16 May 2016
Thanks for the lovely email, as always. So many exciting things are going on in the mainland! The pictures are adorable, and I really hate that I cannot be with you and everyone else! Not at all wishing this life away, of course. It’s rough knowing that the time may be coming that I have to leave Kaneohe.
Funny story of the week: Sister Biggs and I both sing a lot. You know, comfort, therapy, pleasure. All sorts of purposes to it. So one night after a great but long day we pulled into our parking space on the grass at Aunty Lola’s singing “Pearly Shells,” as taught to us by our irreplaceable Branch President. Truly wonderful. I was multitasking, filling out our daily mileage report and for whatever reason, we both started going total Dory-speaking-whale-with-voice-cracks style. We broke down pretty soon after, but impressive point: we made it through the entire song without faltering! It is something I cannot explain through writing. I taught Sister Biggs our first transfer together, Sister Maher taught me. Just know, between the cracks, our gifts to sing deliberately out of key, and my tribute to the days spent singing rounds with Connor Fullmer in Primary because we felt too old and cool for everyone, it was extremely glorious.
We sobered up eventually and as we walked up the stairs to our door all I could say was, “I really hope my future hubs and I can have moments like that.”
This week was Kaneohe 1st’s Ward Conference.
Now, listen. I know that in the Mainland ward conference is pretty lame. In fact, practically my entire upbringing, I had no clue what it meant to have “ward conference.” It was just another Sunday except for maybe they had a few more sustainings than usual.
Here in the islands, however, ward conference is exactly that. A giant conference. A week to celebrate the ward. Literally activities held every night with Saturday being the final event to hype everyone up for church meetings on Sunday. Sure, it could be considered a little overzealous, but really, I think it makes so much more sense! It was so wonderful to be able to spend even more time with the people here who have come to be my family.
I’m dreading the nearing transfer, that’s for sure. Kaneohe has done wonders for me. This place is so very different from Waipahu. It has aided in my growth, and I only hope and pray that I have aided others here as well.
That said, Waipahu has been so much on my mind the past few days. I wish we could take road trips on pday! Back in Waipahu I was really good about making and keeping lists. Here, not so much. I’m going to try to get back into the habit though because I got through a lot more stories and topics that way. I was looking back last night at some entries from the days in my past area. It is so interesting to see how completely different my days were. I swear, the air was so different on that side; the people who breathed it were blessed as well as plagued by the way they lived. I cannot deny that as the imagined “missionary work” goes, Kaneohe has been pretty near on pointe. This place is pretty model. But Waipahu is special because we were so much with the people. I was in their lives rather than looking in at their lives. I miss that dynamic, but I am so inexpressibly grateful to be where I am now. The relationships are different, but when I really think on it, the love is equally great, simply had from a greater distance.
Aunty Lola–something in the quality of her voice, Mom, reminds me of you. Always effortless in the kitchen but she does love her salt a little more than you ;). A former high school drama teacher now she owns a boat called Kaua’i, which is where she grew up. She’s always put together except for when she’s not. But she just goes with it. No matter if she’s come straight from the boat—she’ll come tracting. If it’s cold at church, red ankle socks with the fancy dress and slippers. I still remember the first week in Kaneohe, she came knocking up the stairs all done up with only one clip on earring. It somehow seemed so natural! That’s another thing though, her un-ashamedness—“Huill. Caroll. Miriam!!!! Darrell!” All in such sweet tones. Before we can get a word in, “Hi, we’re from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” . . . . or depending on the day, silently backing away as we talk to the person at the door.
Aunty Lola is exactly that: an Aunty. I asked her once after an interesting experience while tracting what she would prefer we call her. Sister Kau? Or Aunty Lola, as I had always known her. We all discussed in general what was appropriate. It took her a few days to decide. She went back and forth, but I’ll never forget the day she asserted herself. She is Aunty. Aunty is a term of adoption, familiarity and respect, all simultaneously. I really do feel a part of her family. She and Josh, shoots, they are quite the mother/son duo. (Bro Kau passed a few years ago.) “Maybe Josh and I can serve a mission.” Don’t know for sure, but I’m hoping for it! One thing though: How can one grow up in the islands and be so deathly afraid of geckos!?