"Just another day in paradise..." is a phrase that floats around the island with great affection. Hawaiian's don't say it of course. Just we mainlanders become islanders--mostly because we still can't believe we live here. Count me among them. But as the weeks go by, I am finding it harder and harder to imagine permanently living elsewhere. And this week, it dawned on me why: the people reflect the generosity of this land. "Live Aloha" could just be a beautiful bumper sticker sentiment, but here on Maui, it is my resounding experience. In just a few months, so much has been extended to me.

Upon arriving, my housemate, Linda Proche, who teaches Yoga and Tai Chi at Studio Maui, said I was welcome to take her classes as a guest of the studio and her...because I am her housemate.

Behold! A farmer's market inside the Queen Ka'ahumanu Mall and almost everywhere else you roam. Even the produce department of our grocery store, Mana, is a kind of farmer's market with locals delivering everything from kale to papaya at the back door. Now that's fresh!

Recently I learned that health insurance (which I let go of in favor of working with my health practitioner back home) is available from the state of Hawaii for an exceedingly low rate or free if you qualify.

This week I had a dental emergency that necessitated a new crown. The dear, young dental assistant--who interchangably called me, "Ms. Bowes, Maridel, Ma'am and Miss Maridel with equal warmth--offered me the option of a generous discount program because I don't currently have dental insurance.
One of our mechanics is named, "Uncle Dickie" and ends each conversation with, "You have a wonderful day, now. Aloha!" The other consultant, Scott, draws diagrams of the auto's condition, explains options, and perhaps just for us, banged out a dent on our newly acquired car without charge. (Though I doubt that we were the first to receive such favors.)

The chain thift store, Savers, which is an island pasttime here (talked about at most parties), stamps your card for every $5.00 you spend and when it's filled, you receive 30% off your whole next purchase. They also have Senior Day, coupons, and $3 credits for donations. Their slogan is "Good Deeds. Great Deals."

I'm sure I've made my point, but the generous heart of this island can't be contained in a blog...loving, luscious donations from the organic garden of our friends,Jeannette and Andrew...special occasion (or no occasion) gatherings highlighted not just by shared food, but by live music and sharing of soul...the bank of Hawaii that makes banking a pleasure because the spirit of Aloha lives in their tellers...and the most generous giving of all: the lavish, beautiful body of Mother Maui and her entourage of frequent, brilliant rainbows.

"Aloha" is a way of life here on this island--not practiced by all of course, but powerfully prevelant in the culture, in the land, and in the people. No matter how long I live here, I'll never be Hawaiian. But this magnanimous place does inspire me to "live Aloha" wherever I am.

With Gratitude,

Maridel