September 27, 2011

Tūtū kāne - Grandpa

One of the hardest parts of this move is being so far away from family. However, we were so thankful to have Kyle's dad come visit for three weeks. He was great company and we enjoyed catching up with him and playing games. The kids just adored Grandpa and all the extra time and attention he lavished on them. It was also a real treat to have help getting things done around the house as well as someone to keep an eye on the kids so we could go out as a couple. The time went by way too fast, and we were sad to see him return to the Mainland.

Here are a few of our favorite tūtū kāne moments from his trip:

Mahalo for the visit! We had a wonderful time and hope you come back soon!

September 23, 2011

Ānuenue - Rainbow

Although it's official title is the "Aloha State," I'm pretty sure a few people voted for "Rainbow State." They are everywhere! If you Google "Hawaii rainbows" you get some pretty beautiful pictures (and one dude in a speedo) and they happen all the time! Not only does every license plate sport a friendly ānuenue, but the University of Hawai‘i has the Rainbow Warriors as their mascot. Maybe not exactly striking fear into the hearts of their competition. Oh no, rainbows!

I personally like the ānuenue everywhere, since it's kind of calming. Drivers seem more friendly here, generally letting you cut in front with a friendly wave, instead of starting some road-rage battle. Maybe it's the aloha, or just the weather, but how can you get mad at the person in front of you when you see this?

September 20, 2011

Hau‘oli Lā Hānau! - Happy Birthday!

Turning 30 didn't seem like a huge deal, but somehow 31 feels a lot older. I didn't "just" turn 30... I'm in my thirties. Plus, last year was full of wonderful surprises planned by Kyle. Not that I thought this year would be a let-down, but it's kind of hard to beat a surprise limo full of your friends!

This year we had a fancy dinner planned, and that was about it. Or so I thought. Although he worked until 8am, Kyle managed to not only pick up McDonald's breakfast(!), but also a fresh orchid lei on his way home in the morning.

After our 2,000 calorie breakfast of egg mcmuffins and breakfast burritos, I unwrapped some new running gear supporting our beloved Spartans as well as our adopted Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors. Thankfully, they're both green and white schools so I can mix and match!

I headed over to a new friends' house, where she had been tipped off to my birthday (thanks Facebook!) and had made homemade cinnamon rolls to celebrate! It was nice to get some time to chat with some other gals who are new here and let the kids play with some other children their age.

Arriving home, I found another treat! Kyle had picked up lilikoi (passion fruit), snickerdoodle and vanilla bean cupcakes from the fancy cupcake place. Yay! However, I opted to take a nap instead of eating them right away. I must be getting old when a nice, long nap is higher than food on my list of birthday priorities.

Finally we put the kids to bed and headed out for our reservation at Roy's. Such great food! And they wrote  my name on the cake! And with the birthday hat on the table, every since staff person walking by wished me a Happy Birthday!

We finished our evening by walking along the beach. Still seems strange that we aren't here on vacation, but that we actually live in Hawai‘i. It's starting to sink in with every occasion that we celebrate here, but we're still getting used to the idea that this is home.

September 17, 2011

Menehune - Little people

Menehune are a mythical people. They live far from human eyes, but are hard-working, small people that work together to do things quickly. It may be a complement if you're called menehune if you're a hard-worker, but I'm sure sometimes it's not complementary. I mistakenly used "troll" to describe them, but you would be better off comparing them to leprechauns or elves (especially at Christmas). Apparently they not only mysteriously complete projects in the middle of the night, but they are some schools' mascots, and have their own water brand. When I meet some, I'll send a picture. Until then, this is all I've got:

In case Mrs. Brown is reading this, here is my source:

September 14, 2011

H, k, l, m, n, p, w, and sometimes ‘

In case you weren't sure, those are the consonants in the Hawaiian alphabet. There are a grand total of five vowels and eight consonants. That is not a lot of sounds. My untrained ear thinks this alphabet is seriously lacking in consonants. Or maybe English has too many! I've always complained that English has too many vowel sounds, so I think this is what I get for complaining!

Although local people are real friendly in sharing good neighborhoods, new places to eat and the like, more often than not, the directions get confused in my head. I feel silly, but I have to ask for clarification. A lot. Kaneohe? Keiki? Kailua? Kapiolani? Kalihi? Ko'olina? Kahuna?

The bonus consonant is the okina (‘). It doesn't really help in the understanding department, since it doesn't add a "letter," but a stop. And, if you really wanted an in-depth lesson today, it's not an apostrophe or an accent mark. To write it correctly, it's a single beginning quote mark (ALT+0145, I know you were curious). If you doubt it's really a letter, check out this youtube video of the Hawaiian alphabet:

The hardest part has been driving around to look at houses. Some street names aren't written with the okina, so you have to know when to pause. And I don't. Adding pronunciation problems to unfamiliar territory seriously challenges my skills as a navigator.

Me: "Turn left on"
Kyle: "Haha what?"
Me: "Haha...ione"
Kyle: "Can you spell it?"
Me: "H-A-H-A-I... wait, that's it! Turn now!" (Tires squealing, angry drivers)

More often than not, it's been a source of jokes and not arguments. It'll take some getting used to, but it's interesting to be learning a new language to use in the United States. I love languages, so I'm pretty excited about it!

September 4, 2011

Ono - Delicious

Since it means delicious, ono is common in restaurant names, such as "Ono Plate Lunch." I still think "oh, no!" and it makes me giggle. In case you were wondering, plate lunch is Hawaiian for "some sort of meat in some sauce with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad." You can find this comfort food just about everywhere, from road side trucks to sit down restaurants.

In trying to eat healthier and save money by eating fresh veggies in season, I set out to make a simple pasta primavera. It looked like a nice, hearty, meatless meal. And it was pretty easy, but still required lots of chopping. After about 45 minutes, the kitchen smelled really good and I was excited to try our new dish. The sauce was ready, the cheesy garlic bread was ready, the pasta was ready and the kids were helping set the table. I was about to plate the food, but decided to try the sauce. It was good, but seemed a little bland, so I quick grabbed some parsley and oregano and sprinkled them on. Voila!

Then I realized something looked funny. The parsley didn’t exactly “flake” out of the jar. Then, with that sinking feeling in my stomach, I looked more closely at the “parsley."

Bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. And I didn't just put a little bit on. I had dumped bugs all over.

There was no way to scrape them up. I briefly considered if the family would notice the crunchiness in the food... maybe I could just play dumb... Instead, I decided to fess up to Kyle, who laughed along with me and kept me from crying about my wasted time.

Thankfully, I keep plain old jarred sauce on hand, so the meal was saved. And I only used half of the veggies, so I was able to try it again the next day.

That meal was definitely more "oh, no!" than ono