Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The One About Losing My Kava Virginity...

It's finally happened, folks. I've mixed for the first time. For my non-polynesian readers, Kava or Ava is a plant found in the Pacific. It's root (grounded and strained with water) is used historically for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Today, Kava is the premium beverage for various social gatherings of all ages. Of course, I have my own opinion regarding it's use by Mormon Islanders as a moral substitute and loophole for alcohol. Won't go into that... haha.

But back to my story, I agreed to meet up with friends I haven't seen in 10 years. What I didn't know was that they had arranged a kava ceremony celebrating me as the guest of honor. Honestly, I would rather they had thrown me a party/bbq/even money... Nonetheless, I have been proud to say that I've never tasted kava before. It's definitely been a line I've refused to cross throughout high school and these last two years in Utah. Until last night. But could you blame me? Despite my negative association of kava drinking equating it to adultery (haha... a bit dramatic, I know...), I couldn't believe I was faced with the dilemma of deciding between mixing or disrespecting this reunion party.

5 cups of later, my tongue was lethargic and my taste buds seemed swollen. But I've realized that I had a great time creating new memories with old friends. And while I don't plan on mixing again anytime soon (seriously, I wanted to throw up after every cup), I'll definitely be more conscientious when determining what is black and white. After all, something's are gray after all... Taki Taki??? haha...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The One About A Samoan Filmmaker

After spending the last two days at home recovering from a weekend in Vegas, I'm realizing the extent of my mortality. I slept a grand total of 11 hours. This mirrors another Vegas weekend five years ago. My sister, Dionne and I celebrated her 30th birthday partying with cousins in true Vegas (club-till-you-drop) fashion. Five years ago, I didn't need much sleep to function properly. This time around, I struggled to even stay awake yesterday and wasn't at all productive.

Last week, Dionne was on her way to an anthropology conference in DC but couldn't attend as both DC airports were closed due to inclement weather. Fortunately for me, I re-routed her to stay with me in SLC. Prob not ideal for her since she dislikes Utah (yes, the entire state...).
As I haven't seen Dionne in exactly a year, I was MUY (Selena anyone?) excited to catch up with her. I cooked dinner (pork ribs! redic good btw...), showed her some SLC eating spots and even watched lots of tv while talking about everything that's happened this past year. Last Thursday, Dionne was invited to speak at an Ethics class at the University of Utah highlighting a documentary she made in 2007. I was so beyond proud at how she easily navigated questions from the class into a forum discussing cinematic perception of Pacific Islanders through the lens of a Samoan filmmaker.

That next morning, I flew out to Vegas for the Rugby 7s tournament. I invited Dionne to join me but she declined opting instead to rest and work on personal entrepreneurial projects. While I had a great (read: AMAZING) time in Vegas, I realized just how much more mature Dionne is. Not to say she wasn't mature before. But she was willing to sacrifice some Vegas-fun to focus on more important long-term goals. Combined with her performance in the ethics class and our general conversations, I couldn't be more impressed with the amount of growth and development within one year. Not to mention being able to literally feel her excitement and passion for films-- her true niche in this world.

Next week, Dionne turns 35! (Sorry for putting you on blast! hahaha). She definitely embodies the type of passion and resilience that I hope to gain in my own life. Here's to you, sis! Preemptive Happy Birthday and to many more years of cheering you on from your corner.