Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unusual First Day of School

Today was my first day of school with kids!  It was definitely not the typical first day.  We started the morning with Hawaiian Protocol which was all spoken in Hawaiian.  They began with a welcoming/opening chant, then said a prayer, sang the state anthem (which used to be the national anthem before Hawaii became one of the states) and then said another prayer.  Then the students ate breakfast outside on the picnic tables.

Instead of starting class after breakfast we all got onto buses and went to a funeral.  A parent of one of my students died last week and his funeral was today.  The funeral service was about 2.5 hours long and then we went to the cemetery.  Afterwards we went to a park in Hanapepe for a traditional Hawaiian meal which was prepared by the community.  There was a ton of food, but one of the most delicious things was pulled pork cooked in an imu.  Below is a description I found online about how the meat is prepared.

"The central feature of the luau is the imu, an underground oven (a shallow pit lined with stones). A whole pig (puaa) is wrapped in ti and banana leaves and placed in the pit's hot center. The pig and laulau (savory bundles containing side dishes) are covered with multiple layers of banana, ti, or sometimes ginger leaves, and a final coating of earth. In about four hours the coverings are removed and the luau begins."

By the time we arrived back at the school the day was over and all of the students went home.  So looks like tomorrow will be the real first day of school.  I did get to meet the students in my class today though, and judging from my first impressions they seem like a nice group of kids.

They gave me a "Hawaiian Name" - Emiliea ( sounds like Emma-Leah).  Most of the students have an English  name and a Hawaiian name.  One student was talking about how she didn't like her English name, because it is "too white" then she looked at me and said "no offense."  This particular student actually is white so I thought that comment was kind of funny.

One of the second graders in my class asked me what "the world I came from" is like.  I think it will be kind of fun to share what I know about the rest of the United States and Michigan specifically with my class.  I know I will be learning a lot from them!  I'm going to start memorizing the Hawaiian Protocol this week.


-Emilie

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