More than love, hello, and goodbye
We use the word, “aloha,” a lot. But Hawaii’s aloha spirit means so much more than love, hello, and goodbye. You feel it the minute you get off the plane.
The weather greets you
Typically, the day will be warm, but not too warm. Like Goldilocks’ porridge, it will be “just right.” Tradewinds will be gently blowing, making the high humidity bearable, and a passing shower will create a rainbow over the mountains. That’s what will greet you about 75% of the time.
We do have our windy days that blow away your broad-brimmed hat. We have windless days that cause us to swelter. But visitors seldom complain. One January we had a solid week of rain, and I apologized to some tourists. “This is perfect!” they said. “We’re from Calgary. It’s freezing over there!”
But the aloha spirit is more than weather.
It’s almost indefinable, but the Hawaiian race has managed to impregnate us with kindness, helpfulness, friendliness. For instance while I was riding the bus one day, an elderly woman began coughing uncontrollably. The stranger sitting next to her patted her on the back and another stranger pulled out a cough drop from her purse and unwrapped it for her. Tourists stared, amazed.
We have time for each other
When my mom came to visit, we were standing in line at the bank. The customer ahead of us was chatting with the teller about her teenage daughter. Mom was impatient, standing on one foot, then the other, making exasperated little grumbles. I told her, “Cool it, Mom. This is Hawaii.”
And so it goes.
A flat tire? Someone will stop to help before the AAA man gets there. Need to change lanes on the freeway? Put your turn signal out. Within a couple of cars, someone will slow enough to let you in. Unsure of what to order from a menu of unfamiliar foods? The server and two or three other customers will give you advice.
How did we get that way?
There are many theories, but I believe it’s because we live on small islands. When the Hawaiians first sailed to the islands, they knew they would only survive by cooperating. Now, we know that if we give “stink eye” to someone, we’ll see them again in a few days. There’s no hiding. We have a saying, “What goes around comes around,” if we give kindness, we get kindness. If we cheat, we’ll get paid back. The Japanese call it “bachi.”
Maybe you’ll hate it.
High strung Type A people need a few days to adjust to our laid-back ways. Women who prioritize fancy hair styles never appreciate the tradewinds. But you? If you’re typical, you’ll love it!