I grew up in a large family in Arlington, Virginia. Most families were large back then. I went to high school and then to college. When it came time for college I applied to three schools: William and Mary, a very typical choice, the University of Boston, less typical and the University of Hawaii, definitely a wild card. UH - the University of Hawaii - had been recommended by one of my favorite teachers - she had studied there. I think she may have sensed how I felt. I didn't really want to go to college - it seemed like just more school. I was good at school but wanted something else. I just didn't really know what the something else was and I sort of wanted to go to college. Certainly my teachers and parents expected me to go.
William and Mary put me on a waiting list which I now think was the hand of God. Boston and Hawaii accepted me. I remember discussing this with my Dad - he was somewhat apologetic as he explained that Boston's tuition was very high and it would be better if I went to Hawaii. I was ok with that but we had left the decision pretty late so I didn't have a dorm room and none of us had ever been to Hawaii. The farthest I had been from Virginia was Indiana. Hawaii - lots farther away!
The university was building new dorms and one would be available but not at the beginning of the school year. Fortunately my parents had a very large circle of friends. The daughter of one of them was studying at UH and she lived with her fiancé's family - I could room with her until my dorm was ready. I had never met this woman - but it seemed like a good plan. It worked very well. I can't remember the first few days in Hawaii - there were so many new things. If you haven't been to Hawaii you think beaches, beaches, beaches! The University is not near any beaches - it's not far - perhaps a 10 minute drive - but I didn't have a car. The University is in the valley of Manoa - in the foothills of the mountains. The mountains of Oahu are small, green, and beautiful. The valley became home.
After a few weeks my dorm was ready and I moved in. It was an apartment that I shared with 4 other girls - two of us in each bedroom, with a small kitchen and nice living room. It was on an upper floor and I could see Diamond Head from the living room windows. I was in Hawaii and I was on my own.