On Hawai’i Time


More stories from Maggie Cipriano

On Hawai’i Time
December 3, 2018

Coming to my third university, I was not worried about making friends. At this point, it is all routine; making friends (thankfully) has never been hard for me to do. In fact, I would consider making friends in an overwhelmingly short amount of time one of my talents.

I am often asked questions about never settling down or having one spot with roots. Does that bother me at all? My response is always somewhere along the lines of this: why would I want to settle down when there is so much more to explore, so many opportunities in front of me? There are so many people I have yet to meet. And every time I do pack up and leave, I grieve. I know I will dearly miss the place and the people that made that place so special — shout out to my Eau Claire friends and family.

Moving to Hawai’i, I did have a sneaking suspicion that I would meet my people. I knew that I would be surrounded by students who have similar lifestyles and interests — a craving for adventure and shared major and minor (journalism and agriculture). I was right to an extent, but what I have found here goes far beyond that.

The friends I have met here are special. We come from all over the world — Idaho, Washington and California to New Zealand and Australia. Thrown into an all-girls floor full of exchange students, somehow we all collided and have yet to go a day without goofing off ever since.

The harmony we have with each other is nothing like I have ever experienced. We are our own independent people going about our days, but we come together at the end of it just like we never left. We nap together as the sun goes down to stay up later. We do not waste any time here in Hawai’i — if we can be together, we are together.

Our weekends are endless days and short nights filled with adventure and wonder. We often have to catch our breath after a fit of laughter in the salty ocean and pinch ourselves — we actually live here.

It happens daily. Ears clogged with water, sun burning our skin as the waves pull us back and forth. Looking up and seeing green mountains towering over the clear blue water, my beautiful friends faces laughing back at me with the same expression: pure joy, still in awe. This is our home.

Our exchange semester is halfway over. Acknowledging that has been painful. I don’t know what I’m going to do without Hawai’i — without these courageous, intelligent, driven and downright hysterical women beside me in two months’ time.

Waking up every day hoping that time slows down takes a toll on a person. I find myself constantly wishing there was a way to keep everything exactly how it is now, yet being able to venture out and continue to explore.

The people I meet as I move around are my roots. I have roots at home in Glen Ellyn, some in St. Louis, many in Eau Claire and now in Hawai’i and beyond. These people pull me back to Earth. They keep me grounded. Every person offers a different worldview. They help me grow.

Why would I want to settle down when I know there are still so many best friends to be made out there? There are so many beautiful people to smile at in wonderment. So, to answer the much-asked question about settling down: why would I?

Cipriano can be reached at [email protected].