One of the first questions people ask me when they find out that I actually live here on the Big Island, and I’m not just vacationing, is: “What made you move from Maine to Hawai’i?” My first response is generally something along the lines of, “40 years of Maine winters,” or “Have you ever been to Maine in the winter?” After we all get a good laugh out of the cold Maine winter jokes, I will usually share the story of our moving adventure, which began in October of 2005, and goes something like this.
Happy Anniversary – 10 years !
When my husband and I were married in October of 1995, we eloped. No fuss, no muss, just our commitment to each other. We also didn’t go anywhere special for a honeymoon. At the time, it worked for us. We decided that we would renew our vows on our ten year anniversary and do something special then. I had been married before with the big dress, big wedding, and big honeymoon, and the marriage lasted two years. Neither one of us really wanted to go through the headache of all that planning again.
So, when our ten year anniversary came around, we did what any self-respecting young couple with a home equity loan would do – we planned a three week trip to Hawai’i! We even invited family to come with us to be a part of the fun.
Wai’anapanapa State Park on Mau’i
We spent one week on Kaua’i, one week on Maui, and our last week here on the Big Island. To be honest, the only reason we included the Big Island on our trip was because my husband wanted to fly over Kilauea in a Blue Hawaiian helicopter, which he had seen on the Travel Channel.
I really didn’t have any interest in the Big Island when we were planning our trip. Imagine my surprise when we landed here on the Big Island and I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. To the point where I actually had tears in my eyes and I looked at my husband and said, “I am home.” It was at that moment I knew – we would be back to stay.
This was not a case of vacationing in paradise and thinking: “Oh, how wonderful would it be to live here?!” We had traveled to tropical places before and I had never had that feeling. I decided to call my best friend and neighbor to share the good news with her. The first thing she said to me when she answered the phone was, “You’re not coming back, are you?” My response: “Only to pack up our things and close our business.” She knew when we left for our trip that something was different, too.
We decided to spend the last few days of our trip talking with people to see if we would be a good fit for island life. One of the places we went to was a bead shop on Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona called Caravan Beads. We went in to buy a cute little blown glass perfume bottle with a gecko on top in honor of my Mom, who had started a tradition of buying a fun glass bottle whenever we went on a trip.
While we were there, waiting to pay, I started to talk with the cashier about our plans to move. “Funny,” he said. “My co-worker, Jan, just became a licensed realtor!” I happily took her card and we left. The next place we went was the Sweet Ohana Candy Factory, which at the time was right around the corner, tucked way back in one of the shopping areas. My husband loves anything chocolate, so we couldn’t pass by without stopping in.
I was on a mission at this point, so I decided to ask this sweet Aunty that was there working what she thought about our plans to move. It was the strangest thing. She took my hands and she looked at me and said, “You are supposed to be here, you will fit in here, don’t worry.” It was like being on an episode of the Twilight Zone. All of the worry about being accepted and fitting in were gone. It was as if she knew exactly what I needed to hear. We bought enough chocolate to last a month, thanked Aunty again, and we were off to catch our last Hawai’i sunset for a while…
It turns out that you can get theyah from heeyah.
Yes, it’s pretty far away, but I moved from Maine to Hawaii, “heeya from theyah,” and I couldn’t be happier. I’m loving life here.