The Aloha State... ahhhhhhh... No, I'm not in Hawai'i. Well, not until I fall asleep. I'd like to think it is my second home. Wait, if California is my first home, and I live in DC, then... and Lima treats me pretty well... Okay, Hawai'i will always be "a home away from home". It's arguably our most beautiful state in the union. Duh. I lived there for a time way back when, so I guess you could say that's yet something else I have in common with the president... that and I'm a mixed-race American, am super-awesome at basketball, and I too was born in Kenya (wait, I think I fudged on the last two). Just kidding, I'm no conspiracy theorist (of course if I was, I wouldn't tell you). Where was I? Oh, yes, Hawai'i! Well it's been snowy here in DC, so I'm going to a happy place and was inspired of this archipelago way out in the Pacific today as I drank my pineapple juice with dinner. What's important to remember about the Hawaiian Islands is that it is not only another state - it's a state of mind. "Yeah, I on Hawai'i Time, brah!" Imagine a place where the ocean is not only always nearby, but a part of your life. You can smell the ocean; you can feel it. Nature is culture. So is food. So is family, or "ohana" in Hawaiian. The hula is not only a dance, but an art form of storytelling. Leis are not only intricate necklaces of living floral art, but a symbol of beauty, welcome, congratulations, and love.
I will not pretend to wrap up the majesty of this place in one simple blog entry; that would be foolish. I would just like to share a little aloha. In my experiences, Hawaiians have been very giving for those who would truly care to share in the culture of Hawai'i. I'd like to think aloha, albeit special and culturally unique, should not be confined to the islands in the Pacific. We have a lot of worries, issues, and challenges on the mainland. However, just as Hawai'i is American, I propose we Americans allow ourselves to find a little aloha in our lives over here. Make sure you take some time to just take your time. Share a meal. Appreciate something beautiful. Feel the sunlight on your face. Give someone flowers. Listen to some nice music. "Talk story." Perhaps, I'm not doing this place justice, but I thought I'd give it a shot.