“COVID-19 Vulnerables.” This is how the news media is referring to our Kupuna (the elderly) in Hawaii.
As I stood there in the long line that wrapped around the building of our neighborhood grocery store, I thought about the Coronavirus and its impact on our daily lives and culture. No hugs? No kisses? No show of respect for our beloved Kupuna? This is truly a culture shock for my Ohana!
As far back as I can remember, we were taught to acknowledge our Kupuna with a warm embrace when arriving or leaving their hale (home). The same greeting is given to other relatives in the Ohana (family) like Uncles, Aunts, cousins, siblings and close friends. Just a few weeks ago, we had a family gathering with no worries of disease or death. And now we are practicing social distancing. The “kolohe” (crazy) part of me would like to throw caution to the wind, but the logical part of me understands that I will have to show my love from a distance.
With a renewed focus, I began selecting the items on my list - toilet tissue, paper towels, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer - all of the essential items needed for our household. It feels so strange to be limited to only one of each item. As I loaded up the car with my groceries and supplies, I noticed that the line was still long since the store was also limiting the number of people that could shop at the same time. Most people were wearing masks and standing at least six feet apart from each other as requested by our Hawaii State Government. It seems like I’m in a movie sometimes.
After putting away all of the groceries, I changed my clothes, slipped on my sneakers and drove out to the lagoons for some exercise. Ko Olina is located on the west side of the island and has some of the most beautiful beaches and resorts on Oahu. It includes restaurants, art galleries, retail and clothing shops, a golf course and Paradise Cove (Luau and Polynesian Show) for the tourists and locals to enjoy. This gated community is also made up of single
family homes and townhouses.
There are four lagoons connected by seaside pathways bordering each of the hotels located on the property. This is one of my favorite spots to exercise. As I began my 3 mile walk from the first lagoon, I could already smell the salt air as the ocean breeze blew inland. The scenery was amazing as ocean waves crashed onto the barrier reefs, families played in the water and people jogged or walked along the pathways while music floated down from the hotels, temporarily reminding me what life used to be like prior to the global pandemic. It seems like a lifetime ago.
Before I knew it, I had walked the full-length of the four lagoons and back. I then headed towards the beach and dove into the water to cool off. After swimming in the lagoon for a while, I noticed the sun beginning to set. I watched in the distance as the tip of the sun disappeared just below the horizon, showing off it’s infamous green flash.
Once again, I packed up my belongings and headed towards my car. And as I drove off, I was once again reminded just how blessed I am to be living in this beautiful Paradise called Hawaii.
A Hui Hou Kākou (until we meet again),
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