Spam Musubi in the White House?

Presidential Shaka

Presidential Shaka

Last week on Inauguration Day, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle showed Shaka to the Punahou marching band.   More than a wave, for those of us on the islands, it’s a show of Aloha – a spirit of sharing, loving and finding the common good.

On Tuesday, as I watched the Inauguration – like many, I was brought to tears.  Not only because of the momentous occasion of his historic break-through of racial boundaries, but because he brings a unifying spirit of community to our Nation. 

Although we’re worlds apart, there are some close personal parallels.  I was born in Kansas, raised in Nebraska and my daughter’s father is Black.  I’ve been a single mother since I found out I was pregnant, and raising my daughter found myself on the edge of the sword that divides this country racially. 

Aside from the physical and financial struggles, one of the most painful parts of my journey was the lack of community.  Rejected by my family, and without her father’s family – there was virtually no place to call “home” – too white for the Black community, and too Black for the whites.  I lived in areas and communities that would embrace my daughter and focus hostility towards me, if any.  Although diverse, San Francisco was very segregrated with a lot of open hostility between different communities.  We made our home in the Mission District, where there’s a great mixture of race, nationalities, languages and culture.  I may have stood out as a 6′ tall white woman, but my daughter was accepted – especially since she spoke fluent Spanish.

Only after moving to Hawaii have we been able to experience the open, loving sense of community that sees beyond race. Diversity is celebrated here – often with humor.  Mainlanders often misunderstand “local style” racial humor – it’s like teasing your brother or sister with love – not racial hatred.  

I have great hope that President Obama will bring that Hawaiian aloha and unity to our Nation.  

“For the first time, we are seeing the aloha spirit taken seriously on an international level. People are asking what it is, and how it informs the president-elect’s worldview,” said Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz.  “His belief in civility, cooperation, and searching for common ground are a representation of how we live in Hawaii.”  For the full article…

Recent Hawaii news coverage of President Obama’s family vacation on Oahu highlighted his “island roots”, down-to-earth style, local diet – including Spam Musubi – and many aspects of local culture that are exemplified by his cool, positive approach that unifies rather than divides.

I’m proud to be part of a community that takes the bits and pieces, makes them whole and celebrates.  After all, that’s what Spam Musubi is!  Take some left over, rejected meat…package it, cook it and season it with love, wrap some rice and seaweed around it and you’ve got something great!

President Obama Sharing Shaved Ice on Oahu

President Obama Sharing Shaved Ice with local keiki on Oahu

For more Tastes of Hawaii:

Here’s an article with recipes and information on “eating Hawaiian” including Spam Musubi.  If you’d like to try some authentic Hawaiian Salt, harvested locally on Kauai at Salt Pond in the traditional way, email me and I’ll send you some.

PS – I love Spam Musubi!  When I lived on the mainland, I NEVER thought I’d eat Spam! 🙂  You Tube video “How to Make Spam Musobi”


About Susanna "Susie" Kunkel, RA

With a belief that life is too short to not follow your dreams, Susie and her daughter became new Kauai residents in less than 4 months after visiting for the first time in 2000. She brings a wealth of information from her background in administrative, contract and paralegal work in a variety of industries including technology, investment banking, biotech and estate planning. As a Realtor, Susies's tenacious and technical approach have earned her a large group of extremely loyal clients. Susanna is a steadfast believer in "The Golden Rule", and applies it to her approach as a Realtor. "Each client and each property are unique, so it's important to me to listen intently to what my clients' goals are, and to make sure I go above and beyond to help meet them."
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One Response to Spam Musubi in the White House?

  1. Your comments sum up the hopes and dreams of the entire world. As you know, I am a 62year old black male, living in washington, dc, I cried when he won the election, and I cried again, when he was sworn in. It demonstrates that EVERYTHING is possible.

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