Kalani Honua Blog - WE

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beverly Mendoza

Beverly MendozaThe WE (Women's Entertainment) Network flew through Kalani this week and filmed our retreat for their Great Escapes show. They took shots of the sunrise, of Kehena Beach, of our food spread on the lawn, of our beautiful rain forest, of our weekly hula class with Kimo and Richard, and interviewed a few folks.

There was such a buzz that morning. Not only were the kitchen staff clad in Kalani shirts and looking extra-peppy in the morning, but the Gaia group brought in a lot of great energy with them as well, especially the fairies (the women with wings and fairy giggles that hug and kiss everyone they pass). The giddiness was so contagious that day.

Kalani poolI had a great morning relaxing by the pool and swimming and catching up with some girls at the pool, where small talk is simply impossible. We just dive on in. That’s one of the greatest things about Kalani and the people that come through, the conversation always just cuts through the surface within the first minute. I’ve never had more interesting and honest conversation in my life. We recharged in the sun and talked about future plans and always recognizing how lucky we are to be where we are with the people we are with. We spoke of freedom and happiness and living in the moment and love. Wonderful poolside revelations.

My interview took place right after lunch. We set up a chair on the lawn with people frolicking in the background by the pool. As I was hooked up to the microphone and got situated it started raining (the first time that day as it was as clear and sunny all morning). We then had to pack up and move on to the tree house and filmed there.

Chris and Mike, the film crew from Maui, are cousins and couldn’t be any more Chicago. Big burly guys, down-to-earth with a Midwestern teddy bear quality about them. Chris actually lived where I grew up in Chicago and even went to the same art school as me. Such coincidences at Kalani no longer surprise me because we chance upon such connections all the time here. Just a few weeks ago, the family of our resident surfer and artist, Roy Ruiz, was visiting from Canada. I was talking to his father over lunch and we just happened to realize that the one person he knows in Chicago (the ONE PERSON!) his cousin, is my godfather and father’s best friend. Ana Lisa, our resident fashionista extraordinaire from Oakland, California, we share so many mutual friends, it’s so weird that we’ve never met before Kalani. Everyone here is connected not by six degrees of separation but more like two degrees of separation.

The set-up took awhile. We had to wait for the helicopters to stop flying over Kalani. They had to get the lighting perfect. I sat in front of light for awhile, I felt a bit like chick incubating under the hot lights. We were talking story the entire time and I couldn’t have felt more comfortable. But once the camera lights went on and the countdown began… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and Nathan, our Marketing Manager, started in on the question and morphed into Matt Lauer, the butterflies began to revolt inside my stomach, my brain, my throat.

“You’re just talking to a piece of equipment,” Mike said.

“And my mother,” I responded.

I got through it. I don’t remember what came out of my mouth, but it was a fun experience. We talked about what 'ohana means to me and about the volunteer experience. It’s going to be so funny watching this on TV.

We had a wrap party afterwards at Todd’s house. Todd is one of our chefs, also a Chicagoan. The film crew came. A few guests joined us and some volunteers and it was a great evening. Chris and Mike looked like they felt at home immediately.

I don’t know if cameras can ever capture the magic that is Kalani. You have to just be here. You have to just sit by the pool and soak up the sun and look into people’s eyes and have a laugh. Then you may begin to get it.

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