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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Maui 3: Sunday with the Hanohanos


Sunday on Maui was bliss.  While some of the wedding party were likely busy having hangovers, and others off to shop the tourist spots, Steve and I had planned to meet my newly-discovered 3rd cousin at church.  You heard right, newly-discovered 3rd cousin, Peter Hanohano and I were able to connect thanks to my ancestry research and FamilySearch.org.  I actually had connected with his sister 5 years ago as we were both working on the same family line.  When I mentioned to her that I would be in Maui for my cousin's wedding, she told me to contact her brother that still lives there.  I really wanted to meet more of my Hawaiian family, so I texted and emailed back and forth and was able to arrange Sunday.

We arrived barely on time to sacrament meeting and we were greeted only moments later by a big warm aloha by Lynn and Peter Hanohano, bearing a welcome lei for both Steve and I.  I have never felt in all my life such immediate depth of love from practical strangers.  You can imagine that any insecurities of meeting unknown individuals vanished at our first hello, or aloha in this case.

Church was a wonderful experience.  The meetings were spirit-filled, the Sunday School class was an engaging and thought-provoking experience as we learned about the Sabbath day.  The teacher was someone that I feel I have met before.  I almost think she spoke to one of my classes for Recreation Management and Youth Leadership at BYU.  If that wasn't her, she's her doppleganger.  Her approach to teaching included filling the chalkboard with pictures and snippets from her study which she referred to if it came up in the discussion.  It was an effective way to share her perspective on what she learned in preparing this lesson to a whole group in a concise fashion that sparked inspiration in the class and there was a good amount of participation as we went around the room sharing our own thoughts or one we picked out from her list of ideas that we resonated with.






Relief Society was enjoyable as well.  I found a seat in the second row as Lynn was busy getting things together before the meeting began since she's one of the counselors in the Relief Society presidency, just like I am.  As I sat waiting, I was greeted by another member of the presidency that threw her arms around me in a hug and welcomed me with a big ALOHA and a lei for me to wear.  That was the best welcome I've ever received at church.  I felt so loved.  In fact, I wonder if we welcomed all our visitors at church in such a fashion if they would feel the same love I did.  It was very memorable.

After church, we headed over to meet more of their family for lunch at their home.  I remember after snapping a couple pictures outside the church building that the trees were swaying in the wind. The day was hot and humid, making the breezes ever-so-welcome!  The wind seemed to blow frequently while we were there, reminding me of the springtime winds we get where we live.

When we got to their home, actually the home of Lynn's mother, people began to arrive, mostly relatives, and a couple friends of the family, and exchange students.  The carport was set up as an outdoor room where we all could gather and eat, and sit and relax.  While we waited, this little fella, I forget his name now, was a good buddy of mine, coloring with me and showing me his toy car.

He took us on a short tour around the yard, showing us the different plants growing.
bananas


Look at that banana flower!



This is a lady slipper flower.



It was so fun to see all the different plants that grow in a tropical region!  There was beauty and wonder everywhere I looked. 

When it was about time to eat, I was handed a genealogy page that was really remarkable.  There was so many names all there in one place, it was candy for my family-historian-soul.  I love to think about all those people I am related to, all those names that lived a life and left a legacy.  I can't wait to get to know them more personally through research and one day meeting them in heaven.


Before we blessed the meal, we all sang a hymn along to grandma's ukulele.  Yet another wonderful, memorable, light-filled moment.  I don't think the smile ever left my face.

Then it was eat-time!  Talk about a delicious spread!  One of my favorites, shoyu chicken, was enhanced with star anise and a handful of fresh cilantro.  It was so good!  The tofu & somen noodle salad was tossed with an entire rainbow of colorful veggies and garbanzo beans, an absolutely perfect side dish that was so light and fresh!  The potato salad was deep with flavor from the baked seasoned potatoes, which is what I'm sure gave it that extra special twist.  And, have you ever had a seaweed salad that made you want to never stop eating?  Lets just say it was magical.  Gosh!  I'm getting so hungry as I'm typing this.  I want to go make some of Aunty Lynn's food. 

Shoyu chicken with cilantro!  Potato salad on the side.
After our remarkable meal, we took a family picture in the front yard before some people had to go.


Banana flowers are amazing!
Peter and Lynn took us sight seeing around town.  We hopped in their car and got to go see the beach where they often see sea turtles.  It was funny because they couldn't remember exactly how to get there.  All they had was the clue from one of their daughters that there's often a lady that comes to feed cats at the turn-off.  Sure enough, as we approached the general area, there was a cat lady tossing food to the stray felines standing at an easy-to-miss turn off.  The parking was minimal, but we were able to get out and see the very windy beach, smell the salty sea, and see the wind surfers.  There weren't any sea turtles out at that time, but we knew how to get there if we wanted to try again later (which we did and were successful).

Then Peter showed us these beautiful flowers that grow there.  I'm so glad he did because I love seeing plant life.  I've never seen flowers like that.  I love their pentagonal design.


They then took us to Iao Valley State Park and the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens.  The history of that area was fascinating and the beauty was remarkable!  We felt like we were in a mystical land.  It was so cool and comfortable up there thanks to the clouds.  Pictures just don't do it justice.










Our picture in front of Iao's Needle

Interesting vegetation
After being blessed to share the beauty of Maui with my relatives, Peter left me with some amazing stories of family history and 3 of his favorite book titles.  He also gifted me the biography of Queen Liliuokalani.  It was a full day, blessed, and wonderful!  Like I said before, Sunday on Maui was bliss!


A gift I plan to read with my children.

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