While most of the island took the day off, as well as the two previous days, my neighbors, Jesse and Sam, and I decided to make a little extra money this morning. Before this weekend, I wasn’t sure how I was going to end up spending my Easter Sunday, but now that it’s coming to a close, I’m pleased.
Around 8:30 this morning, my neighbors and I piled into a tiny pickup truck and drove the twenty miles to the very west end of the island. We worked on doing some landscaping at one of the homes on that side of the island. Most of the locals live in the center of the island in one of the two main towns, one of which I live in, but further out on the island, there are some more upscale homes, normally owned by people with a little bit extra cash on hand. Throughout the morning my neighbors and I did some simple landscaping things in the yard which was a nice way to spend the morning. The sun was out, but we were working mainly in the shade, not to mention the temperature is about ten degrees cooler up in the mountains on the west end than it is by the ocean in town.
While we worked, I couldn’t help but draw multiple comparisons to my experience in East Africa a little less than five months ago. I’ve read that a persons sense of smell is a strong link to their memory and I believe it. There are certain smells that come with being in this part of the world (located anywhere between the tropics and the equator) that are similar no matter what continent, or island as the case may be, you’re on. While I was shoveling mulch and hooking up sprinklers, I kept flashing back to the manual labor I did while in Africa. There’s something about the plant life on this island that has a similar scent as the plants in Kenya. I know for a fact that there is an invasive African tree species here called kiawe, but the funny thing is I don’t remember seeing any kiawe* in Africa, only here in Hawaii. Doing work by hand like they do in Africa is rewarding work when the job is complete. I got a little of that feeling today when the job was done, even if all I was doing was creating mulch paths for a garden.
*Kiawe is a terrible tree that grows thorns that are multiple inches long and will bust through the soles of even the thickest shoes. Once one of the thorns pokes its way into your foot it’ll ruin your whole day. It might make good firewood, but kiawe can go back to where it came from!
When the work was done my neighbors and I meandered home slowly, taking a few detours to the beaches on the north end of the island. The surf was fierce today which made for some impressive waves crashing against the rocky shores. When we arrived home in the early afternoon, I immersed myself in the current novel I’ve been reading and sat outside in the sun -my blood must have started thinning because I swear I actually felt “cool” sitting in the shade. I don’t know how to process this.
At 5:30, Jesse, Sam and I ventured over to our other neighbors house for dinner. She recently had surgery in Honolulu and has a friend from Maui staying with her at her home for a few days while she heals. The five of us sat down to salad and spaghetti with homemade sauce. Thankfully, I find myself in a small community of vegans and vegetarians, which makes sticking to my diet a lot easier. I appreciated the fact that we didn’t have to have a traditional Easter feast – whatever that is. Lamb? Hard boiled eggs? It was an evening of good food and great conversations, and I found myself mixing well with people who have been in Hawaii anywhere from 7 months to 40 years.
A little work and a little spaghetti and perhaps an Easter I won’t soon forget. Happy Easter!