9 Years Ago I arrived at Kalani…

This morning while looking through my memories on Facebook, I was reminded that 9 years ago I arrived at Kalani on the Big Island of Hawaii. I had signed up to volunteer for three months at a Yoga Retreat Center in the jungle of Pahoa and just miles away from lava flowing into the ocean. I could see the plume where the lava met the waves from a place those at Kalani refered to as The Point.

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The lower corner apartment at end of stairs was mine for almost 2 years.

July 9, 2009, unsure yet ready for the next path of my journey, I left Grand Cayman. Next stop Tampa, Florida for a week or so with my buddy Joy who I met while living in GC. The purpose for staying with Joy was to ease my way back into American Society and eventually friends and family back home in South Carolina. Unless you have lived outside the US for a considerable amount of time, away from family and friends of a past life, you cannot begin to know how overwhelming coming back can be. Joy understands this, therefore has no expectations, allowing me to evolve back into life, as I make my way home. To no fault of their own people think you are the same person who left them, unable to see how your time in Cayman has begun to re-mold you.

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Joy and I in Clearwater, FL.
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The day I went river tubing with my daughter Ashlyn and her friends Will and MaryAnna.

I spent a few weeks in South Carolina, catching up with family and friends. Collecting my belongings that were shipped from Cayman, as well as going through stuff I left behind. WOW, WOW, WOW, can I just say what an experience that was, going through my “stuff” that is. Somethings I had no clue why I kept them, others brought moments of gratitude for all I accomplished before fulfilling a dream. So often we question how we did things or if we were good enough. I did this as a single parent, questioning if I did a good enough job raising her. Often wondering what she would be going to therapy for later in life based on my parenting skills. My baby girl grew up with a Mom who had battles of her own to fight and she fought them with me. She witnessed the pain I would go through as I broke free from my eating disorders and the trauma of my past, even when I tried desperately hard to hide it. Looking back over things, I was able to see I did the best I could with what I had and the tools I was given. That despite everything, I had done good.

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Elise, Marvin and I touring San Francisico.

Now to put the past away and pack for Hawaii. First a stop in San Francisco to visit Elise, another good friend from GC. Why not, cheaper flights and breaks up the time difference I will feel when I land in Hawaii. I caught up with an old high school boyfriend, got a haircut to last for months in the jungle, spent a day with new and old friends in Napa Valley and bought last minute items while touring the city. I will never forget how blessed I felt as I prepared for the next part of my journey. All the love and generocity I felt extended to me during my visits ran through every cell of my body. I took it with me and replaced the pain I left behind in Cayman.

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Elise, Danielle and I the day we toured Napa. Car broke down here and again later.

August 9, 2009 I arrive in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Excited, curious, scared, full of anticipation and ready for what lies ahead. I arrived at night, so everything was dark except around the area of the airport. David picked me up, handsome and sweet as ever, during our 45 minute drive to the Red Road he began to prepare me for what lies ahead. Welcome to Kalani….

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