28 February 2009

Greetings in the Native Language

I recently heard my mother's new voice greeting for her home messaging unit which is mostly in Hawaiian. It begins, "Greetings in the native language, translation to follow." 

That initial sentence cracked me up! But it also made me proud that she is doing her small part to perpetuate 'ōlelo Hawaiʻi. Mom asked me some weeks earlier to provide her with a greeting that would be played for those leaving her a message. I happily obliged and she did a great job!

However, she is somewhat disappointed that she cannot attend my language classes--yet. She no longer drives, in part because of her health but mainly because I am using her car. It is a logistical challenge for me to drive to Fremont, pick her up, teach in South City, then take her home, then head home to Santa Rosa.
(According to Google Maps 249 mi – about 4 hours 25 mins)

I hope to have something worked out soon.

Until then, "Greetings in the native language, translation to follow."

E nā hoa ē, aloha mai kākou!
Dear friends, greetings to us all!

26 February 2009

Teaching Hawaiian Online

ʻAnoʻai kākou,

Being able to teach ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is an absolute blessing. I am so grateful to Kumu Hula Kāwika Alfiche for allowing me the opportunity to teach at the Kaululehua Hawaiian Cultural Center in South San Francisco. I am doubly blessed because I also teach for the Aʻo Makua Program, an adult enrichment distance learning program of Hawaiian culture and language. Aʻo Makua is an outreach component of Kamehameha Schools that offers an outstanding amount of short courses (3-4 weeks).

I recently taught the third of three Hawaiian language courses, Kuʻu Wahi Noho. This course focuses primarily on the pepeke henua or locational pattern. I will be facilitating the same course again from April 2-30, 2009. The courses are inexpensive compared to the amount of quality material that is presented.

I will be encouraging my face-to-face students to enroll since I do not teach (read cannot teach) both at the same time. It is also providence that I will be teaching that particular pattern soon in the classroom which can be reinforced by the online course.

From the website about Kuʻu Wahi Noho:

7. ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i: Ku‘u Wahi Noho
4 weeks
Cost: $25.00
Additional: USB Headset with microphone (e.g. Logitech USB 250 or similar)

  • “Ku‘u Wahi Noho ” – Where I live

  • The Ku‘u Wahi Noho papa ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i or Hawaiian language course will focus on the area that you live in.  You will learn sentence patterns and vocabulary that will help you to express your location and the location of special places in your home town.  Learn how to guide someone to your local post-office or to your favorite restaurant.  Course activities will include practice exercises, games, and interactive activities to help you strengthen your language base.

The class is from April 2-30, 2009 with registration closing on March 15, 2009.

Me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,

23 February 2009

Aloha in the Workplace

ʻAnoʻai kākou,

Today I remarked how a little aloha in the workplace goes a long way. When moving back to the SF Bay Area after living in Hilo for almost ten years, some Hawaiʻi customs were difficult to change. Especially at my new job!

I have to dress professionally everyday, wearing long pants and shoes to work. While in Hilo I could occasionally wear shorts and slippahs-- okay, perhaps more than occasionally, needing to dress up only when the situation deemed it necessary. Sure, my new position has a high degree of visibility, but changing my customary wardrobe style is also a survival tactic because it is so cold here. I still honor the "Aloha Friday" tradition though, proudly sporting my palaka aloha and humming the tune "It's Aloha Friday, No Work Til Monday."

However, one custom I would not and cannot change because it is such a part of me now is answering the phone or addressing email with "Aloha." At first I was a bit tentative, being a new hire and wanting to be regarded as a impeccable professional. When it was time to send out my first widely read email correspondence, my fingers knew what to type--"Aloha Everyone."

After hitting return I was waiting for some sort of negative reaction, even from my manager, but instead received several private emails saying, "I love that you wrote Aloha, it brightened up my day" or "Are you from Hawaiʻi? Me too!" I have met a few local people because of my greeting and also when folks find out where I am from, they try and connect me with their co-workers that are from Hawaiʻi or have Hawaiʻi connections.

Another more subtle reaction is when I receive an email greeting me with "Aloha Liko." How cool!

Just today I sent out an email to faculty campus-wide and received a response from a member of the English department who is from Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu. Needless to say, we will be getting together soon to talk-story.

Aloha in the workplace can go a long way--in so many ways!

ʻO au iho nō,

22 February 2009

He lā maikaʻi kēia lā.


This poor blog has been neglected for too long. I will attempt to revive my own interest in posting, documenting, and sharing my thoughts and experiences. I have asked my Hawaiian language students to keep a journal and thought I should at least do the same!

Today was meeting two of the second 4-week session. Our first meeting, a couple of weeks ago, was mainly a review of the concepts we learned last session. The review was intense. I did however begin teaching a new pepeke; the pepeke ʻaike he. I also provided enough vocabulary for two weeks since we would not be meeting the holiday weekend.

I assigned a work sheet for pepeke ʻaike ʻo and pepeke ʻaike he. The students had to translate from English to Hawaiian and Hawaiian to English. I also asked them to create their own sentences. Only one student emailed me during the two weeks, sharing how difficult it was to complete the haʻawina. Thank goodness she emailed me because as I found out in class today that while many folks were trying, the concepts were still "fuzzy."

It was great to hear all the questions while going over the haʻawina in class. We worked on the entire sheet. I had a good feeling that students were relieved and happy that it started to make sense.

It felt good for me too. As with most things I do, I set the bar high. I also attempt to teach too much to quickly. I am getting better though! In the back of my mind I have this urgency to get the haumāna to a point where they can start speaking more, and sometimes I advance to the next concept too soon. Today I felt that most everyone was okay with the pace being slower and that they are in it for the long term. Mahalo ke Akua!

Our class size from the first session has reduced due to varying circumstances of the students. Some haumāna were kind enough to let me know their situation and others just never show up. Hello!?

I am truly grateful however to the haumāna who have returned, even though some are going through difficult times financially. Some others are still attending papa while trying to manage other important parts of their lives...but they come.

He lā maikaʻi kēia lā.

ʻO ia ihola,