Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Dear Kaikua'ana (which means older sister in Hawaiian),

I'm a little Hawaii-homesick today. Do you see the logo on the back of the man's T-shirt in this photo?

Yes, it's a little blurry because yes, I was a little creepy-stalkerish as I took this photo. I was just walking along, minding my own business on my way to the McDonald building when the big U with the down-arrow caught my eye. Instantly I felt like I was back in Hawaii.

Miss T, this symbol is EVERYWHERE in Hawaii. It's a bumper sticker on people's cars, it's spray painted on the few speed limit signs they have posted, it's pasted on school kids binders, it's painted on windows, it's on people's cargo shorts, it's embroidered on hats I'm sure, it's on signs made for itself with only the purpose of having that logo on it, and I'm pretty sure it's tattooed on half of the tattooed population.

In the early days of my mission, as I walked around the streets just trying to take in the relaxed atmosphere, the couches sitting outside as if the garage extended into just another portion of house (because the weather is so temperate and perfect you don't have to worry about damage, and why not sit outside comfortably if you can?), and the blue stop signs, I began to see this U-arrow image everywhere. I also heard a lot about UH, or the University of Hawaii. Using my logical thinking skills, I put these two ideas together and came up with the idea, "Oh that sign is the logo or trademark or pride of the University of Hawaii!" It could work, right?

It wasn't until my last month and a half of mission, when my new companion asked me "What's with that U with the arrow?" that I ever realized that my assumption could be wrong. She was totally unimpressed with my answer "Well I think it has to do with the University of Hawaii." No. Why would a professional institution allow their logo to become graffiti? Why would a university logo be so absolutely well known? So she asked someone else, and the someone else mentioned that actually the sign means "U Down?" as in "You down with that?" or "Do you like this plan?" That does make a littler more sense for it to mean that...if you know something different that it really means, please do enlighten me.

Whatever the true meaning of that sign is, I am down with going back to Hawaii. You down?

Aloha. Love, Your Kaikaina

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