Sunshine and Sand

Spending 10 days in flowy summer dresses on a beach eating whatever you want and then stuffing yourself back into skinny jeans for work is even less fun than it sounds…

Hopped up on coffee and frantically organizing my e-mails, events and calendar, I’ve used half of my brain this week daydreaming about the Hawaiian paradise I just left and the other half trying not to blow a mental fuse.

It’s only been a few days since vacation and I already feel like the stories were created too long ago to re-tell with specifics, which is probably a good thing because there are so many of them, that the specifics would make for a pretty long post…

Let’s start with the reason I was in Hawaii.

This guy.

He’s very tough.

Lago is one of Russ’s best friends and one of the greatest people ever. He was our guide to Oahu which started with sunset on a private lagoon and ended with shave ice.

Not bad for a first Hawaiian sunset!

Shave ice complete with ice cream and condensed milk.

Of course, we punctuated our time on the island with some historical sites. Lago escorted us up a mountain ridge on the “pillbox hike” which took us to concrete bunker look outs used in World War II. You can’t get much better than ocean views and American war history (I might be a bit of a nerd).

On top of one of the pillboxes

It’s a given, then, that I had to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial. After an unsuccessful attempt to access it through an active military gate, we made it to the memorial just before the tour buses arrived. With two museums and an over-water tribute, there was more information and thoughtful reflection than I could have anticipated. The actual memorial was build over the top of the USS Arizona, which lies just below the surface of the water in the harbor. It’s a living memorial and survivors of the attack in 1941 have the option to be buried at sea with their fallen comrades.

The USS Arizona just below the surface.

After Lago had chauffered us around all of Oahu, it was time to head to Maui. In a little over 4 days, we saw the rustic jungle of Hana, hiked to a 400 foot waterfall, ate a 5 star dinner, napped in a poolside cabana, listened to geckos chatter, sunbathed on black and white sand beaches…

Giant waterfalls are everywhere in Hana.

Black sand beach in the National Park

Sunset over another incredible beach.

And I SNORKELED!!

Practicing with the gear.

After what seems like a lifelong struggle with a fear of water, I took the plunge. A big plunge. A plunge into an underwater crater in the middle of the ocean. And even though I panicked at first and held my breath every time I put my face in the water, it was amazing! We even saw a white-tip shark and I got to swim with SEA TURTLES!

On the boat post-snorkel!

This guy was 260 pounds!

When it was time to head back home, I couldn’t even remember what I was like before Hawaii – relaxed, tan and over-fed. And even though I’m back home I have a new inner peace and inner strength that Hawaii helped build, plus I got to snorkel with turtles, so my life is pretty much complete…

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