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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Hawaii: The Trip of Destiny (Part 1 of 3)

Hawaii: The Trip of Destiny (Part 1 of 3)

My little sister Quin used to have an endearing habit of ceaselessly recounting her own derring-do. This may not sound endearing — in fact, when I type it, it sounds immodest — but then, as now, Quin had a great flair for the comically hyperbolic. It was her wont to persistently remind the family of her greatest feats. Her stories tumbled forth in the form of casual, “Oh, did I ever tell you about the time …?” tales. The fables were laughably dubious, yet told with the gravitas of an oncologist informing a patient that he had mere seconds to live.

Quin, during her modeling days (age 5)
Quin, during her modeling days (age 5)

The punchline was that every story — of the time she successfully executed a Bond like tuck-and-roll from our nanny’s Honda just prior to a fender-bender or encountered an extraterrestrial during recess — ended with the claim that the event happened when Quin was 5. Perhaps there were so many evolving details in her stories that it was necessary to keep the chronology constant for simplicity’s sake. Whatever the reason, every time Quin began to launch into a tale of any kind, my family would cut her off at the pass to theatrically scream, in unison, “AT 5, THE AGE OF DESTINY!!”

Guess where? Guess why?
Guess where? Guess why?

I was reminded of this recently on my boyfriend’s and my trip to Hawaii. While at a Kona coffee co-op, a kind woman bearing a tray of chocolate-covered peaberry samples politely asked whether Deepak or I had ever been to the island before.

We attempted to make a few $$$ by picking some Kona coffee cherries during the trip.
We attempted to make a few $$$ by picking some Kona coffee cherries during the trip.
Some were more motivated than others. Look at this one-handed effort! Call me when you're serious.
Some were more motivated than others. Look at this one-handed effort! Call me when you’re serious.

Deepak, who’s logged his share of time on Oahu but who was enjoying his maiden trip to the Big Island, responded as such, then said that I’d been to Kona “once or twice.”

Unusual samples galore!
Unusual samples galore!
Not sure I'd buy any of them, but I needed the bragging rights. Plotting an organic way to toss out the sentence, "One time, while enjoying kitembilla ..."
Not sure I’d buy any of them, but I needed the bragging rights. Plotting an organic way to toss out the sentence, “Recently, while enjoying kitembilla …”
Can't help self.
Can’t help self.

As we walked away, purloined gooseberries burning into our cheeks, I praised him for the artful fib. Approaching the situation from a sample optimization perspective, I assumed Deepak meant to downplay the number of metaphorical Orchid Isle agricultural inspection stickers on the hard-shell luggage of our lives. Nothing screams “offer me aloha spirit and bottomless guilt-free macadamia nuts!” quite like being a Big Island neophyte.

Collection of representative Big Island treats. Most of which we purchased ourselves, admittedly.
Collection of representative Big Island treats. Most of which were not samples, admittedly. And in fact, did you spot the California wine that we bought at the Kona Costco?

“So you’ve been here more than once?” Deepak asked, slapping my hand away from a third star fruit slice.

NO!
NO!

And how! Growing up, my sisters and I visited the Big Island frequently, randomly, wantonly. Yee, Quin and I took a number of formative trips to Hawaii during our (potato mac) salad days. I don’t know, 10-15? Sometimes for a duration of weeks or months at a time.

Quin and I, in Hawaii over a decade ago, attempting to take a bit of cloud back to Georgia like so much cotton candy.
Quin and I, in Hawaii over a decade ago, requesting to be excused while we kiss the sky (or reach futilely for it).
Yee and I, same place. We were on-trend with the island florals; perhaps not so with the awkward mugging and coiffures.
Yee and I, same place. We were on-trend with the island florals; perhaps not so with the awkward mugging and coiffures.


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