After a long, long cross country journey, full of adventures, I landed in a world of culture I did not understand. I was eager, yet hesitant that I wouldn’t belong, that it wasn’t living up to my expectations and that no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t make this home…a home. I was judged and misunderstood by some of the people around me. I looked different. I wasn’t haole and I wasn’t a local. I come from a mixed background, have colorful hair, piercings and tattoos. As you can imagine, I received the most inconspicuous and blatant looks. It didn’t matter how professionally I dressed or how nicely I placed my makeup, I felt uncomfortable and sad because all I wanted was to be a contributing part of this island and make it a home.
I Found My Home in Media
I had moved from one large city on the East Coast to Honolulu. I wanted a peaceful, quieter life but the city found me yet again. At first, I was upset. The job I started with promised full-time employment before leaving my home. When I arrived after a few months, they said they no longer had enough work for me, nor the means to pay. Depressed, I felt alone and worst of all, I didn’t even have the money to get home if I needed to.
Then, I remembered an impromptu interview I went on a week before the layoff; based on a gut feeling. It was my dream job. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be make a living as a Journalist. I had worked so hard throughout the years, even for free at times, just to build a portfolio and reputation. It was a struggle and a lot of companies on that side of the Mainland, well, they don’t keep you. They hire temp and replace, replace, replace until they find the cheapest employee. I couldn’t survive out there.
I knew I couldn’t survive out there.
I had been through a bitter divorce and needed a new start. Coming to the island was my only hope. I had been here a few times, had friends here and loved it. And now…with this lay off. I didn’t know what to do that is, until this role called me.
As fate would have it, I met amazing people. I truly learned what the aloha spirit is all about. People who are hard-working, yet caring and considerate. People who respect others and show, mercy, gratitude and kindness. It is with this new venture that I felt at home. I found home in Hawaii.
Now I have the passion to explore on the weekends. The drive and excitement to visit all of the other islands, to interview and get to know people and to work so that I can give back a huge thank you to this beautiful land and all of the wonderful people who also call it home.
Mahalo for accepting me, O‘ahu. I promise to deliver events that will inspire you to continue exploring as well. -Fatima