I'm sitting now, looking out the window of the Frankfurt airport waiting to board my flight back home. What a whirlwind it has been. Looking back on my experiences right now is getting me very emotional. Having been nonstop all my emotions are just catching up to me.
You think three weeks can't change you much as a person. It can! In so many ways. I'm going back home with a new view on the world, a new confidence in myself and the motivation to break the pattern we have all fallen victim to. I'm ready to continue to spread a little aloha and inspire others to do the same.
I've seen things, heard things, experienced things that many people don't have the opportunity to. It has changed me. I was able to inspire happiness in others through hula. For any hula dancer, you know that hula is powerful and can act as a vehicle to touch people in so many different ways. It can truly change the world.
I am very fortunate and grateful to have been able to host a hula workshop at the Step in2 Salsa studio benefitting the atelier sacelean association. This organization is very near and dear to my heart having spent a lot of my time at the day centre teaching the children, taking a Roma family grocery shopping and also being able to deliver a stove to one of the families just in time for the cold weather approaching. We were able to raise 420 lei solely on the 20 lei participant fee, not including the money raised from the handmade jewelry and cards that the organizer makes regularly to help fund the program.
Leading up to the workshop, my roommates would ask if I had a lesson plan lined up yet. I'm not used to making lesson plans... I just do whatever comes to mind on site, just like at home. I had 3 workshop times the first focussing on basics, the second on a hula kahiko and the last on a hula auana. To be honest, I was very nervous about the turn out, I wanted to be able to raise as much money as possible. But it's hard to gauge how many will be interested in a three hour hula workshop in Romania. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people that showed up, especially the amount of men(can I bring them back to California with me?)! I was thoroughly impressed by how well they all did. I taught Aia La O Pele and Spread A Little Aloha.
Spread A Little Aloha by the Mana'o Company has become very important and symbolic to me the past few years. It has always been the Ho'ike finale song ever since I can remember, but when we took this song cross country with us for the Spread A Little Aloha Tour 2011 it became much more than just a song. It now symbolizes a mentality and way of life. We say Spread A Little Aloha all the time now! The participants in the workshop loved learning the song and, because it is Hapa Haole it was easier for them to connect with it. After the workshop I saw some of the participants posting the YouTube link to the song on Facebook and saying how much they loved it.
I've met so many great people from all walks of life during my time in Romania, whether a Romanian salsa dancer, a day center organizer, a mother, a student or an orphan. Some accepting me into their homes and families, community and way of life. I've made true friendships that I know will last a lifetime. When you grow and experience with people you create a unique and everlasting bond.
I have witnessed myself and my fellow volunteers grow in just this short time. A shy, compassionate girl from Norway steps out of her comfort zone everyday, even if it's just taking a new route to work in the morning. A drama graduate from Austrailia trying to find her true self and passion. A homesick German girl working at the local vet and getting dog diarrhea in her hair on the second day of work. A Danish journalism volunteer forced to hang out with all female volunteers. A 22 year old French girl that works countless hours at the orphanage, even on house cleaning days. A beautiful Danish girl that hasn't been on time for work once because she misses her bus stop. We all get along so well and plan to visit each other in out home countries soon.
I am thankful for my family, friends, the halau and for all of you that have been supporting me on my journey. I am thankful for ke akua and His many blessings and for the chance to change the world every day. You may think you are just a small insignificant ball of energy in a big world, but you are not. You can make a difference.
Start by spreading positivity! No subtweets, no social media blasts, no feeling sorry for yourself statuses. You need to GET UP, GET OUT, AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. No need to go half way around the world to do it.
You know what. Right now... Tweet, status update "SPREAD A LITTLE ALOHA" share the link to the song or just put "SPREAD A LITTLE ALOHA" out there and let's see how different your day and everyone else's will be.
No excuses, it's only a click away or a double tap on your home button to find that app.
SEE YOU ALL SOON!!!! :)
Today, two weeks after my arrival I found that I did not post my last entry. Crazy to look back on my words and be reminded of my journey. It's easy to get wrapped up into the routine of life once you come back down from such a high. This reminded me just how much we can all make a difference and really live with aloha.