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Dear ‘Anakē Māpu and ‘Anakala Kīhei,

Watching Merrie Monarch last weekend made me realize many different things. The most important of these was how much I love dancing and how much I miss it. Going off to college and not being able to dance regularly has affected me this year a lot more than last. As a freshman, I was still adjusting to college life and getting to know people here at University of the Pacific. I was dealing with so many emotions from being away from home and everything I had known my entire life that I didn't realize what an impact dancing for Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima had made on me. But this year things at school have settled down. I've gotten used to being in California, and I have friends and activities from last year that I'm used to as well. I came to realize that the one thing missing in my life was dance. This is why I was so excited to watch Merrie Monarch last weekend...

When Thursday night came and ‘Anakē Christina stepped on that stage with a big smile on her face, a wave of emotion hit me. There was excitement and joy, but most of all a sense of overwhelming pride. I have so much pride in Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima, more than I ever thought I had. Then when I saw the Hawaiian Airlines' commercial, it made me so proud to say that these ladies are my hula sisters and that you are my kumu. I think about how
you turned me into a dancer, and how I was the one who created my love of the dance. When I saw the hālau perform on Friday and Saturday, I couldn't stop smiling. I wanted to tell everyone I knew how amazing my hālau did at Merrie Monarch. Even if no awards were won, I was still so proud of everyone on stage. I realized this weekend how much hula has influenced and guided me...

Again, amazing job last weekend! First ‘Anakē Christina made my night. Then, when I watched kahiko, I felt like it was a hula that I really wanted to learn. And when watching "Hanohano Wailea," I was tearing up because of how beautiful it was. Only one hālau could make me feel love, pride, excitement, and tears all in the span of one weekend: my Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima.

All my love,

Rachel Kimura


A sense of overwhelming pride

Hū a‘ela ka Ha‘aheo

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