Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm really enjoying my hula class, I'm slowly but surely catching on.  We are currently learning a dance in the "kahiko" style.  This style is different than what many people typically think of when they think of hula.  Below is a link to a video that be the easiest way to explain what it looks like.

Here is a description of Kahiko that I found online:
Ancient hula, as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko. It is accompanied by chant and traditional instruments. "Ai Kahiko", meaning "in the ancient style" are those hula written in the 20th and 21st centuries that follow the stylistic protocols of the ancient hula kahiko.


Thanksgiving Break

We have been super busy this past week!  It started with a "flower hunt" to make a lei for my friend Staci who came to visit us.  It was so wonderful to see a familiar face again! We were able to enjoy exploring the island together.

According to Staci, we should encourage everyone who visits us to go camping at Polihale.  I would have to agree with her... it must be one of the best places in the world for camping.  Don't let this sign scare you off... its not that treacherous... especially if you are used to driving on dirt roads.  The bumpy road is worth the gigantic beach at the end.  Almost no one is ever there which makes is very peaceful.

We also explored Waimea Canyon, but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and it was very gloomy.  We drove to the Kalalau Lookout, but literally could not see anything through the clouds.  However, if it had been a clear day we would have seeen this.

Of course we also went to several different beaches and did some shopping.  We also realized that the northern part of the island is not that far away so we drove up there so Staci could see more of the extraordinary views.  We normally don't spend much time "up north" because we feel like it is farther away than it really is.  I have a feeling we will be spending much more time there.

Staci came to school with me on Monday and Tuesday to help me in my classroom.  The kids loved her and I loved having her help!  Staci was showered with notes and pictures from the younger students. She told them about how lakes freeze in Michigan and they were blown away by the idea!  Unless there is a hurricane, I don't think there is any bad weather here.  It has been slightly cooler in the mornings and some people on the island have begun wearing Ugg boots!  I was shocked that those are worn here.  I only wear flip-flops, which are called "slippers".

- Emilie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Our school has been invited to the island of Kahoolawe!  It is the smallest of the eight Hawaiian islands.  No one permanently lives on the island because the United States used to use it as a training ground and it was severely damaged by excessive bombing.  Now there is a project to restore the island.  Eventually, people may be able to visit the island.

The school has been on a wait list to volunteer at the island for several years!  Finally, a slot has opened up... April 2013.  I don't know any of the other details at this point, but it would be exciting to see an island that is mostly off-limits!  The entire island is on the national registry of historic places.

I found this on the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission website and thought it was interesting:
"Various ceremonies and rites are regularly performed on Kaho‘olawe using traditional cultural practices. The annual planting ceremony takes place every October at the beginning of the wet season, and people from both the KIRC and the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) come together to give offerings and open the planting season. Cultural practitioners, usually from the PKO, perform seasonal ceremonies for Kane and Kanaloa during the solstices. Proper burial ceremonies are also held when iwi kupuna are found on the island."

Here is the link to the website for more information about the island and restoration project!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Avocado Tree

Our neighbor has a huge avocado tree in their backyard. There are dozens of avocados growing on it! They recently brought us a few. But they are not ordinary avocados...they are gigantic!

-Cory and Emilie

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hula Practice

I had my first hula practice on Monday! It was a lof of fun, but hard. Everyone else has been dancing for at least a year, if not several years and are really good. I have a lot of practicing to do, that is for sure. Most of the class will be going to the Big Island for a hula competition in April. It is called Merrie Monarch and is considered to be the biggest hula competition in the world! I will not be performing, there is no way I could be ready in time. Maybe someday!

Here is the link to the Merrie Monarch site in case you are interested in learning more about it!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run

Yesterday I ran my first 5k run in years! I was a little nervous because I have only been consistantly running for the past three weeks. When we got there I was surprised how many people were there, apparently over 500 people were signed up. Some were running the 10k though. We rarely see anyone outside running, so couldn't believe they had such a good turn out. I guess people must be running early or late when it is coolder outside. I ended up placing 30th out of the 266 people who ran the 5k! I was third in my age group so I also got a ribbon. After the race they had an awesome breakfast for everyone!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Program

The school is working on a Christmas program to perform for their families in December. They are doing a moving nativity scene and singing Christmas carols in Hawaiian. I joined them for their practice yesterday so I would know know what is going on. I realized that it is much easier to read words in another language when it is to a familiar tune. I actually had a lot of fun! One of my sweet second graders announced that I should be the angel in the nativity scene because I am so nice. Children can sure be sweet! The school is going to be selling reusable bags (the kind the grocery stores sell) for a fundraiser this Chirstmas. They are purple with the school logo on them. They are raising money to purchase caps and gowns for the seniors I believe.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Resorts in Paradise

Last weekend we decided to check out some of the resorts on the island.  We went to Waiohai Beach Club and the Kauai Marriott.  Both of them were awesome! 

 This picture is of Waiohai... they had a really nice area with picnic tables and a hammock.  They also have several pools and a hot tub of course. Not to mention, the beach is only a few steps away.

This picture is from the Kauai Marriott.  They had a huge circular pool with about  hot tubs surrounding it and fountains everywhere.  It is probably the most extravagant hotel that we have seen so far.


-Emilie and Cory

Cory Actually Gets Paid for This!

One of the guys who works out at the Kauai Gymnastics Academy made a video of part of their practice last week.  He posted it on youtube and sent us the link... enjoy!
-Cory and Emilie

Camping Trip to Polihale

Now that we have a car, we decided to go camping at one of our favorite beaches, Polihale.  This is one of the few places that the bus does not go to, so we have not been there since one of our first weekends here when we had a rented car.  It is literally the farthest beach accessible by car on the west side of the island.  The beach was deserted, and we felt like we had it all to ourselves!

 Beautiful sunset!

The waves were to big for swimming, but they were entrancing to watch.  I also spent time looking for sunrise shells, which are small shells that are the color of the sunrise!

We saw several boats out this morning.  We are pretty sure that they were headed for the Na Pali coast.  There are a lot of boat tours that go out there because the coast is not accessible by car.  So you have to hike or boat in to see it.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


This morning as we were doing our daily protocol I saw a double rainbow above the school! On the way home, I saw another double! I really think there are more days that I see one than days I don't. The word for rainbow in Hawaiian is, anuenue. There was one day that I saw a trace of a triple rainbow! Now we really understand why the license plates and ids have rainbows on them, they are everywhere here!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It was strange to be dressed in our "summer" clothes for the first time on Halloween. At school we did a pumpkin carving contest. Each classroom had a pumpkin to carve/decorate as a group. Ours turned about pretty good! My class choose to make a witch pumpkin, and they did it without any of my help (aside from just monitoring). I had them choose a partner, and each pair had 15 minutes to work on the pumpkin while the rest of the class chose from an assortment of activities I had for them in the classroom. 

 We won the "Most Creative" award.

After school, Cory and I went to Kekaha to pass out Halloween candy. We didn't think we would get any trick-o-treaters at our place because we live on top of a huge, steep hill that most kids (and parents) probably wouldn't want to climb.  Plus, in Kekaha I got to see some of the students from the school all dressed up in their costumes.