Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Three Weeks Left

6am, Honolulu

Hawaiʻi Research Adventure: Days 71-88

Where I last left off, I had just moved into a new apartment a few blocks away from the university. (The photograph above is the view from my street.) I was enjoying having a kitchen and cooking and getting to know my new roommates.

A few days after writing that post, I got on a plane and flew to Washington, D.C. It was my first time back to the Mainland since coming to Hawaiʻi on February 9. It was a long flight, but thankfully I slept through most of it and also read an entire novel(!) before landing.

I had a good time. I went to the National Archives. It snowed a bit! And I attended the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History, which is always a blast because I have so many "ASEH friends" who I only see once a year at this conference!

The National Archives, Washington, D.C.

7am, snow in Arlington, Virginia

I stayed in Arlington, Virginia. It was kind of weird to be in Virginia knowing that I will be moving there to become a full-time resident of the state in just four months!

From D.C. I then flew to Amherst, Massachusetts, to attend a symposium at Amherst College.

The Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, Massachusetts

 In sum it was a seven-day trip to the East Coast. I really loved being back on the East Coast—a reminder that "home" is a powerful concept in my head and heart. As fun as Hawaiʻi (sometimes) can be, my heart is really back along Atlantic shores.

 Today marks exactly one week since I have been back in Honolulu. I have been trying to focus on my research but this week has seemed to be an all-absorbing exercise in thinking way too much about both the past and the future: talking to old friends and lovers and also making new ones (went on my first Honolulu date this weekend!); wondering what it is I have accomplished here in two months in Hawaiʻi and planning and scheming and wondering what I will do this summer when I live in Boston and do research in Massachusetts and in Connecticut.

Now it is April, and I have only three weeks left in these islands. One of my goals is just to really enjoy living in my apartment and spending time with my roommates. Because of course I will have to leave this place and say many goodbyes, and I should enjoy myself as much as I can while I am here!
Graffiti art around the block from my apartment, Honolulu

 One of the fun things I did last weekend was go on a walk in the rain to the Mānoa Chinese cemetery with my roommate.
Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, Honolulu

Qin Shihuangdi, first emperor of China, third century BCE. Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, Honolulu
Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, Honolulu

 In reality, I only have ten more days in Honolulu, not three weeks. That is because early Friday morning I am flying to Sāmoa for an eight-day adventure on the islands of Upolu and Tutuila. Upolu is in Sāmoa, and Tutuila is in American Sāmoa. I am going to both places, connected by a once-a-week eight-hour-long maritime cruise. That should be fun! I am flying into Apia, capital of Sāmoa. I am flying out of Pago Pago, capital of the U.S. territory of American Sāmoa. It will be interesting to see the comparative colonial legacies of both sides of this fractured archipelago: Germany and New Zealand controlled the western half from 1899 to 1962; the United States has controlled the eastern half since 1899 and is not giving up, even though the United Nations declares U.S. rule in American Sāmoa to be a violation of the United Nations mandate on decolonization!

 So that's where I'm headed. Upon return from Sāmoa, I will hopefully write a few blog posts about my trip there. As for what else I will do in those last ten days in Hawaiʻi after Sāmoa? I really don't know. I think prioritizing my relationships with people here is the most important thing. I've done a heck of a lot of research. I'll always have that. I won't always have these people, though.

 And that will conclude my Pacific Ocean adventures for 2015. The next time I will be back in these waters is likely May 2016 when I hope to make trips to Aotearoa (New Zealand), maybe to Guam, maybe back to Sāmoa, and definitely spending some more time here in Hawaiʻi nei.

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