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Reflections on a Small Town & NaPoWriMo #8

Small Town Girl

She is tired.
No, actually she is
exhausted
From trying to
make it all work
She has three
children, she
tells me
And smiles.
Her smile fades
when the conversation
drifts
to the topic of
marriage.
12 years
and they can’t even have a
conversation
Is this the life she signed
up for?
Is this all there is?
She can’t quite reconcile
herself
to it all.
I smile back at her,
I can’t quite
either.

I went from living in a city of 2 million people to an island of roughly 60,000. Culture shock? Not entirely, since I was raised in a town of 4,000 people. To be honest, Kauai isn’t much different than where I grew up – Tillamook, Ore. (the population of Tillamook will be thrilled to hear this). Except for the tropical scenary, warm temps and aqua blue ocean, of course. In any event, it is a bit startling to my system – it’s been more than 13 years since I lived in T-town!

Here’s the deal in Kauai – as far as I can tell at the 6-week mark:
-Everyone knows everyone.
-Local girls marry local boys. And when locals branch out and hook up with non-locals – there are mutterings and grimaces.
-You drive down the street and wave at pretty much every car because you know everyone. If you don’t know them, they are probably a tourist.
-You wear board shorts and flip-flops virtually everyone – this primarily is true of men. No need to get dressed up, you’re in paradise, bro!
-Appetizers are pupus. Get used to it.
-The hang loose hand sign that went out of style in the mid-80′s on the mainland is alive and well here. And it means Shaka, in case you didn’t know.

And there’s more: I paid for my car in cash – and the guy is so friendly and nice he gives me the car with only half down while I wait for the rest of the money to be transferred into my account. Our landlord brings us eggplant and fresh avocados from trees nearby. Just because. At the copy shop, I only have a $20, so the guy doesn’t charge me for the fax. When I meet new people (which is pretty much daily), they greet me with a hug and a kiss (this I LOVE and this is not the same as Tillamook!).

With this shift in locale, I can’t help but shift as well. I’m tearing up to country music for god’s sake (primarily because it soothes me – I was raised on country and rock), and I’m enjoying the fact that my schedule is no longer jam packed. I feel like one of those 60-year-olds who looks back on her life and remincises about simpler times. I’m now living in those simpler times! And I’m reflecting, and getting choked up. Oy vey.

I don’t wait in many lines or in traffic anymore, but I also don’t get to hang out in my favorite new age bookstore. In fact, there is only one bookstore on the whole island (Borders), but there are more churches than I’ve ever seen in my life! I feel myself get anxious when people aren’t on time or in a hurry – but it’s Hawaii, man – you don’t have to be on time.

Then, I freak out for a moment because I remember that I live on an island.
In the middle of the Pacific.
And I know two people.

And that makes me grateful that my new hair stylist is so damn sweet, that the guy who sold me my car was so laid-back and cool, and how lovely it is to work from home and create my own little island.

What an adventure, yeah?
This is Hawaii-speak, by the way, something I’m picking up.
Today, after stopping at one of the oldest churches in Hawaii (St. Raphael) I couldn’t help but reflect on the myraids of ways that my life has changed.

Thanks for reading! ;)

Much love,
xoHeather

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