I used to live in Hawaii. My husband was stationed there in the military, and that’s where I moved to after we got married. Yeah, I wasn’t complaining about that!
It was a wonderful two years. I learned how to surf and got a pink surfboard (let’s not get ahead of ourselves – I wasn’t that good and just liked the rolling baby waves), went foraging for banana lilikoi and strawberry guava fruits on our hikes, and hubby and I drove around the island and stopped wherever the water was clear to go for a snorkel. We biked down Mount Haleakala, swam with the manta rays, and thought seeing sea turtles in our open ocean swims was normal.
It was a young, carefree time. I still can’t believe we had that time for ourselves. We bought a super beat-up Camry to take to the beach and withstand the abuse from throwing our surfboards on it, and it totally died the month before we left the island (still, to this day, I don’t know how it passed a smog check). We lived in our bathing suits and flip-flops. The bartender down the street, Jan, knew us by name (and oh my goodness, her mai tais). When we got woken up by a tsunami warning from helicopters, I made breakfast before we decided to drive up to the highest point closest to us.
Living in Hawaii was the first move of a few, and I made dear friends with the people I worked with. When you’re in the military life, you find yourself isolated and alone a lot. We learned quick that building relationships, wherever you go, is essential to do life. I always look back on our Hawaii time with fond memories, and know that when we are able to go back for a visit (which is seriously overdue), I can call up some old friends to see us. They’d love to see our two littles, the oldest of which canNOT believe that mom and dad dared to live somewhere cool without her!
So when we moved up here to the Bay Area and met our neighbors, Shawn and Brandon, I immediately picked out their pidgin and asked if they were from Hawaii. Yes, they were! I felt the aloha from them pretty much immediately! So, at pau hana time on Aloha Friday (coincidence? I think not), Brandon and I were talking about tofu poke (pronounced: po-KAY). Poke is a raw fish salad. It’s usually tossed in some marinade and eaten with taro chips, rice, or eaten alone. It’s really good, but even though I still have it from time to time (seafood is my once-a-week thing on this super plant-based lifestyle), I go vegan when I can. Tofu poke seemed like a good way to still get the flavor without the fish.
We’ve both had the tofu poke a couple of times and were brainstorming what would go in it, so a day later, I just made it. It was so easy! I gave some to the guys, and I have to say that I have the Hawaiian seal of approval! Shawn thought there was fish in it, but that was just the seaweed! I got a knock on the door not even half an hour later with an empty bowl. Not only that, my hubby polished off his portion in a SNACK. I’ll make enough for me next time. Ha!