I am an only child to young parents. They were barely 20 years old when they had me, which led to an extended family living situation so I grew up beside them, while my grandparents served as my second pair of parents until I went to boarding school at the young age of 13. Before my ʻūniki 1.5 years ago, my mom called me in tears. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was scared. Over the course of the next 6 months, I would fly up to Honolulu, meeting my parents halfway, to attend the slew of doctors’ appointments, which coincided with her chemotherapy treatments. After chemotherapy, she underwent a double mastectomy and a stint of radiation. When she came through everything, we were told to hang tight for 6 months to make sure she was was out of the woods and being that my mom has been an avid runner for a long time, we were optimistic, but during recent check-ups, tests revealed that cancer had shown up in her liver and this time, there was less to …
Merrie Monarch Hilo comes alive during Merrie Monarch week and this year was no different. I went to the free hōʻike night on Wednesday to watch Hālau o Kekuhi, as well as other indigenous dance from Taiwan, Tahiti, and New Zealand. I also watched TV coverage of the competition on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Over the course of the week, I had 3 performances and walked in the parade on Saturday. Below are a few photos, most taken by Maria, from my week. It felt amazing to be dancing again and to be immersed in hula for 7 straight days. Sunday, March 27: Kīpaepae Welina (Welcoming Ceremony) Tuesday, March 29: UNU Noontime Performance at the Naniloa Hotel Thursday, March 31: UNU at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Saturday, April 2: Merrie Monarch Parade Here are other people’s weeks: A New Life Wandering | Weekly Small Pleasures #82 Find us on social media outlets and get to know the Holoholo Girls better! Facebook Instagram @holohologirls Twitter
For the past month, we’ve been practicing hula in a space with no mirrors and dance-unfriendly flooring, but tonight, we returned to dancing in Polihua a Mauliola, a quonset hut that was converted into a hālau dance space and where we’ve danced our entire training prior to ʻūniki. Stepping in to the space felt kind of like visiting your childhood home after just settling into your first apartment. Returning home, everything feels intimately familiar. You know where things are located and you can relax in the space, but the truth is, itʻs not really your home anymore. That’s how I felt tonight. I missed Polihua, but more so, I missed how my body responds in that space, and how I am able to dance beside people I’ve danced with for all these years. Here are some other photos I’ve taken on my travels that speak to the amazing architecture I’ve never really noticed before going abroad.
1. Unulau. I was honored to attend the debut of my hula brother’s new hālau, Unulau, yesterday. They performed at Kaʻauea in Volcanoes National Park, overlooking Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. It was a great day to witness the arrival of a new generation of dancers from our tradition. 2. Redux. I dusted off my Dinosaur-SLR and started taking photos again. It’s a joy getting back behind the camera, especially since most of my photos have been taken on my iPhone. Nothing wrong with iPhoneography, but it’s comfortingly different behind a camera. I ended up visiting Uwēkahuna, a bluff overlooking Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, and snapped some beautiful shots. 3. Foodie Splurge. I have been packing home lunch for the past year and enjoy knowing how much money I save not eating out, but this past week, I bought lunch twice and it was amazing. The first was at Miyo’s, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, which I enjoyed with colleagues and ate my favorite sesame chicken. The second was lunch bought at the cafeteria on campus, consisting of sautéed veggies, fresh greens, and furikake salmon. 4. Reality Check. I’ve …
These photos were taken today at Kaʻauea in Volcanoes National Park. My hula brother debuted his new hālau and after the performance, I trekked out to Uwēkahuna for a short pilgrimage to visit Pele at Halemaʻumaʻu. The photos were taken between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, using my Nikon D70, which I’ve not used in forever.
I love photos with dramatic lighting and darkly obscured scenes, but it’s not so easy to capture when I’m behind the camera. The first photo was taken at sunset in Hilo. Since we are on the eastern side of the island, we get very different skies at sunset from Kona, but they’re still beautiful. This was taken in the parking lot of my college alma mater. The second photo was taken in Seoul last summer, walking through the Esprit Dior exhibit in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and seeing a row of mannequins displaying the evolving fashion of the House of Dior. The final photo was taken in Taiwan last summer, in an overpass/flyover in Chia-yi.
Backlit photos are my favorite and here’s my entry for today. It was taken on a recent hike on the Makapuʻu Trail on Oʻahu before sunrise. On our way to Kaulanaakaʻiole, we reached a spot on the trail and stopped to admire the glow from the sun that had risen above the horizon, but was still obscured behind the cloud cover in the distance.
This picture of Mauna Kea was taken from Liliʻuokalani Park in Hilo. Mauna Kea is the highest peak in Hawaiʻi and considered a sacred site to Hawaiians. It is also home to several endangered species, including the threatened wēkiu and the critically endangered palila.
What a lovely week it’s been and now, in the final hours, I’m grateful I vowed to break from my normal routine and get out. Beautifully woven things. I have a thing about hand-woven items and this week, I found a plethora of locally-made treasures. On the left, fine weave lauhala (pandanus) bracelets that can be found at Hana Hou and made right here in Hilo by the talented Hawaiian artisan and furniture designer, ʻIliahi Anthony. On the right, handwoven boxes found at Makuʻu Farmers Market for housing beautiful things. Cold and rainy weather. Believe it or not, it gets chilly here in Hilo. It never dips below 50-degrees in Hilo, but when it gets in the 60’s, Hilo people bust out their sweaters, scarves, and boots. This was one of those weeks. I love cold weather, especially since it feels like I’m somewhere other than Hawaiʻi. Not that I don’t love it here, it’s just that it reminds me of being in a different city, even if for a little while. Okonomiyaki and Taiko. I saw a flyer for a fundraising event …
Playing around with composition with plants at Rainbow Falls here in Hilo.
On a hike to Sanbutsu-ji Temple, the cliff temple, I took this picture of my hula brother at a rest stop. Our hula tradition is based upon the concept of environmental kinship, so as he looked out at the mountains and the trees in foreign Japan, I could tell that he wasnʻt just resting and admiring the beautiful view, but that he was syncing himself and connecting to the environment around him. His breathing steadied, his body relaxed, and he would occasionally close his eyes to feel the gentle breeze on his skin and once, he was in harmony with his surroundings, he inhaled deeply and turned to me and smiled.