We are officially back in Hawaii after a fun, yet frightfully fast trip to the mainland. The pivotal event was Mr A's daughter's high school graduation. Like most graduations (including my own) it was long, boring and contrived (you know, exonerating the academic top 5% while basically overlooking the accomplishments of everyone else) but in the end it was more than worth it - especially because I got to make a ton of leis!
In Hawaii, the amount of leis one receives at graduation basically indicates how popular or well liked you are. It's not uncommon, in fact it's expected, for graduates to be drowning in garlands. Mr A, being the QB homecoming king and all, had leis up to the nose (he's in the center of the above photo).
There was no way I was going to be able to make that kind of swag alone. Lei giving is not a common practice in Oregon and it would probably be overkill to try. So I went for a healthy compromise between the two - enough leis to say "I'm Hawaiian and this is how I celebrate" but not so many that it screams "my dad and his wife are weirdos and want me to stand out in a bad way"!
The other problem was that fresh flowers (the kind that make good leis) aren't readily available in Oregon. But, I lucked out with the mini carnation bouquets on sale at Safeway. 3 bouquets (about $15) was able to make this kick ass round lei and a straight lei. Carnations are both durable (they won't wilt or fall apart) and they smell great.
Also, instead of giving the standard card with cash or check, I made a money lei. To cut costs, I used gold oragami paper cut to the size of dollar bills. I also dressed up a silk maile lei (did you know it's illegal to ship maile or take it to the mainland?) with coins wrapped in colored cellophane.
I made a round straw lei and added gold beads but they didn't show up very well :( If I had known that their gowns were green I would have made a gold lei instead (I mistakenly thought they were going to wear black). Then I made a net lei with Mauna Loa mac nuts. You know, in case she got hungry later...
There were a couple more - some kukui nuts (representing knowledge), a candy lei, stephanosis ribbon lei, etc. but I didn't take pictures of them all. Besides, this post is already starting to make me sound slightly nutty.
Congrats to the grad! I'm happy she's pursuing higher education here in Hawaii because that means I won't be the only crazed lei maker at the next graduation!