I almost just stayed in the Hawaiian Airlines VIP lounge (thanks Pops!) at the Honolulu airport and just skipped getting on the plane back to California. I mean, I had already warned my co-workers that I would not be a happy camper when I came back, so to just prepare for it. And as I was heading for the elevator on my last day of work, he yelled “you are coming back, aren’t you?” So at least he kind of knew it was a possibility, right?:)
This trip was months in the making. Back in February, I was having a FaceTime conversation with a friend. This is no ordinary friend. I’ve known his family (parents and all 5 siblings) since my 1st year of high school. He’s a year older than me, and one of his sisters a year younger than me. We were all in choir together, and his parents were super awesome and always helped out. Music is a huge part of their family, so everyone was involved. Even the youngest 3 kids, and they didn’t even go to our school. During our junior year choir competition trip to San Diego, I got really sick and got a super comfy ride in their RV (instead of the smelly bus). I even went to prom with them, and the oldest son was my prom date. Then right after I graduated from high school, they moved to Florida. SUPER SAD. A few years later, the parents and 3 of the kids moved to Wisconsin, with the oldest staying behind in Florida. Then a couple years later, shortly after I had graduated from college and was still in San Diego, the family moved to southern CA. THE WHOLE FAMILY! 2 parents, 5 kids, 2 spouses, 2 babies and 2 dogs. I was ecstatic.
I drove up any free weekend I had, and they were the best weekends ever. Music, family, food, singing, ukelele and guitar playing, pool lounging, more singing and uke playing and just love love love all around. I was like a member of their family, and they all treated me that way. Then last July, I quit my job (hoorah!), but that meant moving back to northern CA. Shortly after I moved, they got set to move once again (all job relocations) to Las Vegas. 2 parents, 3 kids, 1 spouse, 1 toddler and 2 dogs. One of the kids moved to Long Island, and one trekked her way to Sydney, Australia. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! They were supposed to all be together forever! THANK GOD FOR TECHNOLOGY!!! Through phone calls, text messages, iMessage, Facebook, Instagram and FaceTime, it could feel like we were still closeby, even if there was a 16 hour time difference.
Back to that FaceTime convo earlier this year:) I was talking to Scott (oldest son) about life and what was going on with everyone, and then I hear someone coming down the stairs (out of shot) and say “Hey! What are you doing in August?” (it was their dad). When I said I had NO idea since I was still job hunting, he said “you’re coming with us to Hawaii in August.” I never thought it would actually happen (since I was jobless and all), but after booking my flight in June, I told him not to make a promise he can’t keep because I was all set! I anxiously awaited the next two months until we could all be reunited in Oahu for their family reunion (told ya I’m one of them!)
Since you got a super lengthy back story, I’ll try to keep the rest mostly amazing pictures.
They were there for 2 weeks (and Sarai was there for a whole month while her Australian visa was being sorted with work!) for a family reunion and to celebrate one of the babies turning 1 (HUGE deal in Hawaii. TONS of family and friends and food and fun). I missed the party since I was there for the 2nd week (bummer).
They took pictures with the 5 siblings with the beach in the background – they came out so great! And then family photos with various poses: mom with her sons, pops with his 2 girls, mom and pops with their kids, mom and pops with their grandbabies, etc.
They also provided me (ok, it wasn’t for me specifically) with entertainment that night. Since their uncle (lives there) hasn’t seen them since they were younger, and he was the person who organized everything, they decided to thank him by dancing for him. He got the front and center chair, the music (recording) was playing from the car, and the kids went out an ddanced a few traditional dances. Then pops got out his ukelele, and the 1 oldest boys grabbed a uke and guitar and set up on the side. Pops sang and played the uke, the boys strummed their instruments, mom called out the next move and the kids danced. It always brings so much joy to my heart and soul when I watch this happen.
And one day was spent at the North Shore for some hot (burn your skin off haha) beach action, sea turtle scoping and beautiful scenery watching.
Also, thanks to Under Armour Women and their What’s Beautiful campaign partnership with Fitfluential for the sweet tank top that got me through a lot of this Hawaii trip (also doubles as a pj top and travel top!)
And the obligatory back-to-the-camera-observing-the-beautiful-views photo:
Nick grabbed the goggles and underwater camera and dove in to see what they were doing below the surface and got some really awesome shots of them just hanging around (I’m assuming they were totally just cruising, waiting to jump into the EAC, a la Finding Nemo haha):
The next morning, the dolphins were out again (they would come into the area where our cabins were about every other day, swim around, jump and spin in the air, and then swim around some more. You could swim out (only on my first day there, since they were SO close to shore), or you could take a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or SUP and just float by them. It was life changing and awe-inspiring and mesmerizing and tear-worthy to say the least.
Most of the days were spent just enjoying our time together, being lazy beach bums, playing and singing and listening to music, etc. A lot of airport trips happened, as people were leaving all at different times, and TONS of delicious meals were shared together. One day we did go downtown to the Made in Hawaii festival (too expensive for my wallet), and then to the swap meet (much more in my budget!), and to downtown to check out the Royal Palace, have lunch and go to Ala Moana mall (where I may
or may not have purchased a pair of Tiffany earrings that I’ve wanted for almost 5 years but I never buy myself anything and it’s my birthday month!)
One our last full day there, we decided it was a definite Meatball Day. Do nothing but play music, sing, sit on the beach and the water. It was the most beautiful days out of my entire trip, naturally, and I may have gotten a little red from laying out so much that day (but it turned into an awesome tan a couple days later, don’t worry!) I also retired a pair of my Brooks Running shoes there (what a place to retire!), stood on the wall and took in the panoramic views and got reallllyyyyy sad:
Goodbyes are horrible, so we avoided them at all costs (if someone was sleeping when we left, we didn’t wake them up). My favorite thing to photograph with my super awesome iPhone was the sunsets. Beyond amazing sunsets. Also, I’ve never seen the moon set before, and witnessed it on the beach a couple days in. It was the most bizarre thing to watch!