It feels good to be back home, but a bit foreign and weird at the same time. I’ve lived in Manhattan for less than a year but it frightens me how quickly the city changes a person. Both a little for the good and a little for the worse. I always categorized my time during college as time away from home. Three months in school followed by a month winter vacation home in Hawai’i, then five months school, and a three month summer back home. Hawai’i was home base. No matter where I went, I needed to go home to recharge. And every time I went home it felt so incredibly good. A type of good that encompassed both the want and need to return home. It was an emotion which coupled excitement with satisfaction of filling an inherent need. Each visit was wonderful, and then never failed to hurt when vacation was over and I had to return to school. The plane rides to Hawai’i were exciting, and those back to college were depressing.
It was a little different this time around. On Thursday’s flight to Hawai’i, while happily anticipating the trip home, I found myself eagerly looking forward to coming back to NYC. It threw me off terribly and I did not know what to make of it.
It still feels good now. Just a different kind of good. Perhaps I’ve been away for too long. I caught myself in a slip the other day. My roommate Shann and I were talking about our flight schedules.
“What day you come home?” she asked.
“What? Wait. Oh no, I mean hooome.”
“That is when I…oh! Ack. Home. Like Hawai’i home.”
That was the first time I’ve called a place that was not Hawai’i, home. A sharp pang hit my stomach the second I realized what I said. It felt like I betrayed someone or something.
The other day I was talking with someone about the notion of home. That someone was born and raised on the other side of the country but has lived in the city for nearly a decade. He calls NYC home. I think that’s fair. It made me wonder if I could do the same, I mean, same in the way that I could say that with confidence and not feel that sharp pang and simultaneous brain fuck that goes, how dare you so quickly change teams! Time will tell, I suppose.
But lets get on with the day, shall we?
I’m still somewhat under the weather with the strange cough/cold that’s been going around, (thank god for good health insurance :), so I’ve been hibernating the last few days, getting better, and only venturing for family dinners. I made li hing mui apples for breakfast the other day. Though I suppose ‘made’ is the wrong word, seeing as it takes only apples + li hing mui, and about 60 seconds worth of effort. Refreshingly delicious nonetheless, the tart pucker of li hing offsetting the crisp apples. These get gobbled down quick, no matter the time of day, and the only evidence ever left are red fingerprint stains. People on the mainland are really missing out some goodness, huh? I wish someone would open up a massive local food store in NYC and introduce local food to the rest of the world. I’d be there everyday.
Have you had Xi Mui Soda before? It helps a great deal with scratchy throat, though I drink it all the time, scratchy throat or not. My dad keeps this giant, seemingly endless, jar of preserved xi mui in the kitchen cabinet. Pop open a can of 7-Up, drop the xi mui in, pick apart the plum with chopsticks, and drink up. Sometimes I add li hing mui powder when I’m in the mood. But when I’m not feeling well, then I simply replace the 7-Up with club soda and squeezed limes.
For lunch, Dad brought back fried rice from the Mini Garden down on Beretania Street. Finally! Real fried rice!! I sat in the family room, ate the fried rice crossed legged, shorts & t-shirt, while reading the Friday Honolulu Advertiser. It felt so very real. On that note, I’m also trying to get accustomed to having so much space. It just occurred to me when I went to sleep that first night back that my bedroom was bigger than my entire apartment in NYC. Now how ridiculous is that?
2065 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826