The sands of home

My father was born and raised on Kauai, the garden island. My mother was born in the Phillippines. I remember standing on black sand beaches, smelling the scent of sea water all about me.

Although I remember very little of my grandparents, my childhood, and my cousins, I remember the flowers that decorated the hills leading up to the Ocean. I remember the breeze tasting so peaceful and so much like home. I remember so many little things about my childhood, laced in the scent of hibiscus and sea water.

When I graduated from college, my father bought a frozen lei to my graduation. I speak like a foreigner, I have a European accent. My father rested the lei around my shoulders and kissed my forehead with such love, it took my entire body to prevent me from crying.

I may be a foreigner in my home island, but no one can take away its meaning for me. The waves lapping at my feet, my grandfather fishing on the pier, my grandmother with her forever kind and perfect words.

I was gifted a necklace of Napali shells, the widow of my grandfather's best friend was gifted it and she wanted to find the perfect moment and person to give it to -- she gave them to me in the original packaging of my grandparents. I remember holding them and crying. She told me the price, but the price meant nothing.

For twenty-eight years, my grandparents held a present for me and I had no idea.