Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Aloha" from Honolulu, Hawaii

There is nothing like soaking in the glorious sunshine, a clear blue sky, and sound of the waves crashing on the beach...especially if you are from the state of Minnesota and it is the middle of January! Our first afternoon on the island of Oahu, in Honolulu, Hawaii, was spent walking along the beach, sharing a smoothie from our favorite smoothie stand, and trying to become acclimated to yet another time zone.

View from our room overlooking Waikiki Beach

After a good night sleep at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, we were ready to connect with Dana Rickard, Director Mrs. Hawaii International Pageant. Dana was our host during our time in Hawaii, and it was a pleasure to have a chance to get to know her and to meet her youngest son Blade.

Our morning started with reading time at the Tutu and Me preschool. It was so much fun to walk around the circle and greet each child and then to sit down and share a story with them. It never ceases to amaze me how mesmerizing a tiara can be to a little one! Both Sheri Taflinger, Mrs.Hawaii International 2012, and I had a wonderful visit with the children, many of their parents, and the staff at Tutu and Me. Thank you for allowing us to spend some time with all of you.

Tutu and Me preschool







It was only a short drive to The Queen's Medical Center, where we started our tour in the Women's Health Center. What a thoughtful and impressive facility for women inclusive of; clinical services, body, mind and spirit focus, specialty care, and maternity needs with a stated mission of Pulama i ka'ohana meaning "we cherish the family." In fact, this center offers spa type services of massage and facials, as well as, nutrition, pilates, and other classes. We were guided through this informative tour by Jennifer Mulholland and Terese Bush-Tautoa and we sincerely appreciated their time.

Jennifer, Jason, Terese, me, Sheri and Dana. 

Dana, Grace, Sheri, me, Joe and Jennifer.

Throughout our tour of the hospital we were introduced to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. It is during these interactions that I often have an opportunity to share with them the value of the International Pageant. I love to inform people that our system is based on platform, or rather women around the world giving back to their communities through a commitment to charity. Furthermore, many of the charities with which our ladies are affiliated happen to be related to healthcare. This information sharing often leads to some very interesting conversations, and nearly always results in a positive reaction.

The next stop on our tour included a visit with a group of young people who happen to be facing some serious challenges, which have placed them in the hospital for psychiatric care. Fortunately, in Sheri's profession as a police officer, she was quite familiar with this facility and the work they do. As for me, I earned a B.A. in Psychology during my undergraduate studies, therefore, this was not completely foreign territory for me either. We both addressed the group and then had a very nice exchange, with some really interesting Q & A. Of course no photos where allowed, but we did capture a shot with the staff. We hope the young patients and the staff all know how much we appreciated our time with them.

Mahalo to the staff

It is with sincere gratitude to Grace Schonhardt, a Mrs. Hawaii International 2013 contestant, that we connected with the Tutu and Me preschool and all of our stops throughout the hospital inclusive of our last stop where she works in the Diabetes Center. For many of us Diabetes touches our lives or loved ones, and in the Hawaiian population it affects a higher percentage than other populations. It is good to know that a healthcare facility like The Queen's Medical Center exists for the residents of Hawaii.

Dana returned us to our hotel with enough time to prepare for our next event; the Hale Koa Luau with the 2013 Mrs. Hawaii International participants. Once the ladies arrived, we took some time to become acquainted. They each shared their individual platforms with us, and I shared my story with them. Joe and I answered questions and I hope the ladies found our time together enjoyable and helpful. It was a sincere pleasure to meet each of you.

What a wonderful group of ladies!

The Luau was a special way to celebrate Hawaiian culture and to taste a variety of local flavors. You may not be surprised to learn we all ended up on stage learning the hula, which I have not quite mastered. And the Luau host graciously acknowledged our attendance by asking us to stand. Following a variety of Polynesian of dances, music, and flaming batons, couples were asked to dance as we were serenaded by the Hawaiian Wedding Song, and then a tribute to our nation's heros closed the show. It was a lovely way to spend the last night of our Asian Pacific tour.

Hang Loose! 

 Hula! 


Couples Dance. 

One of the fabulous Luau dancers!

Always a treat to capture a smile. 

A beautiful Mrs. Hawaii 2012!

Mahalo to everyone!

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

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