Time Moves Too Quickly…

Hello everyone. 

Some of you may be disappointed in me, and some of you may be relieved that I’m back! I know it’s been almost a month, and for that I sincerely apologize. I have been struggling with school and my personal life. For those who have been following me since the beginning, knew that this year was going to be a huge deal for me. Tomorrow, I will take my last final of my undergraduate career and this Saturday, May 11, 2018, I will graduate with my B.A. in English with double minors in Anthropology and Gender & Women’s Studies (and high honors!). Another exciting thing happening this week … my fiancé is coming home! He will be home for my graduation and the following weekend, we will be husband and wife.

A couple of days after the wedding, a big new journey will begin for me. I’ll be moving away from home, so I will have many new experiences to share with you! I’m going to try my best to blog these next couple of weeks… but if I don’t make it, now you know why. I may just have to wait til after the wedding and all the craziness dies down to sit comfortably and come up with some words to describe it all for you!

Here’s a recap of what has been going on in the month I’ve been away from Tales of a Curly Island Girl:

I got another tattoo to commemorate my new step into marriage, by permanently placing my maiden name on my ribcage. It did not hurt at all, probably because it was so small and that I have already been tattooed nine other times. I immediately told my fiancé that I now felt “ready to be his wife.” LOL.

I did my graduation photoshoot … and another photoshoot (but that one is a secret). It was so much fun! My sister is an amateur photographer but she is very talented for someone who never uses photoshop. One day Iʻll give you a link to her website! She’s currently working on one.

I had a bridal and a “bachelorette” party on the same day! My family and best friend threw me a bridal party at a small tea room in my town. It was so cute! Everyone sat on the ground on small pillows. We played games and had teacup/mug exchanges, along with an incredible display of desserts and small sandwiches. I had an amazing time. That same evening I went out to my favorite bar to meet with my close friends and a few family members. We spent the night talking stories, drinking, and enjoying each other’s company and presence. I am incredibly grateful for all the love I have received from all the people who are special to me.

Last week, I was awarded money for a submission I made to Gender & Women’s Studies Contest: Research Paper. My submission was my final paper to my Senior Seminar for Gender & Women’s Studies, titled, Women as Birthing Professionals: American Doula Work. I loved doing the research on the amazing women who stand alongside doctors/midwives and expecting mothers.

Lastly, if you have been following along in national news (I’m hoping they are correct, some have been spewing incorrect information), you have heard that my island has been in turmoil since April 30th. We had a series of hundreds of earthquakes in a very short amount of time, leading to one of the craters (called Puʻu ʻŌʻō) on our active volcano, Kīlauea, to collapse and push the magma down the East Rift Zone. This rift zone runs along a main residential area called Leilani Estates. On May 4th, the Big Island had two large earthquakes, the second being measured at 6.9. Thatʻs the largest earthquake the state has had in about 40 years. That earthquake caused Halemaʻumaʻu (the crater at the summit of Kīlauea) to erupt ash, and it has been slowly emptying of magma since then (my concern is, where is all Halemaʻumaʻuʻs lava going?). That same day, the first fissures erupted into the residential neighborhood I just mentioned. I havenʻt checked how many new fissures and active eruptions there are… but from what I can remember, I believe there are 9 within Leilani Estates and over 30 homes have been destroyed.

Many people around the state and the nation are watching us right now. Some have had very unkind words to say. Here is what I have to say about that: Native Hawaiians have direct genealogical ties to the land. Those who live in Puna (the moku or district that the eruptions are happening in) know that when and if Kīlauea ever erupts, they will get out of the way, and they have. They know that what they have built on the land that is being covered was not going to be there forever. However, it is still hurtful to hear and see those who are being insensitive to their plight tell them that “they shouldnʻt have built there.” They respect the land, and they respect Tūtū Pele as she makes her way along cleaning house on her land, however, that doesn’t mean that they donʻt hurt watching their family homes burn to the ground, or the forests where they ran and played when they were keiki be destroyed. Be kind. Don’t be cruel. If you donʻt understand the special connection to ʻāina (land) that Native Hawaiians have, do not mock and criticize. Ask if you really want to know. If not, mind your business, donʻt be nīele (curious or inquisitive) if you really donʻt want to listen.

Okay, when I come back, if its in the next two weeks or after it, I will let you all know how my graduation and my wedding went. Then I will transition back into my normal blogging! I have so many ideas for my Just Think About It Series. I also want to update everyone on my Curly Girl Method Series as well.


Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Some Things You Should Know About Hawaiʻi…

Iʻm so sorry! Here I am, once again, two weeks late. Thank you to those who have subscribed to my blog (I see you, you have not gone unnoticed!).

This past week was Merrie Monarch Festival; a huge week-long celebration in my hometown of Hilo, to honor hula and the Mōʻī King David Kalākaua who helped perpetuate our language, culture, and arts. Our small city becomes bustling with tourists from the continental U.S., other countries, and family and friends from our neighboring islands. If you wanna learn more about it, or perhaps even attend the festival week, check out this website: http://www.merriemonarch.com. This week always makes me emotional, because we, as Hawaiians, are able to share our culture. Oh, and I feel extra proud to be Hawaiian. 

The inspiration of last weekʻs festivities has led me to share some information about the beautiful lei of islands strung in the Pacific Ocean.

  1. Hawaiian is most definitely not just a nationality. It is an ethnicity. A lot of people do not realize that just living here and being loyal to the place and land does not make you Hawaiian through ethnicity. We have bloodlines tracing back very far.
  2. There are eight main islands. All are a part of the State of Hawaiʻi. However, two of the islands, Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe are special cases.

Niʻihau is owned by the Robinson family and is constantly perpetuating both traditions and advancements. Because it is private land, you must be invited to come to the island, through a ferry from Kauaʻi. Niʻihau is the only island that communicates primarily through ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language), an older dialect than what is spoken today on the other islands.

Kahoʻolawe is the smallest of the main islands. No one lives on this island, because of its small size and lack of water. The U.S. military used it as an active training ground and for bombing exercises after World War II. After many decades of protest, it was given back to Hawaiʻi in 1996. It is now against the law to go to Kahoʻolawe, unless you sign up to volunteer for restorations on the island.

3. Hawaiʻi once had an Independence Day. November 28, 1843, was the day that France and Great Britain recognized the Republic of Hawaiʻi as sovereign. This day was called Lā Kūʻokoʻa. Many of our Mōʻī travelled and were educated abroad. Hawaiʻi was respected by many large nations.

4. Hawaiʻi was illegally overthrown by American businessmen and the U.S. military. On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown by force, in which she conceded to avoid loss of life and in hope that what happened would be amended. After the overthrow of the Republic of Hawaiʻi, the islands were annexed to the United States (1898). In 1959, Hawaiʻi became the 50th state of the United  States of America.

5. We have many different types of climates. Depending on the way you classify climates, you would get a different number every time. To keep it simple, I say, we have many! Hawaiʻi Island has 10 of the 14 climate zones in Koppen Climate Classification System. We get snow on Mauna Kea (which is the tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor) in the winters and sometimes in the spring. Hilo is one of the wettest places in the world. Kawaihae is a very dry area. Puna holds our active flowing volcano, Kīlauea.

6. We are one of the most diverse places in the world. Our sugarcane plantation days brought many immigrants and indentured laborers. The main workers were Chinese, Japanese, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, and Filipino. Today, our population is very mixed, but we love it! All of our food and Hawaiian Creole English, or Pidgin, all come from the plantation days.

7. Most importantly, if you are visiting, please be respectful. Hawaiian culture, like many other eastern ones have a connection with spaces and all that encompass it (even rocks). If you are respectful, we see it. We appreciate those who visit and want to learn the actual culture. Whenever I travel anywhere, I make sure I also respect the area and the people as well.

I really want to write more, but the lack of sleep from this past week and weekend has made me sick! I get sick only once or twice a year… so Iʻll just take it and move on. Sorry for my word vomit. I just started blurbing whatever came to my head. Next time I want to start a new series! Iʻm still trying to pick a name… but stay tuned! Have a fabulous rest of the week.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Sharing Knowledge

This post was sparked from observing people. People in my community, people in my classes, and even my own family members have really motivated me to write this.  It sort of begins with how we view ourselves. Hawaiʻi is filled with many ethnic groups; we call it a mixed plate. Why mixed plate and not melting pot? Well, mixed plates (local favorites) are made of different types of food, but all contribute to the deliciousness of that plate. A melting pot would be just that, melting down all the differences and it becoming one. Hawaiʻi prides herself in the acceptance of immigrant culture. In result of the sugar plantation days and immigrant labor, majority of the people living here are very mixed, hence our mixed identities.

Many of my friends and family, including myself, feel that we are not enough of one ethnic group to actually fit in. Often, I don’t feel Filipino enough, Portuguese enough, and Hawaiian enough. This comes with my parents being mixed as well and/or not passing down traditions or culture. A big problem in Hawaiʻi is the segregation between who is Hawaiian or [insert other ethnicity here] “enough.” I believe strongly in what makes you anything, is how you portray yourself, how you respect others, and how you honor the culture. Kanaka (people of Hawaiʻi) should not be pitted against each other because we do things differently.

I have seen time and time again of Hawaiians rolling their eyes at other Hawaiians because they don’t know enough about the culture or even considering them not Hawaiian “enough” because of blood quantum.  Why? Should we not honor our differences and similarities? If the differences are bad, should we not educate them? Its not enough to say youʻre wrong. Educate them. Tell them why, and if its not a matter of education, take into account their perspective. This is what starts anger and provokes violence. We are all children of Hawaiʻi, we are all children of this culture.

In this way, I believe that all cultures, especially those who are marginalized must be respectful of one another. Everyone has a different story to tell. Everyone comes from different backgrounds that we should be respectful of. Because the belief that what makes you a stronger Hawaiian or African or Filipino etc., should come from how and what you practice is hurtful; it can even be hateful.

I may not know many traditional practices of Hawaiʻi, but I honor and respect my kūpuna (elders/ancestors) and the heritage that I have claimed through them. If I am curious or wrong, I do my research. If I am wrong, I would hope my friends and family correct me. I think what makes any place beautiful are the differences. Differences allow perspectives we would not view or take into account and helps us understand as a whole. We should be inclusive to all thoughts and cultures. I hope this sparks something in you as well. Do your research. If someone ever tells you that you aren’t enough of [insert ethnic group here], ask them why? Why do you say that? And if they say because you don’t know x and y about this or that, ask them to educate you.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl