Hawaii 2

I am surrounded by cats- literally as I type!  The owner of the hostel has a couple of bengals and another tabby cat that are quite the tricksters.  The occasional yell happens as the bengals team up and attack my feet from all sides.  They definitely keep me entertained.

Today, someone offered me pu pu.  I gave the woman a strange look wondering if she was going to relieve herself or something and she smiled, “That means appetizers.”  I laughed so hard it nearly hurt.  Yes.  I am a tourist although some folks  have asked me if I am local because of my dark Portuguese looks.  Hawaii is pretty diverse and I asked a local woman how all these different cultures did living together.  She went quiet and said that there is an emergence of a move from some native Hawaiians to restore Hawaii’s independence from the United States.  This has caused tension and rifts between white Hawaiians and native Hawaiians.  It is sort of a catch 22 in some ways.  Being a US state means that Hawaiians have good roads, libraries, public services and community centers.  It also probably means that Hawaiians have been finding ways to continue to keep their culture alive and in tact.

view looking up from lying on the sand

I spent most of the afternoon at Magic Sands Beach.  I took the trolley over and something magical actually happened.  When I got on, I only had a $20 bill and the driver didn’t carry change.  I got on with him huffing at me that I needed to break the bill and pay. He seemed pretty stressed.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this and went to sit down as he pulled away.  I asked a couple of people beside me if they had change and they all said, “No.”  Then a lady got on with her daughter and I asked her.  All she had was $2 and she put it in my hand to offer it to me.  I just stared at her; I couldn’t believe her generosity.  After a few moments of eye contact, I declined her offer with gratitude:  “Keep it so you can bring more of your kids to the beach on another day.  I will find a way to break it.”  Needless to say, I was touched and another guy was too because he overheard this and handed me the change I was looking for.  He didn’t speak English so he gestured and put the money in my hand.  I counted it and noticed he gave me $1 more than he should have so I gave it back to him with a motion that suggested “too much.”  He bowed to me and took the bill back.  It was so extraordinary.  What a lovely start to my day.  The surreal part was being in 75 degree weather on a trolley listening to Christmas tunes on the radio!

beach bird foraging for tourist morsels

The water was warm and clear blue at the beach and so salty I floated easily.  Of course, my breasts do a good job of helping the effort too!  I looked around me and there were all these tiny fish in the water skimming the surface.  I didn’t have a snorkel and mask so couldn’t see the others but it was so magical.  I remember looking into the water in Honolulu when I was 6 and seeing all of these beautiful tropical fish swimming around my body; I felt like I was in heaven.  Today had that feeling too.  I took photos of birds and plants that were foreign and aesthetically pleasing to me.  I saw the most massive bees I’ve ever seen- black and the size of quarters!  One buzzed by my head and I ducked in panic when I didn’t know what it was.  Then I laughed when I realized that it was a bee.  Yes.  Bugs come big and bigger here.

I’m off to shower the salt water off my body, make dinner, and head down to hear some local ukelele tunes.  I am off to the Kona Historical Society to make traditional Portuguese stone oven bread.  Will write more then.



I’m at the end of my first full day in Hawaii.  I smiled as soon as I landed at the airport at Kona at the sound of all the birds I didn’t recognize and at the lush vegetation: palm trees, mango trees and a bunch of others with wonderfully rich scents.  The air here is moist and full.  Flowers are plentiful here as are the insects and lizards.  Just as I was writing this, I caught a little lime green lizard running across the balcony.  Not sure what he is doing but he’s really checking out that cactus a lot!  The birds are wild fuchsia colours of yellow, pink, lime and blue.  At the Farmer’s Market, I watched enthralled as a gorgeous rooster sidled across the parking lot.  The energy here is feminine, open, and receptive.  Beauty is important to the Hawaiian people and is revered. The word that comes to mind to describe Hawaii is: abundant.  I certainly remember that feeling when I was here the last time at age six.  I feel in my element in some ways here.  Here is a photo of me and my sister when we were last here (I am eldest- on the right):

I explored Kailua Village today right by the ocean.  I talked to locals to learn where to go to eat good food.  To my surprise, it ended up being a history lesson!  Breakfast here is served with none other than traditional Portuguese “sausage” or chourico, as we call it and it was GOOD!  Apparently, even the MacDonalds here sell Portuguese sausage and rice!  It was a staple brought by the Portuguese sugar cane and coffee plantation owners and it has stuck ever since.  At the Farmer’s Market, I talked to a young woman who was selling traditional “Tapa” paintings made by her uncle and her family.  It is made by beating the long narrow strips from the inner bark of paper of the Mulberry tree with a wooden mallet to make the tapa canvas on which a traditional image or sigil is drawn.  “Ohana” or family is really important to Hawaiians and that is reflected in the symbols: women and children, dads and daughters, dads and sons, and lovers.  The warrior and the goddess are also archetypes that are celebrated here.  It feels like Hawaiian people know the balance between the masculine and feminine and celebrate it.

Church In a Tent

The funniest thing I came across today was “Church in a Tent.” Yes- that is what it is called.  It is a Catholic Church that is held outdoors behind the Farmer’s Market in Kona.  I didn’t go to the service today but it looked like it easily could seat about 500 folks!

Wild Geese

One of my favourite poems by my favourite poet:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press

Connecting through Reading

Check out this touching story about a dad who is a librarian reading to his daughter every night for years until she went to college in order to stay connected:





Power of Prayer

Angel Sculpture: Findhorn, Scotland

“I prayed for change, so I changed my mind.
I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself.
I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego.
I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally.
I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out.
I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health.
I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle.
I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One.
I prayed for love and realized it’s always knocking, but I have to allow it in.”

– Jackson Kiddard

Radical Honesty

Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a
constant energy drain. To free yourself from the
burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the
skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any
truth, no matter how “unacceptable” it is.

Withholding truth is such an integral part of our
culture that you probably don’t notice when you’re
doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your
thoughts and expressions, and continually ask
yourself, “Am I being as honest as I could be
about that? Is there a deeper truth?”

Examples of “acceptable” dishonesty include saying
you’re “fine” when you’re not, and *not* saying how
you feel about the way your friend treats her child.

When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice
how it feels in your body — the energy and effort
required to distort or ignore your true feelings.

Then imagine being radically honest — telling it
exactly like it is. If you could be that honest *and*
keep your heart open, would you?

– from Scott Noelle’s DAILY GROOVE

Calgary Zoo Photos

Say What You Need To Say

Over the last year, I’ve had quite a few friends diagnosed with cancer.  As I type, my Avo Americo (step grandfather) has stage 4 cancer and is struggling with death.  I can’t help think as I tune into what is going on for him how short life is and fleeting.  I see him struggling with all the things he didn’t say and do over the course of his lifetime.  So many regrets.  Makes me think that it makes no sense NOT to grab those we love and just say what we need to say when we need to say it. And for that matter, to say what it is we need to say at any moment…


The film BUCKET LIST that this song is featured in is pretty awesome too: