The People I Met in Hawaii

When we travel, it’s for the places. But for me, it’s also for the people. I love to hear people’s stories and I am always amazed at how they will open up to you if you just ask the right questions. As humans, we all have a story to share. They’re not right or wrong stories, they are OUR stories – the history of who we are.

These are the people I met in Hawaii. I almost feel like I could write a novel with just this group as the main characters. Maybe I will.

Sophia РA server at a restaurant,  Sophia came to Kauai from Brazil. Her father had come here years earlier and she joined him. Her mother had stayed behind in Brazil and I could tell she missed her very much. She had just gone home last year, but hopes to get her mom there soon. She was kind to my boys.

The Crazy Shirt Girl – she was young, maybe 19, and had never been to the mainland. We also talked about dogs – that some breeds can’t survive in Hawaii. And also that when she ever does come to the mainland, she really wants to go to Seattle.

The Australian Woman- She’s a special ed teacher for autistic students. We both moaned about Donald Trump and she told me how voting is compulsory in Australia. We decided if that were true in the US, things would definitely be different. She had take a 5 week leave from her job for this trip which started an interesting conversation about how Americans take so few holidays. And we chatted about the cost of housing, and college education and how we are losing our tradespeople in the US and in Australia. Oh, and we talked about Australian authors and about how True Lies (the book) was based in her home town and she could see how something like that could happen.

The McDonald’s Girl – this interaction was fast. She was just working so hard and doing such a good job. And I told her. And her face lit up and she looked genuinely happy. And my son said “she’ll remember you forever.” And I wondered do other people not point it out when they see brilliance? Because they should. Working fast food is hard work. Doing it well is even harder.

The Recent Single Woman- She was diving for the first time without her ex-husband. She stayed pretty much to herself on the boat trip, but you could tell she was processing. Proud of herself, sad for what was no longer. I would have liked to have talked to her more.

People seem more open when they’re traveling, and striking up conversations is one of my favorite things. Learning people’s stories gives me hope and in recent days, I find myself in desperate need of that.

I’ll do a full blown travel log soon. But I wanted to document the characters before I got busy in my regular life and they slipped from my memory. Mahalo, wonderful people.


One thought on “The People I Met in Hawaii

  1. Amy says:

    Jen, what a great idea! We really do have endless opportunities to meet new people and share in their story – regardless if we are traveling or not. You’ve inspired me to engage a little more on my upcoming vacation!

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