On my 3-mile jog this morning, I noticed these two little boys sitting on a large lava rock in their front yard, well groomed, waiting with big smiles. Why they up to so early in the morning? Then I saw a little girl waiting on a bench with her mom. Her hair neatly slicked back from her face and braided, dawning a new jean jacket, she held a new lunch cooler in her lap and wore and expectant smile on her face. It must be Maui’s first day back to school, I thought, piecing together these separate scenes in my mind. Duh! My mom is about to go back to teaching this week and several friends on Facebook have been posting first day of school pics of their children. With two week left on Maui, returning to the classroom was kind of at the back of my mind. Yet I so delighted in reading the obvious excitement and hope on these young peoples faces. I was fascinated by the variety of bus stops though. I supposed the school bus stopped in front yards and at bus benches and wondered if it stopped anywhere else along my route. As if in answer, I saw a tribe of what looked to be upper elementary boys huddled together at a small beach park, clutching shiny new backpacks or notebooks. The school bus rolled up to the park and they piled in. I could see no sign that indicated these stops, but the kids knew where to wait. As the bus pulled slowly away, a few boys watched me running from the back window, they smiled and waved. I playfully pretended to chase the bus and could see the boys gleefully laughing at my antics as the bus went on its way. You might think I’m weird for chasing the bus, but as I got up the crest of the hill, I saw Greg jogging toward me, joining me for a post-jog walk of the neighborhood. I told him my story and he said he had seen another runner down the way do the same thing as the bus passed. So either I was participating in a Hawaiian tradition that I was unaware of, or just like when we were growing up and we would flag down truckers, jerking our arms in the air to get them to honk at us, kiddos in Hawaii might give a friendly wave to get joggers to chase their bus.
We followed the usual Monday routine; farmer’s market, pool time, nap. In the late afternoon our loud neighbors reemerged, so we decided that a long walk and dinner out might be nice for a change. We walked on lower H toward the north, the same route from this morning’s jog. Just a mile down the road was a sushi restaurant called Miso Phat. It is located in a strip mall below a bunch of apartments. The funny name appealed to us and we had read good reviews online. They had a unique BYOB policy where you go and purchase your drinks at the liquor store next door but they don’t sell it in house. We grabbed some sake and beer and expected to pay $5 corkage but they didn’t charge us, so we wondered the corkage fee is just a technicality since they don’t have a liquor license. We had the caterpillar roll; unagi and avocado and Greg got some Ahi Poke, which is a Hawaiian style sushi; tuna, onion, cucumber and avocado in tossed with citrus and sesame oil and served with rice on the side. The food was good, the chefs were personable, and we enjoyed the small homey feel. Our only complaint; it wasn’t Kishi! (We still have undying love and loyalty for our hometown sushi shop!)
We walked home feeling So PHAT, full from our big meal. As we traipsed back through the Kulakane parking lot, we ran into Debbie (our condo manager) and Broke Tail (our condo cat). We enjoyed a nice chat with her, gave Broke Tail a scratch behind the ears and headed home, hoping for a peaceful evening.