Make the Memory…

Children of today are very different then children 20, 30 years ago. In this day and age, children have so much ‘stuff’. They spend a lot of time getting and playing with ‘stuff’. Gone are the days of running outside, playing in the yard, getting sweaty running after each other and being a kid. Technology has kind of taken that away from this generation. They spend so much time watching a screen and so little time playing.

When I look at my children (I have 3; 2 teenage boys and 1 little princess) I see how they are so addicted to their phones, games, ipads etc. My sons spend every moment that we allow them playing an online game on their xbox or watching videos on their phones. My daughter spends countless hours watching youtube videos and making her own musically videos. At times, I have to take all electronics away so that we can have some good old fashioned family time together. And often times, to them it feels like a punishment.

In the past, when their birthdays or special holidays came around, I would struggle to think of something special to get for them. In the beginning, I wanted to buy them ‘stuff’. The things that they wanted. The new electronics or the newest game… But after they got that ‘stuff’, they would hide away and get lost looking back into a screen.

About 8 years ago we decided that we would spend less money on ‘stuff’.  We would use that ‘stuff’ money to take adventures and make memories. And that has been the greatest decision that we have ever made as a family. We all love thrill rides and excitement so we have planned to adventured to a variety of amusement parks. We’ve even taken a couple cruises to see new places.

Sometimes the adventure is elaborate to where we travel to far off places. Sometimes the adventure is right in the backyard and is something new and cool that the kids wanted to experience (like paintball or camping). Sometimes the adventure is expensive and sometimes the adventure is absolutely free. We go on trips. We do princess make-overs. We go on hikes. We become mermaids at the beach. Whatever the adventure, it’s more of the experience that we focus on.

I value time… Time I get to spend with them… Time we get to spend together as a family… Time we get to explore and learn new things… Time that we can adventure and make memories… We know that time is precious and we try to make the most with the time that we have.

If there is one thing that puts a smile on all of our faces… It’s choosing the adventure and making the memory…

Hawaii Life…

When people think of Hawaii Life, some may think of the palm trees, ocean breeze and beautiful weather. Some may think about snorkeling, surfing and site seeing. Or maybe they think of beautiful hula maidens covered in flower leis and margaritas with mini umbrellas in them.

Well… What can I say about Hawaii Life??? It is absolutely amazing! I guess you could say that Hawaii Life is very different from life in the Continental United States. For one, we only have one season. It can be best described as mix of summer and spring (roughly around 80 degrees). It is absolutely beautiful!  We experience this weather all year long, but on occasion we experience some rain and sometimes a tropical storm or hurricane makes a quick appearance. The beautiful weather allows us to enjoy the lush green mountains and the tranquil oceans that surrounds us. Much of my childhood was spent climbing mountains, chasing waterfalls and playing in the ocean.

Hawaii is also a melting pot of all different cultures. People of all different ethnicities live in harmony (for the most part) and appreciate each other’s differences. Each culture is proud of their heritage and perpetuates it through song, dance, art etc. Throughout the year, different ethnicities showcase their culture to celebrate different days of the year. The melting pot of cultures also contribute to a very rich food culture here in the islands. There are a variety of restaurants ranging from Hawaiian to Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Italian etc.  There are also many, many, many people that have interracial marriages which leaves their children with a variety of cultures. I for one, am of Hawaiian, Korean and Caucasian ancestry. My children are of Hawaiian, Samoan, Japanese, Korean and Caucasian ancestry. So I guess you could say it’s a pretty mixed plate…

Hawaii life is pretty laid back… No one (well most people) tend to not be in much of a rush. We refer to this as ‘Hawaiian Time’. It’s nice that people don’t feel constant urgency, intensity or pressure. People like to just relax and take things as it comes.

I feel so grateful and blessed to call this place my home. I was born and raised here. This is where most of my family resides (immediate and extended).  I choose to raise my family here. I love the mix of people that surrounds me, the unbelievable weather and the beauty that I am surrounded by each and every day… Don’t get me wrong, Hawaii does have a few downfalls like a high cost of living. But the amount of beauty, the relaxing environment and the melting pot of cultures that you are surrounded by make you realize that this is paradise. And there is no place like home…

The Heart of a Warrior…

Perpetuating values and traditions is an important part of keeping cultures thriving and strong. Every year since 1992 a festival that revolves around Samoan culture is conducted on the east side of Oahu at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The festival celebrates culture through learning and performance. There are a variety of exhibits of traditional customs, skills, songs and dances.

One of the major highlights of this festival is the Samoan Fire Knife Competition. It is a competition where young men display their knowledge about Samoan culture using their athleticism in their preparation for battle through the use of a Nifo Oti (Samoan War Club). Along with the use of clean burning fuel, the Nifo Oti is lit up on both ends and spun in a variety of moves to entice an audience.

In 2007, the competition expanded to include women and a duet category. Warriors from as young as 6 years old compete against one another. There are 3 main categories (juniors 6-11yrs, Intermediate 12-17yrs, & Open).

Last night we attended the Junior and Intermediate divisions of the World Fire knife Competition. It absolutely amazes me how these young warriors train to develop their craft and are able to perform in front of an audience. There were 9 contestants in the junior division and 13 contestants in the intermediate division (including 2 female competitors).

All competitors exhibited their skill using the fire knife. Each performer showcased their pride and love for their culture. It seemed to me that they had made a deep rooted connection with their culture and they were simply sharing that pride with the audience.

Fire knife dancing is by no means an easy task to complete. It takes great courage and skill to be able to successfully incorporate traditional movements while using a fire knife. The audience was in ‘awe’ while each performer commanded their attention. They each started their routines with one fire knife. After a set, they came back out to dance with 2 knifes. And a few performers even added an additional knife, making it even more risky and complicated. After each performance, the performer would take a bow to show respect and gratitude.

Continue reading “The Heart of a Warrior…”

Aloha…

Aloha… It’s the way of life…

When people hear the word ‘aloha’ they tend to think of it as someone saying hello or goodbye. They think back to the movies that they may have seen about Hawaii where people use the word ‘aloha’ as a greeting. In Hawaii, Aloha is used as a greeting, but the meaning of that word goes so much deeper than just the basic hello and goodbye.

Now let’s dive a little deeper into its meaning… Aloha is more of a connection that one has with their surroundings. It is the understanding that I am a part of… And your surroundings are a part of you… It is being connected to…. Divine love… Nature… Family… Friends… People… Animals… Everything… You are a part of them and they are a part of you… Everything is connected…

When you are connected to your surroundings, you are able to feel what they feel. Whether its happiness, sadness or anger, you are able to see things through a different lens. You experience empathy. Despite your differences you have a connection and love for each other.

Aloha is a deep feeling within your soul. To love, to be kind, to show compassion, to understand, to embrace and to be a part of the bigger whole. It is the way that we live. It is the way that we choose to live. It is a part of us that we hope to share with others. It is something that we hope for and strive to represent in life.

And, the thing about Aloha is that the more you express it, the more you feel it, and the more it comes back to you. It is a part of who we are… how we love… and how we live…

So I encourage you to give aloha a try, and to make Aloha a part of your world…

How do you show aloha?