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Spread a Little Aloha Tour, Day 1-New Mexico!

20150613_191431 20150614_010028 20150614_005758 20150614_004923 20150614_005322 To start, mahalo Ke Akua for guiding us safely to Albuquerque. To everyone who is supporting us on this special huakaʻi, we are truly grateful!  We will try our best to post whenever there is a free moment, so please follow along with us on our travels. The day began, with a text message that our flight would be delayed by about thirty minutes.  That was a welcomed text as I was still making travel arrangements for our European tour (begins on June 26th)  During that time, Anson was running to three different banks to get $5 and $10 bills so all of the girls will have enough change for their $25 a day lunch/dinner allowance.  Not surprising, the Kahaku clan was the last to arrive at the airport, but late only by 4 minutes.   32 check in bags later, and we were ready to fly the friendly skies...well, actually that would be United, but the Southwest crew were happy to welcome us.  Our gate agent was from Hawaiʻi, and was so cute talking to us about the tour, while the rest of the B boarding group was trying to give her their tickets.  We gave her our post card and one of our "spread a aloha, not germs" hand sanitizers, and she thrilled...we could hear her telling the other gate agents about her hand sanitizer as we walked toward the plane. My first sign....a moth.  If you traveled with us before, you know that I always wait to see a moth somewhere, as it is a sign for my family that we are being guided and protected along the way.  My mom whispered to me to look for a moth when she gave me my last hug before we headed for the TSA check point, and sure enough, it appeared.  Then Anson texted that my sister Hau'oli saw one when they all had lunch after dropping us off. We talk about being in control of our own mental state all the time in class, and not allowing others to pull us into their negative state.  It's easy to have exude aloha when things are going your way, and everyone is in good mood.  The challenge, and the growth comes when things are not so smooth.  One of our girls is severely allergic to peanuts, and almost couldn't make the tour.  She did get clearance from her doctor to travel, and we contacted the airlines in advance, and learned of all of their peanut allergy policies.  Gate agents were notified so pretzels instead of peanuts would be served.  She was pre-boarded so she could wipe down her area as well as the seats surrounding her.  They were towards the rear of the plane. The advice given was to reserve the row in front and the row behind for 6 of our girls so she would have at least a peanut free bubble for her, but of course that upset a few passengers who made rude comments about saving seats....even if they knew she was severely allergic.  Our mom and daughter continued to be pleasant.  I was also especially proud of our girls when they willingly gave up their seats so a family could sit together.  The flight was quick, and we were in Phoenix in no time.  When were exiting the plane, we were greeted by two uniformed officers ready to talk with a belligerent couple with drama on the plane.  So much excitement on just the first leg of the trip! It was a three hour layover in Phoenix.  The girls sang "A-L-O-H-A...a little aloha in our day, complete with the "da-da-da, da, da" while on the people mover.   One of the officers on the inside of the TSA check was happy to give us suggestions to eat on our three hour layover.  He was happy with his new hand sanitizer.  Most of the girls settled on McDonalds...trying not to blow all of their food allowance.  They are hoping they'll have extra money toward the end of the trip for a nice meal.  We found an empty gate that we finished our meals at, and they played Disney movie charades.  They are great at keeping themselves entertained! I enjoyed hearing our girls talk about the people they met on the plane.  Ainsley and Gabby said they gave away some postcards and hand sanitizers to the people they sat next to.  Lia and Bella P said that a man they sat next to had many questions (he was testing them), what the tour was about, why they were on it, what it meant to them etc...the girls said that they were glad that we had them really think about it prior to our trip so they could share our mission. It's interesting, the people you meet!  As I was charging the laptop, I met a wonderful woman from Walnut Creek.  She has lived in Hawai'i (Makakilo), and Maryland, and is originally from Houston, Texas.  I think because we are all wearing matching "Spread a Little Aloha" shirts, it's so much easier to begin a conversation with someone you don't know.  She was so pleasant, and we talked about our children, travel, and a stroke she had years ago.  What a blessing life is.  We forget that every day is a blessing, and an opportunity for us to take a step closer to living our life purpose.  I think of how many times on a daily basis that we walk right past someone, not even acknowledging them with a hello, a nod, or even a smile.  It makes me think about how many genuine connections we are missing out on every day.  You never know how much a kind word, a gentle smile, a simple acknowledgment can affect a person.  I may not ever meet this woman again, but just that fifteen minutes with her warmed my heart. While I was chatting and charging, the girls said there was another dance group.  They joked that they would have a dance off...until they saw them stretching and doing crazy tricks...haha!   We boarded the plane for Albuquerque, and the flight attend was absolutely pleasant as she made a welcome announcement to all of the hula dancers on board.  I sat next to a grandfather and his grandson.  I learned all about Mine Craft, and how he wants to be a plumber in Italy when he grows up (Mario Brothers). The flight was quick and we landed at about 10:30.   Two of the chaperones stayed back while four of us went to the car rental center.  While the girls waited for their baggage to come out, one of the officers gave each of them a squishy mini airplane that he signed for each of them.  It's made from the same material as a stress ball.  That was really nice...the girls have their first souvenir!  So while they were getting stress ball type airplane toys, we were at the rental car terminal.  That took forever!  I really could have used one of those airplane stress reducer squeeze toys! There was only one woman ahead of us, and one gentleman behind us.  No one else in the entire building except a couple of other agents at other rental counters. I figured that since there were four of us, and only one gentleman behind us, I would be nice and let him go ahead. Kind of like he only had milk and eggs and we had a cart full of spam, vienna sausages, sardines, 25lb rice bag, pork and beans, shoyu etc....He thanked us and joked back that he was going to ask a ton of questions and get some upgrades to his reservations...well, I thought he was joking, but he wasn't.  We remained patient, and pleasant.  When it was finally our turn, the agent said that she didn't have any of our vans, haha, another joke, but no she wasn't joking either.  She that she had been trying to call us all day.  I checked my phone and there was no missed call or message.   She said that they assume that when multiple reservations are in the same name that it's a mistake.  I showed her on the reservation where it clearly states that we "do not have to call to confirm", and that I spoke with her last night when I called to confirm the hours of the location since we had a late flight.  She had mentioned to me last night that she would be the one closing at midnight.  Also, that I had called a week prior, and was told to put all reservations in my name since the debit card was in my name, and that I would just add the additional driver to my reservations (for a fee) so the other drivers wouldn't have to use their personal credit cards.  So, this was my first big challenge of the "aloha" tour!!!  After she said (in a tone that made it sound like it was our mistake) that there were no vans in the entire rental center, a vision popped in my head...I could literally see myself (much more fit that in real life) in slow motion, jump over the counter, and put her in a Leiola Kahaku style choke hug.  So here we are....we have 19 kids, 6 chaperones, 32 bags, no transportation, and it is creeping up on midnight!  I made a silent prayer that my naturally explosive temper would stay in check, and asked what other vehicles were available.  Fortunately there were mini SUV's that were more expensive, less seats, and trunk space, but I stood firm, while also paying her a genuine compliment on how much I like the red color of her hair.  She kept it at the same rate as our original reservation.  We had to rent an additional vehicle (not in the budget), but at a discount. We made it to the hotel by 1 in the morning.  I am happy to say that the rooms are great, with plenty of space for all of us.  The girls are all in bed, resting up for an exciting day at the Kirtland Air Force Base tomorrow.  Local time is 4:42 a.m. so please excuse any typos or grammatical errors..it's time for bed!  

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