Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wedding OOTD

Dress DIY / Shoes Target / Shell Headband Philippines / Fan Gifted in Tonga

So here's a quick outfit post from my cousins wedding on the weekend. 
When I moved back to Nowra I found an old bag of material and I made this oversized sack dress. 
I made a few dresses using this simple square design. 

Full wedding post will be up once I return from New Zealand.

Big Love,

Falala Mele.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beautiful People: Unko George

Photo source: Bay of Dreams Facebook Page
In the early months of planning our Oahu trip, our friend Mary was so excited to tell us about her Unko George. She said he was super cool because he offered free stand up paddle boarding (SUP) lessons because he wanted to encourage people to get active and because he'd lost a bunch of weight doing the exact same thing.

I jumped onto Facebook and found his page BAY OF DREAMS and had a look for myself. I was immediately excited about the thought of getting up on a big-ass board and gliding through the waters; Hawaiian style. I also loved the fact that his Bay of Dreams was a play on words from one of my all-time favourite movies Field of Dreams, so it became my number one on my MUST-DO in Hawaii list.

Fast forward to Saturday the 4th of January and we - Ruth, Theresa, Stelle & I - were up early to catch the bus towards Waianae Bay. The initial early morning alarm was resented and my eyes stung as I jumped on the bus. We covered our faces and slept ugly, but that was until I could hear my sister talking to another man on the bus. Typical Hawaiian guy; probably 30 years old and he had a huge smile and shiny skin. He asked about her homeland and was happy to hear she was Polynesian because we were all 'one people'.

I woke up to join in on the conversation, because that's what I like to do. I like to talk to the locals because I feel like I'm getting the real low-down on the place. 
As we passed from village to village we watched as he would holler excitedly out the open doors of the bus to his cousins. 
He told us he was on his way home to visit his Mum because he'd just gotten out of jail. 

He was excited to go and see his son and everyone he had missed. By this time, another local lady joined in the conversation and had realised that she was good friends with his little brother. They talked about a big change in his brother and how he is so happy and switched on to share his good news with getting to know Jesus.

Turned out he was getting off at our stop and he pointed down the road. "You'll find Unko George down there" he said.  As he walked off and headed toward the Valley I felt humbled by the whole experience. I wanted to try and get to Unko George early because I wanted to find a church after paddle boarding because Saturday is our day of worship. But silly me, I didn't need a church because God sent the sermons and the people to me.

Walking down the road we were enticed by the country and reggae music booming out of these two trucks as the families were preparing to set up their barbeque for the day. Cousins were running around chasing each other and a group of about fifteen people were sitting down listening to Unko George. We walked over and sat down. I listened intensively as he shared his story about his family and his life growing up as a young Hawaiian man. He spoke of the connection he had to his surroundings and to the ocean. 

When Unko wasn't at school or working he was surfing but all that changed with the arrival of his first born. He did whatever he needed to in order to provide for his family. As the years rolled by, so too did the pounds pile on and before he knew it; he was overweight and afraid to jump up on a SUP in front of his fellow church family incase he embarrassed himself. He waited until it was dark before he got out on the water and just started to paddle.

After the initial paddle in the dark, he made a goal to be surfing by his 50th birthday and that gave him a few months to get his act together and somehow raise enough money to buy his first board. Unko George's story is a long but good one. I feel like there's too much good stuff to leave out, and it's important to experience and hear his story first hand so please watch the link to hear his story in his own words HERE

What inspires me most about Unko George is that he is - by what many would suggest - a regular guy who:

1) Was scared to try something new incase he wasn't good at it or incase he might have failed.........BUT he did it anyway.

2) He set a personal goal and did everything in his power to achieve it.

3) Not being satisfied with his own personal success, he committed to giving back to others by spreading 'Aloha' by offering free SUP lessons to anyone who simply asks.

4) Has vision to connect with people and extend this support all over the world with an online based prayer group.

5) He encourages people to take the much needed quiet time to reconnect with self and to seek out our innermost dreams and gifts. First improve self and then to share it with others.

5) He did all this blindly in faith. He didn't have the money, the assurance or backing of anyone at the time when Bay of Dreams commenced BUT he did it anyways. 

I can't exactly pinpoint what I loved most about the day. It's a close draw between:
  • meeting the local people on the bus
  • successfully navigating our way to the bay
  • falling off the board and smashing into the water
  • controlling the SUP, well eventually.
  • Barbecue Kai afterwards
  • meeting Unko George and experiencing the aloha of his project
  • watching others experience the uneasiness of uncertainty to the joy of success on the board
Even though we weren't too sure on how to get there, and people had said it was a scary place....well, we did it anyways. I feel like this was the day we experienced the real Hawaii. Full with 'aloha' from everyone we came in contact with.
Stickers from people worldwide who have visited and received a SUP lesson.

So here's a few words from Unko George himself.

Describe a significant person to you in 7 words.
Ted Rawlings was a bowling coach and he told me once that you can practice all day long but if it's wrong, it's always wrong. 
How we prepare for life is more important that how many times we prepare. 
So I take my time with each step in life so I don't have to do it over.

6 words that should be used daily.
Thank You, Please, Hi, I Love You

5 words to sum you up at this point in time.
Blessed, Happy, Excited, In Love, Loved

4 things that everyone should experience.
SUP stand up paddle boarding
Blessing others; go do something for someone to bless them. 
Paddling with whales and hearing their songs. 
The love of a child.

3 places you would like to visit.
Germany because my son is stationed there. 
New Zealand. 

2 goals you want to achieve.
Paying off my home and bless more people with SUP.

1 piece of advice.
Go bless someone and feel the joy of making someone smile!

To the man on the bus, thank you for your smile, conversation and story. 
To Unko George; after four years and over 5000 lessons shared,thank you for reminding us all how simple it is to change the world into a better place if we all just play our part, share our gifts and build it.

If you are ever blessed enough to make it to Oahu, you need to pay Unko George a visit. Say G'day and tell him Mele sent you.

Big aloha,

Falala Mele.