Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar: 10 Years Later

mlkAlmost 10 years ago, I arrived in St. Louis to interview for the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship at Saint Louis University. The scholarship had been around for two years, but this year was the first year the college was interviewing candidates before selecting scholarship recipients. The weekend was cold, in the teens, one of the coldest for St. Louis that winter. The water in the ponds next to the Cupples House was frozen over, an incredible sight for someone coming all the way from Hawaii to interview. The MLK Jr. Scholarship is awarded to students "who are committed to the promotion of social justice in our society." Scholars are expected to uphold their commitment to diversity and social justice during their time at the university, as well as meet yearly GPA and leadership requirements. If I wasn't clear by now, I was awarded the scholarship and was expected to uphold this commitment during my four years at SLU and after graduation.

Diversity and Social Justice

Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. I absolutely despise the phrase "social justice warriors" because the phrase conjures images of Twitter trolls and selfish individuals who are "activists in name only." Social justice is a good thing. Social justice worth working toward and ought to be promoted on a daily basis. A better term for a "social justice warrior" is "butthead." The term "social justice warrior" only makes it easier for people to dismiss actual social justice as a legitimate goal and perspective, especially in a world that so desperately needs it.

But, I digress.

Diversity is much more than racial diversity. It's much more than making sure your school, company or organization has "this person" or "that person." Diversity also includes religious diversity, gender diversity, intellectual diversity, hometown diversity (diversity of the location of one's upbringing) etc. As a white woman with a white name, I don't look or sound diverse (well, half white, but I look white to most people). Since being a MLK Scholar meant this commitment to diversity, I felt that a Native Hawaiian in the Midwest I could create diversity and contribute to the community in ways different from my peers and from those in the St. Louis area.

What Does It Mean to Be a Scholar?

I always understood SLU's motto to be "men and women for others." The motto could've changed in the years since I graduated, since the university now says its motto is "higher purpose, greater good."  To me, being an MLK Scholar meant taking King's legacy and teachings beyond the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. I think it means finishing the work he was unable to finish and doing the work that he would've been unable to get to even if he was still alive. King would've been a busy man in the decades afterward if he wasn't assassinated in 1968.

During my four years at SLU, being a Scholar meant active membership in the university's Amnesty International chapter. It meant yearly participation in SLU's Make a Difference Day every October and volunteering weekly as a tutor at a local high school. It meant being the one political science major who studied among the physics and engineering majors in Parks College. It meant being one of the few people from Hawaii at SLU. It meant being different was an asset, not a liability.

10 Years Later

Ultimately, being an MLK Scholar meant recognizing that privilege doesn't have to an institutional construct designed to hold others back with the exception of a few. Privilege is bestowed to the few as a responsibility to the many. With great power, comes great responsibility. I graduated from SLU debt free, and the scholarship contributed to that outcome. If graduating on time from a four-year private institution of higher learning debt free isn't privilege, then perhaps I don't really know what privilege is.

Nowadays, I uphold the commitment to diversity and social justice through my work with the Amnesty International St. Louis local group. Being an active member of Amnesty comes with its own set of responsibilities and helps me to have perspective on the full extent of my privilege. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"

It's also a question a scholarship program at a Jesuit university asks its potential candidates. Ten years ago, I didn't know much about Martin Luther King Jr. except what I learned in class and from our textbooks. Today, I think he has a continual, ever-changing legacy because what he stands for is timeless, yet timely.

Chicken 'N Waffles Coffee Syrup!

chicken n waffles syrupPrepare to Have Your Mind Blown

I am continuing my research for my upcoming coffee blog (I think I now have a great name and a great tagline), coming across cool sites, products, and possible affiliate marketing products. In this research, I came across coffee syrups and there are two main companies that sell coffee syrups: Torani and Monin. If you thought hazelnut, toffee nut, cinnamon, and vanilla were all there were to coffee syrup flavors, then you were dead wrong.

Not only are there over 100 coffee syrup flavors between these two brands (obviously, the two of them duplicate on many flavors, and not all of them are created to be used in coffee), but my mind is blown that one flavor actually exists. It's from Torani and it's called Chicken N' Waffles.


I'm not sure if it's vegan because I'm not sure if any actual chicken is used in the product. I know the description for the product says that it really goes well with buttered biscuits or cornbread, but who cares. I'm going to have a chicken 'n waffles soy latte, and I am going to blog about it, and it's going to be the next big thing. It'll be awesome.

I know those potato chips came out from Lays that were this flavor, and they received mixed reviews, but that's not a big deal. Some people complained on Facebook that the flavor was too random, or that there was too much maple and not enough chicken. Hogwash! The chips were fantastic, and this soy latte is going to be fantastic. Those people can just eat normal sour cream and onion potato chips and drink normal hazelnut lattes like normal people. How do you not try this when you now know that it exists?!? I mean, at least put it on the butter biscuits or the cornbread. You know, do something normal like follow the instructions and recommendations.

There Actually Was a Close Second

Yes, there was actually a flavor that was a close second for the "OMG-I-didn't-know-this-existed-it's-so-amazing" title. The close second goes to Monin's Hibiscus syrup.

I find this really interesting because the hibiscus is the state flower of Hawai'i, but it's not like we eat it or anything. Maybe we should, since it's not even a native Hawaiian flower. I mean, I think it might actually be illegal or sacrilegious to eat the Ohi'a blossom or 'ilima flower. Please don't eat them. But, apparently, according to the hibiscus syrup product description, people have been eating and using the blossom for medicinal purposes for a long time now. It might actually make a great mocha or Italian soda. This will totally be the next big thing, at least in Hawai'i, after the whole chicken 'n waffles latte buzz.

I have no idea why more coffee shops don't have 100+ flavors to choose from. I understand most people want the good 'ole recipes and would just prefer a vanilla latte and leave. However, some of us want to take the 20 minutes to read your entire list of flavors, and then pick one to have. Think about it! If you have 100+ flavors, then you might actually have a few people come back 100+ times just to go through the entire list and to try every flavor. Once you have that going, then you can turn it into a competition or a reward system where if you do go through all the flavors then you get a prize. I want a cool prize. Who doesn't want a cool prize?

How I Managed to Get Everything Done Yesterday

getting things doneYesterday, I boasted about how I got everything done and the several things I planned to do once I got home. Although I failed to do one thing once I got home (I didn't quite read a whole chapter of Half the Sky, and yes, I did finally manage to come up with those seven topics), I feel that its worth really looking at what went right yesterday. I'd like to replicate the productivity, so here's how I think I managed to get everything done yesterday. This is according to my analysis and opinion, and isn't based on anything scientific.

Getting Up Early

This is something I need to turn into a habit, as I've gotten myself into the horrible habit of sleeping in and staying up too late. Not sure how or why it started, but it's actually something that's been getting worse and worse since the end of October. I'll be using my new office space at Lab1500 to help me with this, since I don't want to show up there in the afternoon, and it's much more comfortable (and work-friendly) to spend the whole day there than at a coffee shop.

Something I should also add into this mix is eating breakfast. It should also be a normal-sized, filling breakfast, not just a piece of fruit or a yogurt cup. A bowl of cereal would count. Waking up at 7 a.m. will not only give me more time to get things done (I'm finding that working into the evening is tough and tiring, despite only working and being away for so long) during the day, but also some time to eat breakfast.

Focus and Determination

Something that always helps is focus and determination, a will to get it all done and that it is possible to get it all done, while overcoming the stress of having a lot to do or not being able to get it all done. It can be tough, as it's easy to get distracted and to wallow in the burden of all that needs to get done. However, focusing on the task at hand makes a huge difference, as well as the commitment to finish these task today instead of pushing them off or creating an excuse as to why they weren't finished.

One of the things that I had to do yesterday was to write an article about a new startup and  discuss why its business model will succeed in a space where many previous startups have failed. It took a lot of energy to write because I didn't know anything about this startup and what others have said about it until I started the assignment, and I wanted to digest the information that was out there in order to write something original and though-provoking that didn't repeat what was already said. Took a lot of focus and determination to not only get that done, but to get that done in one day. I grant that it also helped I told the client I would have it finished by the next day, at the latest.

How Did I Do Today?

It's not going as well, primarily because of that getting up early problem I mentioned earlier. It still have two more blog posts to write and laundry to take down from the line. I could also finish that chapter I didn't finish yesterday. Perhaps I should make another "Things I Will Get Done List", just to hold myself accountable. Besides, my boyfriend is playing poker in the other room, which limits my options of distractions and procrastination. Here's what I'm going to do after I finish this post and before I go to bed:

  • Write tomorrow's blog post for Stirring Media
  • Write a blog post for a client
  • Take down the laundry from the line
  • At least finish chapter 2 in Half the Sky
  • Finish my goal plan for my business coach
  • Prepare a lunch for tomorrow

Now, I'm off!

When a Freelance Writing Gig Pulls the Rug Out From Under You

A client of mine runs a series of social sites meant to spark debate and to build a community around a specific topic. They use the Ning platform, which is a great social website platform that can turn your community and passion into a business if you do it right. But, I digress. This particular client notified me that, effective TODAY, mine and another nine of their social sites would be closed, and that they wouldn't need any more articles from me at this time. These sites in particular were not getting as they had hoped. I was shocked. Not because I'm losing some good, money-earning, work for a little while, but because I was in the bottom half of their social sites. My topic was Hawaii (hence the picture) and I thought I was doing a good job with the site. I'm now stressed and panicky because I'm wondering what I've done wrong and what I could have done better.

The client also said that they will be replacing those 10 sites with another 10 sites on different topics, so once those topics are decided, I would have the opportunity to write for them again. I hope one of those 10 is something that I can do. Hawaii was such as good fit since I am from Hawaii. But, alas, I must move on for the meantime.

This serves as a good lesson as to why, as a freelance writer, you should always be marketing and on the look our for new markets and new clients for which to write. You just never know when a job will dry up, as mine did today. It may seem like job insecurity, but if you are always marketing and always on the hunt, a situation like this easily becomes job security. I'm not out of job, nor have a taken a significant cut in my freelance pay. It's a bummer to have lost the site, but I'm not up the creek without a paddle. I can easily bounce back, find something new to cover my losses. And, as I had mentioned, I have a strong possibility of retaining this client and working from them again in the near future. So, I might not have that much of a loss after all.

Perhaps I just might need a good squeeze from Lilo.

Hawaiian Names for the New Baby

My nephew is due to be born any day now, and my niece (1 1/2 years old!) is adorable, I'd like to introduce a little bit about Hawaiian names and put up a few suggestions for a Hawaiian name if you or someone you know is expecting. I don't know what my nephew will be named when he is born (I'm not sure if his parents are set on any ideas), but here are some ideas for his parents and others who are looking for a beautiful, cultural name for their child.

In Hawaiian culture, there are several different types of names. Names weren't chosen simply because they sounded great, they were chosen because of their specific meaning or to commemorate an event or relative. There are several different types of names:

  • inoa po - a name received in a dream. It was believed that if a relative received a name in a dream and didn't give the child that name, then the child would be cursed
  • inoa ho'ailona - a name received in the form of a natural phenomenon or a mystic sign
  • inoa 'ulaleo - a name heard
  • inoa ho'omanao - a name for an event or person
  • inoa kupuna - a name from an ancestor
  • inoa ewe - a name based on traits or personality

In Hawaiian culture, the longer the name, the more power it has. This is part of the reason why many people in Hawai'i have long Hawaiian names (though they may often go by a shorter version of their name for day-to-day activities). But nowadays shorter Hawaiian names are quite common as well and have become a point of pride and reflection for individuals upon his/her Hawaiian heritage.

Most Hawaiian names are unisex, though most are given to one gender more often than the other gender. For those in Hawai'i, it might be better to stick with the gender norms while those on the mainland could have more choice, particularly if the child will be the only one with a Hawaiian name in a 100 mile radius. I found two websites that have an extensive listing of Hawaiian names. One includes the 'okina, or glottal stop, to ensure proper spelling of the name, while the other doesn't. This second one also includes names that have letters that aren't part of the Hawaiian alphabet. I don't particularly like those names because they aren't truly Hawaiian names, but that's just my opinion.

If there isn't a name on the list that strieks the fancy, then tnother technique that's really popular is to name a child a Hawaiian adjective. This not only ensures that the child's name has a great meaning, but that he/she has a great name as well. Here are some examples below:

  • Hau'oli - happy
  • Kaulana - famous
  • Ikaika - strong
  • 'Alohi - bright
  • Koa - brave
  • 'Alapa - athletic
  • Pono - righteous
  • Kilakila - majestic
  • Kupono - honest

Similar to this is to name children after things in nature, like a star (Hoku) or the rain (ua) or a flower (pua) or a rainbow (anueanue). Here's a link to a good online Hawaiian dictionary. Also by putting together an adjective with a noun (like hokukilakila for "majestic star"), a creative, original yet meaningful name could be given the newborn.

There are also Hawaiian versions of English names. Most of these names are very uncommon and only serve the purpose of knowing a cool alternative to our own name. However, there are a few, such as Mikala (Michael), Kamuela (Samuel), Kimo (James) and Kawika (David) that are given to children quite frequently.

Admittedly Cool Things on the Mainland

Yes, Hawai'i is awesome, but it would be unfair to say that the rest of the United States absolutely and entirely sucks. First, it's not true. Second, no one likes it when bold, general statements are made, especially when fact and personal experience contradict them. I've found a couple of things that I can at least appreciate about the mainland, and get excited about from time to time while I'm up here, or maybe kind of look forward to when I have to leave home and come back to real life. I hope that maybe you can enjoy them too, or at least partake in their inherent coolness with me.

Snow: Face it, we like the snow. Maybe the idea of snow more than the snow itself, but we Hawaiians remembers the first time we see snow and how giddy we got at the sight of the powdery white stuff. Of course, this excitement does not increase our enthusiasm to shovel it, drive in it, or walk around in eight inches deep (mostly because all that means going outside in the cold) but snowmen and sledding and other winter activities are all the more fun. Especially when these snowmen are like the one on the left with chemistry goggles and glowing red eyes. Anyway, even a Hawaiian might bundle up for a few minutes of a snowball fight or a contribution toward building a snowman or making a snow angel. I mean, the most snow we get in on Mauna Kea and most people don't get to go near any of that snow. Nonetheless, snow is cool for a reason, and us Hawaiians aren't meant to brave extreme temperatures for long periods of time. Going outside is an accomplishment enough.

Sports Teams: Hawai'i doesn't have too many chances to "root root for the home team" and it's always a shame we don't have alot of opportunity to tailgate and to demonstrate our hometown pride. As much as we love our UH Warriors, its not the same as having a baseball and a basketball and a football team. Yes, St. Louis only has two of the three, and only one of those two does anything worthwhile, but the mere fact that St. Louis has a sports team playing pretty much all year round allows for St. Louisans to be proud of their teams and their city. It also allows for attention that the city wouldn't have otherwise. It's always great when a Hawai'i athlete does well with another team, but it would be even better if Hawai'i had more of its own teams for our homegrown athletes? It's wishful thinking, but who doesn't like the idea of going to a game or two and cheering on our favorites?

Other sports: There are actually a few sports that are much more ubiquitous on the mainland than in Hawai'i, such as lacrosse, rugby, ultimate frisbee and field hockey. Though Hawai'i does have its unique sports, like surfing and canoe paddling, that have made is across the Pacific, these others sports have yet to make the trek. I played lacrosse for two years and I miss it. Something that originated with the Native Americans ought to share a common bond with Native Hawaiian sports, right? I recommend giving these sports a try the next time you can.

Big Name Concerts: What do Modest Mouse, Better than Ezra and Something Corporate have in common? They're all going to be in St. Louis within the next two months. And that's just the Pageant! This doesn't include who's coming to our other venues like the Fox (Lady Antebellum) and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater! And that's just St. Louis! We have to admit, Hawai'i hardly get anybody, besides our local artists, to play. And to say that Hawaiians only listen to Hawaiian music is false. We have a variety of tastes and preferences just like everyone else.

Last but not least, the wildlife: One of my personal favorites about the mainland is the abundance of squirrels, rabbits and other fuzzy creatures running around. They're just cute and they're fun to chase in the spring and summer when hiberation time is over. The best Hawai'i has running around are feral cats, mongoose and mynah birds, all not native to the islands. Most of the native creatures have been killed off or live in protected areas, so its not as if one can see an i'iwi bird flying outside our bedroom window (unless of course you happen to live in the forests of the Big Island). Most people don't find the rabbits and squirrels all that exciting, but I do. Especially the baby ones. But other great animals I like seeing are deer, opossums, raccoons, foxes (I had an awesome picture of one at the botanical gardens, but I can't find the picture) ducks, and turkeys (which might be what the creature is on the left, but I'm can't tell and I took the picture over a year ago). None of this is through hunting excursions or wilderness adventures either, just out and about in parts of the cityscape.

What is Hawaiian? That is the Question

It's Aloha Friday! That means that in preparation for the weekend, I have prepared something a little more historical and intellectual for the blog. Fridays from here on out are reserved for answering questions about Hawaiian history and culture. Today's question asks, What is Hawaiian?. The answers to this question will illustrate what is meant when the word "Hawaiian" is used and delve into some detail of what this word connotates both in the islands and on the mainland. In a future post, I will talk about the history and origin of common Hawaiian icons. But for now, let's talk about the concept of 'Hawaiian'.

So, what is Hawaiian?

The Associated Press Stylebook defines Hawaiians as "members of an ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands and are also called Native Hawaiians. Use Hawaii resident or islander for anyone living in the state." This definition is important because AP Style is used by almost every news organization in America. This also means that "Hawai'i" would never appear in the newspaper, except maybe in Hawai'i. I understand that this might mean that the title of the blog is misspelled, but "kawaii" doesn't have an 'okina (the glottal stop symbol that looks like the apostrophe) and I am anal about consistency. I would have to misspell one or the other or else change the name of the blog entirely.

What is a Native Hawaiian? According Section 3, Definitions, of Senate Bill No. 147, March 2005, sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI),

(1) ABORIGINAL, INDIGENOUS, NATIVE PEOPLE. - The term "aboriginal, indigenous, native people" means people whom Congress has recognized as the original inhabitants of the lands that later became part of the United States and who exercised sovereignty in the areas that later became part of the United States.

According to the U.S Census Bureau Demographic Profile, there are over 400,000 Native Hawaiians currently living in the United States. About half of these people live in the state of Hawai'i.

Hawaiian could also refer to the Hawaiian language, one of the two official languages of the state. It was originally an oral language until missionaries in the 19th century created a written form in order to teach Hawaiians the word of the Bible. It's very similar to the Samoan, Tahitian and Marquesian languages. In 2002, the University of Hawaii at Hilo established a masters program in the Hawaiian Language. In fall 2006, they established a doctoral program in the Hawaiian Language. In addition to being the first doctoral program for the study of Hawaiian, it is the first doctoral program established for the study of any native language in the United States of America.

With all this in mind, what does 'Hawaiian' mean to you?

Famous Hawaiians? I Can Name Five!

One of best ways to start off this blog and to introduce the spirit of Hawai'i is to introduce a few friendly faces that have done well to represent the Hawaiian people on a national or international scale. I tried to avoid movie stars and singers as best I could when putting this list together, but it turns out that most famous Hawaiians are entertainers in some shape or form. These people may not be/have been knowlingly or purposefully representing the islands, but I think that all people from Hawai'i do so no matter what. It comes from the iconic images of Hawai'i that conjure in the minds of many. No, Barack Obama does not count. Being from Hawai'i and being Hawaiian are not the same thing.

Duke Kahanamoku (1890 - 1968): This three time Olympic gold medalist put the island chain on the map,breaking the Olympic record for the 100-meter dash in swimming in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He competed in four separate Olympics and continued to give swimming exhibitions in California throughout the 1920s. The Michael Phelps of his day, Kahanamoku went on to play minor roles in a movie career spanning almost 30 years. He's also the first person to be in both the swimming and the surfing Hall of Fame and served as a Honolulu sheriff after completing his swimming career. Kahanamoku is also credited with introducing and popularizing the sport of surfing to the mainland, New Zealand and Australia. In 1960, he was appointed Hawai'i's Ambassador of Aloha and remains one of the state's most well-known citizens in its history.

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1959 - 1997): Best known for his medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World", Bruddah Iz still is a powerful influence on Hawaiian music and culture. Alone in Iz World, an album released four years after his death, debuted at #1 on Billboard's World Chart and #135 on Billboard's Top 200, #13 on the Top Independent Albums Chart, and #15 on the Top Internet Album Sales charts. His music often had a political message, promoting Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian independence through his lyrics. At his funeral, his koa wood coffin lay in state at the Capitol building in Honolulu. He was the third person in Hawaiian history to be accorded this honor, and the only one who was not a government official. Approximately ten thousand people attended the funeral, and thousands of other fans gathered as his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.

Brook Mahealani Lee: She was Miss Universe 1997 and is the most recent American to wear the crown. She is also the first native Hawaiian to wear the Miss Universe crown. After her reign, Lee pursued a graduate degree in communications and made several appearances in movies and television shows.

Nicole Scherzinger: After fronting the Pussycat Dolls and winning the 10th season of 'Dancing With the Stars', Scherzinger is continuing her success by joining the cast of Rent at the Hollywood Bowl. Besides 'Dancing' she's made minor appearances in various television shows and also appeared as a guest judge on NBC's "The Sing-Off". Though originally born in Hawai'i, Scherzinger spent most of her time growing up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Wright State University before launching her singing career by singing backup for the rock band Days of the New.

Kelly Hu: You may better know her as Lady Deathstrike from the movie X2, but Hu has played minor roles on television since the 80s. She was Miss Teen USA in 1985, and was the first Asian American to wear the crown as well as the first Asian American on the cover of Maxim magazine (her issue is the best selling issue in the magazine's history). Currently, Hu is the voice of Stacy in the Disney animated series "Phineas and Ferb" and has a reoccuring role in "The Vampire Diaries" on the CW.

Why Hawai'i is Cool Enough for a Blog

During my freshman year of college the resident adviser of my floor started a door-decorating contest. The theme was “I love ___”.  With myself from Hawaii and my roommate from Tennessee, we went with “Home is Where the Heart Is” for our door theme and we decorated with pictures from our respective home states.  We won the contest, and our prize: a metal picture frame for each of us with the word ‘family’ around the border.

I still have that picture frame with a picture of my family inside.  It’s not the best picture, taken at Sam Choy’s Restaurant with the boat in the background and two unknown kids in the boat looking at the camera.  My attire also makes me look fat.  But it’s the best I got.

I am an angel, as I was born and raised in heaven.  By heaven, I mean the Hawaiian Islands, and yes, they are heaven.  They are as beautiful and as sunny as television makes them out to be.  We are the Aloha State for a reason and our legislature said so in 1959.  Sixty-five degrees is considered cold, spam is considered delicious and an aloha shirt is considered business attire.  Heaven is Hawaii, and I honestly believe that one of the biggest steps toward world peace is to have the next G8 meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa located within feet of Waikiki Beach.  With mai tais in hand and waves crashing upon the shore, war can only seem like a ridiculous idea.

Joking aside (but not the bias), Hawaii is God’s gift to Mother Earth.  We are the most isolated populated group of islands on the planet, almost 4000 miles from Japan.  That is about an eight hour plane ride, about the same from the east coast of the United States to London.  We were also the last piece of land to be discovered and documented by Western explorers, first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778.  We also have the distinct honor of murdering Captain James Cook.  He returned to the islands during the time of war after first arriving during the time of peace, in which we realized that the captain is no god at all and killed him.  I said Hawaii was heaven.  I did not say Hawaii was perfect.

While we do not have perfection, we also do not have billboards, rabies, snakes and seagulls.  Billboards and snakes are illegal.  Snakes eat birds and we don’t want what happened to our avian population like what happened to Guam’s population as a result of the introduction of the brown tree snake.  Billboards are just ugly.  I know we don’t have rabies because we don’t have any raccoons but I don’t have any idea as to why we don’t have seagulls.  And while we are on animals, gerbils, hamsters, hedgehogs, foxes and porcupines are all prohibited from entering the state.

I now live in St. Louis, Missouri with its oppressively hot summers and unbearably cold winters. People don't understand why I would leave heaven to come to, well, here. Very few people from Hawai'i do make the trek past the west coast. Because of the rarity of my presence in the middle of the country, most people I meet don't know very much about Hawaiiana, or any and all things Hawaiian. I'm taking it upon myself not only to introduce and explain Hawaiiana, but to help others back in Hawai'i considering to come up for the mainland either for vacation, college, or good.

It's not heaven, but the mainland isn't all that scary and foreign and horrible a place. There's a lot both sides of the Pacific can learn from each other.