The morning breaks and I head to Hilo at 6:45 am. The cab I share with Lina, Keisha and Seva is heavy with finality and when I drop them off at the airport before going to Hilo alone, I hug them all tighter than ever before, as if we will never see each other again. Though I know we will, because the Universe works in that way and you always end up seeing the people you really love.
I check into my hostel and then head to the farmers market. White canopies provide welcome shade to farmers, jewelers and the odd masseuse with a travel table. Even this early, the market is buzzing with the energy of the crowd. Locals on their weekly shop are distinguishable from the tourists passing through only by their looks of calm determination. Tourists cruise by excitedly, stopping to finger each crystal or organic mango for sale. I drink coconut milk and shop aimlessly. I fall in love with a pendant from Tibet, a copper triangle with turquoise that looks like an ancient Incan artifact. Shortly after I get a message from Abbey. They are down the street having breakfast.
Though I felt I was relishing in the longest alone time I have had in the past two weeks, after receiving the message I quickly turn away from the white peaks of the market and the crowd, and speed walk towards the Conscious Culture Café to meet the yogis.
Trish and Abbey leave after breakfast, to drive two hours to Kona before their flight the next morning. After many elongated hugs and a few, “see you soons,” they are gone, leaving Marita and me in Hilo. We wander along the waterfront until stumbling across an ice cream shop. We both indulge and post up outside. We eat with haste, as the sun threatens to melt our ice creams even under the umbrella shelter. Marita begins to tell me the full story of how she ended up at yoga training. She was working for a well-known oil company in Norway before she decided to sell everything and move to the Dominican Republic. She studied Spanish and kite surfed for a year, living off of her savings from work. She struggled with leaving her family behind and yoga was largely accredited for helping her cope with the stress. she eats her fast melting ice cream with a planned and conscious effort. As she speaks of challenges she has overcome, a fierceness that I never noticed before emanates from her deep blue eyes. When the subject turns to her beloved family, it is as if her whole face softens with a heartfelt whisper that can’t be explained.
Later when I hug Marita goodbye, I realize this is the last yogi of Yandara I will see until I meet Trish and Abbey in Maui. I hug her extra hard then, and tell her how much she will be missed. When her taxi pulls up late, Marita is calm and grounded. “If I don’t make this flight, I will just get on the next one to Oahu.” She says with a smile. She does everything with grace, it seems. I turn to walk back to my hostel, though peak for one last look, only to see a rush of Marita’s long blonde hair speeding by towards the airport.
A steep staircase leads up to the hostel common area: a large room comprised of a long wooden table surrounded by hanging bird cages and leather chairs. I meet an Autralian girl named Peta, who’s quiet but bold and I identify quickly with her sense of humor and easiness. We talk of her recent adventures in India and swap travel blunders, before making a plan to leave together in the morning to walk a mile to Rainbow Falls.
A couple sits down across the table from us, and quickly our intimate chat is overthrown. They loudly introduce themselves with thick Italian accents as Paola and Simon. They offer us wine and I realize then that yoga training is over and I can once again consume alcohol. I politely decline, however, deciding not to throw away all that I have accomplished at training just for a drunken night at a hostel. I feel really good; my mind is clear and my body feels stronger than it ever has before. As our conversation continues, Paola and Simon polish off a few more glasses of wine. The two become progressively louder and messier, spraying spit lightly in my direction when verbal emphasis is required. In a short while I rush out to grab food and some air, and the rest follow to the street and light up synchronized cigarettes. I notice as I walk away from the encroaching stench of tobacco, that perhaps I have gone through more of a significant change in the past two weeks than I really realize.