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Monday, September 13, 2010

Ahh . . . A Kid's Life! (Part 1)

My three main characters in The Hawaiian Island Detective Club are thirteen years old. They’ve grown up in a small town surrounded by pineapple and sugarcane fields, beaches, tropical vegetation, and amazing surfing waves. Ever wonder what it would be like growing up in Hawaii?

My niece, Nicole, grew up on the Big Island and is going to share a little about her life as a kid in Hawaii.

Aloha, Nicole! Mahalo for sharing with my blog readers!

When you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do?

All of our family, including cousins, aunties, and uncles gathered at Nana’s house, my Filipino grandmother. She’d cook traditional foods from the Philippines on a Friday or Saturday night and after we’d eaten, we would sing Karaoke and talk story until late at night. I loved it!
What was your favorite food?

Marunguay. It’s a Filipino dish made from mongo beans. The texture of the dish is similar to refried beans. They are cooked with the oval shaped marunguay leaves and served with rice. Unfortunately, I’ve never found marunguay leaves here in Oregon.

Favorite Hawaiian food?

My own concoction of poi mixed with lomi salmon. I also love kulolo which is made with poi and coconut milk. It’s rich and creamy. I love guava cake, too.

Favorite Shave-Ice flavor?

Strawberry with li-hing mui powder on top. The powder is made from grinding up tiny salty, sweet, and sour red plums. It looks like paprika. In the center I like the soft serve with azuki beans which is a red bean. I know it sounds strange, but it’s good and I love it.

Did you learn the hula or go surfing, and at what age?

I learned the hula at around age eight and continued to dance for about seven years. I don’t recall my halau (dance group) having a specific name, but usually they do. Most of my friends danced too, no matter their ethnic or cultural background. I remember once during the spring Cherry Blossom Festival dancing on top of a huge float in the parade.

One year there was a big competition scheduled in Hilo, but right before the event, I sprained my ankle and couldn’t compete.

At an event in Kona we danced a traditional hula, which meant we did it with bare feet. Kona is in a very hot part of the island, so the sun beat down, heating the rocks we danced on. I remember how hot they were and later discovered blisters on my feet!

As far as surfing, I’ve had only one experience in high school with a friend on a longboard. They are supposed to be easier, but I never could stand up. And, of course, every time you fall, it’s water in your nose! Anyway, it was a horrible experience, so that ended my surfing career.

Mahalo, Nicole!

Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for Part Two of my interview with Nicole. Then next week on Monday for Part Three and Thursday to learn more about one of Nicole’s favorite memories as a child—the state-wide May Day Celebration!! The following week I’ll post Nicole’s recipes.

Also, keep up with my blog, as I have baked, and will post, three different recipes for guava cake. Nicole and I both love it. Yum!

Until then, it’s a life in flip-flops!


  1. Wow, that's so interesting! Especially ice cream and red beans...my brain can't wrap around that. LOL
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Jessica!! Yeah, I was expecting an answer like "guava and papaya," not the whole powder and bean thing!! Maybe next time I'm on the North Shore at Aoki's I'll have to try it. Nicole says it's good. Hmmm . . .

  3. What great way to learn about growing up on an island. Loved the interview and the personal details like the poi and hot rocks...ouch!

    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  4. Glad you enjoyed it, Raquel! I'll have to interview you sometime. : )

  5. Azuki beans and shaved ice...an absolute staple in the summer in Japan...and considering how many people in Hawaii are of Japanese ancestry, I'm not surprised...^-^ Great interview..looking forward to Part 2

  6. Thanks, Leslie! I learned a lot from interviewing Nicole. The next two parts and the May Day post are really interesting too!

  7. I have finally had a moment to catch up on all your blogging! I have never been to Hawaii and would love to go...this morning I almost felt I was there. What interesting information you have brought to us and great photos. The interview was a great idea - a bit like living with the natives. Looking forward to Thursday...

  8. So glad you visited, Kim! There's even more great info in the next two parts of the interview (and the May Day post.) The recipes are great too. Hope you continue to join me as I take your through the culture and history of Hawaii!


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