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Dedicated to The People of Hilo
Submitted by Irette
As soon as I landed, I wanted to go back home to Georgia. Home was comfortable. Home was safe. Home was where I wouldn't have to face an angry sub-recipient. My boss sent me to Hawaii to audit a sub-recipient of one of our grants. My job was to go in, get copies of documentation and leave.
The time leading up to my trip, I thought of all the fun I would have. I love seeing new places and the job foot the bill for this one. The closer the time came to actually getting on the great metal bird, however, the more concerned I became. I'd have to rent and drive a car. I hated driving. Who knew what I would face at the sub-recipient's place of business? Would they cooperate? Was this place I was staying at even nice? How would I survive the nine-hour plane ride?
At the airport in Hilo, I congratulated myself for making it that far. I rented a car with no problem and the person at the airport gave me good directions to my hotel.
I trudged into the hotel lobby then stopped. Where were the doors? The lobby was totally open to the elements. Was that safe? My second thought came that it didn't matter. My shoulders started relaxing and the first person I met smiled. I almost felt like I was back home in Georgia.
Over the next couple of days, I fell in love with Hawaii. I can't tell you what did it. I don't know if it was seeing a macadamia nut tree for the first time or that everyone was so friendly, or the trees that looked like purple honeysuckle, but I've never felt more at home in a place. I think it was the people. The people treated me like I was one of their own.
When I left, it was more like leaving home than going back to it. Hawaii was comfortable. Hawaii was safe. Hawaii was where a sub-recipient fully cooperated with my poking and probing. Hawaii was one place that I planned on returning to.