I grew up in Hawaii. Just out of college I wanted to travel, to take the trip that had been waiting. A college roommate who was visiting Hawaii wanted me to join her for the summer. I was so ready to travel I missed my sister’s wedding. Hawaii was a tropical paradise in the Pacific known for its beauty of lush palm trees and waterfalls. At the time there were small cottage hotels nestled along the beach of Waikiki. I arrived. The summer days played out walking to the beach, stretching out on a grass mat to bathe in the sun, splashing in the surf and dancing in the evening with a shoreline studded like diamonds with the moon’s reflection. My adventure felt magical. The summertime stay evolved into a decade of my life. I feel in love, in love the a place, in love with a time, in love with an exotic culture, in love with a guy. I got married. I engaged with friends from cultures far different from my background. I had babies and began to raise a family. I pursued a career. I struck out on my own. In Hawaii I grew up and learned a life’s lesson.
I was brought down to myself. I knew aloha. I understood. I found the meaning, the interpretation of the most widely known word in the Hawaiian language–aloha.
- A stands for akaha’i, meaning kindness, tenderness.
- L stands for lokahi, meaning unity, harmony.
- O stands for olu’olu, meaning agreeable, pleasantness.
- H stands for ha’aha’a, meaning humility, modesty.
- A stands for ahonu’i, meaning patience, perseverance.
The philosophy expressed in aloha with all the charm, warmth and sincerity of the Hawaiian people is one I strive to keep mindful. May I always have aloha. My adopted homeland, I’m still in love with you.