Sunday, December 31, 2006

One Fond Embrace... Aloha O'e...

I haven't really WANTED to write about Hawai'i. Because it was so much to write, and also it was just... beautiful and funny and ... yeah, too many adjectives and I won't be able to describe it satisfactorily. Also, because somehow writing a review like that, ends it. Like the vacation is so over. I don't want it to be over. Real life makes me cry.

But here it goes anyway... Hawai'i with the Fam!

19 Tuesday

Just my parents and me, the plane trip was SO LONG. The first time I have ever flown first class. Probably the only time, too. We didn't just buy the tickets, they were credit card miles, and we couldn't use them for a different trip but COULD use them to upgrade. Anyway, I admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by the first class thing. Because, well, I watch too many movies. It was just the same as regular but with bigger seats. And I think you got free alcoholic drinks not just free soda if you were so inclined, which, you know, we weren't.

I guess I just thought I would be sitting with with Billy Idol and stuff ala The Wedding Singer. hee hee hee! Plus, really, only the plane from Salt Lake to the layover in LA had seats for our fatty first class butts... the next one felt around the same size, just closer to the nose of the plane.

Long long flight though. But still, when we landed it was in paradise, so it ended well. SIGH! It was late when we arrived, we got the rental car (mini-van) all that type thing and went try and find the first Condo we would stay in. We were really lost and my dad happened to turn into a parking lot to look at his map when a lady walked up the the car and leaned over. We all seriously thought "hooker" first off, but then she said my dad's NAME! He had accidentally found the right place. The hooker was actually the landlord. Hee hee hee hee!

20 Wednesday

There was a lot of scouting this day, as in, planning what to do and when once the kids came later that night. Then Padre got a call on his cell that some of his friends were there playing golf soon. He actually wasn't going to get another chance, even though golfing is his life, so we told him to do it and we would just figure out something to do near by. So we got on the Kameamea highway and headed to Turtle Bay!

Last time I got a shot, well, it worked. This time, not so much. So I was feeling rather yucky and in pain, and truly, just TIRED by the time we got there, and so both Mom and I were thinking about just, like, laying in the shade on the beach or something. NOT being social. But when we arrived to drop Padre off at the course, we were spotted by Linda. Linda's the wife of one of the Rich Friends that were staying at that fancy place and had called Dad to play. (*We* were NOT staying in the Turtle Bay Villas... we were staying in various little one bedroom condos owned by various quasi-prossies) She was very nice but I so did not want to play, nor did Mom. But we finally relented to a point and agreed to go with her to get something to eat at "this charming little bakery" where everything was "extraorrrrrrdinary." Literally, she said the word "EXTRAORDINARY" about 5 times.
"The fish sandwich is extraordinary."
"The breads are all extraordinary."
"The carrot cake, well, I don't really LIKE carrot cake but it was just extraordinary anyway!"
"They have the most extraordinary pies."

Me and mom thought it was hilarious and laughed at that the rest of the trip BUT the scary thing was she was SO RIGHT!!!!! OH MY HECK. Ted's Bakery was, indeed, extraordinary. I had a Mahi Mahi sandwich that was SO. DANG. GOOD. So was the carrot cake. Now I am finding out it is famous, even though it looks like a dive. But it was hilarious to sit with this REALLY fancy rich lady at picnic tables outside a little dive with [HAAAWT] surfers dripping water on the floor and zebra doves and feral chickens running between our feet! Serious juxtaposition. I *heart* Ted's.

But do NOT ask if they have free water, because apparently it pisses the worker lady off. Like at a Soup Nazi level. Just don't. Water is not free, just get a drink and order your sandwich and be happy because it is worth it. VERY worth it. EXTRAORRRRRRRDINARY!

When we got back to Turtle Bay we separated from Linda and found a way to a beach, but most happily of all not a sunny people beach, a shady(so mom could sit and read and I planned to to, but then found something better as it was a...) TIDE POOL BEACH!!!!! I know, I am weird. But little tide pools are like little magical worlds! Tiny fish! Teeny hermit crabs! Weird almost microscopic amazing little THINGS! It was AWESOME. We stayed there the rest of the day far from crowds in our own little world till Padre finished his round. I was going to lay on the beach and read, but couldn't... not with those little pools of life all around me. So cool!!!

When we went back to Honolulu and our condo (and our oh-so-delicious dinner of McDonald's (BLEH! Teeeeeeeeed's! We MIIIIIIIISS YOOOOOOOOU!!!)) we sat around waiting for Rinny's and BoyKid's plane to come in at 11:20. One problem. Their plane wasn't coming IN at 11:20. 11:20 IS when our plan for home was leaving, but the plane that my sybs were coming to Hawai'i on was arriving at 9:15. But my dad was the only one who HAD the details and had it in his head that it was the other way around so we were just sitting in the condo doing NOTHING (well, okay, they were sorta sleeping... not me, as I am the only one who seems to be biologically on Perma-Hawai'i Time) when a slightly nervous Rinny called Padre's cell asking "ummm... where are you?"
My dad's exact words? "Oh SNAP. Did you guys miss the plane?!"
"No. We are here."
"Where? California?"
"Hawai'i. Sitting on our luggage. 'lest behind.'" (inside joke... the s=f thing... yeah)
"Were... you... ummm... early?"

"Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." ~Lilo & Stitch

I went with Padre to get the Sybs from the airport and drove back to our little condo in Honolulu. They were exhausted and went right to sleep. I started to book the Goose Girl.

21 Thursday

Packed up and to be moved to the next little condo, actually, near Turtle Bay, but not a swanky one. However, bigger than the last (2 bedrooms!) AND to the delight of my newly obsessed baby bro, a guitar! So he got to serenade us hilariously a lot. Anyway, that was later. First, we just moved OUT and the Sybs finally got to see paradise by DAYLIGHT. Waikiki... surfers... perfect blue ocean... beaches... SIGH!

We all went to the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium which is lots of fun, except I think the timing wasn't quite right for the sybs, especially, because when you haven't GONE anywhere else how do you know what is cheap for souvenirs? Oh well, I bought a lot of fun stuff, mostly little shell leis and cute printed purses, especially super cute ones that made PERFECT bonding pouches for my gliders (who I was already missing a LOT even though I trust the kennel situation more than the one I had previously arranged) My parents were on a quest from my aunt to get a hat woven from coconut leaves. I told them when I went to school here they had made them at the Polynesian Cultural Center, but I didn't remember if they sold them or just did them for volunteers in shows. But they couldn't find them at the Swap Meet.

Then we went to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. It was a sad and reverent place. And interesting! The oil on the water out there at the actual boat... it is... eerie. I don't know. History is fascinating... but it is just so MUCH. So sad.

Then we went to the Windy (and Buzzy?! Look out for BEES?! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?) Pali Pass lookout and got to imagine very different battles and see BEAUTIFUL scenes. Just... WOW.

I love it here.

And I love it HERE... the Lai'e Temple. We went there next, on our way out to get the key to that nights stay. We just drove around a bit, but I have missed Lai'e SO MUCH. And the Temple means so much to me in other ways too. It just was beautiful.

Also, of course, we had to worry about what we were missing which was the Las Vegas Bowl. My Sybs are BYU Zoobies and oddly Rinny cares about football. I mean, I like football, but Rinn, the pink princess type, she totally cares about football even when no boy is watching it with her... it just... I never would have figured. Kudos to her. Anyway, she had a guy text us with regular score updates since we couldn't get any reception as we drove around the island. (Personally, I didn't much care. I mean, hello, we are in HAWAI'I! Who CARES about BYU football!? I mean... you know... other than maybe knowing a little if Fresno asked, but he knows I am a fair weather fan if ever there was one.) But anyway BYU beat Oregon 38 to 8 according to the last text and we cheered.

We also found a spot that sea turtles sometimes bask! We were just looking at a beach and saw a sign that said "remember it is illegal to touch or molest sea turtles" and I was so excited! But there were no turtles.

22 Friday

We went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay! We saw so many beautiful fish and weird stuff and we ALL did it (and yep, I DID see, thank you Snorkel Bob for the Rx goggles!) Totally awesome! I admit that Finding Nemo quotes were running through my head 90% of the time... and Little Mermaid songs took up the other 10%... but it was just amazing. This trip has been so funny for me animal-wise. From the moment we got off the plane I had been gasping at birds (so I bought a field guide at Pearl Harbor so I could identify them at least) and then it was just the same with my head under the water. This world is so amazing. The animals in it... seriously, I think Heavenly Father must have had the most fun designing places like Hawai'i. I know I would. SIGH! I just... SO love it here. But the fish were just spectacular! And not just the fish, but the living coral, the various sea anemones and such.

We were walking around Waikiki (and counting the almost countless ABC Stores!) when we finally saw a guy on the street making the ever elusive HATS! We talked to him a lot, too, and when he found out we were from Utah asked us about the church and found found out his parents were Mormon, too, and he thought that was hilarious and called us "Brotheren" Not even Brethren... BROTHER-EN. His name was Kekumu and we talked to him a long time and he was HILARIOUS.

Next we hit the road again and went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We looked at the little pineapple growing but didn't ride the train or do the maze, but we DID get pineapple ice cream in a pineapple. The ice cream was good but the real fresh pineapple it was in, the chunks of it on top, HEAVENLY!!! Oh yum! Good good stuff. Extraorrrrrdinary!!! Yes, Hawai'i TASTES fantastic!

23 Saturday

Saturday we went to Lai'e and to the Temple to all do a session together. It is cool that our whole family now can go. This was the first time Rinny and BoyKid would be going since the first time. It would be the first time they would be doing the work for someone else instead of themselves. And it was just... COOL. Yay for our family... and yay for families in general and the Lord and his beautiful, merciful gospel. *grins* Blessings ROCK. YAY FOR THE CHURCH!!!

For lunch we all went to Ted's Bakery because me and Mom thought they all needed to share in our joy! YUMMY! And EVERYONE thought it was extraordinary, even Rinny who "doesn't eat as a rule" ate a little and liked it. (I think she liked the... "scenery" (wet, hottie, surfer boys with Australian accents) even more, of course.) We checked that beach known for turtles again. No turtles. Then we headed back to Lai'e to hit the always awesome Polynesian Cultural Center!

I love the PCC. When I was living in Lai'e at school at BYU-H the PCC was sort of the heartbeat of the school and it just... I don't know, I love it there. I love learning about different cultures and it just tells about the roots of them, and the actual cultures of the islands that make the CULTURE that has become Hawai'i (I mean other than rich Asian businessmen and pasty white mainland tourist types like me("Aren't they beautiful?" - Lilo) Hee hee hee!). One of the funniest moments, though was when in... I think it was Samoa? Yeah... they asked for 3 "handsome young men" and we tried to get BoyKid up there and they took DAD instead! And they made him take off his shirt and race to husk a coconut and start a fire and stuff. SO DANG FUNNY... and humiliating, and thus I only half claimed him. He actually did a lot better than I would expect.

We went to the Ali'i Luau there, and were seated next to the cutest British family. The 14 year old girl was also a volunteer at the Maori demonstration, actually, and she was just HILARIOUS. She was adorable and the spitting image of Georgia Nicholsen. Hee hee! Rinny and I have been using her slang ever since. I mean really, how cute and British is "Roughty Toughty?!" (Actually, for the whole night after I think it sounded like a really bad Harry Potter parody as we talked a lot about things being "roughty toughty," "snogging," and any other British words we could think of which were not only not many, but not used correctly the majority of the time.)

After the Luau we saw the show. I was pretty much song-and-danced out, even though everyone was amazing, it's just there is a LOT of it. However, they also had an abundance of FIRE. Fire knife twirling, sitting on fire, walking on fire... AWESOME. Very very impressive.

Here is my PCC Slideshow...

24 Sunday, Christmas Eve

Went to church at a local ward in Lai'e. It was a good meeting, actually, though I spent most of it in the foyer with my headache at extreme levels (certain chairs make it SO much worse sometimes). I listened the whole time though, and it was just... good. Mom came out and sat with me for the last part, too. We talked a little.

After Church we looked at the Temple (right next door) and took more pictures, then went to various beaches. Basically we decided that "Sabbath appropriate beach activity" would be "looking at waves, sitting, wading, etc." but not "swimming, learning to surf, etc." And so we did. hee hee!

The other thing we had to do though, was leave our nice-ish condo with the guitar and more than one room, pack up and move to the rather ghetto-looking Pat's at Punalu'u which has one bedroom... and I mean BEDroom. The bed was the whole room!

But the thing is, it looked ghetto on the outside but was VERY cute inside. I loved the decor, all the old school Hawai'ian stuff. FUN! The first thing Rinny and I decided to do, though, was to make it CHRISTMAS no matter WHERE we were and so, with the silk plant , our orchid le'is, Padre's ridiculous bears, and key chains I bought for that purpose We put the plant on a stool and made us a Christmas Tree!

Then Rinny forced us all to watch "The Light Before Christmas" the stop-action animation that was made mostly at her work at TGP and so we have seen already MANY times in stages. We have seen the figures, talked with the producer, seen it screened before released, etc. So Rinny thought she was being SO funny to make us all sit and watch again. (it IS cute... but we are awfully tired of it. Hee hee hee!)

25 Monday, Christmas

The Day: Christmas.
The Plan: Let BoyKid learn to Boogie Board
The Place: North Shore of Oahu where amazing surfers almost DIE surfing.

Who would know this would be such a difficult thing?! But my dad insisted on ASKING lifeguards if BoyKid could Boogie Board at these amazingly scary places to which they LAUGHED and said "not if you want to take him home with you in one piece." The best was Sunset Beach. The kid just heads out there before Padre can ask anyone anything. At that very moment a lifeguard yells out on a loud speaker, "This is not the place to gain experience. If you are not an experienced surfer and a strong swimmer, go home. It is Christmas, this is not a day to die." Spencer really wanted to have a shirt that said "I'm not good enough for Sunset Beach." Hee hee hee hee!

We did finally let him go to Waimea Bay which was just as treacherous. SERIOUSLY scary. In fact the lifeguards were saying the same sort of stuff, I think my dad was just tired of trying to find a safe place. It was pretty funny watching the boy eat sand time after time till he sprained his neck, but it would not have been funny if he had really been hurt or killed. Still he did it. Kids, do not try this at home, 18 year old boys are ALL MORONS and have delusions of immortality.

It was pretty hilarious, though. And he was hurt enough that he kept saying ouch and being close to tears but not enough that we couldn't mock him for thinking he could play out there with the big boys. Idiot. Hee hee hee!

Then we took the "infirmed"to Turtle Bay back behind the hotel where me and Mom hung out that first day! It had a little something for everyone. Mom read on the beach, Spencer whined about his neck and scoped girls laying out, Dad went snorkeling some more, Rinny layed out and then came with me... and I was the Princess of the Tide Pools! hee hee! They are beautiful! So many colors! Tiny crabs! A LIVE SEA URCHIN!!! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

And I felt pretty nifty because I showed a pretty professional looking photographer where the urchin was and showed his 5 year old daughter the crabs and how to hold them. And they were way impressed and the dad kept asking questions about the animals. It was just sort of fun to *teach* again. I just wish I had the patience and health. Anyway, after that we headed to Lai'e again.

Rinny really wanted to go to campus at BYU-Hawaii and see my dorm and stuff, but nobody else really wanted to... but she also really needed to use the bathroom. So we went to my old Hale 3. We got BoyKid busted because we told him to stay somewhere and he didn't and accidently was in the girls' dorms, and so he got yelled at which was pretty funny. Hee hee hee! Oh and Rinny and I finally found the bathroom (and my old dorm.)

And she told me that she thought I was brave. That she could not have lived here, sharing a bathroom with strangers and eating that food. She was so serious. (She is really germaphobic) And she told me I was a good example of how to be brave.

But the thing is, that stuff wasn't being BRAVE to me. Because THAT isn't the stuff that scares me. So even though it was awesome to talk to Rinny for once, in a serious, and not annoying each other way... I didn't deserve it.

I am not brave. I just fear different things. And I fear a lot of things.

Anyway, we finished up our Christmas with, of course... TED'S! (And, nope. Still not tired of Mahi Mahi sandwiches!)

26 Tuesday

We also started THIS day with Ted's... but not Mahi Mahi... breakfast sandwiches! And they are FANTASTIC, absolutely NOTHING like an egg McMuffin. YUM. Delicious!

Then we went to that turtle basking beach and saw...

A SEA TURTLE!!! Real! And Cute! And WONDERFUL!!!!!

"Sea Turtles?"
"Aye! Sea Turtles!"

So amazing! SIGH! A wild sea turtle just chillin' on the beach! Now THAT is a Christmas gift! It was fantastic. I took a million pictures of him. I did NOT touch him (because dang it all, I was going to keep that law!) but I did get very close and practically cry because I was so happy to see it.

Then we tried to find Matsumoto's to expose every one to REAL Shave Ice (with ice cream at the bottom... mmmm!) and Padre took some wacky detour through a field that ended up being more Dole land complete with a "trespassers will be shot" type sign. We did eventually get back to Hale'iwa and get our Matsumoto's which even with the holder cups (well worth the 25 cents) Rinny spilled in her lap TWICE. So she was sticky and wet. I was sandy and wet (a wave caught me off guard at the Turtle). We really wanted to go back and change before going back to the PCC, but Padre did NOT want to do anything not "on the program." So our next stop was a short one at the Audubon Center that was just... BEAUTIFUL. And there was a random Peacock who must have gotten fed before because it was practically trying to climb into cars. Hee hee!

We did finally convince Padre to let the GIRLS to head to Pat's after dropping off the boys, and then we would hurry back to the Polynesian Cultural Center as well. We changed and caught up. Rinny got to do Tahitian dancing up on stage (which is good since I think she might have been suffering from Dancing-or-Singing-on-Stage Withdrawals *rolls eyes*) and we all got Maori Tattoos (temporary, obviously) and learned about Hawai'ian instruments that was pretty fascinating, actually! We went on the canoe ride and other stuff. Then we went to the temple as it started to get dark, and then it started to rain. It was pouring, but at least it was warm.

27 Wednesday

The last day in Hawai'i, everyone (but me) got up and went to the beach to watch the sunrise. I know this sounds lazy, but I really didn't mind that they couldn't wake me up because I don't think Sunrises are any better than sunsets and are just timed badly. hee hee! When they came back they woke me and we packed and cleaned Pat's at Punalu'u and we became "homeless in Hawai'i."

Then we headed out on the road with really NO plans except that Rinny and I had this whole silly farewell ceremony idea with releasing our leis into the ocean and singing Aloha O'e at sunset. (Okay, actually Rinn's plan was to release the leis, but I made her change it to releasing the flowers (clipping the strings before hand) from the leis because strings like that can be dangerous to sea animals and birds. Seriously, I have had to remove strings from birds feet and things that have grown around it like a tumor. She was mad because I wasn't being "Green Gables enough" but I am sorry I am not risking hurting an animal just to be poetic. So we fought about that for awhile, but finally she relented when she saw that the leis unstrung made a LOT of orchids to throw into the waves)

Anyway, since we had no *real* plans till our flight that night at 11 and we were not going to do a beach because we did not want to sit on a 7 hour plane ride feeling wet, sandy, and gross, we were all a little sad and bored and Dad was making us eat only at McDonald's all day. So I figured suggesting anything expensive would not fly but I plugged Sea Life Park again and amazingly he said Okay! I took a million pictures and petted a sting ray and played with the dolphins. It was great!

We saw sea turtles which was cool... but not as cool as OUR turtle, "Mr. Turtle" because he was wild. We didn't have the money to swim with or ride the dolphins... but we found our own way. Hee hee hee!

Anyway, then we headed to the Dole plantation for a last pineapple with Li Hing Mui powder on it. HOLY HANNAH that stuff is yummy! I am wondering if local places sell that red concoctions in their international sections or if I can get it at Many Land's. ANYWAY, tangent.

Then we went toward Hale'iwa for our "Farewell ceremony." I think we were out at Ke'ehi Lagoon. It was actually kind of sad and beautiful (even though we sang very quietly because, well, the Kahuku Red Raiders paddling team was sort of right by us. Hee hee hee!).

We only sang the chorus because it's all I could remember (and plus half the words of the chorus are in English) but it really was very Anne of Avonlee-ish after all.

Aloha o'e, aloha o'e
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A ho i a e au
Until we meet again.

(I found the whole song here, if you want to read it.)

The rest just sort of blurred together. We tried for so long to guess the story being the vanity license plate ahead of us PNUTNQ that we finally followed them till we could drive next to them and ask (I was RIGHT! Peanut and Q were their nicknames!) which "Peanut" (the passenger, a MASSIVE black woman... not fat. I mean she looked like MAJORLY tough.) thought was hilarious and kept laughing and hitting "Q" (a more average sized hubby.) who seemed really embarrassed. We pulled over to check directions at a wharf and BoyKid was afraid of the nearly 10 cats that were out there so we mocked him. I got in trouble with Padre for holding a street vendor's BEAUTIFUL bird that he placed in my hand in a plea to get us to take a picture (and give him money), and BoyKid got yelled at for jumping onto an up escalator on a street... that had no down so we didn't know where he went! We followed him and so we ALL got in trouble, but we thought it was VERY funny. Dad got to keep his pineapple and coconut but I was treated like a terrorist because apparently pineapples are fine to bring home but the PERFECT Persimmons I bought for my gliders were not.

We flew home and I was the only one who didn't sleep through the "Red Eye" flight and thus slept all the next day.

THE END!!!!! (And I am DONE writing this post!)



  1. Perfect!!! Bravo!!

    Thanks for sharing! It sounds like it was wonderful. :)

  2. SO FUN! Can't wait to go again some time.

  3. i'm so glad you took the time to share that. color me jealous. i hope todd gets stationed in hawai'i. that would be AWESOME!