Father’s Day

We went to the cemetery to place some flowers at a grave site. In case I forgot I was living in a very different culture, I was reminded at the cemetery. Families were gathered across the grassy knolls, sitting in chairs around a loved one’s grave, telling stories, and having picnics. Almost every headstone had fresh flowers placed at it.

Father’s Day flowers at the cemetery. I replaced the fallen flowers.

Family is a big part of the way of living here. Family can be extended relatives, it can also be friends and neighbors you consider family. You’ll hear the word “ohana” used frequently to express that feeling. As we placed our flowers and watered them, I noticed the stone of the grave site near us.

Does Hawaiian-style living promote longevity?

She lived to 107. Is a strong ohana the reason for longevity? She had no flowers on her grave and the stone next to hers seemed to be of her son who died in 1965. Was she the last of her lineage to pass? Did her ohana take care of her all those years? I cleaned off the stone as best I could and wished her a peaceful rest.

Welcome Home to O’ahu

You know you live in the right place when you don’t want to leave.

That’s what I told myself as I slowed my pace while walking to my boarding gate at Honolulu airport.  I stopped on the walkway overlooking the courtyard below and inhaled the smell of the plumeria. I took in the colors of the trees and the sound of the wind before I shut myself into the enclosed boarding area. I didn’t want to go to California.

I was heading to a writing conference at USC, my alma mater. I was going to a place I love, doing what I love, and I didn’t want to leave the place I have come to love more – Hawaii.

Before I moved here, people told me the ‘aina (land) would either take me in or spit me out. I worried, especially after my bumpy arrival here. Hawaii isn’t like anywhere else I’d been. I needed to adjust.

So I did.

I learned to slow down, to listen to the land, the weather, the animals, the people.

I think of the mountains and how they slope into valleys and stretch out to sea. It’s like relaxing in a comfy lounge chair. I settle into the slope and breathe in the green around me, then gaze into the blue stretched out before me. Living here is soothing.

There are three places I feel connected to on this planet: one calls me back to its magic every few years; the second grips me and tells me I can’t leave because I have roots there and need to explore them: the third, O’ahu, welcomes me to the space it has made for me, and invites me to rest and take in its beauty.

Upon my return, I exited the airport and sat in traffic overlooking the industrial part of town. Even there, I felt the land welcome me home.


Peacocks in Waimea

After two years here, we still haven’t visited a long list of island places. Oahu may be a small island, but there’s a lot to see here.

We drove to Waimea Valley for lunch. A few friendly peacocks joined us. The first one decided the truck in the parking lot should be his perch.

We ordered our lunch from the small cafe and sat among the grass, trees and flowers of the beautiful valley. The second peacock was hiding at first. Can you see him in the plants?

The peacock is camouflaged in the surrounding plants.

After a few minutes he strutted up to us, very self-assured and not fearful of humans at all.

Christmas in Waikiki

We met an old friend from college in Waikiki over Christmas week. Here are a few photos from that night. In how many places can one find a Santa scene made out of sand?

Sand sculpture at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel

Norfolk Pine Christmas trees at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Everything is pink at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, even this tree in the lobby.

Fresno State held their football rally at the Moana Surfrider hotel. The Aloha Bowl game was the next day.