September 24, 2018

An Umu To Bring Us Together

This weekend was really busy. Our congregation wanted to pull together an Umu (a Polynesian underground oven) to have a reason to be together. The day before Lucky Dragon and I went to camp out. It was fun to do that. He LOVES to burn things so we had a fire and instead of roasting marshmallows, he likes to throw them in and watch them grow and then deflate. Koala Bear loved it too. She would pull her chair and sit right next to her brother wherever he went. She would also take the flashlight and say, "I go walk," she would start out and if I did not join she would  wave at me to come and say, "go walk!" Best thing ever to just go walk and listen to her babbling as we held hands.

Lady Hiva came to join us in the evening after her Relief Society duties and we all huddled in the tent to stay warm the brisk evening.

As the day progressed we went to help prepare the food. It was fun watching all the guys prepare the lu (meat--sheep, beef, corned beef, fish or sometimes chicken wrapped in taro leaves and cooked with onions, coconut milk and often tomatoes and mayo) and then get it ready for the umu. With the umu they dig a pit and start a big fire. Once the fire is going well, they place a whole bunch of hot lava rocks on to get them hot. The wood is taken out and the food is placed on the hot rocks then covered. In the islands they use banana leaves and other items to cover the food, since Utah has a lack of banana leaves we used metal sheets and then old carpets soaked with water. Lucky Dragon came to help us dig out all the lava rocks talking the entire time about each rock (true rockhound!). They all look the same to me, but they are apparently very different to him!

Once the pit is covered it remains covered for nearly two hours while the food cooks. In that time they also went to a nearby pig farm to get two pigs to roast. It was funny Lucky Dragon could hear the pigs squealing and wanted to go watch...this kid is not scared of anything. Curiosity propels him through life. Once the pigs were killed we watched them dip them into boiling water and de-hair them.  As that was happening our bishop asked Lucky Dragon if he liked to eat pigs...he replied, while not removing his eyes from the work, "I think I like carrots better!" My little diplomat answered vaguely while still saying SO much! haha.

Lucky Dragon was, however, very interested when they started to gut the pigs. He was naming all the parts as they came out--small intestine, large intestines...heart, lungs, esophagus. If this little guy isn't a doctor I would be surprised.

We had a great time gathering as a congregation. We had chicken, lu, roast pig, watermelon, cake, faikakai (a caramel covered desert made with sugar and tapica flour), and otai (a fruit based drink, often watermelon or mango but also have other fruit used, it also includes sugar, half and half and for a flare someone added vanilla ice cream this time).

We were so thankful for all the time, effort and money that went into the event, but it was amazing! Some of these guys worked from sunrise to sunset--literally--to provide the food and chance to gather.

September 02, 2018

The Big 35!

This last week I turned 35! It was a fun day. I am at that stage or life where I received emails and texts from all the people who make money on me: our mortgage lender, the bank, the dentist, my masters alma mater...haha I felt so special!

Made and Kell gave me a Lego remote control car to build, Lady Hiva and the kids gave me a Harry Potter Lego set and some, in Lucky Dragon's words, "Go Utes red running shoes!" They were/are perfect. He was so excited to open them.

I left work a bit early and Lady Hiva met me with Koala Bear and Lucky Dragon. We went to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and go on a hike. We started at Rocky Mouth Waterfall in Sandy, UT. It really is an easy hike, more like a quick walk. Perfect for the kids. Koala Bear walked up the whole way. Lucky Dragon now calls is the "Dry Waterfall" because of the lack of water haha.

Rocky Mouth Waterfalls (or Dry Mouth Waterfalls in Lucky Dragon's view)

Pachita walked the whole way

It was so short we decided to drive around the corner to Little Cottonwood Canyon and up to Alta. We then hiked up to Cecret Lake. It was an amazing view, even this late in the year. We saw deer, squirrels and chipmunks. Koala Bear laughed and laughed and laughed at the chipmunks. Lucky Dragon had picked up some acorns at Rocky Mouth Waterfalls and carried them, Lucky Dragon style, all the way up to Cecret Lake. We fed them to the chipmunk.

As we were driving away Lucky Dragon said, "Can we come explore the world again some time?" Music to my ears. I love getting them outside in nature.

We went to eat at Salsa Leedos, whenever we go by there is a LONG line so I was hoping it was good. It wasn't bad, but wasn't my favorite either. They put squash and zucchini in my burrito!!! Who does that?!??!

Lady Hiva stopped to buy some Sees Chocolate for a box of chocolate. I guess that was her gift to herself for putting up with all truth she probably needs more than one box to justify her sacrifice! haha

She learned from her brother to collect rocks...she carried this all the way down the mountain

His hand full of collections

She was so proud she could cross by herself like her mum

Here is a quick rundown of the last 35 years:

  • Graduated from BYU-Hawaii in Political Science and Intercultural Communications--Conflict Resolution 
  • Finished my masters in 1 year while working full time on another continent (thank you for technology!)
  • Had braces to straighten my crooked teeth 
  • Published two books--White Lilies In Autumn and Counting Candles 
  • Went on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to New England
  • Amputated all the fingers on my right hand
  • I still have all four of my Wisdom teeth (dentist said I have a big mouth) haha
  • I have been married--to the amazing Lady Hiva
  • Have 5 children, 2 living, 3 buried in Laie, HI 
  • Ran a Ragnar 
  • Never had a cavity 
  • Losing my hair...sigh 
  • Been a United States Diplomat 
  • Lost a brother and brother in-law to suicide
  • Lived in 4 countries
  • Lived in 4 US States 
  • Visited 49 of the 50 US States
  • Been to 23 countries 
  • Speak 3 languages
  • College professor at LDSBC 
  • Had countless stitches 
  • Played golf, soccer, baseball, football, basketball and love to run 
  • Made friends all over the world

So here is to whatever adventures are ahead!