinking.
My mind has been on Hawaii lately. For years I blocked those thoughts from coming back to haunt me. But there was always that certain pull, an irresistible urge to go “one paddle two paddle, three paddle, four to take me home.”
The other night, way past midnight, I could have sworn I heard the sound of a slack-key guitar. There is no radio in my room and my gadgets were all off. I was awake. It must have been that cup of Kona coffee I had in the early afternoon.
I could smell the scent of plumerias and suntan lotion. This was my very first whiff of Honolulu, and it has stayed with me.
They say that at bedtime the mind must be turned off, emptied of thoughts that may rob you of your sleep; that at any age, one needs sound and uninterrupted slumber. As I advance in years, however, I have noticed I require less sleep. I may stay in bed longer and nap more. But that eight-hour beauty sleep myth vanished a long time ago.
On nights when insomnia creeps in, I am usually annoyed and feel the anguish of the sleep-deprived, but not this time. I was wide awake and with an early morning appointment ready to dawn. And I listened to the music.
There is something about the sound of a slack-key guitar that makes it so distinctly Hawaiian. I love the “soulful slurs and licks” of melodies that stir the heart even when I do not understand the lyrics. Thoughts about the islands evoke images of swaying palms and undulating hips, of graceful arms and lovely hula hands. I see torches on the beach. Someone keeps the beat on the ipu and I hear the mellow and enticing call of the conch shell.
I get carried away. I think I sigh as I hug my pillow and keep my mind on replay. It may be true what they say about leaving the past behind. But just this once I want to—I need to—“think Hawaii,” to the time when my children were still children, running around in flip-flops, brown as coconuts, messy and sticky from super sweet shaved ice and sugary malasadas.
What a beautiful mess that was. I never thought I would ever miss it.
Now that I am back home where I belong and loving every minute, I realize that I left a big chunk of my heart in a house not far from Koko Head, with sweet papaya trees in one corner of the yard and multicolored bougainvillea cascading from the hill.
This bittersweet mood brings memories of great times with good people, the voices and faces of old friends (how I miss them!), Prince and Princess plates at Patti’s Kitchen, driving leisurely to the Blow Hole or the Pali, and an unbelievably delicious Opakapaka steak for dinner at Nick’s Fishmarket.
Hawaii was my happy place, and I long to go back, not to live there but to inhale once again that familiar and sorely missed paradise air. I know it has changed a lot. And so have I.
Nevertheless, I want a “hana hou”—just one more time!
What can you say?
My friend called to ask for advice. What could she tell her daughter who is thinking of returning to live in the Philippines after 30 years in the United States?
She went to college there and shortly after graduation married her achiever husband, an engineer and successful mortgage broker, and raised three children. They are happy in Florida but feel very strongly that it’s time to come home.
!I don’t want to steer them wrong,” my comadre worries. “I am so excited that they are even thinking of coming home. My son-in-law will put in for early retirement and come home with a neat package. He is eager to buy a home and go into business here. They know how well our economy is doing, but have concerns about the latest rumbles.”
The Internet today makes it impossible to sugarcoat anything that happens anywhere in the world. We get it all, the good the bad and the ugly.
I ask myself the same question. What would I tell one of my children about settling down in the Philippines today? Right now I know I can confidently say: “Come on in, the water’s fine.”
But I don’t know after the 2016 polls. Should I warn them that it all depends on who ends up carrying the ball?
Do I honestly believe that life here will continue to be upbeat, full of optimism, enthusiasm and pride “para sa bayan”?
This may be a good topic for expert pollsters. But I have no answers.
Will the earth move?
We must give credit to the authorities for their diligence to raise awareness and post warnings about the Valley Fault System. Forewarned is forearmed.
The ominous predictions are unsettling. My denial mode quickly kicks into gear. Earthquakes terrify me. Would I rather not know?
I get the same sense of dread when the Bible talks about “end times.”
Experts instruct us to drop, cover and hold on.
I read it like this: Drop to your knees. Cover yourself with prayer. Hold on to the Hand of the Lord.