Our two child things (5 and 2) are currently in Hawaii, but we are a military family, and we live where the Army tells us. This blog is designed to keep us in touch with our family and the friends we have made along the way, to offer insight into our turbulent military lifestyle, and to share our experiences as we try out "homing school." So glad you stopped by!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


In Texas, I'm a gringo (or is it gringa). In Hawai'i, I'm a haole. That's the Hawaiian word for "white guy," and it isn't necessarily a derogatory word. Just depends on how you use it, I suppose. But if you learn the history of the word, it really is not so flattering. :P

Basically, haole means "one with no soul." That's a loose interpretation, you understand, so let me explain. Everyone knows what "aloha" means, so I will start there. "Ha," in ancient Hawai'i, was the breath of life, what I understand to be the soul. "Alo" means to face, so the word "aloha" means to face another person and breathe the breath of life, to open your spirit and your soul to that person. So, to greet someone in old Hawai'i, you would face them and say "haaaaa," breathing into each other.

When the first Europeans came to Hawai'i, you can imagine they were not so comfortable with this way of greeting. Those prim and proper British people... So, instead of sharing the breath of life with the native Hawaiians, they did things like stand at arms length and offer their stiff hands. The Hawaiians thought this was weird and so called the Europeans "one with no ha."

This is the way I understand the meaning of the word; I hope it's accurate. I'm just a haole, of course, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. :)

1 comment:

Bag Blog said...

My cousin who lives in Hawaii has mentioned this. Being a Texan and a New Mexican, I'm well acquainted with being a gringa. I figure they are much the same.