I cannot believe the amazing trip that I was able to take this summer with my hula family Kaleo Onalani to Spain for PIFE (Pacific Islander Festival of Europe)! It was such a wild experience full of ups and downs, but in the end it was all worth it and I wish I could go back.
Our adventure began by taking a bus ride to LAX, an 11 hour flight to Barcelona, a one hour flight to Calafell, and a 5 minute walk to our apartments with loads of luggage and costumes. We spent went was left of our first night and the following day getting acquainted with the area and spending lots of time on the beach of Calafell. Then we had a day to visit Barcelona and sight see on a hop on hop off bus. It was amazing to see the landmarks you hear about and see in movies but in person. (Pictures below). The next day was filled with teaching hula and tahitian workshops and practicing for our first performance.
Our first performance was in a courtyard in the shadow of an old abondaned castle in this quaint picturesque town. It was amazing and we gave 110%. The mana we felt from the audience was unreal and we were able to spend the rest of our night celebrating and drinking wine at a beautiful hotel nearby.
The rest of our performances quickly approached and each one was followed by a night of celebrating with our family. We performed on the big stage at the event, on the beach, and even had small flash mobs practically every where we went.
Although we saw some beautiful places, performing and the mix of emotions that came after every show was the highlight of the entire trip. People in Europe really don't get to see the culture, and to see audience members crying after our performance was so humbling. They said that they were inspired by us, but their reactions and stories inspired us in return.
After 13 days in Calafell, our flight arrangements were messed up so we had to fly to Paris for 2 days. It was a dream come true to be able to end our trip in the City of Lights. We took another Hop On Hop Off Bus to take us to see all the major attractions. With only a couple days we didn't have time to go inside and visit anything specifically, but we were able to learn about the history and take lots of pictures. On our second day in Paris, we got to cross Disneyland Paris off of our bucket list! It's small than the OG Disney and California Adventures in Anaheim, but it still packed all the fun. I really enjoyed that Disney Paris had larger (and just overall more) rollercoasters that packed more of a thrill-factor. And of course they pay homage to Ratatouille.
The next day we were on a 12 hour flight chasing the sun from Paris to Los Angeles- no seriously, I didn't see any night sky for the entire flight! This trip was once in a lifetime and I'm so grateful for the deeper bonds that were created between my hula family, the places that we were able to visit, the "first-times" that we were able to experience, and the impact that we were able to make.
Since I was a little girl, writing was always my go- to way of expressing myself and escaping from the rest of the world.