Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Whether I’m deplaning at Kauai’s airport or Honolulu International, where my sister now lives, homecoming always feels the same and I hope that will never change. It starts with the slow creep of damp air that seeps through my half-day-old travel wear as I wheel my carry-on toward curbside pick-up and ends with a bittersweet sense of appreciation and longing for the islands that raised me.

At Honolulu’s arrival terminal several weeks ago, I smile when I hear it: the familiar island twang of Hawaiian pidgin, which is today a product of the ethnic groups imported to till the sugar cane fields more than 150 years ago. The Filipinos, Chinese, Portuguese and Puerto Ricans did their best to find a cohesive way to communicate with one another and thus, the inverted grammar of the creole vernacular is one of the few remains after the industry collapsed in the ’90s.

The next morning I pop into Brue Bar off Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu. I’m in a slight daze and need one more cup to activate the brewed drip my brother-in-law made for my sister and I before they both shoved off for work. Blank faced, I placed an order for a Chai latte.

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