Six Years Since Hawaii

The hubs, The Bear, the parental units and I just returned from a three-day stay at the Lake of the Ozarks. As much as I want to rave about how amazing it was to escape the everyday work routine, I am already on to the next thing. (Photos and recap from the Ozarks vacay are still to come, but as for the next thing…) It’s our upcoming vacation to Hawaii!

A vacation to the Land of Aloha is long overdue. My paternal grandmother lives on Oahu, along with aunts, uncles and cousins, who I haven’t seen in about six years. It’s high time for our return, and to say that I’m excited is an understatement. I am pumped. And extremely thankful that our family members have not followed our footsteps into the Midwest and chosen to stay in the tropical locale where our family originated. It gives us reason to go back and reconnect.

All of this excitement takes me back to the last time we visited Hawaii. It was 2007. Mikey and I were about a year out of college. We weren’t even engaged yet. It was the first time I was introducing a boyfriend to Lola (that’s the Filipino word for “grandmother”, FYI). I remember we did anything and everything while there. (Oh, and introducing Mikey to Lola went swimmingly, in case you were wondering.)

We hiked the top of Diamond Head, a famous volcanic crater that overlooks the Pacific Ocean at the end of Waikiki.

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Visited Punch Bowl Cemetery, a 75,000 or so year-old crater and memorial site to men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces — many of whom passed away during World War II.

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Let the water tickle our toes as we walked the stretch of Waikiki Beach.

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Beach-hopped along the North Shore, while soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves of Sunset Beach, the Banzai Pipleine and Waimea Bay.

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Took a few history lessons on the USS Arizona and USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor.

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Drove to the windward side of the island to Kailua Beach, where we walked on the softest sand I’ve ever set foot on and watched wind surfers travel the open seascape.

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Immersed ourselves in the Polynesian cultures of Tonga, Samoa, Aeotearoa,Tahiti, Fiji and Hawaii at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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Ate like true islanders at an authentic luau.

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Watched hula dancers shake it and fire dancers not drop it like it’s hot.

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We did so much during our last Hawaii trip that I wonder if this upcoming visit will live up to the last. One thing that will be different is our itinerary, which includes a three-night stay in Maui. That’s a whole other island for us to explore. But really, let’s face it. You could stick me on a beach with beer, food and sunscreen for the entire duration of our visit, and I would be content. Heck, that’s what I’ll probably be doing the whole trip anyway.

Note: I can’t go without giving credit to my Father Photographer for a number of these photos. He’s rarely photographed, but always behind the camera, freeze-framing all of our family memories.

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