Back in Hawaii: It’s not Pretty, but It’s Home

I think the kids were more excited about coming home to Hawaii than I was. Don’t get me wrong – I love Hawaii and miss a lot of the things that make this place so unique (especially the Aloha Spirit). But living in the Bay Area so many years has changed me, and I couldn’t generate the same level of excitement, anticipation and eagerness about coming back as the kids.

We got back, and I thought that Hawaii looked the same, smelled the same, sounded the same, and felt the same. The trees, the mountains, the tradewind breezes, the Hawaiian music on the radio – it’s as if I never left.

It even tastes the same, fortunately. Our first meal back in Hawaii is not pretty. It’s simply Zippy’s chili, reheated from a frozen bag and served over brown rice. It’s not even the best chili, as far as chilis go.

But one taste and I know I’m home.


Sis came over and dished out on all the latest goings on with our extended family. Sometimes I wonder, how are we related? I just have to accept the fact that we are family.

Yep. Back in Hawaii. It’s not pretty, but it’s home.

Aloha, Nate

5 Comments Post a Comment
  1. tigerfish says:

    You know, I also felt different when I returned to S’pore this time. Since this return will be for a while, I started to miss Bay Area terribly. Like you, I think living in the Bay Area has changed me.

  2. Nate-n-Annie says:

    @Tigerfish – for better or for worse, we’re Californians now…

  3. Jenster says:

    Aloha. I found your blog via Pomai’s The Tasty Island (http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/) and have really enjoyed reading your posts.

    I agree that living on the mainland DOES change you. After growing up in Honolulu, I move to the Northwest in 1989. Now when I do return to the islands, it seems like a dream world, one that I enjoy immensely but don’t completely feel a part of. Like most mainland tourists, I get excited over an abundance of papaya, being able to order rice and portuguese sausage at McDonald’s and the easy availability of spam musubi.

    My husband, a mainland boy who is in his heart more “local” than I am, is in heaven when he’s in Hawaii. My kids love the food and having all these aunties, uncles, cousins, popo and goong-goong to dote over them.

    But after a few days, I miss the Northwest, which is truly home for me now.

    Still, I think returning to Hawaii on a regular basis is good for the soul.

  4. Nate-n-Annie says:

    @Jenster – amen to that!

  5. Manoa says:

    Zippy's chili would be my last meal, or Asahi Grill's oxtail soup, or spam musubi, or chocolate haupia pie.

    I've been living in the Bay Area since college and I get terribly homesick every few months. Sure, I've changed … but I honestly do not like the Bay Area very much.

    Hubby loves Hawai'i and we can't wait to move back.

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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