I find more beauty on this island every day. We're still trying to learn more about our new world at every opportunity. I think this process will continue for years. From exploring the local political spectrum to learning more about the island's history, I want to learn about it all. We have a long way to go and it's the daily life lessons that are the low-hanging fruit of things we're picking up.
It will be six weeks...or three months. When you live in an area that relies on shipping containers for majority of supplies, things arrive when they arrive. Shipment tracking is a thing of the past. Obsessing over a target delivery date is futile. In fact, I think it irritates the powers that be so much that unimaginable obstacles are created just to prove a point. As a result, the moment when a shipped thing arrives it feels much like a surprise gift because you've all but forgotten it was even ordered. Being happy about the "surprise" arrival of things like dog food or a shoe rack is why hashtags like #luckyweliveHI exist. Living in gratitude isn't just a recommended behavior. It's a way of life.
Be a smile, not a category. I know I'm a parrot on the whole importance of chatting it up thing, but it's a real thing. And it feels really good to step out of the all-business-all-the-time mode. I've had some of the best laughs in line at the grocery store. With strangers that are becoming not-quite-strangers. It helps that people don't stare at phones here. Idle waiting time is more often passed in conversation with those around you than messing with social media. If you're staring at your phone, you're in the minority. There are also social politics at play here, just like everywhere. People are often categorized. I'm categorized. That's just life. But the more effort I make, the more smiles I give, the more I greet people with good morning/afternoon/evening, the more I listen, I'm less category and more person. Does that work 100% of the time with 100% of people? No. And that's okay. I'm not walking around just existing anymore. I'm becoming a part of a community. And it feels great. It's beautiful here - and a lot of that beauty exists in the people.
Weird stuff happens with cars. Clearly this is not unique to cars that exist on an island. But there seems to be a pattern where weird stuff occurs more often with an island car than a mainland car. I have no idea why this is. I have no supporting statistics. All I have are my own experiences and the plethora of similar stories shared among my island friends. For example, our car is about 8 years newer than my last (not counting the briefly leased Jeep prior to our departure). It has more bells and whistles that the last car could even imagine. We quickly discovered it has some quirks required to operate it. Occasionally when we start it, we get an error notification that prevents us from driving it. We're *pretty* sure this error is a computer issue. We've taken it to two different service stations to have it addressed - the first couldn't recreate the error message and the second told us he has a car that does the same thing but no idea why. To remove the error, sending us on our happy way, there is a five step process. 1) We reverse the car about six feet, 2) pull the car forward again, 3) turn the car off, 4) pump the breaks twice, and finally 5) restart. Sometimes we have to do this several times before the error goes away. For a while, we felt really silly doing this in a parking lot flooded with people. Until we realized everyone else is doing their own crazy set of steps to start their own island car. It just is what it is. The process by which we discovered this "magic trick" is a blog entry in and of itself.
No shirt, no shoes - no problem. On any given day, there are more people not wearing shoes in the grocery store than those that are. Shirts? Optional too. For men, anyway. Casual is more widely accepted. Which I more than love. That's not to say there isn't a time and place for more elegant attire. For true business casual. It's not like everyone is running around in just swim trunks and sarongs. But be careful before you judge the next guy in line based on what he or she might be wearing (or not wearing). For most, there is a lot less emphasis on designer labels and more on comfort. The guy next to you in a tank and faded board shorts could very well be a local politician, prominent local businessman, or even a famous face from Hollywood. Bottom line, clothes don't make the person and living in Maui is proof. And don't get me started on what you risk if you run into the goddess Pele while being judgemental about appearance. Let's just say keep any preconceived notions in check and you'll be fine.
Watch what you manifest. Regardless of whether you arrive in Maui believing you can manifest what you want or not, it won't take long until it is clear that this way of thinking is prominent. Just today I had a conversation with a woman who transplanted to the island nearly two decades ago. A lovely woman. A woman who was both inquisitive and shared freely her experiences. When she asked what I do, I replied that I worked at a snorkel shop with aspirations of being a writer. She asked about what I've been writing. I told her about my freelance assignments, my blog, and my on-going pet projects. She told me to stop telling people I work at a snorkel shop.
"You are a writer," she said, "and I'm guessing your words are beautiful. Maui will help you with this, but success will not come until you fully see yourself as a writer. Be careful what you manifest. I'm sure working at the snorkel shop is great. But you are first and foremost a writer."
There is a lot of power in those words. She recounted to me things about our journey here I had told her moments before. She pointed out that when we had doubt, we had trouble. When we didn't, things seemed to fall into place. And she wasn't wrong. It may seem hokey to some, but I'm a convert. This island can make things happen - but you have to believe it first. And give back.