Say it with me: Hauoli (HOW-oh-lee) Makahiki (MA-ka-hee-key) Hou (HO). Hauoli Makahiki Hou! That’s how people in Hawaii wish each other a Happy New Year. But before we jump onto the 2012 train, there’s still so much to be said about the “Old Year” of 2011. Under Cindy’s care, the Hawaii Vacation Blog unwrapped the truth about spam musubis and gave readers the heads-up on possible Hawaii Five-0 sightings. Most recently, we spread some Aloha with those who stopped by the blog and welcomed another regular voice to the mix. Welcome, Serena!
I asked Serena and our other regular contributors to share with readers their manao (insight) on what they’ve learned about Hawaii or its culture as the year comes to a quiet end. Whether it’s finding your way through the jungle of an overgrown yard or finding time to rediscover the islands, my hope is that this post will encourage you to pause the remaining time we have left in 2011 and to reflect. Perhaps it’s a lesson on saving money (for that long-awaited trip to Hawaii?) or simply, a revelation. You’re hometown may not have that Hawaiian sunshine, but it does have a culture just as rich as what we’ve been sharing with you. One that’s just waiting to be explored. Think about it. Here’s to another memorable year!
PERSONALIZE – Cindy Scheopner
In 2011, we were visited by five daughters/step-daughters and two young grandsons. It was the first trip to Hawaii for each of them. They stayed in budget Waikiki hotels, and each had a uniquely wonderful experience in the islands that changed them forever. So many times, people disparage Waikiki or Oahu as “too touristy.” Every member of our family found quiet beach time when desired or entertainment when preferred. They enjoyed sharing some experiences and hearing about others. Some came with a list of requests, others wanted only time on the beach or the waves. It was never more obvious to me that the best Hawaii vacation is one that meets your own personal wishes. My wish is for each of you to have your toes in the sand under a Hawaii sunset in the coming year!
DISCOVER – Katherine Finch
This was my year for having company – tons of it – and some of these were first-time visitors. I’ve had visitors over the years and knew my favorite places to take them. What I never expected was that some visitors have different expectations about their Hawaiian vacation, and what I love to show off might not be what they want to see. I had to learn on the fly different ways to satisfy visitors, and I saw Hawaii in a new way, while keeping my shoes and socks on the entire time. It was difficult to do, but I’m ready for the next time, maybe next year, when I get visitors who are not sand, sea, sun and surf oriented. Our island is truly perse, which only helps with entertaining the perse throngs of visitors who want to explore their own version of paradise.
PATIENCE – Marta Lane
My year in Hawaii has been full of many lessons, especially remembering to be grateful and cultivating patience. There is so much to be grateful for: Emerald peaks towering over every view and sparkling in sunshine or shrouded in mist. The turquoise ocean winking in the distance while beautiful flowers turn their faces toward the sun. It’s nature excelling at being itself. Here on Kauai, we are isolated and tend to stick together. People lend a heartfelt hand and words of support, without having been asked. Almost everything is imported, so living here is not cheap. I’m OK with that. I have learned to live with less. The island has taught me to slow down, go with the flow and appreciate its many blessings. Photo Credit: Daniel Lane
SUSTAIN – Lisa Hoang
2011 was a big year for our family. We purchased our own home with a bit of land. Things grow quickly in Hawaii – especially plants you don’t want! It’s amazing how fast our yard goes from grass to jungle if you don’t mow it for several weeks. We discovered we have avocado and tangerine trees as well as banana palms, and eating food right off the tree is amazing! One of our goals for 2012 is to build a coop and keep two hens for eggs (and pets. Our boys love chickens, and they can be very social!). Our plans for a garden didn’t quite happen this year, but we’re hoping to live more sustainably and introduce more native plants into our landscaping. By teaching our children how to care for this little plot of land, we hope to instill lifelong knowledge about ecosystems and proper land stewardship.
EXPLORE – Serena Kaldi
2011 was quite a stressful year for me. I moved twice, taken on multiple jobs and sustained a couple of minor but lingering injuries. On top of that, I noticed wrinkles forming on my face for the first time. Unfortunately, with all this busy-ness, I haven’t had nearly enough time to be outside and to explore like I once did. My surfboard is gathering dust, my hiking boots shoved under the bed somewhere and lord knows where my tent is. As a passionate lover of the outdoors, it’s a sad compromise when I drive past Diamond Head lookout, ogling at the perfect glassy surf but then have to keep going to work indoors for eight hours in a dark windowless room (OK, OK, there were windows, but you get my point). The point is, does getting older have to mean giving up things you love in order to put bread on the table? I did manage to escape a few times, however. Late night aama crab hunting, a backcountry Haleakala hike and a few spontaneous pull-overs at the Pali Lookout just to get outside and to breathe fresh mountain air. I guess what I learned this year is that Hawaii will always be there. Underneath the frantic traffic, the long 9-5’s and the never-ending to-do lists is the aina (land). It sustains and nourishes not just the body but also the soul. Next year, I will make more time to feel the sand between my toes and the earth in my hands. To take those first chilly plunges into the ocean and those long, muscle-screaming hikes into breathtaking cloud forests. Next year, I will make more time not only for our aina but for myself as well. Hau’oli makahiki hou!