So, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to write about my trip to Hawaii now.
People have been asking me about my experiences in the short week I was there. What’s interesting is that I feel like people are expecting the word “fun” to pop out of my mouth. This is partly because people who know me know that I highly value fun. Furthermore, “vacations” are usually fun, right?
But the thing about this trip, though, was that it wasn’t exactly a vacation. It was a journey into the past–into my father’s childhood, and surprisingly my childhood as well.
We went to the beautiful beaches. We saw exotic plants and smashingly gorgeous mountains. We touched the sand and reveled in the smell of the ocean. We ate all the foods that we could only get there–foods that reminded me of my grandmother and foods that reminded my dad of his parents and grandparents. We devoured guavas and passion fruit, ate rice covered in soy sauce and didn’t think about calories or anything like that. We nourished our five senses in ways that they hadn’t been nourished in years. We behaved as if we had been deprived.
And it was all so lovely…so lovely to be close to my dad and my daughter. Yes, we had disagreements. We bickered over bedtimes and whether or not we should eat at the expensive restaurant or the cheap one–you know–we disagreed about things that families disagree about. But none of that matters, and actually I had completely forgotten about the bickering until I wrote those sentences just now. None of it matters because we were creating memories while simultaneously soaking up the past.
We spent time with my dad’s friends and family. I couldn’t believe how familiar the pidgin English sounded in my ears. I learned more about the Portuguese influence in the Hawaiian culture. I learned that my dad thought he was his grandpa’s “favorite grandchild,” but it turns out all of his cousins felt that way–because that was the kind of person that Antoine Amorin was–a person who loved his grandchildren dearly and wanted them to each feel special.
Is it possible to love someone without knowing them? Because that’s how I feel about this man, my great grandpa, Antoine Amorin, in the photo above. He is smoking a cigarette while his grandson, Macky-boy, eats fresh mango.
Although Macky-boy isn’t my dad, that picture encapsulates my father’s memories of his grandfather. He wanted his grandchildren next to him. He wanted them to feel special, even if he was getting all stern with them for accidentally dropping one of his prized hen’s eggs.
When we were with friends and family, we received love–love in the form of time, listening, sharing, hugging, kissing, teaching, and gift giving. I felt so much love from family I hadn’t seen in years–or in some cases–never even met. I soaked it all up and convinced my heart that I could pay them back some day for all the memories and love they gave to me.
So, “fun” would not be the word I use to summarize this trip, because it’s simply not deep enough to describe my feelings. If love were an adjective, I would use the word, “love,” but since it’s not, I will say that I left the islands feeling beloved, cherished, expectant, and enamored with my family and the Hawaiian culture.
I am revived and planning my next trip back.