Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just a Visitor in Paradise/Return to Reality

 Hanauma Bay
Holy Guacamole (as Judah would say).  Hawaii is unreal.  Truly a beautiful place every where you look.  We enjoyed our 10 days after receiving the "negative" news from the bronchoscopy.  I'm still not convinced about the results, but we'll get to that later.
getting (temporarily) inked
The past 10 days was the best distraction I could've hoped for.  Though the trip was long, we arrived in the afternoon in time to see the first Oahu sunset: a sky full of pink clouds and water stretching out as far as the eye can see. 

day 3, breakfast #12
Our stay there included a drive around the entire island, stopping for some fresh seafood and snorkeling at Three Tables; a giant rainbow, Pearl Harbor, Paradise Cove luau (and whew did we pay for that one!), pool swimming, Hanauma Bay, Hula Grill, lava flows (YUM), fresh mochi, furikake eggs for breakfast, and even an evening at House Without a Key, all the while enjoying our complimentary suites (THANKS, SHUTTERFLY!) and breakfasts at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk.
upon the uss bowfin

riding the ferry out to the arizona memorial
see?  PINK!

Then it was onto the lava rocks and mountain goats on the Big Island of Hawai'i, where we stayed in a fabulous (yet affordable) townhouse in the Waikoloa Colony Villas (thank you, craigslist!).  The pinnacle of our trip (and the whole reason for my mom entering the contest to begin with) was the wedding of our family friend at an amazing hotel just a few minutes' drive from our rental. 

plate #2: not on the diet
The rehearsal dinner was crazy amounts of fresh seafood.  I ate WAY too much (none of it on the crazy sexy diet, but you gotta live it up on vacation), and still wished I could've fit just one more shrimp in.  The wedding (at sunset the next night) was just beautiful and attended by some very happy family and friends (thanks, guys - we really had a wonderful time).  Bride was just lovely, the groom adorable, the evening unforgettable.  Even Judah had a great time as the ring bearer...
serious business
wearing welcome leis
let's look over a cliff.

We spent one day on the big island driving to Hilo, a town on the green side of the island, and exploring botanical gardens, waterfalls, slightly terrifying albeit stunning lookouts, tasting yummy smoothies, and gazing at the lush farmland and animals all along the way. 
at the bottom of the botanical gardens.  sigh.

Another day, we visited the nearby Hilton, host of Dolphin Quest, where they charge a hefty chunk of change to get into the water with some sweet nai'a.  We thought it was more worth our money to eat lunch at the grill overlooking the lagoon so we could watch other people touch the dolphins for free (especially since Dan and I did it already on our honeymoon in Mexico). 

see? on the map? that's where we are.

One morning, we woke up "early" and got out of the house before 8 am, to snag a coveted parking spot at the Mauna Kea public beach, where we'd heard we would be able to swim with sea turtles - as well as calm snorkeling waters.  BINGO!  We saw one green sea turtle up close and personal and 3 more sunning themselves on the rocks at low tide.  Dan and my dad had more success seeing lots of fish swimming amongst the reef than I did, mostly because my breathing problems make it difficult for me to stay out for too long.  Plus, I don't like getting pushed into the reef by the waves (call me crazy), so I don't like to get too close..  The men paid for their snorkeling jackpot - Dan did get pushed (and scraped) into the reef and my dad fractured his toe walking on the rocks (to see the turtles).  Luckily, everyone made it home in one piece.
ouch! (note: NOT MY LEG - I may be ill, but I can keep up better than this)

The best part (for me) was getting to enjoy some quality time with our friends at the pool and on the Hapuna Beach (perfect sand, perfect chairs, perfect pool, perfect ocean water - though NOT advisable for snorkeling... more on that story also later).  We bought some cheap beach toys and gave Judah a few afternoons of vacation from our vacation = bliss for all.  Ice cream, blended drinks (though I quickly discovered that even the tiniest bit of grownup juice makes my heart race), lunch by the pool, it was the real deal. 
pool + food = good to go
We all cried (well, okay, it was probably just me and my mom) on the last afternoon as we sat sandwiched between the pool and the beach, lamenting having to leave such a state of nirvana and return to our stress-filled lives.  I'm still wondering now, why we couldn't just move there and live the rest of our days in the land of partly sunny, occasional times of clouds, high of 84, low of 71 every single day?
I did some minor investigating into teaching there, only to discover that a)unions there are taking a pay cut and b)rural Hawaiian culture and public education are often butting heads, not unlike problems we face in our rural and inner city districts.  It's not all exactly peaches and cream there.  And the cost of living is intense.  By golly, the Whole Foods we found in Honolulu (yes, we had to get snacks somewhere!) was even pricier than ours at home.  The only things cheaper there were pinapple (79 cents/lb) and octopus salad.

Still, for 10 days, the breathtaking scenery and new language (can you say humuhumunukunukuapua'a? I can!!) were the ideal break from all of the worry and anxiety that filled the weeks leading up to our departure.  Everyone was sensitive to my physical limitations and I was wheeled, shuttled, and even golf-carted to wherever I needed to be, so as not to raise my heart rate too much.  No need to encourage the unexplained tachycardia...
this is the "local" stuff in the Honolulu WF

And I did get an email from Dr. Henry in the middle of the trip, reiterating that the results thus far still continue to be "negativo" for everything.  However, the slow-growing organisms (infection?) can take up to six weeks to reveal themselves;  we still have a bit of waiting to do for the final results.  And since I cannot be treated (with meds) until we know for certain what isn't in my lungs, I'm just trying to find ways to cope with feeling like crud for the next month.

I have my own theories about what's going on in my body, but I can't say with certainty if they're gut instincts or just visceral, all-encompassing fears.  I suppose we'll have to stay tuned for the next round of results - this is like scanxiety on steriods (oh wait, I've done that already... ha ha ha ha ha.  that's an inside joke for all of you fellow PMLBCers/rchop or epoch-r-ers).

In any case, I hope this gives you a good idea of what our trip was like.  We thank you so much for voting on Shutterfly (I still can't believe these things are actually for real) and will be happy to return the favor...  Also, if you know of any contests that can get us to France, I'd really like to can the diet on some fresh croissants and beignets...


(post-breakfast binge) family portrait, waikiki

see?  we really did find the whole foods.
humuhumunukunukuapua'a aka reef triggerfish


  1. Sounds amazing! I am so glad you had a true break!!!!!

  2. Neato Burrito! That was fun even just hearing about it. Especialy about your Daddy's toe. I amd feeling horrible for him but he was taoght
    t eat fishes, not swim with them.
    Judah really cleans up nice like a good
    Dansky(blitstein0 boy. GG loved a card from you.
    Thoughtful AND gorgeous....Holy Guacamole!
    Love, Uncle and GG and Kimi