Over winter break while the majority of our lovely sisters were freezing away in the cold, five sisters of AOII were enjoying 10 days in Hawaii! I was lucky enough to be one of them. The trip was part of Wagner’s Expanding Your Horizons program which is a bit like a mini study abroad. The trip counts as a class and then when you get back for the spring semester you meet occasionally to discuss what you learn and hand in papers. Needless to say, we had the time of our lives. The hotel we stayed at was the Waikoloa Hilton and it was absolutely incredible. The five of us, (Heather, Ellen, Gianna, Kristi, and Megan), roomed together on the trip. Here’s the view from right outside our window. The lagoon right in front of our balcony had dolphins in it!
Living in Hawaii for 10 days was an eye opening and perspective changing experience. We met with many people from around the island who had all different types of professions. However they all had one thing in common. Regardless of how much money they were making or what kind of house they live in, they were happy. I know that sounds cliche... I’m sure every person still has good days and bad days and they all get cranky at times, but overall they expressed to us the joy they find in life. Over the course of the trip we often joked around about the Aloha spirit. It seemed like everyone we met was so so full of joy and so eager to share that joy with us. Needless to say, returning to NYC was a bit of a rude awakening. While the Aloha spirit may have been a term we just threw around to make each other laugh, it really does exist.
In the Hawaiian language, aloha stands for much more than just "hello" or "goodbye" or "love." Its deeper meaning is "the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).
I think this Aloha spirit, is something we sisters of Alpha Omicron Pi share with each other. When I came back from Hawaii, it was cold, dreary, and honestly just sad to be back. But once I walked into our lounge (YAYY WE HAVE A LOUNGE!), it was like I was back with the Aloha Spirit. Everyone sharing their joys of life with each other in the present. Hawaii was wonderful. An incredible, once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. But we will always carry the Aloha Spirit with us and see a little piece of it in each of our sisters.