Saturday, August 9, 2008


Hawaii is such a dusty place. It’s unbelievable. I wondered aloud to a friend why I have to dust so much. He said it was Hawaii. And that I live on the ground level.

My room sits perched in front of a marina where ducks pass by my sliding glass door and jump into the ocean water just outside my bedroom window. Ducks!? Swaddling by my room?! (culture shock #239) Where in mainland cities does that ever happen? Here in Hawaii it is a daily occurrence for me.

What drives me nuts is that I find myself sweeping and dusting at least once a day. Sometimes little dust balls come rolling out of no where! I mean, if I sweep the floor before going to bed, where do all these new little dust balls come from when I awake? I swear that I have a secret dust 'rabbit' hiding under my bed who creates little dust bunnies during the night.

My parents used to tell me Hawaii stories about dust. Mom’s weekly chore as a little girl was to dust the furniture every Saturday. I could just picture all those picture frames and white hand-knit doilies that had to be removed so the family furniture could be properly dusted. And as a kid my dad installed an outdoor water spout so brother and I could wash our feet before going in the house. I never understood this ritual. Why did we have to wash our feet when other families didn't. Turns out that my dad used to play bare foot in the red dirt on Maui, tracking into the house its dust and other fine particles which his sisters had to delightfully clean in their spare time.

Hawaii. Dust. And the blowing wind. They all go hand in hand.

Next time I'm getting a room on the second floor.

It wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii that I began to understand little things about why our family does some of the things we do. I'm finding that some of these little nuances are geographically and culturally based—tied to life ways in Hawaii.

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