Aloha, and welcome! I’m joining a few hundred other 31 Dayers — go check them out! — and trying my best to post something every day this month. I’ll keep this page updated with links to each day; scroll down to see Day 1: your introduction to life in my Hawaii.
I am keiki `o ka `aina. In Hawaiian it means, literally, “child of the land.” What it means in real life is that I live in Hawaii, I’m from Hawaii: Hawaii is my home.
When I was growing up here, our mainland friends and relatives, taking advantage of the fact that ours was the only family they knew living in Hawaii, would come for one or two week visits fairly often. It seemed like we were constantly hosting some family or other throughout the summer or winter holidays.
As a kid, I liked that. I liked getting to do the touristy things with our visitors: driving to the North Shore, or visiting Pearl Harbor, or taking in the Kodak Hula Show in Waikiki. Or doing anything in Waikiki, which in the days of my youth was somewhat more family friendly than it is today.
On the flip side, our mainland friends also got to just live with us and experience our everyday lives. They got to enjoy the foods we ate, the flowers growing in our yard, the activities and hobbies we enjoyed on the weekends, and of course the culture, customs and traditions that form the framework of our identity as islanders.
In most ways, everyday life in Hawaii is probably pretty much the same as everyday life anywhere in America: We commute to work everyday in traffic (the worst in the nation), we shuttle our kids to school and soccer and Little League practice, we eat lunch from McDonald’s or Subway at our desks in our offices downtown or in the industrial park. We worship on Sundays in churches large and small, and when we get vacation time, we travel to, um, other islands. Or Las Vegas.
But to live in Hawaii, to be from Hawaii, is a far different thing than to just visit. And I’m not just talking about how high the cost of living is, or the fact that it takes us 5 hours — in the air — to get to the next state over.
Maybe you’ve visited Hawaii, or maybe you haven’t but you’ve wanted to. Maybe you or your family did live here for a time, but now you don’t. In any case, your perspective of this place is more than likely to be that of an outsider rather than an insider.
So for the next 30 days, it would be my pleasure to show you around — just the way we used to when mainland friends came to visit — and give you the insider’s view. I’ve got close to six decades of living in and loving this place, which Mark Twain has called “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.” Ano ai — welcome to life in my Hawaii!