You can take the girl out of Hawaii….

We live in Oshkosh, WI now. We’ve gotten into native plants and creating rain and butterfly gardens and killing as much nasty grass as possible.

Yesterday we took a field trip up to Rhinelander which is considered up north. It was our first time up there and it was way hotter than anticipated. We went to a native nursery for a tour which was great. I happened to mention we were from 2.5 hours away but that when we moved from Hawaii we knew zero about WI or gardening.

So after the tour a TV reporter asked to interview me for the local new segment about this week. It’s National Pollinator’s Week so this was a big deal I guess. We had a fun chat, she got photos of my dog, of course, and that was that.

As I was in the gift shop paying for the plants I purchased I hear a lilting voice. “Aloha, sistah!”

This lovely man was visiting from Aiea. As in not Wisconsin. He was with friends and it was so awesome to hear him cause he broke out the pidgin and we laughed and laughed. When I told him my kids had been raised in Kailua he said, oh, Enchanted Lake? Yes.

Then we talked about the fact that I sang with the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble and he has been to concerts at Chaminade and his brother went to St. Louis. I told him my last job was at the Aston Waikiki with Expedia and he yelled, “Tikis!” We swapped crazy tourists stories and of course we talked about food, cause Hawaii is all about food, we both agree that Wisconsin food is lacking when compared to Hawaii, and we had this little time of joy.

His friend is from up north but now lives in Honolulu and so we got to talking about how I ended up here. It’s usually family. I shared how son clerked for Judge Faris after attending the University of Wisconsin Madison law school. Turns out she and the judge are really close friends. How small world is that? If we could have talked longer I know we would have connected more dots.

At the gift shop the man opened a bag and took out a gift for the cashier. He brings them by the dozens when he travels and he gives them to anyone who has been kind to him. He had the best smile, was wearing an aloha shirt and a not-too-cheesy silk lei and it was the best gift from home.

There are so many people from Hawaii, or those like me who lived there long enough that it’s home to us, who now live on the mainland. I love how we can share aloha wherever we go and when we connect with each other, well, magic happens.