When you travel somewhere - across state lines or across the world - you come home and, with much enthusiasm, you want to tell the stories of your time away. While they might be exciting or scary or very, very funny, no one will completely grasp them - no one will fully understand the way the experiences changed you. In that way, I will never have the words to describe Hawaii. "How was your trip?" I've been asked countless times, but even if I could find the right syllables for all the sights and sounds, they would fall short. It's like when you try to explain a dream you had and the listener looks at you like they desperately want to get it, but detailing how that ex of yours showed up wearing a party hat and holding a kitten just as you were about to slay the blue dragon (or whatever weird thing your brain comes up with) will never be as real for them as it was for you.
When I wrote about the marathon a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to step outside of safe and comfortable. It's interesting to me that each time I do that - make some sort of declaration - I'm immediately tested on the sincerity of my words. I left for Hawaii the day after I wrote that post and I did more new things, had more new experiences, and had the chance to slap fear across its stupid face more often in that ten days than I knew was coming. When I backpeddled on wanting to do something - like jumping off a cliff into the ocean or walking through a tunnel carved in a mountain (yeah, we can talk about legitimate vs illegitimate fears later) Aaron would ask me, "Wait... what was that thing you wrote in your blog again?" Cool. Thank you.
But, really, thank you. Sometimes we need a push - I need a push - to do the scary things and it was those experiences that made the trip so memorable. Like I said, I can tell you stories about how we went surfing, hiked to a waterfall, swam with dolphins in the wild, and had a picnic on top of Koko Head at sunset, but if you were to visit, Hawaii would be magical for you in other ways than it was for me. So instead of detail every minute, I'll just show you a bunch of iPhone photos that tell you almost nothing of the majesty and beauty bottled up in this one place. You must go. It is the definition of adventure and for this summer-loving girl, it felt like coming home.
You might not have the luxury of adventuring around the island with a local like I did so if you're interested in going to Oahu, here are a few of the places we went and I recommend all of them. Two thumbs up. Five gold stars.
Bogart's Cafe - I could live on this Hawaiian waffle forever and ever.
Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha - best shave ice on Oahu
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream and Desserts - if you leave Hawaii without trying mochi ice cream, you will regret it for the rest of your days
Opal Thai - Opal, himself, will customize your meal and make it perfect.
Hanauma Bay State Park
Kailua Beach - my favorite and we went to many!
Mahalo for everything, Hawaii!