by Andrea Gardner
Wearing jeans, using lotion, and breathing the air is not something the average ULV student tends to think twice about, but after being raised in this nation’s paradise, students from Hawaii come to realize that life east of the Pacific is definitely a world away.
“The first thing I noticed was the smog,” said sophomore Anela Havellana.
Junior Patrick Samsonas agreed saying, “I couldn’t breathe,” adding later that he used to wear shorts all year round.
Sophomore Neil Nakao recalls the humid climate of his home saying, “usually in Hawaii, I don’t have to use lotion.”
Havellana agrees. “The weather is nuts over here,” she said, describing the ever-changing climate of Southern California.
For these out of state students, who all come from Oahu and the big island of Hawaii, moving to the mainland has meant making adjustments, big and small.
Though most of the students did not know one another prior to meeting at ULV, they have become close friends and even visit one another when they go back to Hawaii for vacations.
“When I am with them, I feel most comfortable. It’s a bond, I guess,” said Havellana.
For freshman Allen Lainaholo, coming to ULV meant learning a new language. Lainaholo learned to speak Hawaiian pidgin, a combination of Hawaiian and broken English.
“No one understood. It was almost like I was speaking backward,” said Lainaholo.
It took a month or two for him to adapt to the English spoken on the mainland, though he still speaks pidgin with Havellana, Samsonas, Nakao and his other friends from Hawaii. Depending on the situation they can turn this type of speech on and off.
Havellana calls it slang and gave an example of the dialect.
“Instead of saying ‘Do you want to go…?’ you would say ‘You like go…?’”
All of the students from Hawaii feel that life on the mainland is faster paced and describes life in Hawaii as “laid back.”
Nakao gave an example of a typical day in Hawaii as going to the beach, having lunch, going to a friend’s house and “hanging out” as opposed to going to clubs in the city like many mainlanders often do.
Lainaholo said the California lifestyle is “too fast” though he is learning to adapt to it.
Another Hawaiian student, senior Kim Caravalho likes California for the Hollywood club scene, though she still misses the blue water and white sand beaches of Hawaii.
“Hawaii will always be my home, but I can see myself living here [on the mainland] in the future,” said Caravalho, who also feels that there are more job opportunities available for her.
The culture these students carry with them is the root of their pride in their homeland.
For Lainaholo, the Hawaiian language is a large part of the culture.
“Our generation in terms of language is getting back to the original language,” he said.
According to Lainaholo, this language died after being abolished by the American government, though the new generation of Hawaiians is picking up the language and teaching it in public schools.
“I love my culture. The Hawaiian people, they know their identity. They provide hospitality to newcomers, people who come from different lands or states,” he said.
Havellana describes this warmth as the “Aloha Spirit,” saying, “people are very thoughtful and considerate towards one another.”
Said Lainaholo, “In Hawaii, everyone says hi to one another, even if you don’t know the person.”
“When we make eye contact, they smile,” said Havellana, who was shocked by her first experience at the airport in California, getting dirty looks from mainlanders.
Lainaholo and Havellana, are the only two Hawaiians, ethnically, though all of the others are from Hawaii. Both have names that translate into a deeper meaning.
Havellana’s full name is Anela Awapuhi Napualii Liokalani Lehua Havellana, which means “an angel that rose from the baby blossoms from the heavens.” Lainaholo’s full name is Allen Likeki Lainaholo, which translates to, “Allen, the little kid who likes to cruise the land.”
Another important part of the Hawaiian culture is the food.
Nakao describes it as a mixture of many different cultures. His favorite food is a plate lunch, which is rice, macaroni salad, teriyaki beef, barbeque chicken and chili.
“That’s what is famous in Hawaii,” said Nakao.
Samsonas prefers Lau Lau, which is steamed meat and fish wrapped in spinach and tea leaves. Lainaholo likes Kalua pig, which is eaten at luaus. Samsonas’ family brings Hawaiian food with them when they visit and even mails it to him overseas.
When asked what he missed most about his home, Lainaholo said, “The people, the food and my language.”
Havellana misses the food, the ocean, and surfing, something she learned to do as child.
Nakao agrees and says he also misses, “my family and friends—and the beach.”