“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bigfoot Birthday

We recently celebrated The Boy's birthday. Along with a few cousins and kids of friends, I invited his friends from his class, and they, along with their families came and enjoyed a really fun day at the park. The day was beautiful. Hubby and I got to meet the parents of the kids in The Boy's class. We got to put names to the faces of The Boy's classmates. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of all our guests. Everyone was really nice. I look forward to getting to know them better over the course of The Boy's time at his school.

The Boy chose a Bigfoot theme for his party. It didn't all work out as well as I had thought it would in my head. There were a few hiccups but the kids had a great time.

We made casts of the kids' hands and feet. Not all the kids were into it, but it was fun.

The cake was rockin'. I made a chocolate cake and decorated it with candy rocks, plastic trees and a tiny ceramic monkey I hoped would pass as a bigfoot. It did.
Here's a picture of it.

See that frosting lake? That's just what it is, a frosting lake. The Boy dug a handful of cake out of the center so the lake could go there. It was his birthday cake. I took his lead and filled the hole with frosting. 

As it was a little hot outside, I put a jacket over the cake so the frosting wouldn't melt. So while I was protecting the cake from the heat, it was not protected from the pitter patter stompy stampy of a 6 year old's feet and the cake got trampled on. Luckily the cake was also covered in plastic so although the cake was smashed, it wasn't rendered inedible. The kids ate it all.

At the end of the day my kiddies were worn out. Here they are waiting for Hubby to drive up so we could load the car and head home. Bean fell asleep before we even pulled away from the curb.

Overall it was a good day and I'm happy with the way it turned out. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi.

I read an article written by an Arab woman who doesn't think white women should belly dance. Since I am a white woman who dances hula, I thought it would be an interesting read. I wondered if by me dancing hula evoked the same feelings in Hawaiians.

The author of the article contends that by belly dancing, white women are appropriating the art for themselves and by doing so, causing harm to those who come from Arab cultures. White women belly dancing is akin to donning "Arab Face." That the fulfillment they get from belly dancing is at the expense of the Arab woman; that the Arab woman is somehow degraded because someone non-Arab finds something in the dance that moves them, that they find beautiful.

This article struck a chord with me. I think what the author is getting at is that her culture is being destroyed by people outside of it participating in it. I don't necessarily agree with her.

I've often thought about what people think of me when they see a white girl with no previous connection to Hawaii receiving such fulfillment and happiness from dancing hula.  I've only visited a few of the places we honor with hula. I only know about the people we dance about from what my Kumu has told me or what I've read on my own. I don't worship any of the gods we dance about.  I just know that I have a right to be in my halau because my Kumu says I do.

While I do think there is the threat of a culture to be watered down by outside influences, or for concepts or precepts to be interpreted incorrectly based on one's own culture, or even for cultures to be suppressed by another due to their own religious beliefs, I don't think it is wrong for someone to want to learn about other cultures or to practice art forms outside of one's own ethnic or national tradition.

I think it's important to preserve one's culture. I think it's important to learn about one's culture, one's history. I also think it's important to learn about other cultures, ethnicities and rituals. In doing so, one is able to understand the another's motives, beliefs, practices and religions. One is able to find beauty in ways of doing things different from one's own. One is also able to find similarities and common ground with another. Through this, we may not always agree with each other, but we can at least understand each other better.

I see no contradiction with loving the dance of one culture, the food of another, and the art of yet another even though I know that most of the time dance, food, art and religion are interconnected and it's important to have a grasp of the whole picture.

My husband's ethnicity is different from those of his parents. He was adopted. He is ethnically one thing and culturally another. He identifies with the culture he was brought up in, not the ethnicity he looks like. We both think it is very important to share with our children the customs, rituals and traditions and spiritual practices we grew up with, and the cultures we identify with, because those things make up who we are, what we believe and how we live. We also think it's important to create traditions of our own to pass down. If we were to learn what his ethnic derivation is, I would encourage my children to explore that world as well. And when my children grow up and start families of their own, I would hope they and their spouses would carry on the tradition of sharing their individual histories and culture with their kids.

I guess what I'm getting at is I don't think it's wrong to step out of one's cultural bubble to explore what other cultures have to offer. It's not out of the question to find fulfillment and joy in a practice unlike something one may have experienced in one's own life. One just has to remember that inter-cultural exploration should come from a place of respect and one needs to honor its intentions and respect its traditions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dang it. - A Dream

Dang it. Dang it. Dang it.

I hate when I can't remember my dreams. I had a celebrity dream last night that was probably pretty good but all I remember is the following .....

Tony Shalhoub
His broken foot
A black cat.

Man, it was probably a good dream, too.


Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.