Jan Wizinowich

Jan Wizinowich
P.O. Box 7079
Kamuela, HI 96743



I flew into Hawaii on a storm in January of 1980. I was terrified as the plane circled the island, dipping precariously. It was the last flight to land that day and when we descended the stairs to the runway in Honolulu, we were practically picked up and blown into the terminal. The bus ride to Ka’a’awa in the dark of night took 4 hours and was a series of near misses as trees and branches flew by the windows and passengers familiar with the ‘aina gasped. But when I woke up the next day, it was to a great big E Komo Mai. The sun was out and within hours the debris of the night before was cleared away. I felt the heart of the ‘aina open up and swallow me whole.

During those first years I lived on the North Shore, grew food, fell in love with Polynesian culture, discovered Montessori education, taught on the Big Island, sailed to Samoa, finished my degree at Chaminade and returned to the Big Island. I married and endured five and a half years in Tuscon, Arizona while my husband worked on his degree in optical sciences and I worked on a PhD in Language, Reading and Culture. But like a mermaid out of the ocean, my heart and soul suffered until I could once more return to my true home.

While at school, I came to realize the importance of stories in learning: Stories that we read and reflect on, stories that we tell or write ourselves and stories that others tell us about ourselves. It is a special metaphorical way to understand our world and ourselves in relation to that world. When I returned and eventually resumed studying Hawaiian culture and language, I eventually came to realize that the academic philosophy I had immersed myself in, is in alignment with how ideas and knowledge are constructed within the Hawaiian Culture. I had come full circle. I watch with interest as now my college age son begins his own journey on the wheel. I see that his heart lives here and feel glad that he was able to absorb some of the rich wisdom that is this place. At the same time, I am beginning another new journey right here on this island. My heart is open and I am overwhelmed by the gifts that come to me. One of the more precious gifts is that of inclusion. I have been given my Hawaiian name: Nahulu, which means feather. My Kumu ‘Olelo Hawaii, Kumu Makela, gave me the name. Her mana’o is that feathers came from crawling reptiles who evolved into wonderful flying creatures, and so perhaps I too will evolve as well.

Part of that evolution will be to assist others in writing and communicating their ideas and to have their voices heard. A hui hou,

~Nahulu Jan
February, 2011


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