and if you don’t know, time goes slower on those islands. if you’re like me, you’d probably wake up by five, either due to the abrasive nature of the sand that is rubbing against your legs in bed or the stubbornness of a body that resists the four hour time change. i think i will forever remember waking just in time to see a magnificent sunrise illuminating the little two room beach house accompanied by the roar of waves crashing at the beach fifteen paces out the back door. i won’t soon forget how that early morning sun bakes like a heat lamp, allowing both body and soul suck in those rays. it was in these moments that i couldn’t help but think that hawaii could be life’s little reset button.
we packed quite a bit into those five days on oahu, however when people ask me exactly what we did on our escape, i find it difficult to say little more than, “lounged on the beach” because, really, isn’t that requisite to a hawaiian vacation? there were neither shark tanks nor luaus. we didn’t learn to surf, and i didn’t jump from any waterfalls. there were no grass skirts, coconut bras, or tiki torches- just six people who really don’t get to spend all that much time together living in a two room beach house and trying to discover the north shore thanks to a guidebook and a sense of adventure. there are memories from this trip i will not soon forget, starting with our joke flight over, and the nine hour delay that kept us prisoner to the boise airport and was the cause of much grimacing by my younger brother. then there was that special moment where my father found the third floor patio to that concrete jungle, which facilitated a jump start on our tans (sunburns) and honed our patience. i will never forget watching my siblings’ as we embarked on their very first flight- the way they fought over window seats and pored over the dingy laminated emergency protocol pamphlet. i’ll remember their excitement upon take off and, six hour s later, extreme relief upon landing.
i won’t forget the feeling of walking bleary eyed for the first time into the hawaiian airport, our skin piquing at the balmy island air, and minds rejoicing at making it without crashing into the pacific. i’ll remember falling into a delirious stupor as we climbed into the rental car and drove to laie along king kamehamea highway, waves licking at the road only twenty feet away. falling into bed with my shoes on. waking up to a glorious sunrise at five am and taking my first walk along the beach, the breeze roaring and causing the first beach tangles that i would embrace for the remainder of our trip. so this was hawaii.
i’ll never forget our trip to foodland and those laughable prices. however, they had almond milk and that is all we cared about. i’ll never forget how we got through part of the week without any salt to season our food, and the whole week without any cooking spray to coax the eggs from our only pan- a wok. i won’t soon forget our trip to costco to pick up our rations, how payton specifically asked for meatless chick’n patties (darn you, delicious samples!!) and how we went through 42 fruit rolls and and 60 string cheeses at the hands of my siblings, all of whom have the combined metabolism of a twelve year old boys’ soccer team.
i won’t forget our strolls along our beach, and watching my mom abruptly jump around and curse after being stung by a rogue portugese man o’war at hukilau beach, while listening to kourtni swear that SOMEBODY needed to pee on her leg to take away the searing in her foot. i’ll never forget the wariness we had about that section of the beach, but not letting it hinder early morning runs in the sand when the tide was out and the surface was like concrete. i’ll never forget the bruised arches and extremely sore muscles… nor the pink sunrises that served as a due reward.
i’ll always remember our food crawls around the north shore- how i mapped out all the good places and made sure we hit them all. the garlic punch of the shrimp at giovanni’s shrimp truck, the great debate of aoki vs. matsumoto shave ice that brought us back to haliewa three times (aoki! it has been decided), the coconut crunch of macademia crusted shrimp and rice from kahuku grill and the occasional perfect potato half-moon “fry” snagged from my siblings’ late night burger plates. the utter ambrosia of acai bowls from roadside stands, and fresh pineapple and dried coconut from little hawaiian ladies on the side of the road. we can’t forget leonard’s malasadas. no one can.
i’ll always remember our slow days at the beach house. kourtni and lindsay worshipping the sun, their overarching goal to “GET TAN” (achieved), and payton laying on the grass instead of the sand for reasons unknown. my dad slathering on sunscreen and staying inside with his reading glasses and his book, boasting that “he was leaving hawaii as white as he’d come” , all while my mom’s facebook blew up with a bombardment of suggestions and jealousies from the mainland.
in the days when we ventured down to town, i’ll remember the cacophany of waikiki beach, lindsay’s discomfort at being surrounded by all those people in that concrete jungle of unsavory smells, sun baked children, and high end shopping malls beckoning the deep pocketed asian tourists. from pearl harbor i’ll never forget the oil tainted waters, the somber pride that enveloped the island, and kourtni’s distrust of all the japanese tourists and tour guides. oh, and my favorite, playing candy crush outside while my dad went through the war exhibits we were long over. of the flea market at aloha stadium, i won’t soon forget how dad tried to haggle the price of some sunglasses from 14 dollars down to 8, how the small asian man stayed strong at 14, and dad refused and walked away, only to have me go back to the kiosk and buy then five minutes later as to not taint his pride. i could never forget my mother exclaiming that our long sought after fresh coconut meat tasted “like an embryo” and vendors selling approximately 1 million puka shell necklaces. at diamond head i will never forget our record setting time to the peak as we passed people trying to hike up with strollers and flip flops, all while touting sno cones for optimal hydration.
at our favorite beaches along the north shore, i will always remember watching five sea turtles swim in the bay, heads bobbing up periodically as to give those curious humans a little bit of a rise. i won’t forget lindsay combing through the sand for shells, and payton jumping off the rocks at waimea bay to prove my dad wrong, giving him the “I TOLD YOU SO” look, accompanied by a thumbs up as he exited the water and looked my his way. i won’t forget my mother’s unexpected fascination and borderline obsession with a middle aged asian man who was an exceptional diver and rock climber, or watching the sun dip below the horizon line at sunset beach.
the memory of my mother finding the first cockroach in her suitcase, which prompted an elaborate squeal and jittery dance all while calling out for my dad to rescue her is something i hope to always remember, as the sight of my sisters falling sleep with their cell phones in hand in an attempt to catch up with their boyfriends and police the high volume of likes and comments their friends had left on various social medias.
i’ll remember boogie boarding with the locals, getting pounded by waves, and washing up to the beach with the bottom half of my swim suit full of sand, all while ingesting a fair amount of salt water. i’ll remember the way our skin had a way of toughening, peeling, and giving way to this golden hue that is only attainable under a tropical sun. however, mostly i’ll remember spending that week in paradise with my family, savoring every minute, and lamenting the fact that hawaiian days are long, the weeks are short, and it never seems to be quite enough….
and i’m totally going back next saturday, so that lessens the blow a little.