I was born in a hospital named after a queen (Kapi’olani) and grew up on the leeward side of the island of Oahu. I moved to the mainland for college and I’ve been here ever since. I don’t feel the same lingering sort of homesickness I did during the first few months after moving but sometimes I get hit with a wave of homesickness so fierce I instantly find myself looking at the fares on the Hawaiian Airlines website. I sort of, kind of, hope my family never reads this one. Being homesick is one thing I hate to admit.
In addition to the obvious, I miss my family and friends spiel, there are a few other things that I seriously miss. I loved being able to invite friends over whenever because it was never too far or out of the way. Warm showers, the rainy kind not just the hygienic sort were usually always nice. Unless, I was at work and in danger of slipping in my intelligently selected Converse high tops! And I miss volunteering at the t-shirt booth at the annual Okinawan Festival during Labor Day weekends. That’s actually where my love for graphic tees first started!
But I think what I miss most of all is the food! When in doubt, Zippy’s was always a safe choice. I’d always get my usual, a side of chili and cheese fries with a small won ton min. Their chocolate milkshakes, up until I realized I had become lactose intolerant (seriously, worst thing that has ever happened to me) was also a huge part of my usual order. Piggy status right? I’m just getting started. I miss going on group dinners to Shokudo during high school when we felt fancy-ish but mostly cool, because the atmosphere in there is just so darn alluring. The Tokyo Shoyu ramen and original Honey Toast were my top picks. The neighboring restaurant, Angleo Pietro, was another favorite eatery with their raw potato salad and create-your-own pasta dishes. My sister and I grew up on dinners at Ezogiku and we literally fought over leftovers of the pork fried rice.
Shave ice at Ice Garden was worth being in such close vicinity to my least favorite place on Oahu, the doctor’s office. The same old ladies who have been there for forever make the best shave ice in Hawaii! My regular order consisted of shave ice with condensed milk and pudding. I could pretty much be convinced to do (almost) anything if Ice Garden was involved.
I think the 7-11s in Hawaii are the best in the nation because they have bentos AND slurpees. If I didn’t have my mini fried chicken bento from 7-11 before tennis matches or certain work days I could not be held responsible for my actions throughout the rest of the day. Kidding! But seriously, it’s my favorite and a must have if you ever visit Hawaii. I hope they still have them. K’s bentos remind me of field trips and of one of my tennis coaches and are usually what I ask for when relatives from Hawaii come to visit. Well that or Zippy’s Zip Pacs. I don’t usually get either but I’m hoping this will change in the future. Hint Hint, sister.
There’s also a bunch of things that I don’t really miss about the island. I don’t miss driving on the narrower roads and lanes or getting stuck in crazy snail paced traffic. Seriously, how my sister survived her daily commute to and from school in that traffic with no air conditioning is something I’ll never be able to understand. She claims she has her KPOP music to thank for her survival and sanity but I don’t buy it.
Giant flying B-52 cockroaches, fat centipedes that are nearly a foot long, indestructible looking scorpions and huge cane spiders (which I’ve never seen myself but my sister has told me stories about them that have resulted in one or two nightmares of my own) are definitely not missed. Although, I sometimes feel like the wide range of poisonous spiders and snakes here are good enough reasons to move back to the island.
Some of the local stories we’d hear about when we were kids still scare the heck out of me. Travelling with pork in your car for instance over the Pali highway is a definite no go. Your car will stop and will not restart until the pork is removed from your car. In the story we were told an old woman would appear at the time your car is stalled which also usually (and conveniently) happened at night. I never knew the entire story behind this legend until Google-ing it just now but it seems like Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess and the demigod Kamapua’a (half-man-half-pig) had a bad relationship and agreed never to visit each other. If someone takes pork over the Pali, they are symbolically taking a piece of Kamapua’a from one side of the island to the other and Pele will stop you. Attempting to take some super good leftovers home (no matter how amazing they might be) is definitely not worth the risk of getting stuck on the side of the road at night, angering Pele, or worse yet, wasting food, in my opinion. Taking lava rock from the Big Island is also without a doubt off limits. I apply this principle to shells found on the beach as well. But who knows, shells might be okay. Maybe Pele, the volcano goddess, doesn’t care too much about those? Bottom line, you always respect the islands.
Err… yeah this article should probably be renamed “Everything I Miss About Hawaii is the Food.” Despite every “con” that I’ve listed, Hawaii will always be home and I couldn’t be more grateful for being able to grow up in a place where you’re touched by a little of the Aloha spirit at every second of every hour of every day that you’re there. Who am I kidding? The food is hands down the BEST part!! 😛