Scraping By On The Big Island

Tax day. I just moved to the Big Island of Hawaii so I don’t have a printer yet but I do have my tax documents on a USB stick. I try to use the landlady’s printer but her old computer isn’t cooperating.

There is a printing place up the road near the post office that charges a quarter per page. I’ll do that. Or I would have done that if it weren’t for the locked door and the sign that reads, “Due to circumstances beyond our control we are closed today.”


I start hiking the half mile or so back home in the blazing tropical sun. when I hear “Jeremy! Jeremy!” in the distance. I look down the steep street to my left and there’s Ma from Ma’s Kava–the first Hawaiian to adopt me into her family. I jog down to her pickup truck to give her a kiss and she says, “Get in, boy. Sit with me.” I hop in. She says, “I saw you walking down the street and I said, ‘You better pick Jeremy up.'”

Awesome. She drives me back home but then passes home and asks if I need to go there. I say no, not really. I don’t mind walking back from her Kava shop, it’s a hop skip and a jump from my place. But she actually wants to cook me lunch. Unfortunately for your truly, I am a vegetarian so the meaty dish she had prepared would leave me drooling. It’s for the best, really, because I’ve got to get my taxes done.

On the walk home I have an epiphany: I can stop in at work and print the documents there! I would never have thought to do that had Ma not picked me up and shot past my place.

I do. The manager is hesitant because technically no one is allowed to use the computers for anything outside of work purposes. They are afraid of getting a virus. She feels my pain and takes the risk and I print my tax stuff.

Great! Now all I have to do is go home, sign, staple, and march back to the post office in the blazing sun. Did I mention the sun is blazing?

I stroll into the yard and my landlady is sitting outside preparing some crafts for a class she teaches. She tells me she’s driving to the post office and asks if I have anything I need her to mail. Why, yes, as a matter of fact!

She decides she’s also going grocery shopping and asks if I want in on that, so I tag along. I can’t afford to get but two items. Low on cash until my first paycheck arrives.

On the way back we talk about work-related stuff, like how I have to buy some sneakers because they don’t allow open-toe sandals. She says her husband has a spare pair he can give me if I’m the right size. Turns out I am but I gratefully decline because I feel like they give me too much as it is. In fact, when we get back, within five minutes she appears at my door with a carton of eggs from the wild chickens living in the yard, some tomatoes from the garden, and an avocado. God bless this woman.

I scuttle off to the computer room and search for my bus schedule. I need to get to a department store and buy an el cheapo pair of sneakers but I really don’t want to spend all day waiting for the bus. As I’m lining up travel times, the landlady’s husband comes to my window with spare shoes. They are new and a perfect fit.  So now I’ve got a free day to go strum on a ukulele at Ma’s Kava and hang out.

This is life on the Big island. Synchronicities line up like dominoes. This isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. It’s fascinating to witness and be immersed in. It’s a game of trust where “all” you have to do is trust that you’ll be okay and you are. The island sees to that. Maybe it’s to make up for the fact that at some point… you know, the volcano…

Mmmm… let’s not talk about that.


11 thoughts on “Scraping By On The Big Island

  1. I know exactly what you mean about synchronicity and things magically falling into place. I left my home for a far away place almost four years ago, not knowing a soul, and everything I’ve needed has somehow worked out for me. Not always immediately, and more often than not in a round-about way, but this is the joy of it. Sometimes you just have to plunge in and take a chance (or, as you said, to “trust”), have no expectations and see what happens. Can’t wait to hear more blog entries about day to day life there! Thanks.

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