There are a couple of sayings that have rung true over the years. One is “home is where the heart is” and the second, “you can never go home again”. I have found them both to be true in certain ways. But, one proven false at times. When I had lived in the Hawaiian islands for about ten years I went to my high school reunion. So many things had changed. Rural neighborhoods were no longer there. Friends had moved away. I could understand why one can never go home again as it simply isn’t the same home you previously left. And, I found that my heart was in Hawai’i. This past weekend the sayings were given the test of time again. However, since I’ve lived in Hawai’i going on 54 years, the Mainland was never considered in the equation. My homes were interisland.
I have lived on Maui for two years. It’s a fun island with a million things to do. And, my tree of life here has some shiny new leaves. I have a wonderful hula halau, a wonderful Hawaiian church and a few lovely friends. But, my roots here have never grown deep. They are painfully shallow and I’m constantly aware of how fragile my tree of life is on Maui.
This past few days I flew back to the Big Island where I lived for forty years. My roots run so deep there. My friends have been with me through all my ups and downs. And, when I’m able to go back it is always the same so you can go home again! When I originally moved to Hawai’i I tried to assimilate into the culture. The Big Island is the most culturally Hawaiian island of all the major islands and my friends there, many of whom were born elsewhere, have chosen to live with aloha and follow the Hawaiian way of life. Maui has adopted a more Mainland way of life. And, though there are pockets of true Hawaiian style living, one must search to find them. On the Big Island you hear the Hawaiian language spoken in the market or in the bank. People care about the ‘aina. Children and young adults are more respectful.
I have an amazing amount of support there. My tree flourishes there with leaves of every color and shape. My friends know me. They love me as I am. I keep trying to convince myself that I am now a Maui Girl, but I realize I’m not and never will be. So, the saying, “home is where the heart is” has never been so evident. I think, in a way, I have given up on Maui. I will now put great effort into going home again–back to the Big Island. It will probably take about a year, but it’s Big Island or bust!