Ohana, forever immortalized in my mind by the children’s movie Lilo and Stitch, has taken on a whole new meaning over this last week. In the movie, for those who aren’t familiar, a destructive alien experiment crashes to Earth, specifically on a Hawaiian island. He becomes the adopted pet of a little girl, Lilo, and, despite a rough beginning, they eventually become a family. The most memorable tagline of the movie is when the alien, Stitch, goes to rescue the little girl who was kidnapped by another alien who was supposed to capture Stitch only. He says, “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.” And later he goes on to say, “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”
After getting sick at the office earlier this week, I’ve come to really appreciate our ELI family that has been growing ever since the moment we all landed. Being sick in general is never fun, it can be especially difficult when you are away from home; no mom to make soup, no childhood favorite movie to watch and fall asleep to, no real sense of familiarity that comes from growing up with certain rituals to deal with illness (this is a shout out to you Mom and Dad and Anna). Despite being many miles from home however, I found that home wasn’t actually that far away. In fact it was just a 10 minute car ride away from the ELI office. It’s actually the mattress on the living room floor that Lauren and I have been sharing since we lost our own mattresses to the war on bed bugs. It’s the living room that serves as our movie theatre every night after dinner and dishes. Also, it’s the kitchen upstairs that can barely fit four people inside, yet it manages to host all of our impromptu pre-dinner dance parties. Most importantly it is the people I have grown to know and love throughout this ELI experience.
I know for a fact this week that I have seen ohana in action. Nobody had to go the extra miles that they did to help me out and yet they did. Lauren didn’t have to volunteer to come home with me after work on Monday when I was hitting my lowest point and get me Sprite from the corner store while I was cocooned in layers of fleece. Lindsay didn’t have to go into mom mode and make sure I kept eating that one piece of bread so I could take fever reducing medicine. Lincoln didn’t have to get me a blanket and tuck me in when I was down for the count on the ground. Bryan didn’t have to help make me soup after getting back from the hospital. Vedant didn’t have to bring me roti the next day to make sure I wouldn’t wither away on my recovery day, on top of taking me to the hospital the night before. Stephanie didn’t have to take over my class on the first day I was sick and Lauren didn’t have to take over my class on the second day. Kelvin didn’t have to send a Facebook message to see if I was okay. But the fact is that all these things happened. So I want to use my blog post this week to say thanks to everyone for being so amazing and showing me the true meaning of what it means to be a part of the ELI family. I just want to say thanks for not leaving me behind or forgetting about my class and I know that we may be a little organization, trying to make different ends meet, but we are still good. Yeah, still good.