Wild Russian boars, homemade laulau and talking story

 

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Wild Russian boars, homemade laulau and talking story with my Hawaiian cousins wasn’t the type of entertainment I had expected upon arriving in Maui yesterday afternoon.  

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 My family and I visited our uncle Jojo and his family in Kula, a short side drive from Haleakala National Park. We drove up the mountain for about 40 minutes. As soon as we arrived, the sun had set behind pillowy clouds, casting a beautiful peach glow over the landscape and the smell of steaming laulau filled our lungs. The cold Maui air chilled us to the bone and we were greeted by our cousins dressed in t-shirts and shorts, obviously they’ve grown accustomed to the cold weather.

Uncle Jojo, a football coach for Kamehameha School’s Pukalani campus, moved into his house two years ago with his grandchildren. At age 73, he’s a lively buggah, cooking laulau, hosting family pah-tees and acting like the typical portagee family-man.

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After a few beers, pupus and laughs, our cousin Ikaika told us about his plans to hunt for deer and wild boars the next day. Frankly, we didn’t believe how he could just go hunting and instantly shoot some game…until a wild boar showed up in the backyard! Unfortunately, it was too dark to snap a clear photo, but it was a cute wild Russian boar – much too young for Kaiks to hunt down.
 
Finally, we all stood up, formed a circle while one of uncle Jojo’s grandchildren prayed and blessed the food in Hawaiian. Here, Kaiks showcases their ono laulau.

 

 
The opportunity to visit this side of the family doesn’t come around often. We haven’t visited them in over a decade – I was a kid back then and memories are faded so we treasured the quality time we spent with them. This experience of homemade Hawaiian food, portagee humor and a sense of comfort in Maui country was priceless for my townie family and I. I’m no nature girl, but this kind of country is comforting and a perfect way to detach from the hustle and bustle of the Oahu city life.
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