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Showing posts from July, 2017

Settling in: Utah Edition

For ten years, my project was to understand Hawaii, my life in Hawaii. I lived in small communities where one person has a big impact. You know everybody-- or they know you. Or their auntie does. You can't step on too many toes. It keeps people polite.

As a white American, I had a lot of learning to do. I thought I was pretty cosmopolitan, anti-racist, and politically correct. But lots of Nice White Americans (tm) think that about themselves for only as long as they live in all-white liberal enclaves. I had to confront the fact that things I thought were universal values actually weren't. When I taught sex-ed, I received training from the Planned Parenthood-co-created Pono Choices program. It was designed to be culturally sensitive-- to be inclusive of all kinds of families, and use metaphors about hoewa'a (paddling canoe) navigation to explain the importance of healthy community. But the script used the words, "unwanted pregnancy" over and over. And my teenage s…

My birthday plus sad hard things plus good wonderful things

Today is my 37th birthday. It is also the one year anniversary of the last day we spent with Matt. It was a beautiful day-- he made me breakfast in bed with the girls, with my favorite strawberry short cake, and he spoiled me with a beautiful leather journal and a tiny gold triangle necklace. We had a wonderful talk about the future, lying next to each other while the baby nurse and napped between us. I was going to be in Utah for the summer, taking care of grandma, while he took the space at home to finish his PhD and start a cattle herd to join his flock of goats. We talked about replacing our wedding rings-- his had been lost on a fishing trip, and all the stones had fallen out of mine. That night he had me braid his hair and cut off the long braid. "It's time for a change," he said.

He had to leave early the next morning to catch his plane-- he tried to leave without saying goodbye but I stopped him, told him I loved him; he said he loved me too.

Months later, I foun…