Bringing Hawai’i aloha to the mainland

The solar eclipse today, partial over here, was supposed to begin around 6:32am, peak at 7:12, and end at 7:55am. I had forgotten about it, and I slept longer than usual and missed it. This post’s cover photo was what it looked like about 6:30am a week ago. However, to see, or not see, the sun, one would have to be able to view straight east. We view westwards. Good thing I just slept in.

The 61st Merrie Monarch Festival came and went in a week. The Super Bowl of Hula. It was big news here that the festival was #1 in USA Today‘s Best Cultural Festival 2024. With my experience from last year, I had little taster plans for how to tackle it this year, but the plans got derailed. I tried to watch some of the streaming coverage, but the darn thing runs too late for my body clock, 6pm-midnight. And I am an in-person person. I’m not sure I could attend three nights in a row of competition though; I think it’d be too intense for me.

Changing subjects … this weekend my cousin’s friend came over to take a truck bed full of Song of India cuttings. The photo below shows the tree/bush after being pruned. It’s still huge. This beast started years ago as a little $5 cutting in a pot from a local nursery. The cuttings that were removed Saturday were to be washed, trimmed, etc., and getting flown to Oregon for Pacific University’s Hawai’i Club lūʻau. I found this recent article about the university’s Country Store.

This all brings back memories of my university days in Northern California. I danced in our club’s lūʻau all four years. The day/days before, we’d have dress rehearsals, we’d make lei and other floral adornments, and then we’d decorate with impressive amounts of fresh flowers and foliage donated and sent from the islands. The spacious Pauley Ballroom would be transformed into its own little island on the Berkeley campus. We had so much fresh material sent to us — ti leaves, bougainvillea bracts, anthuriums, ginger, monstera leaves, etc. I have such warm memories from that time, and the feeling of an escape from the usual. I had never lived in Hawai’i, but it had always had a strong emotional draw for me. It must emanate from me, because my whole life many of my friends will remember me as having grown up in Hawai’i. “But you were born there, right?” I’d always have to remind them it was my mom (and her parents, too) who was born and raised in Hawai’i, not me.

Hawai’i Club was a club, and you know how people are when they come together. Human. Little prejudices about others based on what island they came from. Whether you had gone to private school (Punahou. Now, maybe you’ve heard of it?) or public (McKinley). Whether you were even from (the state of) Hawai’i, had some family connection to Hawai’i, just a fan, or a friend of someone in the club. Pidgin, no pidgin. The way others viewed you would be influenced by such things, apart from how you actually presented yourself. But for the lūʻau, we all came together to put on a dinner show for the general public. There’s nothing like working together on something. Delicious Hawaiian food, music, dancing, and floral decor.

I’ll leave you with a photo from near the Song of India tree/bush. We are optimists! Over the months, we’ve gradually been planting some of our pineapple outside the protected walls of our courtyard. The pigs have uprooted one or two once or twice, but the humans are still winning. After a while, a few more pineapples have been planted. There are *eight* outside now. One has even been out long enough to grow a little pineapple. Our other pots with pineapples have remained inside the courtyard. The fruit of this one in the ground has outgrown the potted ones’ fruits, as to be expected. The stunted, red plumeria survivor, in its third or fourth location, is still in its pig protection cage. And apparently, it’s still a pig attractant, as seen from this photo taken from another perspective.

This is funny. I was just finishing up these last sentences, and our neighbor called to ask if I saw the pigs running on our land. Four big, dark ones right by the macadamia trees. Arrrggghh!! At least they weren’t mauka by the pineapples. (One and a half hours later he called to report 12-15(!) pigs running by our lychee. We have a pig village again.)

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