One day at a time, I want to enjoy the now.
Graduation Celebration continues in Black and White. This will be the last of the series. Life is on for these kids. I can't start to imagine one day I may be seated in the stadium looking at my own kid graduating. Soon enough.
One day at a time, I want to enjoy the now.
I tried to pick just a few of the photos I shot. There was so much happening in the stadium, the light was so pretty, people were so cheerful, so themselves, so not hiding their joy, it was a real treat taking, sometimes sneaking, photos.
Behind the scenes is was I like most. To me this is when you can best capture emotions. No posing. If you don't capture the moment, it's gone. No second take. I love it.
I talked more about this graduation here.
There will be a black & white series.
Ten days ago was Graduation Day for local students graduating from King Kekaulike High School. My friend's daughter was amongst those students. And it's quite a big deal here. Not that graduating isn't a big deal in France but here it's a true celebration. And I so wish we would do the same in France. I mean it is a big deal. When you think about it, these kids really are looking at the dawn of their adult's life (do I sound that old!). They finally are going to take their life into their hands, make their true own choices, their true own mistakes, they are going to explore a whole new world of possibilities, of freedom. Okay I recall making a bunch of mistakes way before graduating but hell it was fun!
Back to the graduation. In France we have a week of non stop exams at the very end of high school cycle. It's very intense. Very scary. Sometimes traumatizing even. You may score A++ all year, if you fail the exams, you're good to go back for an extra year. Stupid is what I think. Once you're done with all the tests you wait for an other few weeks for the results to be stapled on some grey un-happy walls. You sometimes have your family with you, you often go with your friends. You have to be patient or fight to get to the sacred wall and look down for your name. There are screams, there are joyful tears, there are agonizing tears. If you're good you pray that all of your friends passed too and then you head down to the pub (drinking age 18 remember), possibly get pretty waisted and will most likely end up in a disco dancing your deliverance out. Which is fun. But after all those months filled with stress, you'd expect some kind of official celebration. Well, peanut. Not that I am dying to wear one of the American graduation outfit (come-on!) but after attending my friend's graduation ten days ago, I have to say that I thought it was beautiful. Imagine a stadium filled with family and friends all cheering like hell when they see you step onto the stage. It's a bit like having your own rock-star moment. You must be feeling super empowered which sounds like a good thing at that point of your life. I believe graduation in the state of Hawaii is even more special. Flowers make it so much more special. Your friends and family will spend some time out of their day making a lei (flower necklace), 2 leis, 10 leis for you and they will throw them around your neck, around your waist, above your head, they will bury you with flowers as soon as the ceremony is over. The air will be filled with the smell of gardenias, plumerias, jasmin, ginger, orchid, pikake, puakenikeni and the sound of an excited happy crowd. No I am not making this all up. It really is special and I am so glad I was able to be there for my friend because your friends here truly are your extended family.
I will share some photos in my next few posts, I can't throw them out there all at once.
The making of leis comes first.
Okay so living in the US I often find myself having to juggle between the metric system and the feet system (did you know it's actually called the English Imperial System ugh!). It's almost an every day workout. Seriously when in metric we only use the meters for length, here you have to deal with inch, foot, yard, hand, link, chain. When for volume we use liters & cubic meters, here I've had to learn all about gallons, ounces, cups (cups! wtf!)...It really isn't natural but I get my way around. Now what really confuses me is why on Earth does Mother's day have to be different from a country to another. How do you keep up with that! Well lucky for me I don't have to worry since I don't have a mom anymore (black humor I'd rather laugh than cry) but it makes the perfect excuse for your husband to just space it (if he needs an excuse ha!). Mother's day here was 3 weeks ago but in France it was this past Sunday. Okay it isn't a life-threatning issue, just me wondering why do we keep making life slightly more complicated than it could be. Just a why.
Here's a peek at my mother's day, a new thing for me but when your husband can't remember your birthday (in over 10 years!) you really don't expect much. After my sister had skyped us all the way from France to wish me, well you know what, hubby & son ran outside to try to figure out an emergency plan. And a huge bouquet from our tropical bushes did the job. It did. I even laughed trying to figure out our vase situation (will I get a vase next year..?). The only favor I asked for was a few photos of Manech and I . Got them. Love them. A Happy Day.
Oh and it's 10/10. My birthday. No comment.
This Saturday was the Ha`iku Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival. A celebration to benefit the local Elementary School, Community association and boys & girls club. Visitors to the island joined the local community for a fun day of music, craft, play, food while supporting our keiki (hawaiian for children), here in Haiku. The money raised throughout the day helps the school & associations pay for their expenses, field trips, events and more.
Under a tent was the Native Hawaiian Plant Society, where volunteers had set up a beautiful Lei and Haku making station. They provided everyone who wanted to seat for a moment with beautiful leaves, ferns, flowers and walked newbies through the process of making their very own flower crown.
When we walked into the tent my friend was sitting there making her Haku and while I have made many leis in the past, I had never made any Haku yet. So I sat down and started crafting my own, threading ferns and leaves together, letting my thoughts do their daily wondering, peacefully. Manech was quite unexpectedly both quiet and patient which made the moment even more special.
I wore it all day. From the festival to the grocery store to the beach. I realized these do hold magical powers, especially when hand-made with native plants. People SMILED. I mean people tend to smile easily around here but there it was like everyone was contaminated by some uncotrollable-happy-smily-virus as I walked by. And it fell so good. It lifted my spirit way up high all day. It was much needed and had a healing effect on my somewhat tortured emotions from the past few weeks. I am not exaggerating and suggest you try this wherever in the world you may be living. By yourself or with your child. Whether you're a boy or a girl, flowers don't care. Go pick what's out there growing in your yard, in the park, in the forest. It doesn't have to be the prettiest poppies. It can be very simple. A simple remedy for happiness.
(Oh and do send a photo my way if you happen to make one. Would love to see it!)
I took this series of photo a couple of weeks ago, as we were hiking the Makawao Forest, a majestic forest ten minutes away from home. For most people, Hawaii is synonymous of beautiful white sandy beaches, waterfalls, coconut trees and hippies. Some are passionate about its volcanoes and silver sword plants. Fewer know about its magical Eucalyptus and Pines forests. And I'll have to admit that for many years, I was much more of an ocean girl than a tree person. I'd spend my afternoons surfing and windsurfing, the ocean was the happiest place for me to be.
Then I became pregnant with Manech. Fast forward the nauseous first few months, all in a sudden I seemed to have a calling for the forest. I did go swimming in the ocean almost every day but I started to crave the forest, the trees, the smell of wet dirt. If you're pregnant during the summer, it's the place you'll want to go to cool your body down. But for me it wasn't only about my body wanting a refresher. I could feel it was deeper, something, or someone for that matter, was growing in me. I had the urge to surround myself with trees. I had to walk. walk and walk. A couple days before going into labor we went to the forest again and Gurvan had a hard time keeping up with me. I was walking like my life depended on it and I told him the little one really really wanted to walk. I could swear it wasn't me. People would smile at me and at my big belly about to deliver a new soul to the world. I remember before getting back into our car to drive home, we sat down and Gurvan opened some coconuts we had brought with us. I did not want to leave the forest.
Manech was born 3 days later. We didn't know whether we were going to welcome a girl or a boy. We kinda had names. Did not think about a second name though. All I knew was that I did not want him to have to carry the weight of some ancestor's name. And Gurvan came up with Kamani. The Hawaiian name of a tree known as the Tamanu in Tahiti. The people of French Polynesia use the nut of the tree to make oil, it's quite a rock star amongst trees in the South Pacific but it seems to have been a bit forgotten in the Hawaiian culture. However we had not really talked about second names, Manech was here and his dad came up spontaneously with that name. It sounded nice to me, I liked that it was a tree and not a person and so we wrote it down on the birth papers.
By eight and a half month Manech was a walking baby. One year and a half later, his dad had gone from being a captain on board large tanker boats to becoming an arborist, climbing and trimming trees. I still get cravings for forest walks. At the end of our walk a couple weeks ago, Manech stopped by a smaller tree, looked at it and gave it the sweetest hug. Then he stepped back, looked at it again (we couldn't move, too afraid to disturb the connection), laid his ear against the trunk and stayed there for a moment. Came back to us with a large smile. It left us speechless. And Happy.
I do believe Children are the guardians of our Soul.
I knew I had a photo. A few days before birth. In the forest. With a coco.
No need to say shooting photos has become one of our ritual when Manech and I have some solo time together. He sees me grab the camera and the excitement kicks right in. Not that he is going to pose or anything but he knows he'll get to play with it too and press the button and see an image appear on the screen. He knows heavy laughter is around the corner. I love to capture him on stills as we are just cruising around the house having the best mom & son time (I'm a mom!), coloring the bedroom's floor, looking at lizards (his first word), 'cause yes, we've got quite a few of them living inside our bedroom. I don't want him to pose, I want to capture an action, an expression, that come from his own little-self. It doesn't mean I won't ever have him play with a pop corn cup and a red pepper. But for once on Saturday, while the rain was excessively watering the garden, I thought I would try to include myself in the game since I tend to complain I don't have much photos of him and me (...leave the camera alone for someone else to grab it, I know). So here I am, mostly in the shape of a dslr camera but it's me and I love how some of these turned out. Like that first one where he was coming at me very determined to grab the camera and I took the shot right when his hand was in front of the lens, never thought it would come out with that cool hand-effect.
Practice Practice Practice and leave enough room for magic to happen. Always.
Looking at this photo the first thought would be 'cute boy trying to catch a flying red pepper'. Not at all, the cute boy was stealing the pop corn cup right when I wanted to take a shot and he'd go running in the house hoping I'd chase him, roaring like a wild tiger. Of course I obliged and we had the best laugh, doing it over and over. Man I love these precious moments.
Having gigantic metal sculptures spread out in the yard is something I find myself loving. It brings so much magic to the place. It's like waking up in a soft Burning man world every morning only you get to sleep in your own bed. It helps your imagination go wilder, your child-self come out, and the hippie inside you start shivering with excitement thinking "are we back, are we back, are we back to the summer of Love?"
Willy (above) is the Oh So Enthusiastic Wild Artist behind those sculptures. You gotta meet him, you gotta talk to him, you gotta see his funky awesome outfits to have a slight idea of the character. We love him. He left yesterday for the mainland and has been spending these past few weeks cleaning up his pieces, selling them, freeing himself from the attachement he had to them. Before letting go of all of them he asked us if we'd want to keep one. We asked if we could keep two. The sphere and the rainbow. I would love to hang the clouds in a kid's room. Keeping some of the magic safe with us.
Hard to beat. A Sunday afternoon spent feet in the sand, faces in the sun. Friends jamming on the beach. Kids making new friends for a moment or for life. This is Hawaii. Embracing the beauty the islands have to offer. As a kid I would not (NOT!) have guessed life would turn out to be so beautiful (the odds weren't quite on my side then). Hawaii sounded like a fairy place, the kind you'd hear about in fairy tales. But I woke up one day to find out...it is real! Take your widest dream and do not ever let go of it. Cherish it and it might eventually become a reality. Don't forget we are amongst the luckiest people, having freedom of life, freedom to make our own choices.
Meanwhile, it is soooo good to hang with such cool friends, being a parent but not only, dancing barefoot in the sand for a second holding your baby tight to your heart as the sun sets behind the mountains. LIVE HARD - DREAM HARDER!
Wondering about the pretty pretty jewelry pieces & head band? It is all hand made here on Maui, in a little Atelier tucked away in the Jungle. The happy news is that they ship worldwide. When Hawaii meets Paris. Ruebelle Designs.
Facts About Me
I was born French - read : sorry if my writing isn't perfect, yet! -but I do LOVE Peanut Butter and happen to live in beautiful H A W A I I. W E L C O M E