It’s hot, humid. My cooling system is not ideal and I struggle with the heat. Jillian has put me in the greenhouse today and as I plant cherry tomatoes and tomatillos my mind relaxes. The lush vegetation and birdsong lull me into a meditative state as I perform delicate tasks.
I eat my lunch at Anini Beach. In the shade, a breeze cools me off as I gaze at the ocean. Turquoise water first, then whitecaps and beyond, the clear, sapphire blue waters of Kauai.
I am so fortunate to live here. Everyday I am surrounded by beauty. Driving through tree canopies that open up to vast ocean vistas. My senses are always delighted. Sounds; birds chirping in 100 different voices, roosters calling in the distance, geckos and frogs give their little croak calls, the ocean breaking in on itself, trees rustling, waterfalls and streams, silence. I feel the moisture in the air, a cool breeze on my skin, the texture of seeds fallen from a tree under my bare feet, the hot sand and the cool water. Flowers turn their big happy faces towards the sun and fill the air with their fragrance. The taste of a ripe papaya, it’s delicately sweet juice running down my arm.
The people are just as beautiful, accepting in a way that takes me some getting used to. You don’t have to put on your game face, get all prettied up, have lots of cool things. You are accepted, by strangers, upon first meeting with a hug and a kiss. A big, strong, lasting hug from the heart too. So intimate and welcoming. You become one of the family. Little children call you auntie or uncle. There is laughter, smiles, sparkle in their eyes. People here live from the heart, no agendas, no judgements. All that is required is for you to be real, sincere and honest.
There is a generosity here as well. Folks are generous with what they have, offering something of what they have. A drink, a snack, some vegetables, fruit, flowers, plants and trinkets. They are relaxed, easy and generous with their time as well. You stop to ask a question, they talk story, you talk story and 45 minutes later you are on your way again.
It may seem pretty fantastic, worthy of hours of daydreaming, the idea of living in paradise. What I have found is truth in the statement “no matter where you go, there you are”. Your good and bad characteristics follow you. Why you smoke, drink too much, eat too much, work too much, exercise too much, do drugs, talk too much, are overly religious. Those are all ways we use to comfort ourselves when the dark side rears it’s ugly head. It shuts us down so we don’t have to feel what is really going on. Mostly fear, fear of failure, not being good enough, not being accepted, of being alone, of something, there is always something.
I am happy to say I am getting what I asked for when we decided to move here. I am struggling with those things about me that make me uncomfortable, which is what I wanted. Which is healing me, causing me to grow and be stronger, more resilient, able to weather those uncomfortable moments. Reinventing yourself is not easy, living in paradise makes it easier and maybe more acute because you want to make it work, you want to live in paradise forever.
Dan is being his amazing self, he never ceases to amaze me. I give him a year before he knows everyone on the island! Always happy for an opportunity to meet someone and talk story, he is enjoying his new job. He gets to do his thing and has the power, the title, to do it. If he thinks Papaya’s should sell fresh cut flowers and seedlings, he can do that. He gets to meet locals as well as people from all over the world. Last week, he met someone at the coffee shop from Vendrell, the small beach town in Spain where we have close friends. The other day when we were doing laundry, he helped an older man fix a stroller. He is happy and at peace and I am happy to witness his old self come out to play again.
I am having a harder time, being more of an introvert I find it difficult to connect. But, every day is a new day and it is my intention to open up and let people in. Every day I get another chance. I may get a job at Papaya’s in their cafe, I received an email for a catering job (for 50 people), I enjoy my days at the farm and daydreaming with Jillian on how to make her business grow and the possibilities for me there. They are many and include cooking school lunches for about 50 kids, starting a farmers market in Kilauea, running her CSA, creating fliers for the farm, farm dinners and tours, taking care of the farm while she is away on vacation in June. There are some nutritionists wanting to prescribe CSA boxes to clients struggling with diabetes and heart disease. A local company servicing the rich and famous wants to include a box as a welcome gift inside hotel rooms. The dreams are endless, my enthusiasm boundless.