Cloudy, with a Chance of Rainbows.

So, let’s see how long a blog I can write using my smart phone before it gets too tedious!

Things here in Hawaii are awesome, but, it is not sunny. Not yet at least! My host family is super sweet and helpful, and I’ve basically been tagging along with them for the past few days, or allowed myself to be scooped up and taken along with friends.

The first moment I arrived here — I’ve been having all these quasi-flashbacks to when I lived in South Korea, but from there it was so easy to plane-hop to a Pacific Rim/Southeast Asian country. One year I went with a newbie to Korea, and so a near-stranger to me, to Indonesia.

The guy I was dating at the time, his great aunt lived in Indonesia, outside Jakarta (this was not a cool Bali surf trip), and was, and Erich described her, the little old lady who lived in a zoo šŸ˜‰ And she really was. She lived in the orangutan exhibit/village INSIDE the zoo! Se my new friend Neil & I were set up with the connection, and off we went.

She was something else- a slightly dotty, but immensely sweet, and obviously intelligent very old woman- she spoke German, her native language. Apparently, she & her German husband had moved to Indonesia fifty years prior to help rehabilitate the orangutans that had been abused or illegally sold and malnourished, etc., but nearly as soon as they arrived, her husband died. And so she stayed, and stays, living within the bounds of the zoo, in a small very quaint house, at which she served us tea and invited us to play with and meet her charges, which also included one mildly deluded parrot who’d plucked all his feathers…

…Anyway, why am I reminded of all that? Well, easily. This is just another south pacific country, basically. The humidity, the enormous leafy plants, the lax sense of time. My hostess said the only thing that keeps Hawaii from being just another third world country is the U.S. government: 1/3rd works for the government, 1/3rd for the army, and then the last third works to support the infrastructure all that creates.

But, back to the moment I arrived thing; I was so sharply reminded of the trip I took on my way home from Korea after two years of teaching. My brother was studying abroad in Sydney, and a co-teacher had just moved to Brisbane in Australia. So I took a detour. I flew down to Cairns on the northern coast of Australia to go see the coral reef, before heading to see those I knew elsewhere on the island. When I got the plane, I exited right into the outdoors – no enclosed walk through a large gate area, just right outside. Where I had left, it had been snowing; this was February after all.

And I walked outside, and I was swept up and into the dense warmth of the air, and greeted by large, waving green plants and the tops of palms in an endless, massive sky.

The moment was echoed when I arrived here, straight into the warm healing arms of Maui.

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