Year: 2015

My Grandpa, My Best Friend

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you. The earliest memory I have is being 1-year old and crying at the back door of the house. My parents had gone to work and I was left alone with my grandfather who, because he was retired, was tasked with babysitting me. I stood there, tears streaming down my face, pounding on the door, wishing to be close to my mother, but unable to articulate exactly what I wanted. My grandfather picked me up and comforted me, holding me close, bouncing me slightly, while softly saying “shh-shh-shh” and walking me back to the living room. I remember crying in his arms for a bit longer and then the memory ends. My parents and I lived with my grandparents, so it was as if I had two sets of parents. Being an only child, I had no playmates growing up, so my grandfather became my best friend, and we ended up being an unlikely …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Now

I am meekly standing amongst all that is Kūkaʻōhiʻalaka, in the mist that drenches you without you even noticing, and welcoming Kānehoalani. I am still in awe of Ke Ala Polohiwa a Kanaloa two nights ago and especially during this particularly rainy season of Lonoikamakahiki. It’s kapu hua, so no ritual. I just needed to press the “reset” button this morning and get back to basics. There’s really nothing more basic, and profound, than slowing down to witness and drink in the beauty happening around us every day. May you all have a magical holiday season. … in response to Now Some interesting reads: Kino Lau: Finding the Spirit of the Divine in the Ordinary World Moon Phase Project Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (of particular concern for cultural practitioners)  

To Roam or Not to Roam? That’s Never a Question.

In response to There’s No Place Like Home If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place “home” to you? I could probably do well living a nomadic life, but as I’ve matured, I’ve developed attachments that keep me tied to a home base. Growing up with little resulted in me valuing stability and comfort. Luckily for me, I have opportunities to break away, to live out of my suitcase for extended terms and to explore the world, while being able to return to familiarity and convenience. Other cultures have fascinated me my entire life. It has a lot to do with the fact that I began traveling at a very early age. Despite my family not having a lot of money, they still managed to save up and send me on trips to visit relatives and later, to international destinations for hula. Boarding school allowed me to further refine my independence. The love of …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

Gathering I spent 2 weeks in Taiwan this summer and looking back on that experience, what I loved was how people seemed to gravitate easily toward each other there. Whether it was spending time in a group or traveling alone, one never felt lonely. What first greeted me outside the airport was a thick wall of sticky heat. It’s not like I was surprised by it, since I had been tracking the weather for weeks prior, but it certainly took getting used to. When I met up with my long-time mentor, who now lives in Taiwan, he asked, “Of all the months, why are you here during summer? It’s the most miserable time of the year,” as he sat in the shade, soaked in his shirt. Well, after the first 3 days of saying “It’s hot,” I made the conscious decision to stop talking about the weather. There was so much more to get excited about and complaining about the heat was preventing me from opening up to new experiences. Over the course of the next two …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

Eye Spy I traveled a lot this past year, mostly alone, so when I searched my pictures from my travels for this challenge, I realized that I’m definitely on the road to perfecting the half-face selfie, face mask optional. The creepy one in South Korea is probably my favorite of the bunch.  


Transition Last December, I went through the rites of ʻūniki which, in the tradition of my hālau, is a formal graduation ceremony marking ones transition to becoming a kumu hula or a teacher of hula. Every tradition is different. Some hālau do not ʻūniki students, while others do. I share this image with all of you because it was a defining moment in the ceremony. It was the culmination of my lifelong career as a hula student and the beginning of a new chapter. A kumu hula from a different tradition tied on my pāʻū kaula and was the first to greet me into this prestigious guild of hula masters. Becoming a kumu hula has been something I’ve reflected upon hundreds of times in the past year. I continue to mourn the end of my time as a hula student and although my new role demands its own attention, I now have time and space to properly process my transition between death and rebirth within the hula realm.


Several years ago, I vowed to cultivate a daily attitude of gratitude instead of stockpiling everything for Thanksgiving. It’s easy to get bogged down in the negative, to look at life everyday with a cynical eye of what I don’t know or what I don’t have and wallowing in what I think makes my life “difficult”. On this day, every year, I am even more grateful for the basic necessities I often take for granted. There are still places in this world, including here in Hawaiʻi, where people are not safe from threat or harm, where human rights are being violated, where people don’t have access to clean water, food and medicine, where people live in abject poverty, where education is a luxury not afforded to all. These are the times we live in, but they don’t need to be the world the future lives in. I wish you all a heartfelt thanks-giving, wherever you are.

We’re Back!

It’s been a little over a year since our last official post and since then, a lot has happened to each of us. In case you’re wondering, no, nothing happened between us. Our friendship has remained in tact. It’s just that for the past year, our respective lives required us to drift in different directions and so our friendship flexed and endured, as any strong friendship should. We have continued to love and support each other despite the distance, through celebrations and triumphs, through trials and tribulations, just like we’ve always done, even before Holoholo Girls. Although we felt guilty about letting our little blog go, the time away was good. It provided us with a bit of perspective. We are different now than we were a year ago. Much different. We are stronger, smarter, and more mature, and so our blog will reflect that growth. We will continue to blog as a way to explore our changing and emerging perspectives, but our collective focus may make a slight shift, so bear with us, as …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happy Place.” As you’re very well aware, I love flying. Going somewhere I’ve never been or taking a quick jaunt to Honolulu for a meeting means getting on a plane and breaking my routine. Most times, I need to fly from Hilo to Honolulu to transfer to planes going anywhere, so when I do, I try to find a window seat on the left side of the plane. As the plane travels along the coast of Hawai’i island, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa bid me farewell and wish me luck as I leave home on a new adventure. On my way home, I find a seat on window seat on the right side of the plane and without fail, they are the first to greet me. They’re a welcome sight, particularly after long flights and layovers and when they first come into view, I can exhale because I’ll finally be home in 10-15 minutes. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Boundaries.” I’ve always found torii fascinating, as they mark the transition between secular and profound, or profane and sacred, in Shinto religion. Although it’s human nature to gravitate toward and remain in what is more comfortable or worse, to neo-colonize those distinctly different realms to be the same, the process of going through a transition and stepping outside of ones comfort zone is always a good thing. It reminds us that being spiritual and being human are not mutually exclusive. 

The Witch is Dead

I recently decided to cease my involvement in matters that had left me feeling powerless, frustrated, and miserable. It took me a while to work through the implications of such a decision, but I’m now the happiest I’ve been in months. People have since asked me what made me move from complaining and coping to confronting and changing, so here’s what led me to say goodbye to miserable me: Happiness is a choice. I had gotten to a point where I felt like all the little things in my life were happening beyond my control. Although it might’ve appeared to be true, the bigger choice of remaining in the situation or leaving it was entirely up to me, so I chose to go. Walking the walk. I’ve spent a lot of my life mentoring people and one of the things I’ve repeated over the years is, “Whatever you’re dealing with or coming to terms with is yours to manage and control.” Whether it means actively seeking help or working through everything alone, before doling out such bold advice, shouldn’t I probably do the same? Life is short. I’ve lived my entire …