Story by Kathy Collins
Listen to Tita’s column read aloud in pidgin:
Da funny t’ing about goin’ on vacation when you come from Maui is dat, no mattah where you go, ev’rybody like know how come you wen’ go ovah there. “You come from Maui? What you doin’ here?!” Like dey t’ink we no need vacation, jus’ ‘cause we live in da bes’ vacation place in da world.
You gotta excuse dem, ‘cause dey no unnastand. When you live on one island, even da numbah one bes’ island, soonah or laytah, you going get rock fevah. Plenny guys who move here from da mainland, dey get all antsy when dey realize dey stay on top one small piece a rock in da middoh of da ocean, an’ dey no can jus’ get in da car an’ drive away when they like. An’ us guys who wen’ grow up ovah here, by da time we grad from high school, we cannot wait fo’ get off da rock and go check out da res’ odda world. Or at least Honolulu.
Dass how human naytchah, I guess. No mattah how good we get ‘em, we always like see if we can get some mo’. Not dat we no appreciate what we get. We jus’ like see what else get fo’ appreciate.
Like snow. Ev’ry kid who wen’ grow up on one tropical island like see snow. Da real kine, not da quartah-inch manini kine snowfall on top Haleakala. I wen’ go nuts da firs’ time I seen real snow. Was Christmastime in Michigan, da snow was almos’ up to my knees, an’ I wen’ make snow angels like I wen’ read about in da Laura Ingalls Wildah books. I wen’ ride sled, t’row snowballs at my friends, an’ run around fo’ catch snowflakes on top my tongue. I was almos’ thirty years old. But fo’ couple, t’ree hours, I was one kid again. Den I wen’ catch cold an’ fo’ da res’ odda week, I was one grumpy ol’ lady, all bundled up in blankets, yellin’ at my friends fo’ turn up da heat.
But no worry, dat nevah spoil my vacation. In fack, I nevah did have one junk vacation in my whole life. Even when junk stuffs happen, like losing my bag or losing myself, even . . . dass jus part a da adventchah. I love fo’ travoh. I no even care where I go or how I go, so long as I get fo’ go.
I been on couple dozen cruises awreddy, if you count da ferry to Lana‘i and Moloka‘i. If dose no count, den I been on two, Europe both times. Da firs’ t’ing I wen’ learn about bein’ one tourist ovah deah is, no tell ‘em you American. Tell ‘em you Hawaiian. Dey like dat way mo’ bettah. You get instant smiles an’ aloha.
An’ den you get da question. “You come from Maui? What you doin’ here?!”