Friday, June 16, 2017

Aloha Means Hello, Good-bye and We Love You: The Ainu'us


It’s that time again when the bulk of our graduates are heading off. I’ve grown to hate this time of year passionately. Saying goodbye is never easy for me. Having to say goodbye to buckets of people who have become so dear to me is pure torture. My saving grace both last June and this is that we ended up being on vacation both times. I can only do the ugly cry so many times. Coward that I am, this is far easier.

Mind you, I’m happy for our graduates. They have the whole world ahead of them they’ve worked hard for their degrees and now it’s time to fly! I'm thrilled for the senior missionaries returning to their loving families. For those who simply feel that their times to move on is the best decision for their family, I support their decision 100%.

But I'm sure going to miss you....every single one.


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With all these comings and goings, however, I cannot let the opportunity pass without telling you all about two people very dear to Ron and me. How I wish you could all know them….they are a marvel, both separately and together. So, may I please introduce you to Tupua and Jacosa Ainu’u?

The quick and fast way to give you the quick rundown would be to use a bio sketch I put together this last winter when this powerhouse couple came to share their musical talents at one of our Senior Missionary Family Home Evenings:


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Family Home Evening

Jacosa Limutau Ainu’u is the 2nd of 5 children. She is of Samoan and English/Irish descent. She was raised in Sacramento, California. She earned an AA in Jazz Studies, a BA in Professional Music and an MA in Music Education. She has taught music education, along with voice and piano for many years, including bringing the Kahuku Local Motion choir to Nationals last year. Where they earned first place. This year she was the Choir Director at Kahuku Elementary School.

Tupua is 100% Samoan born and raised. He spent much of his childhood in American Samoa. He later moved to Las Vegas, where much of his family is. He went on his mission to Argentina, and speaks Spanish, Samoan and English. He gained his AA in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, and graduated from BYUH with a degree in Communications with a focus on Peace Building. He is our lead MC at the daily canoe pageant and our evening luaus. Tupua hopes to expand his activing career.

Both Tupua and Jacosa love musical theater, jazz, gospel music and exploring the beautiful island of Oahu.

These are the facts about Tupua and Jacosa. But there is so much more. Those of us who volunteer at the luaus understand that Tupua gives his whole heart to our guests, night after night. His talent and exuberance lifts us. His faith inspires us. His energy, quite honestly, wears us out!

But I know that Tupua is the first to tell you that his greatest joy is in finding the love of his life. Jacosa will hate hearing this, because she is such a humble soul, but this woman is the whole package….beautiful, intelligent, a true woman of God with the voice of an angel. I just love them both so much.

They honor me just by being my friend.

So, no pressure, dear friends, but the podium is now yours.

And for you, brothers and sisters, sit back and relax. It’s going to be a lovely evening.
 

And we did have an extremely wonderful evening. In fact, we had two! The first time they sang gospel songs. Then, because we all enjoyed ourselves so much, they came back a couple of months later and sang Broadway tunes.

Click here to hear the Ainu'us sing "My Hands" at the 2017 PCC Samoan Devotional:





How we became friends is fairly typical of what happens here. When you live in a small town and work for the largest employer in that town, you are just bound to run into each other….a lot.

I remember the first time Ron and I met Tupua. We help at the luaus at the PCC regularly. One night, we noticed a new Master of Ceremonies. 


Being 6’ 6, he’s a little hard to miss, actually.

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Tupua working the luau at The Polynesian Cultural Center

I heard his voice over the loud speaker before I saw him…. that big, smooth voice is as much of a show stopper as his size. But the biggest thing about Tupua is his heart. He loves everyone and everything. I tease him that he's like a big ol' Labrador puppy. He lives life with absolute gusto. It reflects in his presentations, in leisure time and even in his texts and Facebook posts (he loves to write everything in CAPITAL LETTERS...lol).

Click here to read a blog on Polynesia.com about Tupua and his work at the PCC

Tupua brings such joy to the luaus. I love walking by in the evening and hearing the laughter and applause. It's impossible not to love this dear and tender man.


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The funniest picture ever - that man looks like a floating head!
That's how tall he is, he's actually leaning over and his feet
are conveniently placed behind each of us.

 
We knew Tupua for quite a while before we ever met Jacosa. Oh, we heard a lot about her...as I shared before, he loves her beyond measure. But she was busy in her own right teaching choir at Kahuku High School, and later Laie Elementary.

So our first meeting was when Tupua sang Elvis tunes at our Marketplace. Tupua is a big fan of Elvis and Michael Jackson. It's lots of fun to watch.

Anyway, I was a little worried. I thought "it's going to be difficult for this wife of his to live up to expectations". Well, Tupua, I've gotta tell you, you might have fallen short.

Jacosa is ... well, it's difficult to describe accurately. She's like the cool breeze that soothes you on a hot day, or the best friend you wish you had. She is kindness, generosity and talent. Spending time with her makes the whole day brighter.



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He brought Jacosa on stage to sing a duet, and I'm telling you, she has this incredible, melodic, professionally trained voice. I could listen to her sing for hours 
We soon became fast friends. We even went to see the movie Florence Foster Jenkins for date night together. You might remember it's about a woman so rich that her husband paid for her to perform a concert in New York City. Of course, her singing is just horrible.

Apparently, this was a sign of things to come......



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Dinner before our movie.

Last year Jacosa decided to take on some students for private singing lessons. I wanted to see what she could do for me. Oh, she tried so hard. I don't know how she kept humoring me, honestly, but she hung in there for all these long months. It was great fun, mixed with lots of humbling experiences, and I'm so grateful for it.

And now it's time to say goodbye...and we are in North Carolina. Go ahead and call me chicken, I won't deny it. But isn't this so much better? No tears, at least that you can see. No stumbling over words.

But coming back home to a town with no Ainu'us is going to take some of the shine off. Luckily, there is Facebook, and believe me, I will be searching for updates and pictures.

Get ready, Atlanta! Your city is about to get a whole lot more fun!!!!



ALOHA, Ainu'us! (Hello, good-bye, and WE LOVE YOU)

3 comments:

  1. WHAT A LOVELY DEDICATION!!! LOVE YOU GUYS...T
    MY MAMA IS GONNA' BE SO PROUD AFTER READING THIS :-D

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  2. My bottom half disappears and you two look like my legs :-D LOL!

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  3. Love you both so very much- thank you for the kind words!

    ReplyDelete