Last week at this time, I was enjoying the tropical climate of Kauai. After dropping a couple of our teammates at the airport, the remaining few headed to the beach to snorkel, soak up the sun and take mental snapshots of the scenic ocean one more time.
My return home was pleasant and tinged with excitement about a new chapter in my career as I join the High Performance Computing research team writing grants at BSU. I was also anxious to spend time with my daughters as Jen is on her way to New Zealand, and Molly starting a new life in Portland, Oregon
Yet, I miss my teammates and the daily interactions. I miss walking out to the kitchen to see the early morning crew reading or working on their computers, and then at night hearing the laughter of the night owls playing cards. I miss chasing the sunrises or sunsets with our team, particularly Pat, rating them on scale of 1-10 and discussing why we gave it a certain score.
There has been a nice flow of emails, reflections, thank you notes, and our team leader, Rick, sent a booklet of pictures with commentary that had me falling of the couch laughing.
Daily I recall sparkly moments, such as:
- Jessica’s lively laugh and knowledge of the island, learning about the Hawaiian culture and people.
- The Rooster Chorus.
- Bob the builder’s broad smile and humor.
- Mara and I nailing hurricane straps on the work-site.
- Introducing Mara, Paul, Pat, Maria,and Nancy to spiritual face poses.
- The ukulele jam concert with Nancy, Paul, Drew and me on the banjo.
- Kate and I talked about breaking difficult moments in our lives to write “little glimmers” of our stories.
- Hauling our rain-soaked bodies in and out of the van during our tour of Waimea Canyon.
- Hanapepe Friday Night Art Festival, strolling, eating at least 6 inch high mango pie, excellent music and art.
- The cute young couple who bought a chilled coconut for us to try during a lunch break.
- A ride with volunteers in their convertible red mustang with the top down to lunch on the beach.
- Nancy’s quest to buy a mighty fine ukulele and multiple visits to the Kauai coffee plantation.
- Working with Joe, Susan, and Ann as we fine-tuned our smidge technique to install floor molding.
Before going to Kauai, I told my friends that I felt it might be my last build. One reason based on a concern that still plagues me, even after over 20 years of time with Habitat. My building skills are still limited; can I really make a dent and be useful on the work-site? Yet, I have already committed to joining Rick and Stephanie for a build in Taos, New Mexico next fall. I also would like to return to Kauai and specifically volunteer in the ReStore.
Habitat Global Villages include people who enjoy travel, want to experience a country beyond that of a tourist, and give something back. Our outward focused goals always take a distinct turn, as the gift of what we receive from the host country and each other is greater than what we give.
We become recipients of grace, hope, and humor as we share stories about our families, friends, jobs, successes and dark moments in our lives. Each Habitat build has unique occurrences, and the team-members are fascinating with interesting stories and lives. Kauai Habitat was special and the team extraordinary.