During my freshman year of college the resident adviser of my floor started a door-decorating contest. The theme was “I love ___”. With myself from Hawaii and my roommate from Tennessee, we went with “Home is Where the Heart Is” for our door theme and we decorated with pictures from our respective home states. We won the contest, and our prize: a metal picture frame for each of us with the word ‘family’ around the border.
I still have that picture frame with a picture of my family inside. It’s not the best picture, taken at Sam Choy’s Restaurant with the boat in the background and two unknown kids in the boat looking at the camera. My attire also makes me look fat. But it’s the best I got.
I am an angel, as I was born and raised in heaven. By heaven, I mean the Hawaiian Islands, and yes, they are heaven. They are as beautiful and as sunny as television makes them out to be. We are the Aloha State for a reason and our legislature said so in 1959. Sixty-five degrees is considered cold, spam is considered delicious and an aloha shirt is considered business attire. Heaven is Hawaii, and I honestly believe that one of the biggest steps toward world peace is to have the next G8 meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa located within feet of Waikiki Beach. With mai tais in hand and waves crashing upon the shore, war can only seem like a ridiculous idea.
Joking aside (but not the bias), Hawaii is God’s gift to Mother Earth. We are the most isolated populated group of islands on the planet, almost 4000 miles from Japan. That is about an eight hour plane ride, about the same from the east coast of the United States to London. We were also the last piece of land to be discovered and documented by Western explorers, first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778. We also have the distinct honor of murdering Captain James Cook. He returned to the islands during the time of war after first arriving during the time of peace, in which we realized that the captain is no god at all and killed him. I said Hawaii was heaven. I did not say Hawaii was perfect.
While we do not have perfection, we also do not have billboards, rabies, snakes and seagulls. Billboards and snakes are illegal. Snakes eat birds and we don’t want what happened to our avian population like what happened to Guam’s population as a result of the introduction of the brown tree snake. Billboards are just ugly. I know we don’t have rabies because we don’t have any raccoons but I don’t have any idea as to why we don’t have seagulls. And while we are on animals, gerbils, hamsters, hedgehogs, foxes and porcupines are all prohibited from entering the state.
I now live in St. Louis, Missouri with its oppressively hot summers and unbearably cold winters. People don't understand why I would leave heaven to come to, well, here. Very few people from Hawai'i do make the trek past the west coast. Because of the rarity of my presence in the middle of the country, most people I meet don't know very much about Hawaiiana, or any and all things Hawaiian. I'm taking it upon myself not only to introduce and explain Hawaiiana, but to help others back in Hawai'i considering to come up for the mainland either for vacation, college, or good.
It's not heaven, but the mainland isn't all that scary and foreign and horrible a place. There's a lot both sides of the Pacific can learn from each other.