… of returning to Vietnam. I keep finding myself refer to the return date often: I’ve been home 3 months… 6 months… a year. The obvious significance? It marks my “responsible” adult life in the “real world.” No more afternoon-only class schedules, part time jobs, 3-month vacations. But there’s something else that I can’t yet put my finger on, besides the change of lifestyle and locality.

One thing that I’m sure of is I miss Hawai’i. I dream of the gentle mountains of Manoa and its drizzing Tuahine rain, of the lush Waipi’o valley and secluded beaches along the unforgiving lava coast in the Big Island. I dream of looking for unblemished plumeria to put on my hair. I dream of walking around with all my hair down and not sweating like I was doing hot yoga.

I had so many fun, enriching, mind-blowing moments: hiking Kalalau, dancing hula, marveling at the lava, camping in Halape with not another soul around. But I wish I had done a lot more. A lot, lot more. I wish I’d come back to Maui to watch sunrise up Haleakala. I wish I’d made it to Merrie Monarch to watch all the dances up close. I wish I’d taken pictures.

Hawai’i. Sometimes I felt claustrophobic. Sometimes all the surf-n-sun conversations felt too mindless. But your magic is real. I miss you. A hui hou kakou.

volcano, Hawaii