I knew from the moment I sat down for my first-ever official plate lunch my 16-day holiday in Hawaii would melt by faster than a Popsicle left to fend for itself in the parking lot of that very Zippy’s. The two scoops of rice, mac salad, and wiener surrounded by chili stared up at me, welcoming me to the Islands.
Looking back on pictures taken during those two weeks plus, the memories float around my mind, knocking back and forth like the persistent waves that peacefully decorate the shores of Oahu.
“We had us a time” is a line my father often says, recalling various moments in his life: Twins trips, catch in the backyard, nine holes after church on Sunday. And, right now, I cannot think of a better five words to describe my experience on those two rocks in the middle of the sea.
Hawaii is beautiful – that is a given, right? – but when you are there with the love of your life and her wonderful family, well, it simply just does not get much better.
I imagine my experience in Hawaii to be different than the common traveler who shacks up at the Hilton in Waikiki, and spends their nights at over-priced bars, sipping whatever the latest vodka concoction may happen to be, tipping the guitarist to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for the fifth time. Their Island Vegas away from Vegas, if you will.
I never really felt much like a tourist here, save maybe for the two hours we spent reflecting at Pearl Harbor, or laughably failing our way through Dole’s infamous pineapple maze. And there was that time on the Big Island when I was checking out how homemade chocolate was made – that was pretty touristy, but I do not have the pictures to prove it.
I felt more like I was home, surrounded by an intense amount of beauty, love, and support – the family dinners, church services, conversations, video-game playing – all webbing that undeniable sense of familiarity. Sure enough, the days did end up melting by at an unexplainable rate, and before I could catch more than one-and-a-half waves, I was back on Korean Airlines flight 51 staring out the window watching Oahu fade into the horizon. But, I was not without a psyche full of perfect picture memories, not to mention boundless thoughts, enthusiasm, faith and hope for the future.
I would like to express the biggest of thank yous to Tiff and her family for being so unbelievably welcoming, treating me to all kinds of delicious foods, doing my laundry, and being down-to-earth amazingly supportive people. Cannot wait come back home.
A few select photos can be viewed by making the jump here.