Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hawaiian Kung Fu Toddler?

The other way I dealt with not being able to follow Lani and Lono around at work all day was to go back to wandering and to play closer to home.

Since I was still not speaking English easily, I didn't connect with other children. Maybe that increased the bullying more than it would have been otherwise. I mentioned problems I had with bullies and also with snarling dogs to Lani and Lono. Lani said I should carry a cane for the dogs. He cut a branch off a nearby tree and showed me how to use it to hold off dogs.

To deal with the bullies Lani and Lono both spent time teaching me some moves that would help if I was cornered by one of them. Their main advice was to run away. But failing that they wanted to me to defend myself nonviolently. They showed me what they said was a Hawaiian version of Judo. I don't remember what the moves were, there can't have been much, but I do remember drawing upon these lessons as late as age 7, and finding them useful in protecting myself from children as old as 11. So there must have been something to them.

After I started walking around with the cane people in the neighborhood began referring to me as "the little old man." I don't think it was just because of the cane. My talks with Lani and Lono were having an effect on my outlook. I was feeling alienated from the other people around me. I was a foreigner among what should have been my own people. Plus, the conversations with the Hawaiians had depth. We started conversations typically picking apart an old song. The old songs were deep, so the talk was philosophical.

Here's a picture of me during this period. You can see it in the face. I'm at a birthday party for one of the neighbor girls. I had to put my cane down to hold a frozen-Kool-Aid-sicle I was given. Those are my first ever homemade frozen Kool-Aid-sicles! I remember it well. I also remember being bored by the other kids and considering them childish, even though most were older than me. The knock-kneed look was remarked upon at the time by adults. I never figured out where it came from. It eventually went away.

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