Let's first talk about what us Hawai'i folk like to call "Island Fever".
"Oh my gosh why would you ever wanna leave Hawai'i?"
"Pack me in your suitcase and take me home with you!"
I've heard it all before, on several trips to different places in the US. Anyone from a small town can relate. I. WANT. OUT. I want to experience! Live in different places, try new things. You know, small town girl kinda stuff. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE my hometown of historic Hilo Hawai'i and all of its charm. (I will touch on this in a minute) It's so easy to be at home here, and I think that's exactly why people who grow up here want to leave so badly. To be somewhere different; outside of their comfort zone. That's island fever. The rest of the world has so much to offer! I remember in high school my friends and I would talk about 'getting off of this rock"; and as raw and literal as it sounds, it's true. We live on a rock surrounded by water and Hawai'i is so wildly different than the rest of the world. Although it is definitely a good thing at times, other times it can feel like living under a rock instead of on top of one. Adventure! Experience! I am a firm believer in going and getting it.
And now, home.
I've heard lots of sayings about home; that it's where the heart is, the pants aren't, all of it. For me and about 43,000 other people, it's where the mountains, volcano, and the BEST shaved ice on the planet is, and I couldn't have asked for a better place to call home for the past nineteen years. Sunny days and rainy nights, (consecutively) where everything closes at ten pm (or six on Sundays), where late night hang outs took place at the only places possible- the always trusty local pancake house (open 24/7) or good ole' McD's. That's Hilo.
I've found that in a small town, you learn to thoroughly, genuinely enjoy your company, simply due to the lack of things to do at 9 on a Friday night. So you sit in a car with a Slurpee or in a diner with a milkshake and you talk. Until 2 am. Now this may sound like a snoozefest but I assure you that it has taught me to CREATE things to do; to actually converse, and most importantly, to choose friends wisely. I mean, if all you can do is sit and talk, you want it to be with people you genuinely enjoy. That being said, Hilo has taught me many valuable things and still continues to. This is home; even if I end up thousands of miles away, it will always be here. I love my small town and no matter where I may wander, it will ALWAYS be home. Where I learned and am still learning to serve, love, laugh, and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.