Countless days at the beach. Salt on my skin. Wind through my hair. Soaking in the sun until the light fades and the sky turns into all these beautiful purplish colors, like someone painted the sky. The moon, the stars, the sound of the waves never ending. Walking through streets with palm trees and flowers everywhere. Nights on the road, listening to music. Drinking wine with friends. Laughing. A different life feels sometimes like a whole different world. Turning strangers into friends.Turning friends into strangers. Having coffee and conversations that stay in your mind. Listening to the sound of a guitar or an Ukulele. This easy life. So slow. So sweet. So remarkable.
Goodbye Hawai’i. A couple of days ago I left the island and flew to San Francisco. It’s still hard to believe that almost 5 months have gone by that fast. I can clearly remember the first night I arrived, seeing the skyline of Honolulu for the very first time, the first early morning at the beach, jet lagged but happy, my first days and weeks when everything was new and exciting. And now everything has come to and end. I’ve spent some wonderful days up in North Shore where I lived for the last three weeks. Most of the days I visited my friend Bianca at work, had some coffee with her, went to the beach and hung out at my house with some girls I became really good friends with. As if living in Hawai’i didn’t feel like being on a vacation anyways, I really enjoyed the days away from busy Honolulu. I went on some hikes, watched sunset, camped out at the beach once more and met a lot of new people living around the northern part of the island. I also had a lot of time to reflect about my whole experience living so far away from home. I decided to write this very honest blogpost about the bad times I had. I noticed that (especially through my Instagram profile) people assume I had 5 wonderful months living the easiest, paradisal life. And yes, I did. But there are not only good times; there were times when the only thing I wanted to do is go back home. It’s about your attitude towards bad things happening; how you cope with these moments.
Hawai’i may seem like the absolute paradise to everyone. And indeed, it is paradise; nature wise. Looking back on my stay I wouldn’t want to talk about Hawai’i in a bad way. But there are some things that have to be said; I want to share my experiences, opinions, and thoughts about this place. I want to share the other side of the coin. As an old, wise quote says: not all that glitters is gold. Especially speaking in the tone of social media, where everything is beautiful, and no one ever shows the shady side of an experience. I want to share my experiences just as they were, naked, true, and not decorate them and make them more beautiful as they were by only showing the beautiful part.
I came to Hawai’i all by myself without knowing anyone. The first two months were a challenge. It was difficult to get to know people; even in school it wasn’t easy at all to make friends. In my small classes people were busy with studying and working to afford college. Some of them already had kids, or were in a relationship and didn’t have an interest in getting to know someone who would leave in a certain period of time anyways. My roommate was working and didn’t know a lot of people either. I went to coffee shops, to the park, the beach, art exhibitions, but didn’t get to know anyone being interested in a friendship. I felt lonely at times. For a girl it’s always easier to meet guys, but most of the time they weren’t interested in a friendship either so I didn’t stay in contact. To most of the people I hung out with more than once I found my way to through photography. Slowly, I got to know more people. I’m a very open minded person and I don’t care about your origin or age if you’re a nice person. I made friends with people who were in their mid-40s. What also made it hard to have a permanent circle of friends, is that Hawai’i is an island and a place where people stay for some weeks or months and then move on to their next destination. I got to know a lot of people who left the island.
During my stay I also met a lot of people who disappointed me. A lot of people who I trusted, and who misused my trust. People who I thought were my friends, and turned out to be people who didn’t care about me at all. People making promises, the same people breaking promises. Unreliable people. Selfish and and disrespectful people. Unbelievably naive people. Maybe I was naive too. I know very well that these kinds of people are everywhere, and a lot of people from Hawai’i won’t like me for saying that, but there are plenty of these people on the island. By saying plenty, I mean plenty. A lot. So many. To be honest, I feel like a lot of people with problems and personal issues from the mainland come to Hawai’i and think that paradise will fix their problems. Instead of making a change and working on themselves, they ignore that, change their home and think that’s all it needs. Believe it or not, a lot of people in Hawai’i are lonely, unhappy and have several issues with themselves. I noticed this as time passed. At first I thought it’s me, meeting the wrong people, maybe seeing Hawaii in a too negative light. But as time passed, I got to know more and more people, also some beautiful and trustful human beings, and they confirmed my whole view on that topic. Hawai’i is the home of broken people. So many sad people faking smiles and faking a beautiful, paradisal life on social media. Being in paradise won’t make you happy if you’re not happy with yourself. Of course, being in an overwhelming surrounding may lift up your mood, but it will definitely not repair your broken heart.
I didn’t expect these difficulties when coming to Hawai’i. But I’m glad everything has happened as it happened. Only in this way, I learned all the things I learned. You can watch yourself get more and more independent, grown up and self conscious. At some point I realized I don’t need anyone else to rely on, as long a I can rely on myself.
In between stumbling over all things that are new, learning to accept, learning to adapt, you find something else: yourself. This island makes you feel lonely sometimes, but also has something magical. It’s on you how you cope with the bad times. So far away from my everyday life, it seems as time would stop. Just freeze. Being busy with life back home just disappeared, and I got very clear about a lot of things. About who I want to be, and who I want to be surrounded by, who’s presence I desire and who’s presence I don’t need. About the simple things in life: who stands beside me, who really has an interest in me. I learned how I really want to live my life, and how I don’t want to live it. I learned who really is my friend back home, and I learned who is my friend in Hawai’i. The bad times just make you appreciate the good ones, and I know now how to turn the bad ones into good ones.