Travel brings new experiences for hula students

Staff Writer, Payton Antonio

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Payton Antonio: Letter from the Editor In Chief

During Thanksgiving break, I was very fortunate to have traveled to New Zealand with Kumu Lanakila and my hula brothers and sisters. I experienced many new things from learning the haka to witnessing a powhiri, a Maori welcoming ceremony involving speeches, dancing, and singing. This was my first time traveling to a different country so the memories made are unforgettable.

It was a nine hour flight to New Zealand. But Kumu kept us busy making a lei po’o, which is a lei for your head. Once we arrived in Auckland, New Zealand and stepped off the plane, I was feeling the depths of winter on my skin except it was their summer. It was a cool 50 degrees! The weather was easy to deal with when compared to the bus rides to our different destinations. We visited a strawberry farm in Whakatane, waterfall Wairere, Wellington and the New Zealand school of dance. But our visit to the cemetery was life changing. A son of one of our guest families passed away not too long ago at a young age due to an illness. While prayers were being said, all you could hear in the background were sniffles and sobbing. Listening to the prayers talk about going forth and living life to the fullest and enjoying the time you have with those you love, it sparked a connection with every single one of us. It allowed me to reflect on my life and ask myself how am I using my time here on earth. Only 12 percent of teenagers don’t believe they have a purpose for their life, according to Gallup News. While we still can, it’s important we don’t hold back on life. It is too short to overthink everything. Instead, we must embrace the time we do get and spend it wisely. I encourage everyone to take leaps and enjoy the life you are given especially with your loved ones. They’re what makes your life so much more enjoyable.

Looking back at the memories, I realized being able to attend this trip and experiencing everything I did in the ten days, wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t take hula four years ago. Take a chance on joining new clubs and extracurricular activities to further your knowledge about the places around you and your mental state. If I didn’t join hula, I wouldn’t have traveled to a new country, gained new friendships, or taken a step back to see what life really meant.

I hope one day, you get to live out the same experiences as I did.