Mahalo, Hawaii

Images of HawaiiThank you, Hawaii. And goodbye. (For real, this time.)

Some of you hid me from your Facebook feed these last 2 weeks (admit it) and one of you (Tim) even jokingly asked how many more months I planned to be here. So you’ll be glad to hear that after the unexpected one-day delay, I’m heading home. Home to unseasonably warm DC weather, Christmas planning, my job, and of course, two cute little boys.

I’m going to miss the Maui Onion flavored chips we ate daily, the Kailua Passions we drank on multiple occasions, sunrise walks/runs on the beach, and the laid back attitude of island life. I’m going to miss wearing flip flops and beachwear all day (and night) long. I’m going to miss fresh Ahi, apple bananas, Shave Ice, the most amazing pineapple ever and the Spam aisle at the Foodland.

I’m going to miss having a new experience everyday. Paddle surfing. (Have I mentioned that I’m a goddess at paddle surfing?) Watching the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition on Sunset Beach. Hiking to incredible vistas.

There’s a lot waiting for me back home though. The kids, of course. The Harry PotterĀ Yule Ball my friends are hosting on Saturday. Biker Barre. (Oh, do I need some ass kicking by my friends at Biker Barre.) And George Clooney has already been shipped back to the East Coast where he patiently awaits my return.

The best vacations are those you are bittersweet about ending. You want it to continue – because it’s awesome – but you are eager to go back to your life. Because your kids are amazing and you have seen this entire trip through their eyes.

Except the parts that involved copious fruity cocktails, of course.

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a slight change of plans…

Sometimes life throws a curveball. And sometimes that curveball means staying in paradise one more day.

It isn’t always this way. Three years ago I was stranded in Copenhagen for four days longer than my return ticket specified. I loved Copenhagen – don’t get me wrong – but after more than a week, so close to Christmas, after your friends have mostly left town, you kind of just want to get home. It was stressful. There were tears. And thankfully, there was aquavit.

There were tears this time too. And I can hear you all… “this is the world’s smallest violin playing my heart bleeds for you.” But while it doesn’t suck to get stranded in Hawaii for one more day, it was difficult to tell Jack (who has missed me desperately) that I’m an extra day away from seeing him. It was hard to return to our amazing house in Kailua after coming to terms with saying goodbye. And mostly, it was hard to cough up the $500 to change my ticket for tomorrow’s flight because, oh, today’s journey was just to get to the mainland. Tomorrow I had a flight from SFO to DCA. To change that leg to Friday cost more than the original ticket had.

And I’m still just on standby tomorrow, though the Hawaiian Airlines people who would not check me in with 43 minutes til takeoff because I should have been there three hours in advance have told me there are 29 available seats on tomorrow’s flight. So I should make it.

And I will be at the airport three hours early so that I am number one on the standby list. Because while I’ve had an awesome vacation, I’m ready to sleep in my own bed, hug my kids tight and wear something other than a bathing suit to dinner.

a retrospective on packing

It’s easy to find post after post dispensing of (and displaying) advice on how to perfectly pack for your vacation. But do these writers ever follow up with how it all actually worked out?

As I repack my suitcase, I’m struck by what I used and used again and washed and used again. And all those items that I didn’t.

The losers:

Jeans. Why did I bring two pairs? Of course, I needed one for when I was in San Francisco. Two was utterly too many. I haven’t thought twice of wearing denim since leaving the mainland.

Shoes. At the last minute, I threw my super cute Kate Spade espadrille wedges into my suitcase. Where they have stayed for the entire trip with their unworn sister, a pair of camel colored Chie Mihara’s that I brought for SF and planned to use here too. With jeans. (I was wrong.)

The one-piece bathing suit. I thought I might want it for surfing or other water sports. But I committed to the bikinis and didn’t look back.

Two long-sleeved Lululemon half-zips. Granted, they came in handy in San Francisco, but the beach does not cool down at night here, and I should have shipped them home with the work clothes I had my dad send back to DC for me.

Make up. Hair dryer. A navy and white striped cotton pique dress. A stack of bangles. A bunch of condoms? What was I thinking?

What would I bring more of if I had to do it over again? Another bikini. A few more skirts that can go to the beach and transition to dinner.

And definitely, a second pair of flip flops.

on Hawaii

IMG_2284I love Hawaii. I feel at home here. I’m not a beach bum by any stretch of the imagination, but I have enjoyed wearing nothing but a bathing suit since I’ve been here. I haven’t missed heels (did I just write that?) and I don’t mind so-called “island time” which would drive me nuts back in DC.

With the days of my vacation winding down, tonight I let myself be overtaken by emotion. After my friends went to sleep, I walked down to the beach by myself. And while three nights ago the moon lit up the sky, tonight it was nowhere to be seen. I sat in the sand, looked at the cloudy sky, listened to the waves crash, and I cried.

I cried for the remaining days (too few). I cried for the days away from my boys (too many). I cried for the fact that I have the wherewithal to be here (grateful). I cried tears of thanks to my friend Malia for providing the house we’ve called home on this trip (more gratitude). I cried for the uncertainty of when I can return to Hawaii. I cried for the challenges that await me at home. While Month of Chelsea was a resounding success, there is much to be settled still and in Scarlett O’Hara fashion, I’d rather think about it tomorrow.

I haven’t done any of the things I told myself I’d do here. I haven’t finished the sequel to My Night with George Clooney. I didn’t blog until tonight. I took two runs on the beach and a death-defying (maybe breathtaking is a better modifier) hike but other than that I haven’t worked out. I’ve read some books, but not at the speed I intended.

I relaxed. I ate. I drank. I slept like a baby.

I know the right thing is to make the most of my remaining days, so I will be counting each minute and making it count. And then I’ll be planning my return next year with the boys.

 

on bikinis and such

I’m just going to admit it.

I don’t hate myself in a bikini right now. (Thank you, Biker Barre!)

In fact, I so don’t hate myself in a bikini that I ordered five for my upcoming trip to Hawaii.

This’s not to say that I wasn’t more than slightly stressed about making these purchases. My friend Katie told me that the best bathing suit she has ever owned came from Target. I took her advice and ordered several mix and match pieces for a grand total of less than $35. I kept three interchangeable components: two bottoms and a top. Because the available sizes and colors were limited (at $6/piece, most of the stock had been snatched up) I also ended up ordering additional suits from J. Crew and Zappos. The one from Zappos was returned, as were some of the components from J. Crew, but now that I know what styles I find flattering and styles not, this whole bathing suit thing feels a whole lot easier.

But that’s not all I need for 12 days in Hawaii. While I admire how some of my friends look in shorts, I can’t carry them off with even an ounce of confidence. Rosanna totally rocks a tomboy look. DC Celine can pull off the dressy short. And Wardrobe Oxygen is so rock and roll in her cutoffs. But shorts are not in my comfort zone, whereas skirts and dresses are. Luckily, even though it’s early for resort wear, I managed to find a non-budget-breaking convertible skirt-dress combination (the tag demonstrates seven ways to wear it) at Nordstrom. I bought it in three colors. I also found a cute basic black pareo at Lands End and already own many large scarves that will perform similarly and pair nicely with the bikini colors I chose.

Now the next step is figuring out whether all my items fit in my suitcase once I add shoes (shoes, glorious shoes) and five days worth of clothes for San Francisco. Clearly it is not going to be bathing suit weather there.