My Move to Maui…Wow-Wee

And, I thought I was living in the country before!Image

This is the view from my kitchen window. Surrounding me are horses, cattle, Angus bulls, sheep, goats and chickens AND I’m in my element. This is Up-Country Maui in the Makawao district which is home to most of the cowboys, ranchers, farmers. It’s cool with a nice tradewind blowing most of the time. I will always love the Big Island of Hawai’i, but I think Maui will also become a love. It’s very different. No ‘ohi’a trees which I find odd. But, there are towering pines, forests of eucalyptus and my personal favorite, thousands of plumeria trees all abloom with fragrant flowers. The beaches are lovely. And, because of the funneling tradewinds, a mecca for surfers, kite-surfers and wind-surfers, it is a lot more likely that I will see my kite-surfing youngest son sooner than if I were on the Big Island. The main town of Kahului is much more of a city than Hilo. Kahului spreads out over miles and miles instead of concentrated in one small area. I’m perpetually lost but since I am extremely directionally challenged find this somewhat normal. I usually find my way home, eventually. I am so thankful for GPS on my smart phone. It is thrilling to have several fabric stores in town where I will soon be heading as I have a coupon for 25% off of flowered fabrics…just up my alley!

I thought moving from a studio cottage to a three-bedroom house would be so easy, but the accumulation we had amazes me. There is a ton of storage in the new house, but I’m having a difficult time finding room for everything. And, when I find a spot, it is usually “out of context”. I will put the mixer with the boxes of tea because it fits. The kitchen is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with pieces all over the place. Right now it seems like too much effort to organize. I know I will have to change things around soon, but now I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to find a box of raisins which may or may not be with the soup or the pots and pans…hmmmm, a snack shelf. I may have to think about that if I could just find the other missing snacks.

Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

This week is the week of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. This is the Super Bowl of hula and those of us that practice hula look forward to it all year. This year is special–The 50th anniversary. Tickets for the three nights of  the hula competition go on sale at midnight Dec. 26th each year. They sell out by daybreak. I sent my money in at about 8:00am and didn’t obtain a ticket. I am thankful the TV coverage is so extensive.  However, it’s not the same as being there–the fragrance of plumeria, gardenia, pua kenikeni and pikaki permeates the humid air clinging to the dampness like the Hilo rain clings to the leaves. I miss seeing all the colorful mu’umu’u, the hats with beautiful intricate feather lei–lei hulu. I have always purchased scrips so I could get haupia with a slice of purple sweet potato atop. So many things about being there in person. Because this was a special anniversary, the committee brought back some of the contests from 50 years ago. There was a King Kalakaua (The Merrie Monarch) beard contest for the men and a barbershop quartet (or more) song contest…something for everyone. Craft fairs are everywhere. The parade will be tomorrow.

During the week there are performances at many many venues–at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, an up-to-date planetarium; at the Hilo Hawaiian and Naniloa hotels; at the intimate setting of Basically Books, a bookstore on Bay Front that specializes in Hawaiiana. This year the bookstore even boasted the original sign from the very first Merrie Monarch Festival. It was found in the basement of a local furniture store that was closing and was given to the bookstore.

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At Basically Books four of the state’s top entertainers performed.  In this relatively small venue it was standing room only.  Kainani Kahaunaele, Weldon Kahauoha, Cyril Pahunui and Manu Boyd graciously allowed a few of us to dance to their mele, each on a different day. For a dancer, it just doesn’t get than this. It was the highlight of my week.

Me wih Manu Boyd--a singer, dancer, kumu hula, composer, emcee

Manu Boyd and I–a singer, dancer, kumu hula, composer

Not dressed for hula, but, hey, that's Hilo

Not dressed for hula, but, hey, that’s Hilo and Cyril Pahunui didn’t care.

What fun!

What fun! With Weldon Kahauoha

Kainani Kahauanaele. The photo of the two of us showed that we were certainly not ready, so not to embarrassed either one of us, I have chosen the one of Kainani alone. This has been one of the busiest week of my year. I am still packing and cleaning, getting ready for my imminent move to Maui. I am trying to keep up with my many orders from my Etsy shop and trying to keep up with all the activities of Merrie Monarch week from the hula performances, musical concerts, the craft fairs, the amazing food available.

Beautiful singer, lovely person.

Beautiful singer, lovely person.

Tomorrow will be the Merrie Monarch parade with over 150 units. The highlight is usually the pa’u riders…women on horseback wearing the beautiful skirts of satin. Both the riders and the horses decorated with lei. Many hands and many hours go into the making of the lei. The horse’s lei is about 12 inches around.

Colorful pa'u dress and lovely lei..Na wahine holo li'o

Colorful pa’u dress and lovely lei..Na wahine holo lio

The week will soon be over, the competition will have their chosen winners (though in my eyes they are all winners). The craft fairs participants will pack up their remaining items, the bookstore, hotels, astronomy center and malls will go back to their normal schedules. And, na hula halau will  start thinking about the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival for 2014.

The Magic of Hula

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With my hula brothers and sisters,

Tänzer mit ʻuliʻuli beim Hula kahiko, Merrie M...

Tänzer mit ʻuliʻuli beim Hula kahiko, Merrie Monarch Festival 2003, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, USA; Pentax Z 20, Tamron Zoom AF/MF 3,8-5,6/28-200 mm aspherical (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lei of friendship is formed,

Stringing our souls together with chant.

We sway to the rhythms of ancient voices,

Calling from beyond the veil, pulling us gently

Into a new realm of consciousness.

The cadence quickens, heartbeats match the fast paced steps; feet pound, bodies sway, skirts fly, hands relate stories of guardian spirits and long ago kings.

We relive Hawaii of old if only for a brief moment.

Such is the magic, the spirit, of hula.