Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A hui hou Elder Chock...

Last night we said our last good-byes to Isaac, now Elder Chock, at the Honolulu International Airport.  We know he'll be a great missionary and will bless the lives of the people of Buenos Aires. That knowledge doesn't make it easier to say "a hui hou."

The hardest part for me was hearing my other kids cry real tears of sadness for seeing him go. I get misty right now thinking back to Lydia, James, and Angela sobbing at different points last night. Rebecca held herself together pretty well, but I know today she's pouring herself into housework to distract herself. And then there's Maile and me. I think we are alike in how we hold back the crying thing as best we can. But I also know we both are very much going to miss that knucklehead.

Rebecca and I took, Elder Chock to the temple in Lā‘ie yesterday morning. We enjoyed having some time together in the House of the Lord. We actually got to see our friend Kealaula Haverly in there too, he's leaving for his mission by the end of December.

Mom holding it together as we say our farewells at the TSA line.

They have some special handshakes they've worked on. Maybe this will help them remember them for when he comes home.

No tears. Yet. Ahem.

Elder Chock was playing with Lydia. I didn't catch video of it, but I'm sure those of you who know Elder Chock can imagine it: he was dancing, doing the robot, goose stepping, just being goofy through the line. Lydia of course was loving it and giggling. Until she couldn't see him anymore.

Rebecca and I didn't want to just take the other kids home after that. Needed some kind of buffer, a distraction, whatever.

We went to see Moana in Mililani so we could drop Maile off in Wahiawa right after. We even got the kids popcorn, which we normally don't do. I guess that's indicative of the stupor we were in after seeing Elder Chock off.

I think it worked. Mostly. For the time we were in the movie.

Only 730 days left until he comes back. Not too long...right?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cultural Immersion

Thick. Slimy. Mud.

The Haverly's invited us to help them harvest their Taro (Kalo in Hawaiian) patch (Lo'i) on Saturday. We were excited to be able to help them and learn more about our ancestors! We got there at nine and were instructed to wear grubby clothes (because the mud stains everything) and no shoes. Unless you have special mud shoes, the mud steals them and takes them to the underworld ;)

The Kalo grows deep in the mud, but the mud is also a mercy - it keeps the bugs away. The Kalo has a long green top and then a potato-shaped root. The process has spiritual significance and there are many analogies about taking care of the family. The top of the parent plant is replanted after the harvest and becomes the next crop.

Angela and Lana
Maile and Pili - troublemakers :)
Angela, Pili, Maile
After picture. Kalo has been harvested and new families will grow!
Every part of the Kalo must be cooked to be consumed because it has an itchy quality. When we were rinsing and cutting the roots off, we had to be careful (often gloves are worn). The top leafy part can be simmered down and used kind of like spinach. It is used in local foods such as Lau Lau and chicken or squid Luau.

These pictures don't even do justice to how muddy we got. Isaac and Kealaula (Kea's oldest son) were shoulder deep in the water, and were given the task of unplugging any spots in the water flow from the source (irrigation) and past the lo'i.

James found a huge toad in the Lo'i but we were too muddy to get a good picture. Lydia even got in next to me and pulled out quite a few Kalo.

The bottom part is steamed, pealed (the skin is thicker than a potato, more like an avacado) and then pounded. We even got to pound poi! We sat on the floor in the living room and used these

It was hard work! Once the lumps have been pounded out, it makes a sticky purple-ish grey substance call Pa'i'ai. We are some with the chicken luau and rice. It was yummy! I liked it much more than poi, partly it was so fresh and partly because it was thicker. Poi is made when Pa'i'ai is smoothed out even more and thinned slightly with water.

Fall Break - a whole week!

Yes I made them clean all day Monday, but Tuesday we went on a hike. They have numerous "pillbox" hikes here, basically hikes that have old military lookouts. This one was by Kailua, so we packed up water, snacks, and the dog and headed out to the other side of the island. It was a beautiful day, windy but thankfully not rainy.
After the hike, we went to Kailua beach park. We tried to get Xyla to play with us in the ocean but the waves were a bit rough and loud and y'all know she's afraid of our vacuum so she wasn't having any of it. We found an authentic Portuguese bakery and got some malasadas (egg-yeast batter puffed and then fried like a scone). It was a great day.

Every time we clean a room, we end up with large amounts of heavy duty black garbage bags which we stack outside, along with bags and books that we donate to the local Savers. On Wednesday, our friend Kea Haverly (friend of Thomas from high school) brought a truck that we got to borrow for the day. Isaac, James, and I took two full truck-loads to the dump, and then stopped by our storage shed and picked up half of our stuff (and our stove)!

Angela, James, and Isaac got dressed up that night and got to go see the opera "La Boheme" (one of my favorites) with the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus. They said it was amazing.
I can't remember what else we did that week, but it was great for the kids to be off school. If we'd realized it sooner, we would have had Thomas take some work off - oops!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Xyla came!!!!

Angela again!

we are all super happy now that Xyla is finally here and with our family again! It was no fun to be separated for two whole months. The reunion with us was awesome but she seemed really scared and traumatized after being on a plane and her her kennel for 13 hours. also she stunk really bad. But as soon as we got her washed and then went to a park with her she seems really happy too!

Lydia's fifth birthday!

This is Angela posting....just by the way. We haven't updated the blog much so I decided to.

Happy 5th birrhday Lydia!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Like drinking through a fire hose...

Image result for kamehameha schools

So, I started my new job on Friday, September 16th.

My title: Employer Engagement Coordinator.

I'm working for Kamehameha Schools, the school I went to from 7th grade to completion of high school (see here for a little background on why this school is so special to me and other alumni).

I'm working in a department at the school called Strategy and Innovation. So far my understanding is that this is the department that is thinking of, developing, and piloting new ways of providing educational services that are culturally appropriate and building capacities for Native Hawaiians to be successful now and in the next few decades.  Something like that, don't quote me on it.

My main focus is going to be a tool that, best way for me to describe it is this: LinkedIn + a learning management system specifically for beneficiaries of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate. Which, if you know what I was working on before we moved to Hawaii, is kinda neat because I feel like there's tons of parallels to what I've studied over the past few years; heck, it's an area in which I tried to start a consulting business!  Basically I'm developing work-based learning opportunities for students, and this tool is the...well, tool, for getting the work done. From connecting with prospective employers to providing training modules to students on stuff like interviewing or cover letters and lots of other stuff in between and beyond.  Really cool stuff. At least, the way I feel about it so far.

Here's the coolest thing about my experiences at work so far though: I'm surrounded by intelligent people who are passionate about the school's mission and vision and who, at least so far as I've experienced, are genuinely giving their best effort to make a positive difference in the lives of Native Hawaiian kids.

Here's the close second coolest thing about my work: I am kinda geeking out from the few meetings I've been asked to join since I started. Why? Because the mana'o, the information, the ideas being shared and dissected and evaluated etc. etc. in these meetings is so exciting. At least for me it is.

And it's seriously like drinking through a fire hose. I feel like I'm back in graduate school again.

Someone mentioned to me today that at least the water's been clean for me so far. Which I get, you know? I know it's not going to be all fun and games, but so far I'm very excited to be joining the team at this point in the game and I'm humbled by and grateful for the chance to participate and contribute what I can. I honestly feel very lucky.

The lady who hired me is pretty dang amazing, too, I hope and pray I can be the help she needs to get this project up and running and successful.

And lots of my KS '91 classmates work for Kamehameha and/or are very involved in Native Hawaiian, er, stuffs? Which means there's a possibility of a min-class reunion nearly every day. Well, almost.  Hope I can represent well.

It's an amazing opportunity for me to work for an organization with a higher purpose that reaches backwards to my history and ancestry at the same time it's reaching forward to the future, which impacts my own family.

I'm rambling, sorry. Just know I'm very excited to be working in this organization, in this particular role, at this particular time. Humbled and grateful.

Something about the 2nd Amendment...

Saturday the 17th the Chock family participated in a church/ward youth activity at the Koko Head shooting range. Some fun moments there, some increased awareness of firearms. We're not really a gun kind of family. Nothing against them, I've even thought about purchasing a gun for protection in the home. I guess we just haven't felt the need for it yet.

I guess that's why it's important to expose my kids to firearms? Smarter folks than me have well thought out arguments for and against it.

Honestly, this was for fun, and I think the we all enjoyed ourselves.

Lydia gets to shoot a revolver.

I got in on the fun too. Why didn't anyone tell me I had major bed-head? Sheesh.

James, of course, enjoyed himself. He's not a bad shot actually.

Then there was Rebecca shooting a big ol' gun. I already posted this on Facebook, but I think it's funny enough that it needs to be posted here again.

There was also archery, this was fun to watch too.

It was a fun activity for us to do together as a family. The folks there were very nice and super helpful to the kids. I think it was good, at the very least, to have a real-world experience with firearms to enlighten the "video game" experience of firearms.