I sat alone in my apartment in Chicago six years ago, staring at my computer screen. My eyes weren't focused though. I remember the warm orange afternoon light shining through the window, and reflecting off the screen. And it hit me like a train, what on earth was I doing with my life? I was 24. I had recently gotten out of my first long relationship. I had quit my full time job a few months before so that I could pursue creating my own art and music. I felt like I had grown up quicker than I expected. My dad used to tell me as a kid, "enjoy your youth, you're only a kid once." For the first time ever, I felt like I was aging. My hair was even starting to thin a bit on the top of my head.
I remember that at that moment I decided I was going to learn how to surf. I came up with the plan right there. I would buy a surfboard and head to Samoa. I had read about Samoa a few years before in an old National Geographic, and of anywhere I had ever read about, Samoa sounded like paradise.
a month later
"Where are you going?" she asked, smiling. She was carrying a cardboard tray with seven paper cups of coffee on it. She was quite big, darker skin, and had black shiny hair pulled back into a pony tail.
"Suhmoa," I said.
"SAHmoa." She quickly replied, correcting my pronunciation. "That's where I'm from!"
"Who's all the coffee for?" I asked. She looked down at the tray, then looked back up and grinned bashfully.
"Me." she said. She then offered me one of her cups of coffee. Akanese was her name. Her and her older sister Liz had come to the airport in Honolulu for the departure of the one flight a week to Samoa on Samoa's one airline, Polynesian Air. They had one plane. Lounging around there, I had never seen people so big before. Everyone. They were almost all huge. And everyone seemed really, really kicked back. The plane was hours late, and no one seemed to care. Pretty much everyone waiting around here looked Polynesian. I remember an ukulele version of John Lennon's "Imagine" was being played in the airport. And I remember the warm evening breeze.
Liz and Akanese were looking for someone to take a large cardboard box full of gifts back to their family in Samoa. They couldn't find any takers. So Akanese asked me. "Well...uh, sure, I'll do it. can I take a look inside the box?"
to be continued soon...