Silly, the NY girl who complains about the poor choices for bagels, the bad pizza, the diminished access to culture, the dearth of concert choices in Hawaii, getting choked up tonight watching some girl sing Hawaii Pono’i at a Wahine Volleyball game on You Tube. That’s what happens when you are gone for too long. Believe me six months is as long as it is short. I found myself forgetting how to say “delicious” in Hawaiian tonight. I actually had to look it up. Crazy. I would like to blame it on all the brain cells that have been doused in luscious Long Island wine.
I am in the process of organizing a good bye thing at my son’s adopted NY school. Of course it has a Hawaii theme. Considering that I couldn’t remember the word “ono” maybe I’m not the best person. We have some supplies being shipped in by his Dad including: the noodles for chicken long rice, nori to make spam musubi and the form thing to make the right shape, rice flour to make mochi, furikaki and some silly token gifts for the class from the swap meet. We will be making faux kalua pig (we experimented this weekend with liquid smoke and salt) and haupia (this actually turned out pretty good). We are going to bring some music (my son requested we bring the come a’ama crab song). My mom dug out her Iz CD and we will likely take that. I sense talking about the geography and different cultures and maybe playing a game with some Hawaiian words.
It was interesting for me personally tonight, the reaction I had to hearing the Hawaiian language for the first time in a long time. Granted, the amount of Hawaiian that I actually hear on a day-to-day basis in my real life in Hawaii is nearly non-existent. But there was definitely a gut reaction to it this evening. I remember the first time that I ever say hula performed for real. I was living in Arlington, VA and working in DC. My at-the-time partner was a Hawaii-phile after being stationed there in the military. I don’t remember if we went to see hula as part of his ploy to convince me to move to Hawaii or if the decision had already been made. I remember it was performed in some weird basement of a building in the Smithsonian. I swear that I am not making this up; it was a basement. I had no idea what to expect. I’m sure that I was thinking coconut shells and grass skirts. So, so wrong. One of the things that drew me that night, and continues to, is the chanting. It is beautiful and touches something in me. And it is not just Hawaiian chanting. I can remember being in college and attending the Pow Wow on the Shinnecock Indian reservation being drawn to the guys chanting and beating the drum. Maybe it is the connection to long ago history and culture; bridging today and yesterday in a very tangible way. These cultures determined to survive. It moves me. I can’t say that about many things. And it moved me to tears tonight. After dinner my son performed an impromptu and completely made up hula to some Iz in the living room. He was so sincere and determined. Maybe the music and the language also touch him in a way that he cannot yet define or express. Maybe one day he will be the chanter and I will be moved beyond tears. Hope for the future.