As it rises over the skies of Maui, the moon looks so bright. As I sleep at night, I can hear the waves crashing onto the seashore. Waves slowly pull back the washed-up pebbles and spit them out in a thundering crash. The orchestra of insects creates a melody that soothes my soul. This is Wai'ehu, Maui. Most people would think that a home is where you live, but this is not true, at least not true for my situation. Although I moved away from Wai'ehu two years ago, Wai'ehu will always be my home. The sense of home that Wai'ehu provides is not just the address on your mailbox; rather, it is a place in which you have a multi-faceted connection, which is personal, emotional, and environmental in origin.


According to the New Concise Webster's Dictionary, a home is, "one's place of residence, dwelling place of a family" (330). So what name is given to a place that you hold dear in your heart, a place that you feel connected to? To some people, this is also a definition of home. The whole issue of what is a home versus what is a house may seem common-sensical to most people. Yet being in a home gives you the feeling of relaxation, contentment, and a sense of belonging. If you felt this way about everything, then you would not want to leave that place. Can you picture people sleeping outside their neighbors' houses because they feel that their neighbors' house is their home too? This is insane and impossible. Home is not a choice you make but a subconscious feeling you have for a particular place. People do not decide to make a home; it is a sensation that you just feel when you are there.



I consider Wai'ehu to be my home for many reasons; the first reason is that I am a Hawaiian. Wai'ehu is rich in Hawaiian culture. Before its introduction to westerners, Wai'ehu was ruled by a chief named Kahekili. His warriors were the most feared in all of Hawaii. Imagine this: seven foot men coming at you with full force, their entire left side of their bodies tattooed black. Their eyes, teeth, and hair were all removed from that same side. These men did not need to do much fighting because this intimidating appearance was good enough. The people of this time had much pride and respect for their beloved warriors. Hours were spent slaving to create the perfect meal for such a worthy man. The master canoe carvers built the best war canoes to emphasize their [warriors'] greatness.There was no request too demanding because the homes of Wai'ehu were safe due to those warriors.
Literally, the name Wai'ehu means "rough water"; despite this, it was also known as the surfing and fishing grounds for the chiefs. The people who lived here were educated in fishing as well as farming. In fac,my ancestors, the Naone Family, were known as bone keepers of the island of Maui. This was a serious and well respected occupation for bones were considered to hold all of your maria (spirit). As a Naone, I can sense the mana in my hands just like my ancestors did. While I stand on the shores of Wai'ehu, I can visualize the knowledge sent down to me by my ancestors; as a result, I feel overwhelmed.

Since the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaiian people have slowly been cultivating bits and pieces of their culture. It brings me great pride in knowing that I have contributed to this Cultural Revolution by knowing even just a little bit about my history. I can relate to Wai'ehu, this place I call my home because understand who the people were. This holds significance to my life personally because if I know the people of the old then maybe it would explain the many characteristics of the people that live there now, including me.


My neighborhood is a subtle and aged residence. It's located on Lower Wai'ehu Beach Road. As a child, my sister and I would climb up and play on my neighbor's big Milo tree whose roots and branches looped in and out of each other. I taught her all the philosophies a girl at the age of 7 could know. Sometimes we would go down to the beach and pick up glass fishing balls thathad washed up on the shore. We would imagine the great Japanese fishing (boats that these balls came from. It was in Wai'ehu that I had my first bike ride, my first tooth fall out, and my first date. These are all significant events in my life that make up my childhood. I cannot feel this connection to any other place in the world.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, I can even remember the song that the insects play at night in Wai'ehu. I know the current of every beach there, and every shortcut throughout the town. I moved to O'ahu about two years ago, and I could not describe my backyard here if my life depended on it. In Wai'ehu, my Dad built his very own boat. I can hear the scratching of sand paper, the pouring of resin, and the swear words coming out of my Dad's mouth. My mother's weeding tools also made distinct sounds. She would spend all day sifting with her hands in the grass pulling nut grass. By the time she was through there would be a huge hole in the ground and her back would be as red as blood. I can still remember the tapping of my great-grandfather's cane as he crept down the red wood staircase. He always had some sort of candy in his front pocket along with his half broken eye glasses. Everyday he would sit on our front porch and all the fellow Wai'ehu residents would wave as if he was their relative. Having a sense of your surroundings can make the difference of whether you consider somewhere to be your home. Some people live their whole es not even taking the time to stop and embrace what is around them.
Everyone's reasons for calling a place their home may be different from mine. However, it cannot just be because it is where you currently live but because you love it, and you can't live without it. Johnson Hall is where I live now. I may have memories that I will hold dear to me, but I will never relate to my surroundings. To me, Johnson Hall is just a structure, a place that you
temporarily must call your residence. It's like an obligation: something that you must do or live with. O'ahu is where I live, but I know no history of this place. I have no passion, desire, or even need to understand this place and its history. I cannot relate to it or even enjoy it. The mainland is where I could end up living, but I won't have any childhood memories there. I could not live in a "concrete jungle" such as the mainland. I may relate to somewhere else, I may develop more meories; I may even get to like and appreciate the place, but I feel that wherever life may take me, I will always love Waiehu, for it is my only home. In addition, it is the only place that I feel a personal, emotional, and environtmental connection to.