For the past few years I've been taking two trips home to Hawaii each year. It's a delight to see family and spend time in the place I grew up in. Every time I go home it's like I never left. Things don't tend to change much in 6 months. This time will be a little different. My last trip home in February was a tough one for me. My mother had passed away a week before my planned flight and I wasn't sure of how to handle it all. Mom and I had always had a challenging relationship. She fought depression and addiction throughout the life that I knew her. When someone you love and depend on is in a place like that things can get complicated. She did the best she could, and I now choose to keep the good memories with me and let the others fade. Still, every now and then the little girl in me still aches for a mom that wasn't always there and now never will be, at least in physical form. It had been about a year since the last time I saw her, she was a free spirit and I wasn't always able to track her down during my visits. Admittedly I was usually relieved when I would make it back to Florida without finding her and finally track her down from the comfort of home. I knew she was “okay” and we didn’t get into an argument. Our interactions were usually pleasant-ish, dappled with tiffs. I suppose that's what happens when two strong headed people with severely differing views of how life should look like come together. I know how many people feel about my relationship with her. People that didn't even know me would criticize me for not taking her to Florida, but they didn't understand that there was no “taking care of” someone with her spirit. She did what she wanted, when she wanted to do it. There's not much more I can say about that. Family…and strangers, can't help but give em some love.
Speaking of family, Grandma Katada has been my best friend in Hawaii for many years. There was a time when I was scared of her strong words and sharp stares. She's the toughest cookie I know, but she’s softened over the years and I eventually figured out that she was only trying to do her best for me. She is the main reason I have been going home twice a year. She doesn't want to travel and I can't blame her, the 12 to 16 hour trip is longer than I prefer. If it wasn't for her I'd probably keep it to a once yearly visit, but one whole year is a long time to be away from Grandma Katada. She turned 93 this year and I am hoping to get another 20 years out of her. My dad, her son, is the reason I schedule a visit home in August. A few years ago I realized that I hadn't celebrated his birthday with him since I was a child. I am, and have always been a daddy's girl. He would come to take me away for the weekend every two weeks after he and mom divorced, and it was always a giant field trip. Fishing, hiking, biking, long car rides to to magical places, eating pastries for breakfast (and snacks), sometimes spending the entire days at the pool, and a fantasy stepmom that made delicious Japanese desserts and crafts, and she sewed beautifully (still does). It was always a good time. Because of all the excursions I got very familiar with the island and know all the sweetly lonesome places where the busyness of the metropolitan city of Honolulu doesn’t touch.
I didn’t mean for this to be a get-to-know-me sesh…but there you go…a little bit of personal me. It’s not like me to be open about my personal life unless I really get to know you, so say “hi” sometime. I would like it very much.
Oahu, Hawaii will always be my home. I can't wait to take you along for the ride. If you want to catch the daily as it happens follow me on Snapchat, but definitely check back here. In the next day or two I'll be revising my packing list and to-do prep. There's a lot to do when you have fur-babies that need love and hugs while you're gone!