Home from travels

Feels like it’s been a while.  I’ve got a writing announcement to share this Thursday, so I’ll keep this post focused on what else I’ve been up to.  Earlier this month, my family went to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary!  We’d all been planning this trip since before COVID.  It was so nice to vacation with both of my sisters’ families too, letting my kids hang out with all their cousins.  We went to Oahu and did all kinds of touristy things. We stayed at the Disney Aulani resort, where I got to experience my first lazy river (very fun!).  From our balcony, we could see the giant koi fish, the yellow inner tubes snaking along the waterway, and the snorkelers with their equally yellow life vests. 

Yes, I got my snorkeling fix, and when I went with my younger son, he even pointed out one fish he spotted having its gills cleaned by a smaller fish. 

We all went to the Dole Plantation, Pearl Harbor, and a luau on the beach where at one point my parents got to stand up (along with all the other couples celebrating an anniversary) while we cheered wildly.  One highlight for me was hiking through the Waimea Valley botanical garden to the waterfall.  We got rained on big time, and it was lovely.  Here in Portland we get our fair share of rain, but it’s different.  It isn’t something you experience with your shoulders bared. 

Waimea Falls

And I took lots of photos of foresty stairways.

After the extended family parted ways, my family of four stayed in the Waikiki area of Honolulu.  We took a sunset cruise one evening when the waves turned really rocky.  The boat even turned around sooner than planned.  We found it quite the fun adventure. 

Dramatic gray clouds above the city skyline—like a very humid version of home.

We also had a great time at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  The evening show applied a storyline to the showcase of music and dancing from different Polynesian islands.  It really shows the power of character arc.  And I know I’m not focusing on writing in this post, but I had to share that on our way to the center, we passed a place called Haiku Village, and my mind went straight to poetry. 

Once we got home…I had to quarantine for COVID.  I’m gradually getting back into a more regular routine while trying to stay cool in this heatwave.  I did pass a milestone that made me eligible to join the local belly dance troupe for whom I’ve been an on-and-off guest dancer over the past few years.  We’ve got a performance coming up this weekend; I might opt not to do a solo this time, as I’m still recovering. 

I still remember those early pandemic days when the concept of travel felt so out of reach.  I swore I wouldn’t take it for granted.  I’m so grateful we got to go on this vacation and especially honor my parents. So many wonderful memories.