Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Address:
2560 Ahekolo ST. 
Honolulu, HI 96813

Okay Friends and Fam, it has been a century.

Sorry for that!

I've been so wrapped up in all of this, in the best way. I'm sure y'all understand!

Where can I start?
Maybe at the 7/11 on Saturday night. We went for dinner with the Reyes family.
They live all the way out in Waianae!
But since we are the only Chuukese branch, we get to take that post-card-picture-quality drive out to the dry side of the island where I fell more in love with these people.

We park at the 7/11 and out comes Sister Lybbert.
She has been in Hawaii for exactly 4 days. 
And she is being such a champ about all of this!
I remembered to warn her about all the new things I could think of.
Still, I get to whisper side notes as we gather under a tarp strung over us and under all the stars you can see out in the country.

She asks what kind of fish is on the table,
I let her know its raw. 
We say a prayer and it begins,
Elders and Sisters first. 
So respectful, these people.
They have shining eyes and easy smiles and I love to hear the women all gathered together talking about their kids and where to get the cheapest Chuukese skirts in their nasally mother tongue:
They compliment my own Chuukese skirt (a gracious gift from a grandma in the low income apartments) and I smile and say "keriso! keriso!" 
They warmly laugh at my limited Chuukese.
I pile the paper plate with rice, the base. 
The trick is to put more than you think you need. That makes them so happy!
When you get tons of food...
I put the fresh tuna on, a thick slice of raw meat.
Add the calamansi.
Next comes the potato salad.
And an interesting version of spaghetti featuring hot dogs and spam.
Stack on some barbequed meat. 
Grab the hot sauce and take my seat next to Ensina.
My favorite!
Its 7:30 and the light of the house provides just enough for me to see her gold teeth shining as she smiles.
We talk about her job in town and she brings over some homeade fish sauce for me to try.
Meanwhile Sister Lybbert is doing her very best, and you can feel the collective pride of the Chuukese people and the other missionaries there. 
She is doing it!
Trying all these new, weird things.
And she is doing it pretty well!
We talk all about how to catch octopus and where to get the Chuukese combs.
We sing with the ukulele, the sweetest song I know:
"Sises Epwe Ang Asau"
And the harmony swallows me up. Everyone all together. From the old grandpas to the 3 year old girls.
Time stops. 
And I get distracted from explaining how everyone is related to my companion and I feel the tears burning my eyes.
How could you not love this?! 

I have found my people and my place!