I found happiness amongst a pile of dirt sitting on an aluminum screen that bent over a wheel barrel.  It is hot in what shade is available to be under and a thin layer of brown covers each otherʻs vulnerable body parts with each passing breeze, accentuating whites of eyes and teeth upon laughter.  As one gloved-hand sorts and the other picks out glass and debris, Iʻm thoroughly entertained, my spirit thoroughly filled, by the conversation floating to and from the barrels.  We shovel, sit, and sort.  And talk, about what?

Anything. Everything.

Iʻve been working this job for about a month now, and though I am initially not thrilled to dwell in the uncertainty of new things, I owe the wave of change; I just had the best summer of my twenty year old life.  And I think it about time to put what I can, on paper, for everyone but me.

The greatest summer ever, began in possibly the worst way: breakup.  Up until this very moment I have never and will never understand the amount of positive and negative energy it takes to start, be in, end, and reflect upon, a romantic relationship.  Iʻm certainly not saying itʻs bad, I think the ability to balance everything in love is beautiful; my point is that itʻs just truly mind-blowing.  Like nearly all sticky situations, itʻs a long story.  However, I have nothing to hide for the way things happened.

He did absolutely nothing to hurt me, I need to make that clear.  All you need to know is that I pulled the plug; life was perfect, we went to the beach and played in the shore break and I looked at his smile and into his eyes and fell in love again and again.  Every time he laughed, I thought ʻwhat a beautiful thing it would be if heʻs maybe the father of my children one day.ʻ  Iʻm in no way ashamed to say I loved him, because thatʻs the truth, and whether he accepts it or not, I still love him, in a different light.  The light beneath our shared romantic love that always wants the best for him; that never changed.  At the beach, I had imperfect perfection, and three days later I told him I wanted to end it.  We were together off and on for 6 years, and I broke it off.  Heʻs out there, and he deserves my continuous apologies for his lack of peace, along with two worlds and everything wonderful.

The consequences of my actions still linger like a smell that reminds you of that one awful time when you were a child,.. etc. I don’t expect anything less than that daily agony, because mine may not even be comparable to his.  However, the worst part about this whole shindig is that I cannot explain why I wanted to be separated.  I donʻt know why.  I do not know why.

After an answer like that, thereʻs this long and very awkward silence which I thought only arose when I answered him with that while we talked one-on-one, but I have come to find it exists in my mind as well.  It is such a strange and almost uncomfortable feeling, to not know, not feel, to not even have a sense of where to put my hands or how to breathe normally.

Let me insert here, because clearly my head and my heart are useless at this point, the only thing in my body that has it together: naʻau.  Naʻau is a hawaiian word and you should go to to read about the meaning(s), and decide which one you like, but donʻt get too excited from an online definition because really you wonʻt know what it means until you feel what it means.  Anyway, if theres anything to blame for my breaking up with a good-hearted, good-looking, good-values man, itʻs my naʻau.

It frustrates me that this naʻau, this thing dwelling in my innards, absorbing what I feed it and always trying to produce good things regardless, is exponentially influential.  Itʻs crazy.  It functions on its own, and Iʻm tired of talking about how junk my amazing summer started so Iʻm going to tell you about miracles.  Miracles that were stirring up while I was depressed and confused, miracles that happened that I would have never experienced if I didnʻt first didnʻt know…

Nā Pua Noʻeau.  This program is my identity, my family, they are me and I am them in so many ways.  This summer I got to work with two groups of high school kids and it makes my heart happy.  Iʻm so grateful for any time I get to spend giving back to those who gave me so much.

Christ.  When my great grandma passed away, I thought I hit rock bottom emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  But after I broke up with my boyfriend, I realized that there was a bottom beneath that bottom.  Doesnʻt make any sense to me, but thatʻs what happened.  I rededicated my life, thoughts, desires and dreams, to Christ soon after, and the feeling is reminiscent of the first time He changed my life in the 7th grade.  I am new, again.

Kānewai.  Iʻve had really cool jobs in the past but this one is the best by far.  Mahalo to my new puʻu honua… Youʻve done so much I cannot repay you for.

San Fransisco.  My family and I took a week of vacation and went to this city that reeks of pakalolo and cigarette smoke.  It was amazing to spend quality time with my family and to truly realize the value of time; I donʻt really want another birthday, christmas, valentines, or anything, present.  I just want time.  Those kinds of trips are far beyond worth the money spent to do it.

Books.  I bought two books that werenʻt required for a class, to read for fun, for the first time, in 12 years.  And Iʻve been reading them.  Thatʻs crazy.  I never made time for that before.

Friends.  For most of my life Iʻve had best friends come as pairs: Kim & Chaz, Ulu & Tita, Becca & AC.  I have many, but those are the ones I always felt the closest to.  This summer I rekindled friendships Iʻve neglected in the past, and made new ones.  And the new ones are mostly from work.  By the amount of dirt weʻve sifted together and the conversations that carried us through each day of the summer, I know already: they are lifelong ones.  These people,… someone gets an idea and we talk a little about it, then we do it that night.  Thatʻs the kind of friends I never really had.  They taught me how to just do.  Now I know, itʻs important.

Home.  I picked up Royce, a good friend of mine that sat among those Iʻve put to the side in the past, from the airport five days before his family and friends expected him to be home from his schooling and duties in the Air Guard, at Sheppard Base in Texas.  His original ride didnʻt work out so I got to take him home and the whole car ride I could feel his smile getting bigger and bigger.  The feeling of being home… finally.  I cannot explain how much I appreciate that 20 minute ride, for reminding me of the preciousness of home, never merely a place.

Paddling.  As regatta (sprints) season came to a close, I decided to try do long distance with the open women of my club.  I went everyday to practice only with the intent of learning and working hard.  The weekend before school started, coach put me in the canoe for our race… Pure joy.  Not for making the crew, but for experiencing the sport in the most beautiful way, with amazing ladies.  The rest of my joy can be explained in person if you want to know.

Little miracles,… huge impact.

I am a product of the people and environment I choose to be around.. I learned that.  I can be miserable if I want to be, or stoked on life; up to me.  I donʻt have to be strong, itʻs okay to cry, okay to not know.  Learned that too.  A lot of this summer was out of my control, a lot of life will be out of my control,… but my goodness… What a journey it is, to move right along, stepping lightly, with a hint of silliness, a dash of ʻwhat ifʻs, a cup of love, a handful of great people, a pinch of made-time, and a little bit of uncertainty.

Too many people to thank for the past 6 weeks.  How great is that?  Too many people.  MAHALO ❤


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