My recent stay in Hawaii came to a close on Thursday, the feast of the Mother of Sorrows, a coincidence that seems - even now - all too fitting.
As Gary drove me to the airport to catch my flight back to Chicago, he kindly mentioned that of all the priests that have stayed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, he thought none made an impression such as I have had and that none fit in better with the Hawaiian manner and life. I must say in return that the Hawaiians have made quite an impression on me and are slowly beginning to change the way I think and the way I speak.
I have already taken up - quite unintentionally and unwittingly - their habit of saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," somewhat excitedly in response to questions (which could be simply answered with, "Yes."
Now I find myself thinking thoughts in my mind and ending them with, "yeah" or sometimes putting "yeah" in the midst of joined phrases. The Hawaiians have such a habit, yeah (though I'm not sure if such a use is ended with a question mark or a period; the question is purely rhetorical). Sometimes this "yeah" also finds its way into my speech now.
This Saturday night I attended a wedding reception for Ian (a college friend) and Dana. At one point during the evening Ian's sister asked if I felt uncomfortable at the reception. When I asked what she meant, she said, "You're the only white guy in a room full of Asians." Truthfully, I could say that I felt quite at home among them (it's another story in China Town; it's just too crowded and busy there). There are many places on the mainland where, in a room full of white guys, I don't always feel comfortable; there's something about the Hawaiians that puts me quite at ease.
To the Cathedral priests and staff, to the friends and families with whom I was able to talk story, I can only offer a humble and heartfelt mahalo nui loa. Their hospitality and friendship is very much appreciated. A hoi huo!
Now the task of reaclimating to life on the mainland begins, not only in terms of the weather (it's cold here!) but also in terms of the culture and the general way of life.
I am staying in Chicago for the 2011 Annual Meeting, Promotion and Investiture of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, during which I am to be invested a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre (I'll post more on this later).