The Sisterhood of the Traveling Lunch…

April 13, 2010



I’ve been thinking alot about Hawaii…I know, I know…what else is new?  But WHY?  What is it about that little teeny island that has so captured my heart and soul?  I was talking with my friend about it for almost an hour last week (shout-out Audrey!) who also lived in Hawaii and has regretted moving ever since.  Not to say that I have regretted moving entirely.  I loved Argentina, have enjoyed California so far, and Joe and I are strong and happy.  But I still find myself daydreaming about Hawaii; those mossy mountains and sandy beaches, the constant cool breezes, and Ala Moana park on a Sunday with hula dancers and steel drums…ahhhhhh.


Something about that island just wiggled its way into my soul.  My friend Audrey and I were trying to put into words what makes it so special…she thinks it’s the lifestyle – the pace of the island, the rhythm.  California (where she is originally from and where I am currently residing) is all hard edges; punk rock, fast-paced…Hawaii is lovely, easy, free-spirited and relaxing.  I agree…but there’s something else about that magical place that I cannot seem to put into words. 


Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat Pray Love” (a personal favorite of mine) has a quote about soul mates: “A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”


I think Hawaii might be my soul mate. 


It broke me down, opened me up and showed me new beauty, scope and imagination.  I met the most amazing friends of my life there…I recently went home to Hawaii in March to visit for a “Lunch Lady Reunion”.  Kristin, Kellie, Faye, Shaunnah and I (also known as Biscuit, 1st Lady, Fayefalina, Steek and Blossom) began having lunch together everyday at DVAC while working together.  In that one hour a day, we developed an amazing friendship that I hope and pray and believe will last the rest of our lives.  We supported and encouraged each other, challenged each other, fought and made-up with each other, cried and laughed and laughed until we cried.


But as amazing as the people were, I learned on this last trip that it wasn’t just my incredible job or the fantastic friends…it was the island itself that stole my heart away.  I always knew leaving Hawaii would be difficult, but I also thought if I went somewhere incredibly exciting or interesting, it would be easier.  So when we decided on Argentina, I thought it was a perfect way to ease me out of my paradise.  And though I reallllly loved Buenos Aires, I still found myself homesick for the first time in my life…missing Hawaii, my friends, my life there.  I believed returning to Hawaii for a visit might make it easier for me to move on.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be the same; friends have left the island, the agency moved forward, maybe I had as well…I was wrong.  Circumstances of my life there had changed, but my love for it hadn’t.  As soon as I stepped off the plane and that Hawaiian breeze hit me, I immediately burst into tears.  I was home.  On my first day, after waking to gorgeous mountains outside my window, I went for a run in Manoa Valley…listening to Hawaiian reggae and Jack Johnson the entire time, smiling like an idiot.  Yeah, I was THAT person.  When I went to get coffee on that first day, I nearly hugged the girl that waited on me because she had such a thick local accent.  How I missed that accent!  I kept repeating over and over to my Lunch Ladies the entire trip…”I am so happy.  I am just so happy right now.”  I knew I was in trouble.  I called Joe and said, “Uhhhh babe…we really might have to come back here someday.” 



Thankfully, Joe misses Hawaii too.  And though we have no immediate plans to return right now, I think someday we might make our way back to that little paradise.  It’s the only place I have ever been that I can see myself settling down in.  You know, buying a house, becoming a responsible adult…all of the things I have resisted thus far and that scare the hell out of me.  But of course, these Caldwells are famous for changing our minds…so you never know where we will land. 

So thank you Hawaii…where else could a South African, 2 white girls from Kentucky and New York, a Hawaiian and a Filipina become the best of friends? 



Mahalo nui loa to my Lunch Ladies…thank you for loving me (even when it was not so easy), taking care of me, supporting me, forgiving me, laughing with me, crying with me, missing me, and for an awesome vacation. Here’s to you!  GAMMA GAMMA LUNCH FOREVER!!!!



2 Responses to “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Lunch…”

  1. Faye said

    I’m tearing up just reading this righ now. I love you Blossom, Kate, Advo-katie, friend 🙂


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