Monday, June 6, 2011

Maui Vegan Potlucks

As new homeowners on Maui, I have come to know and love the island, and especially the North Shore for its amazing vegan community.  One of my very favorite things that I have learned there is the value of potlucks.  If potlucks don’t get you excited, stay with me – this is something that really could change your life!

What I love most about Maui, but especially Haiku, is the strong sense of community.  In less than a year, I feel like a have friends there that I can truly call family.  I think people who move to Maui are very unique:  Not only do they have the courage to up and leave everything they know and love on the mainland, but they also leave all of their friends and family an entire ocean away.  I have a theory that, because so many Maui residents have left their loved ones on the mainland, they end up creating a second family amongst their friends on the island.  The sense of community is like no other place I have ever been.

One of the ways in which people in Haiku become as close as family is by having regular potlucks at each others’ homes.  And I mean regular!  It’s not uncommon to be invited to 3 or 4 potlucks every week – many, if not most of them, vegetarian or vegan!  Potlucks are a huge part of the culture on Maui.  The great thing about this is that you get to choose from so much delicious vegan food while you get to connect with your “family.”  Just like in a large family gathering, food is everywhere, and everyone is chatting and laughing, so happy to see each other. 

In Washington, potlucks are rare amongst my friends, but I plan to change that!  One of the many things I’ve learned from the people on Maui is that our connection with one another is more important than anything.  Therefore, instead of slaving over the kitchen twice a year to host the perfect four course meal, I’ll be more likely to loosen up, and just tell everyone to show up once a month with a vegan dish.  Because it will be so easy, I can host dinners many times a year without feeling any pressure that my meal has to be perfect or impressive.  After all, do my friends really care?  Hopefully, they just want to share my company, as I do with them. 

If you yearn for a closer connection to your friends, neighbors, colleagues or family, take a lesson from Maui – make your relationships stronger easily, by inviting people over for a vegan potluck.  Your hassle time is extremely low, but the paybacks are great.  And the food … delicious!

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