Farewell, Hawaii. *Insert mental image of glistening tear rolling down cheek* </3
With Christian being selected for the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, we have a PCS move on the horizon.
As I sit here writing this, our apartment is in complete disarray: we have postal service boxes on the floor that we’ll use to mail some of our belongings to the next duty station (household goods overseas shipments are a bit too unreliable for us to entrust all our belongings to), an assortment of random chairs placed around the living area since we just sold our couch so we don’t have to move it, and a mess of belongings that are currently not tucked away in their usual “homes,” because soon, they will be in suitcases.
Everything reeks of scurry because the movers come this week. And yet, because we’re still in Hawaii, the chaos seems to matter very little. The ocean breeze whispers, “slow down” and the beach calls for sunrise visits. The island doesn’t rush: and so often now, neither do we.
It only felt right to farewell our Hawaii chapter with a final photo shoot on the north shore (with the lovely @brittanyevansphotography), and a little love letter to this island.
Living on Oahu’s north shore in the country (“Keep the Country Country”!) was like meeting a new part of myself, but also being reintroduced to a younger, less inhibited version of me.
And I’m so grateful that I’ll be taking her with me to all the places we’re headed next.
Fairly recently, as I looked back on our three years here and contemplated the ways in which Hawaii has changed me, I realized that it mostly just brought out what might be my most authentic self. The barefoot lifestyle that’s espoused here has always been in my soul; I feel so deliciously happy when I can feel hot earth, sand or even pavement beneath my feet. My feet are shockingly tough, just ask my Ranger husband. Long, careless hair and bare skin are both accepted and the standard here, and I cleaved to that aesthetic like moss to a tree — naturally; simply.
There were parts of me, almost forgotten, that were remembered and enhanced through island living: I am fearless in the face of bugs and toads and lizards (oh my!), and there were endless opportunities here to show off this peculiar bravery. In case you’re a stranger to life on Oahu, it is not at all an uncommon thing to find lizards in your shower (I like the green ones) or a cockroach scurrying across a wall (outdoors or inside one’s living space — eeeek). My courage in the face of all that is (subjectively) creepy and crawly led to Christian nicknaming me his “cockroach queen:” A title I will wear like a badge of honor.
And I always, always had what I’d call a mermaid spirit.
I’m going to maintain that “mermaid” is a state of mind (Re: my blog name!) but it was absolutely the most easy and natural state of being while living on this island.
Still, Hawaii did change me. It changed Christian, too (though I’ll only attempt to speak for me).
Part of this change probably occurred because it was our very first duty station. But regardless of reason, after reflecting on the experiences we’ve had here: the places traveled, the friends made, and the independence cultivated (his, mine, and ours together as a married couple), I am certain that I’ve gown in many ways.
I’ve learned to be more conscientious of this planet and our impact on it by living near the ocean and through travels abroad. I’ve grown to respect and appreciate (although not always perfectly emulate) a less material, slower lifestyle. I’ve become more patient, and hopefully more present — both of which are traits I’ve found to be highly valuable as an island dweller. I’ve become more open.
Whether it was the swimming with sharks and diving through underwater caves, shopping local, relocating lizards and conquering roaches, Bikram yoga, or making friends that felt like family when family was an ocean away: Hawaii has changed me. Or perhaps it was doing married life on a little island where we had to lean entirely on each other; going through my first pregnancy in the most free-spirited, perfect beach town; birthing my daughter and starting our family here.
I think it was a little bit of absolutely everything.
Farewell (for now), Hawaii. ❤ We love you.