The Family That Plays Together…

The Family That Plays Together…

This week I’d like to share a little bit about “The Dream” Tim and I have for our family. 1

We both LOVE the ocean and have a common obsession with the sea and surfing.  I grew up practically living on the sand, our house was less than 200 meters from the beach and when you grow up in Hawaii, you learn from an early age that, a good beach is all you really need to be happy in this life!2

Of course you get older and learn that there’s a price to pay to live in paradise, but when you put your feet back in the sand or in the water, you realize it’s worth it! Ah… and still I’m here in Melbourne, Australia feet planted firmly in the concrete, but we try to make our way out to the beach in Torquay and Philip Island as often as possible.  We also plan a trip every year, somewhere warm, that has waves, where we can surf.  Our favourites: Bali, Hawaii, Samoa and Kingscliff, NSW.3

When I met Tim in 2009 our first date was a surf-date.  We drove an hour and half to surf at a spot called Malibu.  Yes. Malibu, Japan.  Over that first year of dating we made several long drives to the beach at Ichinomiya, spent time camping on my days off and he assisted in the purchase of my first ever wetsuit!  We overcame many obstacles, like trying to have a conversation in the water and barely understanding his Aussie accent to learning how to set up a campsite as a team, to him learning (offering) that I get first pick of all the waves coming through. He’s so sweet and we fell in love on the sea.

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One day in February of 2011 we were at home in Hawaii surfing at a break called Freddie’s.  We had the whole break to ourselves with no one else in the water and it was the set-up for one of the most perfect moments of my life.  The sun was setting, the water was warm, the light reflecting off it’s surface was also shining with love in his eyes as Tim said to me, “You know I love you right?”

“Yes I know.  I love you too” in my head I like to add “you weirdo.” Because he had tried several times to swim over to me and had this funny look on his face!  I realized later he was nervous.

 Then he asked me, “Will you marry me?”

 I looked at him and said “No,” his face looked confused, “OF COURSE I’ll marry you!”

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When we got to the sand he asked me to wait while he ran up to the car.  He came back and slipped the most beautiful ring onto my finger.  The moon was shining, our hearts were exploding and a few months later as the sun set, standing on the sea in Maili, we sealed the deal and vowed to spend the rest of our lives together.  It was perfect!

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When Nainoa was born I had to wait 6 weeks before I could get back in the water.  My 26th birthday was right around the corner and I told him I wanted a rocking chair.  He got me a brand new surf board instead!

We spent the first 6 months of Nainoa’s life at the beach, taking turns in the water and on the sand with our boy.  There was one week I remember my Mom came home from work and babysat every day so I could get in the water for an afternoon session at Goat Island.

I was really sad when we moved to Melbourne and Nainoa was 8 months old.  We caught the end of Spring on the beach in Torquay and the water was so cold!  It took a while for me to accept where I was in life, I spent the first winter in Melbourne away from the beach and managed to escape back to Hawaii for a few weeks.

Somehow, Tim convinced me to get a 4/3 wetsuit and that got me into freezing Victorian waters and along the way we picked up wetsuits for our boys too so that they will be warm playing on the sand and the edge of the water.  It seems like just yesterday Nainoa was a tiny infant and now he’s in the water learning to catch his own waves!

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When Nainoa was four we had our first surf together at Malaekahana in Laie.  We rode on my dad’s giant longboard, paddled into a few waves, I stood up then would crouch down and pick him up too, it was the best.  Since then Tim and I have been pushing Nainoa into little waves trying to get him to stand up on his own. It’s so amazing to see his relationship with the ocean and surfing growing without our past bribes!  Now we just reward him with praise and the occasional slushy!  Last weekend I saw him paddle into, and stand up, on his first wave ever!  It was incredible!  We had a conversation in the water afterwards and I explained to him about my dreams.  I said I knew that someday I would have my own kids and I wanted to teach them to surf.  I told him, “Today you made my dream come true.”

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Nainoa recently described his surf experience this way saying “Hey Mom, I was made for this!”  I always dreamed of having my own family, teaching my kids to surf, and seeing them develop a love and appreciation for the ocean.

I’m so happy I get the chance to share a life-long passion with my husband and kids.  It is wide-spread belief that “The family that plays together, stays together”.  But in Victoria, when you’re at the beach… the family with the wetsuits gets to play longer!

On Mortality

On Mortality

Mortality came to claim two beautiful souls that I had the honour of knowing. They were both young, both mothers of young children, strong, courageous women. They have left behind their loving children, husbands, families and friends. They have passed on and have left our hearts broken, in shock and disbelief. How fragile, how precious is our time here on this earth? How do you deal with it? So here I am passing the first few weeks of Spring, emotional, often disheartened and constantly on the verge of tears as more news of death, sickness and suffering presents itself so conveniently with the ever-helping hand of the internet and social media.

Several people came up to me after my Grandma, Lucy, passed away, saying I’m so sorry for your loss. I had no idea what to say, so what came out of my mouth was, “YES. IT SUCKS!” My Mom rolled her eyes at me. I wanted to scream that it’s not fair, I wanted to tell everyone that she was very healthy in her young old-age, she was an active dancer, she worked on a farm, she drove a huge-ass frickin’ tractor! She was vibrant, hardworking and beautiful! Oh wait, I did tell people that! To their faces, without screaming.

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[My sons Nainoa and Keliikoa]

This life is short, and sometimes even shorter than we expected. I can’t help feeling it’s cruel and unfair, I want to challenge the truth that feels so unreal and wrong! That one moment you were physically here and now you’re gone is the most un-wanted feeling and an inevitable conclusion. It will happen to every single person we know and eventually we will succumb to the end of life as well. I think about all the people I’ve found and loved, all the people I’ve loved and lost, all I’ve lost and all I have found and all I have yet to find.

It is through our struggles, around the pain, past the tears, after the heart stops aching, if we find at the end, that we are alive and kicking there is still time to celebrate. There is time to appreciate the magic that this life is, the light and joy reflecting through our children’s eyes, the warmth, security and friendship in holding hands, laughter sparkling in the rays of sunlight streaming through the kitchen windows reflecting off the spilled orange juice on the floor…

I need to count to 5 and then continue. Please join me. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

Today.

Mortality arrived gifting the world with another soul! A soul that has already brought an immense amount of love into many lives, a soul that will place so much more than just a carbon footprint on our world. Today one of my hula sisters, Kate, sent me a message that she had her baby, a little girl! How amazing is this life? How wonderful is it to be a mother and to hold your child in your arms for the first time? How crazy is it, that you can feel it again and again just by remembering that first moment when you held your child in your arms. How magical is it to witness new life coming into this world, to hold the tiny fingers and toes of a precious child. How wonderful to recognize and feel again the wonder of it all!

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Several people message you when you have a baby to send their love and congratulations. Many of those people, who love you, already love your new child. It’s like magic! Our hearts are immediately captivated by this tiny individual who is like a stranger and it feels like we’ve known them all our lives! I still remember when my first nephew, Kamani, was born. I felt like my 16 year old heart was physically expanding when I first saw him. I also remember when I had my first son, Nainoa. It was 18 August 2011 and he was born at 4:59 in the morning. Tim with the doctors assistance, was the one to catch Nainoa upon his entrance into the world. He proudly held his son and slowly, carefully handed him up to his impatient wife, who was practically yelling “Give him to me!” I put him immediately on my chest to hold him close and as I did, an enormous swell of emotion hit me in the chest. It was so powerful, like being hit by a truck. I sobbed with joy and held my little boy. After a few seconds of crying, I finally lifted him to stare into his face. I kissed his cheek and said, “Are you Nainoa? Are you my Nainoa?”

I love remembering that moment. I love to tell my sons the stories of their births.

It is a miracle that we exist, so many little things have to happen genetically for us to even be created. And here we are! Yes! WE are a miracle.

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This life is short and sometimes even shorter than we expected. I can’t help feeling fascinated by the wonder of it all. How lucky are we? To live, to love, to be loved and to bring new life into this world. To know that one moment we weren’t here physically, and the next moment… You are here! To know that in someone else’s eyes and heart, they feel it’s like you’ve always been here.

I think of all the people I’ve found and loved, all the people I’ve loved and lost and all the souls who have yet to join us on this journey of life. It is through our struggles, around the pain, past the tears, after the heart stops aching, if we find at the end, that we are alive and kicking… It is time to celebrate. It is time to appreciate the magic that this life is, the light and joy reflecting through our children’s eyes, the warmth, security and friendship in holding hands with our husbands, or holding hands and dancing with friends. Let’s look forward to joy and the laughter sparkling in the rays of sunlight streaming through the kitchen windows, reflecting off the spilled orange juice on the floor… It’s still there. I need to go and clean it up now.

Aloha! My Name is Noelani.

Aloha! My Name is Noelani.

Aloha! My name is Noelani.

I am the happy, sometimes crazy, surf-partner/best-friend, wife and soulmate to Tim and the silly hula-mama to two beautiful kolohe (rascal) boys, Nainoa and Keliikoa. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share my story as a part of MyWifeLife.

A few things about me before you read any further, I’m a dancer. I’m not a singer, or a songwriter, or a writer. I tell my story through dance. Over the years I’ve attempted to tell my story in other ways, and they were… interesting attempts. So please bear with me as this all unfolds.

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I am a small business owner and one of the founders and Directors of Nuholani which came to life in 2013. We, myself and Krystle Cocadiz, started off as two American girls living in the land down under wanting to start an entertainment company. Today we are a community of over 80 dancers celebrating life and telling our stories through Polynesian dance, mainly Hula and Ori Tahiti. I run classes, workshops and a company team for aspiring professional hula dancers. Nuholani is all about making connections and sharing or cultivating the Aloha that is in all of us.

While I love my life and feel very lucky to do what I love as a job, there are days when trying to run a dance school with over 60 students, manage an entertainment company’s bookings, enquiries, choreography, costumes and rehearsals and on top of all that manage my house and kids plus love life… it gets overwhelming! Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important. I have to remind myself, “Remember who you are and what makes you happy.” The answer to that is simple and it’s in the first two sentences of this post. Aloha (love) and Family! But it took a while to get to this point, to know who I am, appreciate where I am in life, and to let myself be truly happy. That’s not to say my life is perfect, no- far from it! As you’ll soon fine out!

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Today and everyday I hope to choose to be happy. I’m working on things, setting goals, sometimes failing, but always growing and learning. I’ve learnt to accept that this is my life, I take things one day at a time, and try to let go of any negative thoughts and beliefs that do not serve me.

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The symbol for the Nuholani logo is a va’a or canoe to represent the voyage of our ancestors and our own personal journey. Isn’t this life just one great big voyage? Someone in that really amazing Disney movie, “Moana” said something about voyaging, “Knowing where you are, by knowing where you’ve been.” When I remember where I’ve been, and some of the things I’ve done, sometimes I cringe or roll my eyes, and then sometimes I cry, sad and happy tears, However, most times I try to remember the joy of it all. I’m looking forward to sharing a few pieces of my journey with you!

Aloha,

Tiffany Noelani Le Nevez