Subscribe to Violet on Orange

Hi, Violet on Orange reader! Thanks for visiting. Want to get updates via email? Just click subscribe, and I'll let you know every time there's a new post. That's it!

adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Hawaii: The Trip of Destiny (Part 2 of 3)

Hawaii: The Trip of Destiny (Part 2 of 3)

As I’ve alluded to previously, my dad can squeeze a quarter so tightly that he kills the eagle. He used to castigate my sisters and me for leaving our lamps plugged in during the day, since appliances draw power even when not in use ($$$! Or really, fractions of ¢ ¢ ¢, but we didn’t dare challenge the man on one of his niggardly hot streaks). As kids, we ate dented cans of food bought from grocery store manager’s specials and drank terrible powdered milk (one brand, I remember from the box, promised the romantic-sounding “kiss of cream.” Lies. Should have been “makeout of off-putting dairy solids.”)

I doubt it.
I doubt it.

But as a first-generation ABC (American-born Chinese), he felt a strong emotional connection to Hawaii. It’s hard to imagine in this this post-Obama era in which, by law, every human is either a hapa, or dating one, or the future parent of one. But many decades ago, my dad really identified with the all-inclusive, Pacific melting pot vibe.

My old friend. Aside from the permanent "sexy mid-paralysis expression," her timelessness is enviable.
My old friend. Aside from the permanent “sexy mid-paralysis expression,” her timelessness is enviable.

So to defray the cost of his Haw-anderlust, Papa Pu, who’s a doctor, worked out an exceptional locum tenens arrangement whereby he’d fly into Hawaii for a few weeks, months, days — on demand to fill in for other doctors. (They were presumably taking a sick day or vacation — something my dad never did before starting locum tenens, which naturally depleted the stockpile of paid time off he lovingly horded.) I’m sure there was some elaborate calculation of costs for a long-term babysitter vs. economies of scale of adding his three daughters to the trip. And with the money he saved nauseating the family with Kiss of Cream, my dad felt comfortable bringing us all along for the ride. So we stepped off lo those many inter-island “Buddy Holly memorial prop plane” flights looking camera-ready, thanks to our usage of pre-FDA approval Botox … aka, botulism via manager’s special dented soup can.

I never travel without my epicene plastic fire-twirler.
I never travel without my epicene plastic fire-twirler.

Years on, there are vestiges of the jaunts: Yee knows all the tropical fruits; Quin took a summer-long hula class and still remembers the Oli Lei; I go on the odd rant about how you’re supposed to tuck flowers behind your ear on the left side only if you’re married (floral ear tuck sloppiness is my bête noire).

Please check the Learning Annex schedule for my next course on floral ear tuck laterality.
Please check the Learning Annex schedule for my next course on floral ear tuck laterality.

But in general, our Hawaiian anecdotes come out judiciously and infrequently. You wouldn’t be wrong to imagine they were all packed into one watershed blip, like Quinny’s action-packed 5th year.

From the subgenre of "Hawaiian handstand photos" -- this one's at Nuuanu Pali Lookout on Oahu.
From the subgenre of “Hawaiian handstand photos” — this one’s at Nuuanu Pali Lookout on Oahu.
This one's at Ali'i Kula lavender farm on Maui.
This one’s at Ali’i Kula lavender farm on Maui.
And then I came back and wore this kind of stuff to my high school in Georgia, apparently. (Also, hi to former lunch and AP Bio buddy Amy, the girl on my left!)
And then I came back and wore this kind of stuff to my high school in Georgia, apparently. (Also, hi to former lunch and AP Bio buddy Amy C.!)

It seems foolhardy to add a random tropical overlay to my “Southern half-Chinese Yalie writer in L.A.” identity. It’s important to isolate your specific brand in this ADHD-afflicted hashtag culture. When I introduce myself to people and demand to know who they think should play me in the blockbuster biopic of my life, I can’t have them vacillating.

IMG_3449

Disambiguation page: Violet may refer to: Violet, Yale alum Violet, Kilauea trail enthusiast Violet, uncle
Disambiguation page:
Violet may refer to:
Violet, Yale alum
Violet, Kilauea trail enthusiast
Violet, uncle

It’s different in memories. Much like James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Kanye West, I have a tendency to romanticize my backstory. Mentally, I make a towering monument of the picayune blips in my circumstance. Don’t we all? Trifles make the sum of life.

Found this lilikoi trifle recipe online. NEED IT.
Found this lilikoi trifle recipe online. Need it.


1 thought on “Hawaii: The Trip of Destiny (Part 2 of 3)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.