I was really hoping to be able to rub in my recent trip to visit family in Hawai'i, but it's a little tough now that it's warmed up. But Dec. 9 -- the day before I flew out -- started below freezing here. So you better believe I was enjoying the islands' more-or-less 5-degree fluctuation in temperature that didn't dip below 67.
Most of my isle 'ohana lives on Hawai'i, aka the Big Island, which loans it's name to the to state. (FYI: Honolulu is not on this island. It's on O'ahu.) I spent my time cruising in a rented Mustang, talking story with my aunties and uncles and even attending classes at my cousins' charter school, which focuses on hula and Hawaiian woodwork in addition to the more traditional U.S. subjects.
The trip was great for a break, even though it was funny to see the Santa Claus decorations showing his belly hanging over flowered board shorts. But aside from the fact that I got to spend a lot of time on tropical beaches, I got to hang out with some cool kids who happen to be kin to me. We don’t look or talk alike. I can’t get a tan, and they’re brown year-round. I have a Southern accent, and they talk Hawaiian pidgin. The combination raised a few skeptical eyebrows there, just like the picture below may do.
It’s fascinating the way people of dozens of ethnic backgrounds have migrated to Hawai'i, and it’s made for some pretty interesting genetic combinations – and surprises. (A Native Hawaiian with red hair?)
So here’s a picture of just how some of those family combinations have turned out. That’s me with my 4-year-old cousin, Kaimalu, on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. Yeah, it was about 70 degrees when we took the picture. And yes, he is an adorable little kid. Be jealous!