Month: October 2013

I am a Rock Star! Hear Me Yodel!

I may not sing like Madonna or like Janet Jackson, but I have been learning to belt out a tune here or there for my favorite little fan.  In my daughter’s eyes, I am a rock star and I sing quite a pleasant tune. Normally, I do not enjoy musicals nor do I like karaoke, but lately I have been finding that singing is the only way to calm my baby.  A few weeks ago, my daughter was admitted to the hospital where she was poked and prodded.  They needed to draw blood and administer intravenous fluids.  She was confused with her new surroundings, the strangers approaching her, and an uncomfortable bed.  It is hard as the parent to see your child’s little body go through trauma.  She would have panic cries each time the medical staff would check her vitals.  It was so heart breaking. In order to soothe her, I spent quite a bit of time singing her nursery rhymes.  Luckily, through the suggestion of a veteran mother, we have been listening to …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

“Mauna Kea at Sunrise” was snapped from atop Mauna Loa, during a trek to Mokuʻāweoweo. To the right of the photo, where the sun is casting its rosy morning glow, is Hilo. The sun rises here at the easternmost point of Hawaiʻi, at Kumukahi. At this moment in time, the east is already bright, while Kona and the rest of the archipelago, to the west, are enjoying the last few moments of darkness. This entry is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon | .  Check out other entries or even better, get in on the challenge yourself!

Stuff We Love: Hamura Saimin

I grew up on Kaua’i, so this post was inevitable. Hamura Saimin is a household name for the locals and a must for visitors. Itʻs a humble saimin stand located in Līhuʻe thatʻs been passed down through the generations. Thanks to this famous “hole in the wall”, saimin continues to be my long-standing comfort food. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, you won’t get it at Hamura’s. The ambiance is no-nonsense, the prices are extremely affordable, and the food is unforgettable. Standing in a queue before getting to a stool at the counter is normal, but it’s well worth the wait. If your party includes more than 2 people, be prepared to sit separately. Also, it may get warm for some people and there’s no A/C. My advice is, don’t get caught up in what Hamura’s isn’t. You’re there for the food and the experience, so suspend judgement, pay attention, and just go with it. Everything is delicious, but here’s my dream order: A small saimin (half-cooked) 1 chicken stick A can of Diamond Head …

What goes thump in the night?

With Halloween only eight days away, I’ve been indulging in paranormal and supernatural movies and television shows. I have allowed myself to be seduced by highly imaginative plots involving wandering zombies, bloodthirsty vampires, vengeful ghosts and unsuspecting “humans” with supernatural gifts. Call me crazy, but I’ve come to enjoy the thrill of a well-executed Hollywood spook. That, however, should not imply that I enjoy being frightened – just entertained. As a Filipina, I am no stranger to superstitious beliefs. That’s par for the course growing up in a rich culture that embraces the beliefs and practices of the old, despite having a very religious Roman Catholic identity. My grandparents would often warn my sister and I never to wander off into the boonies for fear of being cursed by a dwende (dwarf) with sickness or snatched and eaten by an aswang (vampire-like ghoul).  Their intention, of course, was to instill fear, discourage misbehavior and prevent us from exploring areas we had no business being in. It was a great tactic that worked like a charm; …

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

Mu Ssam (무쌈), or thinly sliced pickled radish, are often used to wrap meat at Korean barbecue restaurants. I took this picture of bright pink Mu Ssam in Jeju-do, South Korea last year. I grew up wearing a LOT of pink. By the time I was a tween, I had had enough. I experimented wearing different colors and finally settled on black as my new color. Pink represented my childhood and black, the complete polar opposite of the happy, pretty color that had dominated my wardrobe, meant “grown up” and “serious”. Black symbolized rebellion, which was befitting the awkward, acne-inflicted age of puberty. It was the first favorite color that I chose and wasn’t chosen for me. Fast-forward to present time and I am back in love with the color. One might say women my age shouldn’t wear pink, but I don’t really care. Pink reminds me that breast cancer runs in my family while evoking memories of what it was like to be carefree, absent of worries and concerns and entirely too busy with being young. I …

Du Jour Tuesday

In 1999, I had the opportunity to visit Punta del Este with my Rotary Ambassadorial roommate, Michelina Ferate.  We soaked in our surroundings the one-week we were there.  One of the places our host took us to visit was the sculpture by Mario Irarrazabal, “La Mano”.  It was amazing to see this work of art on the beach.   This sculpture was completed in 1982 by Irarrazabal.  He finished it within a week.  It still remains as one of the most visited sculptures of Punta del Este.

Letting Go

“The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go, in order to achieve. Letting go is God’s law.” Two years ago I was deployed to an Undisclosed Location in Southwest Asia.  How the heck did I get there? I’m in the Air National Guard, a skilled communications member in support of Spartan Shield.  But before I was cleared to go on Thanksgiving Day a year prior I just had an ACL replacement, was attempting to start a family and was settled in a job I loved. Life was great, then why did I volunteer to head across the world? On this deployment, only being there a few weeks I admitted that I never wanted to have a baby more than I’ve had before.  Good place …

Stuff We Love: GJ’s Huli-Huli Chicken

Every Saturday billows of great-smelling smoke emanate from a roadside grill off Mamalahoa Highway in the heart of Waimea town. GJ’s roadside stand serves the most ‘ono (delicious) huli chicken and ribs on the island. Cooked over hot open keawe coals to crispy juicy perfection, the meat is so tender it literally falls off the bones. If you are looking for  Broke da Mouth kine grinz on the go, make a pit stop at GJ’s – you won’t be disappointed. But don’t take my word for it – check out today’s line.  

“Are You Filipina?”

October is Filipino Heritage Month and the one month of the year when I reflect upon being part-Filipino. It’s not as if that’s lost on me during the rest of the year; I am reminded every time I look in the mirror, but since I have identified as Native Hawaiian for the better part of my life, the month of cultural introspection certainly allows for much-needed perspective. When recently emigrated people ask if Iʻm Filipino, the conversation usually plays out like this: Stranger: “Are you Filipina?” Me: “Yes.” Stranger: “Ahh! Where is your family from in the Phillippines?” Me: “Ilocos.” Stranger: “I know Ilocos!” then speaking in Tagalog or Ilocano Me:  “I’m sorry. I was born here, but my family is from Ilocos.” Stranger: “So you aren’t from the Phillippines?” Me: “No.” Stranger: “And you don’t speak Filipino?” Me: “No.” Stranger: “Oh.” They are disappointed. For me, I use the term “Filipina” to confirm my ethnic composition, while they often use it to forge a connection with someone who shares a national identity. My grandpa was the last …

Invaluable Lessons (du jour)

I love forests. Whenever I’m in an old forest, I catch myself looking up, head back, mouth agape, in awe of the shards of light piercing through branches and pieces of the sky greeting me through the canopy. Standing alongside the ancients is a gentle, yet powerful reminder of exactly how young and irrelevant I am. The trees had been around for years before me and will likely continue to be there long after I’m gone. They are great teachers of resilience, patience, and humility. When notions of self-importance begin to creep up, I take to the forest. The frequency of me-centered pronouns and inflated feelings of complacency are soon snuffed out and I am reminded that I’m really not as knowledgeable or as good as I’ve led myself to believe. There is always more to learn. Daily Prompt: Childlike |

Stuff We Love: Akmal Foods Lassi

I first saw the lassi bottles from Akmal Foods months ago, in a refrigerator at Island Naturals and thought, “why not?”. The selling point was that these lassi are locally made, so I bought a bottle of lilikoʻi (passion fruit) and absolutely loved it. I’m always down for drinkable yogurt and I was not disappointed. So far, I’ve tried mango, liliko’i, and strawberry, so only coconut to go. These lassi are becoming more widely available here on Hawai’i island and although a bottle could set you back $4, it’s a yummy and refreshing treat. For hot days, Akmal Foods also makes Lassi Ice Pops in their regular flavors.