I asked May Aiona to come by and talk to you all about her Hawaiian heritage. She’s my first Hawaiian heroine and her brother will be the hero of A Little Harmless Addiction, out this summer.
Aloha! May Aiona here. First off a big Mahalo to Mel and Nikki for letting me come by today. Mel asked me to chat with you about my Hawaiian background. I’m half Hawaiian, and half a lot of other things, lol. My father says I get my blue eyes from my mother’s side, an Irish devil who came over on a ship and never left the islands after he married a local Hawaiian girl. Since Mel has lived in Hawaii, she knows what life on the island is like. Granted, I know from our conversations, it wasn’t exactly her thang, lol. She really hated being cooped up on a little island and well, you all know how she feels about bugs.
Hawaiian culture, or Hawaiiana, is rich in the arts and we have our own unique way of cooking. I’m not sure if I moved to the mainland if I would be able to handle the withdrawls. We like pork…a lot of pork. We like it the traditional way, cook in the ground as described here, or the way Mel cooks it in her home in Virginia. I particularly like it served on pizza like we do at Dupree’s. Mel also likes to tease me about SPAM. In the 40’s, during the war, we had a HUGE warehouse here on the island. This was because the government was afraid there might be a blockade. While we have a lot of fresh fruits and veggies on the islands, we are limited, and we don’t have a lot of cattle ranches, lol. So, to ensure we didn’t go without something, they built a huge warehouse for it. We actually serve it in restaurants, and with eggs in the morning, with a side of rice. Another thing we cook with is macadamia nuts. From cookies and brownies to fish, we use the rich nut to enhace the taste of food. And well, there is poi, but Mel really hates anyone bringing that up, lol.
But there are many other things I love about my home state. Hawaii is a blend of cultures that is very unique. Yes, you have the Hawaiian, but you have many different Asian cultures threaded throughout our tapestry. There is a tight connection to the Catholic church because of the missionaries who came over to help the “savages.” Of course, with travel today, we have so many different races and creeds living on our island. With 850,000 people on Oahu, you can’t help but bump into someone just a little different than you.
Our attitude about life is different. We don’t always understand the rush to get things done. No, we aren’t lazy. As Mel always said, the best movers they had were in Hawaii. We work hard, but we also understand the importance of Ohana, family. You will find many families living in the same home with two or three generations, as I do. Part of the reason is because of the economy. Hawaii is expensive and with little land, housing is extremely expensive. But, we also like to keep our families close by. That is why so many people don’t leave the island. Being on the mainland would be too far away.
That attitude feeds into our other main idea, ain’t your business. We aren’t truly private, but I think most of us don’t care what our neighbors are doing, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. That isn’t to say we don’t care about our neighbors, but we do understand privacy. And worrying if your next door neighbor is gay. Who cares, really?
Of course, there is the beauty. While Mel is crazy and loves that cold weather, I can’t stand a nighttime low below 60, brrr. Even so, she talks of driving through the mountains on H3(the most expensive highway in the US) and enjoying the ride because of the scenery. Lush green mountains, a rain forest, waterfalls, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. How can you top that? Mel here- with SNOW, you crazy woman.
For all those reasons, I could never see myself living anywhere else. My heart will always be here on the island, with my Ohana and my ku`uipo(sweetheart) Evan.
A hui hou kakou (until we meet again )
May is featured in my newest release, A Little Harmless Obsession.