It's the question I keep getting asked recently. Repeatedly.
It makes sense, though, if you really think about it. If I weren't me I'd wonder, too. What could possibly be so great that it could convince a person to move off of the island of Kaua'i to a place that....well....isn't Kaua'i?!?!
The simple truth of it is that it's not so simple to explain. We moved because we have friends and family on the continent that we missed and wanted to be closer too. My Fiancé, Ashton, applied for and accepted a position as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist for Deschutes County which is an amazing opportunity. Our kids have had an incredible childhood on the island and now will be able to experience different things. Originally I was offered a position on Kaua'i in the Social Services field, which is why I moved there in the first place. I left that field during the pandemic because I could not manage my children's education and providing Mental Health Therapy for clients at the same time.
The longer I lived on Kaua'i the more the reality and the atrocities experienced by Native Hawaiians on their own land became very apparent. Every day I witnessed entitled tourists and wealthy vacation/second home owners treat Hawaiians as if they are nothing but amusement park employees there to make privileged lives more comfortable and accommodating. I had many friends and acquaintances who worked 2, 3, sometimes more jobs just to be able to afford rent while all of those aforementioned tourists drive the housing prices through the roof.
It didn't feel right to be there anymore. It doesn't feel right to take up space on land, on a home, that isn't ours. I also understand that as a descendent of colonizers I will always be on stolen land that I don't belong on, and too be perfectly honest, I don't always know what to do about that. For now what I do know is to be as little of an asshole as I can manage to be, honor Native and Sacred spaces as best I can, and do at least more good than I do harm. And to always be listening and learning for ways to do better.
For now, my family and I are getting settled into Bend, Oregon, which kind of feels like it would to move into an old house you once lived in, just a different bedroom. Familiar, but oriented a little bit differently. It's been great so far (including being in the same city as the last Blockbuster in the world!) and I'm excited to see what's next for us here!