SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 29: Irina, “You Saved Me From Failure.”

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m in Hawaii on business this week. Last night, I ranted a little about being trapped in Hilton resort solitary confinement.

One would think that the smart side of me would have taken another journey away from Hawaiian Village. But leaning on the not so intelligent side of my brain, I decide to cruise the hotel grounds for a second time. A mostly terrible idea. Man! I’m self abusive.

3 hours down and I’ve not met a soul. Vacation culture is very interesting to study. So many people around, all of whom are either not wanting to be approached or obviously hiding behind a facade character, playing an away from home fantasy.

It’s late in the evening and thus far, not a hope in sight of anyone to photograph. I’ve circled the resort so many times that I’m feeling management will soon post signs saying, “Radstone path, this way.”

Feet are barking! I’m starting to get discouraged! Is this the night that I fail in my mission to meet a new friend?

With feelings of defeat brewing in my heart, I reluctantly set a final path towards my room, already mentally working out an apologetic entry for day 29 blog entry. I’ve almost composed my tribute to failure in my mind, when absolute sunshine appears before me.

Closing a clothing stand, I see Irina. There is something about her that draws my attention. A special glow that I am starting to recognize as Aloha. The still small voice engages, “Introduce yourself to her, she is special.” When it speaks, I listen.

I walk up, bleed my heart regarding the frustration of the last 3 hours wandering and invite her to be tonight’s 365 friend. She smiles with a touch of embarrassment and delicately volunteers to be part of the project.

She locks up her kiosk and we sit for a most pleasant conversation.

Born in Russia, Irina speaks with a clear and passionate dialect. There is a certain comfort that comes from speaking with her. A feeling that I am starting to recognize emanating from all those living on the island.

The only way to define it is, “love of life, nature and fellow-man.” It’s infectious and I am growing to love it.

As we chat, my regret for staying at the hotel grounds quickly turns to gratitude in meeting Irina. Her peaceful spirit is captivating.

It’s been a long day and I can tell we are both fighting to keep focus. With the evening nearly over, both of us admittedly tiered, I ask my final questions.

Accompanied by warmth, laughter and youthful wisdom, Irina shares these closing statements as we call it a night.

“Don’t look back, always look forward.” Great council from a young soul.

“Enjoy the process, not the result.” One more gem of philosophy.

In parting, I double-check to see if there is anything else she wants to leave for you, my readers.

In the spirit that has so smitten me for 20 minutes of chatting Irina says one last note:

“Dreams do come true in Hawaii!”


Mahalo Nui Loa