Friday, August 14, 2009

Standing My Ground

The one problem with living in Hawaii is that you always have to say goodbye to people. It's more than just transience. It's people you love that are wanting to stay forever (or at least say so) who decide to pick up and leave.

People who live here are always talking about the situations that would cause them to leave. When you leave the universe door open to "if..." it's bound to happen. While they leave their hearts in Hawaii, they take their bodies to Utah. It's pretty hard to have a heart to heart with a bodiless heart.

Then you're tortured by a promise that the person will never love their new home as much as they love Hawaii, and they will try to come back as soon as they can. They even say things like, "I wish I was in Hawaii", but then they continue to revel in the benefits of being on the mainland that they swear they will never care about as much as living in Hawaii. If they come to visit, they casually mention they have a new house, gallons of milk for $2, and schools with toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Pretty soon their hearts are packing their bags. Worse, when I make fun of their newfoundland, they get annoyed and defend it.

I'm tired of being left behind. When people leave, they always act like it's about new progression and new beginnings and new opportunity. I wanna know. Just what the heck was wrong with the old one? Not only that, if those people come back to see what you're doing, and you happen to be living the old opportunity (however well you happen to be living it), they seem to feel like everything is right where they left it. In a bad way. Sure, I don't really want to make new friends because I'm waiting for the old ones to come back, and sure, my circle dwindles. But wouldn't it seem worse for you if I had moved on since I haven't moved?
Is it progression if I move to a place with 4 bedrooms and a dishwasher, cut off ties with the old friends, and start scrapbooking with my new crew?

I want to make a strong argument for Hawaii that I believe is air tight.

1. Owning your own house is totally over rated. What you are earning in equity, I am earning in peace of mind that I will never have to take care of my own plumbing problems. I think it's much better to concentrate on goals that require little upkeep but also signify "arriving" in terms of adulthood, like "owning a set of plates that all match and are not remnants from previous renters at the last three apartments you have lived".

2. So what if strawberries cost $1 a pound--You have to buy nice furniture to serve them on for your guests that you have to invite over with invitations made with little arranged pieces of paper cut out with a Cricut. Why not live here, where you eat mangoes dripping from your elbows while sitting in the yard with the people who happened to come over and ended up staying for dinner?

3. You will get at least 3 extra days off of school a year due to flooding, which is way better than a snow day (except in the event that it actually floods--and if that happens, you will probably get at least 5 days off). Plus some days are so nice that no one will begrudge you a surf vacation day occasionally.

4. I think I have to say it again in case you missed it: MANGO. So many that there are two huge tupperware of cut mango in your fridge and 10 more fruits on the counter ripening, not to mention the trees sagging with ripeness in the yard. I'll let that sit in your mind while I touch briefly on the words 'Mountain Apples'. That should be sufficient.

5. Good service is a myth. People who are polite and helpful in service related jobs are really just spitting in your food before it leaves the kitchen, or grumbling about their customers on their own personal blogs. It's much better to live in a place where everyone knows where they stand: that customers are really just a hassle, money made from this job is a necessary evil for idyllic island life, any pleasantries you would exchange are totally disingenuous anyway, and rather than bug the secretary you should probably just be more self-sufficient. I truly think it makes everyone happier at the end of the day to realize this and get on with the real relationships you have rather than worry about the fake ones that require pre-made conversational tools.

Now, I don't want everyone to come rent up all the remaining vacancies on my side of the island, but if anyone who has already left or is planning on leaving wants to stick around, I think we'd be happy to forgive and forget and make some room--

Maybe I could even spare a few mangoes.


Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

There is a big fire 20 miles away. I'm stuck inside the house trying to not suffocate. Everyone else is packing up and leaving. I'm on duty this week plus I have a big stack of papers to grade by Monday. If I could get on a plane and jet over to naniloa loop right now I would be there. I would eat mangoes AND have you help me make scrapbook cards from a cricut :)

Kristina P. said...

I would move to Hawaii in a heartbeat! Maybe I can take Crash's place.

April said...

You had me at mango! Mangoes in the US are not worth cutting open!!

ephraim said...

do we count among those you believe actually are coming back? i mean, we have nothing better than Hawaii down here. Except that if you don't show up to work, no once cares at all! Oh, and there are only 5 surfers on island. But we are coming back.

Sandi said...

Uh oh--- April just insinusated that Hawaii is not in the US. Shame Shame April!!
You sold me Mariko- if I ever get to live there again, I promise I will never leave!

Sandi said...

I obviously ignored the spell-check. So sorry!

Pamela Palmer said...

I wish everything here did stay the same. I wish I were the same age I was the last time they were here and looked it. I sometimes wish this place weren't so delicious to all varieties of moth and rust. Yeah, everything degenerates, but it's a good thing it does. Otherwise there'd be no room for the new. Also, sometimes just seeming to stay the same takes all kinds of energy and is indicative of all kinds of progress (as the challenges get harder). Also, what to them would indicate positive progress? WalMart on the north shore?

Patria said...

that totally was an air tight argument.
there's hope, people do leave and come back- we pulled that one off a couple of times.
i find that the best strategy is to have absolutely no close friends, only oodles of very nice acquaintances, that way- if someone leaves, no worries!
what is a cricut? also, is it too early for mountain apples? we were looking for some, but had no luck. i think you might know about some secret spots.

Rachel Plunkett said...

Hey Mariko,
In defense of scrap bookers and users of cricuts to make cute cards to invite people to their house (me) SCRAP BOOKING IS FUN :)I do get homesick for the "mainland style of living" picket fence and all. I think if I didn't feel like my family was doing ok here, I would move too. But I do agree that when people move and make it seem like they are moving to something better, it gets old.But many families cannot afford to live here. It sounds like you had a bad experience with someone, sorry.

Mariko said...

Don't worry. I'm not making fun of you. My dislike of scrapbooking is completely based on my inability to do it, not on its products. I will come hang out with you anytime, really.
It's funny you should say you would like living on the mainland because you're one of the few people I know who seems to have a setup to stay here forever! :)
My "bad experiences" are kind of tongue in cheek, and I know Crash is going to think this is pointed at her, but it isn't. Exactly. More like wavering in her general direction.
Patria-- We know many places with mountain apples-- maybe we should plan on a little hike with the kidlets? I'm really afraid the season is waning, but I want to check a few spots.
Kristina P, April and Sandi-- I'll reserve you a spot!
Eph: I'll believe it when I see it. I'll protect myself by remaining skeptical.
Damaris: If you did that, I would also help grade your papers. I may even cricut your papers. That sucks about the fire!

Colleen said...

When you drop by at Mariko's you get home-made chicken pie with perfect crust, and homemade pretzels. I'm not going anywhere. Although Crash's leaving made me feel like Madeline's friends--"we want our appendix out too." Not really, but it was cool to see how many people came by to express their love--that's got to feel good, maybe I'd leave every once and a while if I had that many good friends to send me off.
Excellent list. We're not going anywhere.

Jesse said...

I had a similar conversation with Christian, and Zach, and almost every other Laie person I meet, when we're together. We all want to be back there, but for some reason it doesn't work that way necessarily. You start something, hoping it will lead somewhere, but you don't really know where it will lead, and you just have faith it will work out. Anyway, I don't see myself finishing this thought anytime soon . . .

Robbie said...

I guess I'm counted in the group of people who say "if...then we'll have to move to the mainland", and I'm sorry! People that live here tell me, "If there's a will, there's a way", but that would mean me going back to work, right? Which we are going to try everything not to have that happen. Instead, I must be satisfied in knowing that we will stay here as long as we can. Especially in Laie. It's such a special place, and you are such a great friend. I'm glad to read that the Springs stopped by and helped you eat your pies!
We love getting mangoes from friends, and right now I'm enjoying lychee from Scott's friend. fruit growing in the wild or in yards is the best!
Oh, gotta go get the baby.

Smiths said...

Ouch. You cut to the core. It's true we are in search of something better than a tva appartment, but it really makes me think about what we are putting value on. There is an amazing pride some people develop about finding a way to live in Hawaii that makes me feel a little defensive about being one of the people that left in search of a way to get back.
Utah isn't so bad, but thank goodness you didn't write this during winter. See you soon.

cailin said...

Wow, it's been a long time since I've read everybody's blogs. Or updated my own--though I have finally started doing that. Am I one of those people who moved on and cut off all ties? I guess saying Iz and I suck at the long distance thing doesn't really cut it as an excuse or that we ignore everyone equally and aren't singling any one person out. Just ask Iz's mom. And we have loved each place we've lived in (mmmm....maybe love is a strong word for Grenada), and we've adapted to new ways of living (though I still don't know what a cricut is), but Iz is freaked out that he can't call himself a surfer anymore and when people ask what I like to do all I can say is that I used to love the outdoors but can't seem to find it anymore. I miss my town. My family. My friends. Even my mom's messy, messy house. Because it's MINE. And I'll still claim it as mine no matter how long we're away........cause we're coming back one day. Count on it.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my goodness! There is a whole lot of rambling going on in this comment box. You opened a can of worms, girlfriend. I have been wanting to get over here and ramble too since I read it the day before I left. I was going to say that I know this post isn't pointed at me since we weren't even real friends, (until you took me out to Greek and brought me mangos).

I thought it was cute how everyone kinda felt guilty after reading this post. Guilty about moving on.

It's a double edged sword, Hawaii. I love it. And I know I will fantasize about it when it starts getting dark at 5:30 and I'm stuck in the house all day.

I cried like a baby when I left my house and drove away from Laie, past TVA, the campus, your house, PCC, the beach. It was all such a part of me.

And yet there are so many things I don't miss yet. It surprises me. Of course there's my afro and the cockroaches and needing approval from BYUH for every decision we made in our rental. It's weird to have so much control over our own lives (so far). Choices and options and space and privacy are not half bad.

It's also nice when the school counselor says "hey, if your son doesn't like his classes, come see me. I can change them." Not used to that. I've been surprised how happy the kids are at school. When I asked Garrett if he was nervous to go to school on the first day he said "MOM, we're living in Utah! I'm not afraid of Utah people. I was kinda afraid of Hawaii people, but I'm not afraid of Utah people." I have to admit it's nice that they don't ever get told "Go home F'n haole."

It hasn't been as bad as I expected. And it's been a huge relief to realize that I am past my childhood issues. YES!

But I still want to be uber rich so I can come back often. I also still want to do a girls trip with you and Pam and Co every year or so.