beginning to look a lot like . . .

On our second night here there was a huge storm which caused us to loose power, flooded our road, and caused the ocean to swell. I've mentioned before that living near the ocean is lovely, but I don't trust it any further than I can throw it, and during the storm I was begging it to behave properly.

Our condo is built on old Hawaiian burial grounds, which is a fact that I've made peace with, especially because the spots where bones were found are fenced off and protected according to Hawaiian custom. But that second night, in the dark, I was a little uneasy so we headed out to Wal-Mart to buy flashlights and candles.

As I was weaving my way through the snow-flecked blinking Christmas trees, past the beeping toys and blow-up Rudolphs of Wal-Mart in a state of total disorientation--the song, "It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas" came over the loudspeaker and I could only shake my head. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't look anything like Christmas around here.

The fact that Christmas is nearly here is something that I can't really make sense of just yet. Kind of like how I still can't believe that as I write this post most of the people I love are sitting down to dinner but I'm still sipping my coffee, or the fact that at night, when I really want to call a friend, they're all tucked in for the night. My internal clock remains confused, to the point that any local could tell me it was any time of the day and I would believe them.

To that end, the days continue to pass at a marvelously slow rate. It's calming for me to move slowly and to feel that if I'm late nobody will panic because people are expected to take their time, to "talk story" and to be available to whatever experiences present themselves.

I used to think the "Aloha Spirit" concept was made up for tourists. But I've come to believe it is a real thing and that we are being changed and washed by it. It's a hospitality of soul and openness, a willingness to accept, both within the church and outside of it, as my friend Rachel said, "That most everyone is doing the very best they can with what they have."

So this Christmas, I'm doing my best to celebrate in this rather odd context that has no reference point in the childhood of my youth. This best included assembling a ginger bread house on the lanai (no bugs please!) and then storing it in the fridge, attending one Christmas hula pageant (who would have known the hula girls were there in the manger!) and getting my toes ready for the season, a small detail that never would have made it into my holiday plans back home.

I must close because Anna is warning me that Santa will only be at the open air market for one more hour . . . So I'm off to see Santa and hoping against hope that he won't be wearing shorts or toting a surfboard.


anna j said...

It is with great interest that I have been following your blog as you transition into life there . . .
I can resonate with the oddities of being in the opposite time/climate zone after a mid-winter move, as it was last January that I moved to Zambia. And now I may be coming to your variety of an area, going to the Cayman Islands this January to see about a possible job move in a few months . . .
Please continue to post your lovely photos and descriptions :-)

Marji said...

Jenny, Another thoughtful and inspiring post. I'm sensing you are settling in some. I loved the wording around Aloha spirit, letting it envelop you and move you on a number of levels. The spirit of the season, inspite of the summer weather, shines through you. Missing you here in balmy, foggy Chicago.

Marlene said...

Hello Jenny. I had you on my mind and thought I'd check to make sure you and your family were in Kona. Your comments and observations tell me you all are settling in well. I am so impressed with the fresh and honest images you are sharing as you make your way through your first month in your amazing new environment. Mother, wife, and matushka (I'm not sure what endearment your jurisdiction uses) on a new planet!
God bless you! We will be keeping you in our prayers.
blessed Christmas! Meli Kalikimaka

Jenny said...

Hey Anna, Marji and Marlene,

Greet to hear from you all--thank you for your kind words. Marlene--do let us know when you're coming to the Island. We look forward to knowing you!

Marji miss you, too. I wish you lived just next door so we could bump into each other casually and you could tell me stories and make me laugh, surprising me with your plot twists and colorful descriptions.