Yellow school bus parks beneath the palm trees for shade and waits for the end of the school day to transport children back to their hones.

Hawaiʻi – School Bus Snapshots

Country of Origin: Hawaiʻi (United States of America)

(Audio recording by Jordan Luz)

Ho brah, your breath is haunas, dawg. Ever heard of one tooth brush?

Da ting smell so crip, garans gon make somebody make.

Not even. Not as haunas as your body odor, k.

Now das pilau. YOU ever heard of going bocha?

Eh, you brought your cd player and speakers so we can jam music on da ride home or wat?

Yeah, brah. Lemme bust out my collection of burnt CDs. Which one you like jam?

We go listen to some Zacc Kekona. “Sitting In My Room”, dawg. You get dat song?


Shoots we go jam em den.

You know da kine? Bernadette? She tink you cute, you know. 

Not even. How you know? 

Brah, she wen message me on AIM last night. Jordan’s cute, ya? She said. I shit you not, brah. 

Go sit by her, you. No be sked. 

No ways she like me. Brah, I fugly and den. Try ask her one more time if she tink I cute. 

K, watch em. Look. Now she stay smiling at you. Chance em!

Like challenge bloody knuckles? C’mon, brah. No be one panty. Just play.

Fine den. Brah, my knuckles so manini compared to yours. I no more chance and den. 

No worries, beef curry. I not gon go all out on you. 

Brah, dat was frickin hard, wat you talking bout!?

Eh, Samantha, Nick get one crush on you!

Eww, since when? 

Long time already. Look, he like sit by you. Let him.

K, fine. I guess I small kine like him, too.

Hold hands den!

Cut dat shit out back there. All you guys do is yell nonstop da minute you step on da bus. Unreal.

We sorry auntie, but not our fault. Was –

Ainokea whose fault was. All you guys do is just run your pilau mouth. Cannot even be quiet for wat, 5 seconds?

Sheesh. You guys made auntie mad now.

Brah, shut up before da bus driver yell at us again.

Why for, she only gon yell. Nawtin mayjah. Garans she not gon do nawtin. 

Bumbai she gon kick you off da bus, watch em. 

K, fine. Nevah mind already. I going shut up.

So wat, Kori and Valerie, you guys official yet?

No. Who said dat?

Da kine said dat. Ugh, she so irraz.

Brah, stop. You making her blush.

Ho, how’s Val, her face so red. Like one giant tomato, look em. 

So cute you guys. You guys match. 

So empty da school bus today. I wonder wat happened to everyone.

Probably sick or got picked up from family. I don’t know. 

Eh, at least get some peace and quiet now yeah, auntie?

Dat, and I almost pau work!

I love you guys, but you guys drive me crazy afta school. 

I no can remember da last time I had one peaceful bus ride while dropping you guys off. 

But das auright. You guys is da highlight of my day, and das 5 times a week. 

No matter how crazy you guys drive me, I wouldn’t have it any odda way. 

Hauna: smelly, unpleasant odor

Garans: guaranteed

Make: dead

Bocha: take a bath

Panty: scaredy cat

Manini: a small thing (a type of fish; common reef surgeonfish)

No worries, beef curry: no cause for concern

Ainokea: I don’t care

Pilau: rotten stench

Crip: stink

Odda: other

Shoots: alright, okay, yes, I’m down, etc.

Chance em: go for it, take a chance

Auright: alright

Nawtin: nothing

Mayjah: major

Bumbai: later, otherwise, or else

Da kine: A catch-all term to denote literally anything you can’t remember the name of.

Irraz: irritating; to be annoyed

Pau: finished

Definition of Hawaiian Pidgin English terms courtesy of https://wehewehe.org/ and https://oleloonline.com/ 

“Sitting in My Room” by Zacc Kekona; this is the song referenced in the poem.

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Jordan Luz is an educator, writer, and lifelong learner from Hawai'i. He currently lives in Hawaii and is a lecturer at the University of Hawaii - West O'ahu. He enjoys writing in Pidgin, also known as Hawaiian Creole English. When he isn't teaching or writing, he enjoys going on long runs, going to the beach, and playing volleyball.


  • Anuj

    Thanks for an insightful article. Learnt new things about the Hawaiian culture and phrases. “Bumbai” or “Bambai” is another word for Mumbai in our local Hindi dialect in India. Glad to find that it has another meaning, from a different part of our world.

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