One week later.
I realize that I’ve only been on my own for a week, but it truly feels like it’s been longer. Sometimes I catch myself thinking as if I’ve been here for at least a month. I don’t know if it’s because I’m acclimating to my environment, or if it’s because I’m kinda lonely over here and a little more than a bit homesick. Which sounds weird, right? I guess that’s an aspect of living in Hawai’i. I’m still “In-State”, yet on a different land mass than my family.
I’ve only been to three of the Hawaiian Islands, but I can definitely tell that each island has its own individual identity. I had always thought of O’ahu as slow and ordinary. But I see now that compared to Hilo and Kaua’i (of what I saw), I am from the “city”. Sometimes, I look out my dorm room window and it vaguely reminds me of the North Shore, with all the open space and easy going vibe and the food and the ocean being the main attraction. At night, I can only see street lights miles away from here, and I can pretend I’m looking outside from my bedroom window at home.
Once in a while, I can be in a classroom building for long enough, and I’ll forget I’m not on O’ahu anymore. It’s quite easy. Many of the students my age aren’t much different here. Some professors even remind me vaguely of old high school teachers. And then I get a quick but still startling reminder when I go out and see brochures for Imiloa, notice the lack of traffic on the roads nearby, and am surrounded by the subtle but constant smell and sound of rainforest wherever I go.
My family sent a care package of microwaveable rice and my favorite soup and shoyu and pictures of good memories to tack on the wall of my dorm. A letter from one of my closest friends arrived today. Both of these things simultaneously made me very happy and more homesick at the same time. We got the news this week that my mother will not need chemotherapy, and I could swear I felt the sensation of an actual weight being lifted off of my chest. But she will need surgery. The knowledge that I could be able to be home for that is a relief, yet also something I am hesitant to metally picture.
I’ve gotten so homesick sometimes that I envision being in the Hilo airport on my way back to Honolulu to cheer myself up.
It’s not all bad.
My suitemates are sweet. My roommate and I have our own fridge that we don’t share with siblings who steal our food. (Most) of the people I meet are genuinely friendly. My professors apart from one seem to not take themselves too seriously. I can bring my dinner into my room and nobody bats an eye. I can be completely antisocial in a social environment (of which I am obligated to be in) or a class involving being social and nobody looks at my weird. Apart from my roommate liking to listen to music aloud (without headphones) in our dorm occasionally, it’s quite peaceful here.
Maybe one day, the complete silence at night save for coqui frogs and people passing through my dorm hall will feel like home. But right now, even the sound of an obnoxiously loud bus passing by would not be unwelcome.