So for my three month stay here in Hawaii I am renting a room in a condo with three other random people… one of which was one of the most interesting people I’ve met here so far.
One of my Condo-mates who I share a bathroom, kitchen, and living room with is a woman in her fifties named Avia. Avia was very sweet upon my arrival, let me know about what to expect living there and giving me the ins and outs of things. Our first few interactions were just basics of getting to know each other, who we were, what we do, etc. I learned Avia is a therapist who was between jobs, but shortly after my arrival she got a new job on the Big Island and was moving out within a few weeks.
Because she was out of work, she was around a lot, more than any of my other roommates and I learned really quickly, Avia was a talker. Whenever I went upstairs to the common areas I was nearly guaranteed an interaction, and sometimes I would even dread going thinking oh man, she is going to want to talk, but after about a week of being secluded on an island without friends I started valuing our conversation.
One night, Avia was in the living room watching something on TV and when I came in to use the restroom we ended up chatting as usual, only tonight something was different, our chat didn’t end at its normal 10-15 minute mark, instead we just kept talking. The journalist inside me probably at fault because the more I saw into Avia’s life the more questions I had. We just talked and talked about everything from where we’ve traveled and lived, to what we believe about the world, to our differences and similarities.
I learned so much about this free-spirited woman that I doubt I’ll ever forget. She has had so many experiences that fascinated me, like the time she actually went to meet Mother Theresa, and did. She said when she met her, Mother Theresa asked her to stay and volunteer at the orphanage for a week, to which she told me ”I had no intention on staying longer than a day, but how do you say no to a saint? Even though I don’t agree with her theology or doctrine, you couldn’t deny the Love she showed the world, so I stayed.”
Before we knew it, it was nearly 2 a.m. and we decided it was time to call it a night, and my trip to the bathroom turned into three hours of valuable conversation.
The next day, Avia told me that she can’t remember a time when she sat and talked to a single person for that long and that it meant a lot to her. I realized then how very alone this woman was… and all I could think was how many valuable talks with my girls back home I had on a weekly basis and how blessed I am for all the people in my life.
It’s so easy to take for granted, until you leave all that behind and learn life doesn’t guarantee us those relationships and those conversations, and unless we take the time to nurture them, you may be left alone in a world of billions of people.
Avia definitely made an impression on my life, and I think I may have been lucky enough to make a mark on hers too.