Aloha ʻOe

I decided to write a blog post since it’s a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and I have some time to reflect before things get really crazy for me. I am leaving Hawai`i in a little less than two weeks. No matter how old you are transitions are a big deal, and while I know that this is the path that the universe is setting for me, I’m having all the feels. So, as I have before in a time of change I decided to write a post in my neglected blog. As I have said many times before, I am grateful to anyone who comes across my blog and actually takes the time to read my silly little musings.

I do hope that my Hawai`i ohana see this post, because I am writing it for them, and I hope that it comes across as more than silly musings, because it comes straight from my heart. I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to every single person I have met here. I have learned SO much, about kuleana – how we have responsibility to malama, to take care of, one another and the ‘āina, the land. I have learned what it means to be pono, to do the right thing even if that thing is not what is best for you personally. And I have learned the true meaning of aloha. That you give it first, without ever expecting anything in return.

I have learned the history of the illegal overthrow of the sovereign nation of Hawai`i. I first learned about it from Doug, but living here has made it real as I see firsthand that the wounds are still fresh. It breaks my heart every time kanaka maoli have to leave these islands because they can’t afford to stay on their ancestral land. So much of the culture is lost, every day that someone moves here and tries to make this place more like where they came from. It’s like a new death. Of course not all of my fellow malihini are like that, and I am most grateful for my friends Mary Ann and Ed and Kathy and Tom, their friendship on Kaua`i meant so much to me even though our time together was too short. I know that they will continue to give back to the island we all love. I encourage all malihini to do the same, starting with learning the history.

There are so many people who are working to right the wrongs that have been done here in Hawai`i, and I have tried to help where I could. I commend my friend Elizabeth over on Kaua`i, who runs the group Save Koloa. She and others are fighting against the latest in a long line of greedy developers who are literally building million-dollar houses on top of bones.  And I will never forget my strong warrior women of Na Wahine O Waialeale, or Kaua`i’sWomens’ Patriotic League, led by our Pelekikena Puanani , the awesome Aunty Nani.

So grateful to Nani and to my titas Noelani, Hope, Debbie, Rhoda, Jo and Allison, for allowing me to be part of your group, even if only for a short time.

I also was so honored to have known the Hui Maka’ainana o Makana, the people who malama the lo`i in Ha`ena, as well as the ocean there. I will never ever forget the time I spent in that sacred place at the end of the road. Mahalo to Makaala, Nalani, Kelii, Presley and all for allowing me to be in that space.

I am always honored and grateful to have met Bumpy and Brandon of the Nation of Hawaii, I so admire how they are reviving the Ahupuaʻa system at Puuhonua O Waimanalo.

I remain in awe of Doug’s friend and hanai sister Lynette, who tirelessly maintains historic places over on O`ahu. And Kalani, and Ku, and the late dear Uncle Hank…these people are true heroes to me.

I am also grateful to my fellow admins Kai and Greg, who allowed me to work with them to help stop the ravages of over tourism on the islands through our Facebook advocacy group ETA-Hawai’i. Even though we have never met in person, Kai is like a sister to me, and ETA’s founder Greg and I spent some good days protesting the impact of over tourism here on the Big Island at Waipi`o and Punalu’u.

I will remain a member and follow their work, as well as that of others I “met” though the group and through friends or other groups on Facebook – journalists and advocates and activists and leaders such as Deni and Michelle and Moana and Theresa and Aprilani and Trinette and Cookie and Leilani and Nomi and Susan and Sarah and Shannon, and so many others. You all are all an inspiration to me. As is my friend and hairdresser Renee, who is from here and listened to me and supported me while she made my hair look so good. And Owana who fought hard for us when it looked like our house deal was going to fall through.

And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my Enhanced Fitness students, the awesome women of Kekaha and Waimea Kaua’i who made me stronger in every way, and who definitely gave me much more than I ever gave them. Shout out to Zoom for allowing me to spend 3 days a week for 2 and ½ years with these amazing women.

Mahalo, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who have given much more to me than I could ever give back. It’s not in the stars that I stay here. Paris is calling me. But I will take the aloha that I have been given with me, and as best I can, share it freely, wherever my journey takes me. I will always carry that aloha in my heart. I have many things to be thankful for.

The title of this post comes from the title of the famous song written by Queen Lili’uokalani.

Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace, A hoʻi aʻe au
Until we meet again

It’s a beautiful song. But I want to leave you with another song, one that expresses all of my feelings about what has been done to these islands. It moves me to tears, and touches my soul.

Aloha nui loa my dear ones. Until we meet again…