Already a legend before I met him on the first day of my senior year Drama class, Mr. Bright was the kind of teacher every teenager should be privileged enough to have at least once in their young lives. Demanding, encouraging, and above all filled with a genuine love of his craft and his students, he made fifth period a retreat for me during a long, difficult year.
I just read an article about the Kakaako tent city and Hawaii Community Development Authority's mission to help with the issue. Only, the issue isn't homelessness. The solution, not jobs or housing or humanity. The problem is, as always, those dang homeless people who are encroaching on public spaces.
"If you don't like living here," they say, "if you don't like living beneath this flag, you are free to live somewhere else."
The here they are talking about is the United States. The flag, of course, the stars and stripes of Saturday's fireworks extravaganza. But here is also Hawaiʻi. The state whose flag was once the flag of an independent nation.
As a child, of course, the fourth of July was always an exciting holiday. Sparklers were wielded in great loops, drawing our names in the darkness until they sputtered out and stabbed into water filled coffee cans. The neighbor boy up the street lit firecrackers and jumping jacks, which frightened me with their loud chaos.
On the surface, the hullabaloo about Emma Stone's casting as hapa wahine Allison Ng in Cameron Crowe's Aloha might seem pretty ridiculous. It's only one movie, right? A fun summer love triangle rom-com set in a beautiful location and it's all just Hollywood fantasy anyway. Nobody actually thinks movies are real life, etc etc, so why is everybody so flipping angry? See also: don't we have more important things to worry about?
On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani made the sorrowful decision to relinquish her throne, and with it, the soverignty of her nation. She did so to spare the lives of the outnumbered soldiers who would have fought to the death protecting their homeland. To keep safe the subjects she held so tightly to her heart.
This was a wise decision. It was the right decision. And it was a decision that she should never have been forced to make.
On April 7, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature gathered to honor the original crew of Hōkūleʻa, the working replica of an ancient Polynesian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe). Her name translates to Star of Gladness, but stands for so much more. Hōkūleʻa is Hawaiʻi 'Ōlelo (Hawaiian language) for Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere.
When Iliana was sick with the croup for that one full week, I had to find a lot of things to entertain myself while being leaned upon by a sick, disgusting child. I played a couple of word games on my phone and kept seeing an ad for another one: Moxie. I decided what the hell I'm delirious and wearing multiple rounds of another person's snot - I can't be too choosy how I spend my time - so I downloaded it.
The day started out wonderfully, to tell you the truth. We woke up in plenty of time to get to Iliana's hula class, the first since October since the couple who own the school were on a two month long vacation to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. Getting the gang back together was pretty fantastic and the kids got right back into class as if no time had passed. Actually, it was even better than that. They seemed kind of awed to be back together. More subdued, even if only a very little. But when you're talking about 3-5 year olds doing hula, a little subdued seems like a lot.
This week has been a thoroughly mixed bag, which is fitting I guess since it's kind of like Santa's enormous catch-all. We've been busy here in Hale Hākaʻo just like any other family enjoying the Christmas season. Between excitedly opening the advent calendar every morning and putting crap all over the Christmas tree all day, the kids are having a great one. Between a thousand moments spent redirecting my preschooler away from opening all of the days on the advent calendar and picking up strewn ornaments from everywhere, I am...also having a great one. I can say that because the end is in sight. And thank god for that.
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