At the beginning of September we went to Hawaii for a week before we headed back to school. It was a very last minute, spontaneous trip, but we felt like we had the opportunity for a reason, and sensed a strong urge to go. The plane tickets were ridiculously mind blowing cheap, and although it was stressful planning a trip in one week, it all came together great in the end. Ever since I met Joe I have been dying to bring him back to the place that has always meant so much to me, even when it was just in my dreams. I've been so anxious to show him where I left a little piece of my heart. Where I went to school, where I lived, all my favorite spots, and thats just what we did. It was so surreal and wonderful it made me very emotional.
The first day we all recovered from the flight, and spent the whole day at Waikiki. We treated ourselves to Leonard's Malasadas for breakfast, and spent the morning swimming before it got crowded. Joe and Mia took a nice long nap on the sand together so I floated around soaking it all in, still in disbelief that I was back on my favorite little island with my favorite people. I never expected we would get back this soon, but the timing was so right.
The next day we explored new ground together and snorkled at Hanauma Bay. It was so much fun, and although I didn't take too many pictures (I quickly learned that vacationing with a toddler is a whole other story) it was definitely one of the favorite things we did together.
The next few days we spent our time on the North Shore. I showed Joe around campus (twice), showed him my old house, where I worked, the temple, Laie point, and all the little things that seem so insignificant but brought back so many feelings of nostalgia (like the grocery store, getting shave ice at Angel's, or where I rode my bike to school, etc). It was a crazy feeling being back. I can't really explain it. So much had changed, but at the same time so much was the same. I couldn't believe how much my own life had changed in the time I'd been gone. It was so good to see old friends and familiar faces, and introducing them to Joe and Mia. We spent a day enjoying some of my favorite places to eat, and my favorite beaches. Joe fell in love with Ted's Bakery just as I suspected he would. He also got mistaken several times for a local, and when he explained to them that he didn't live there, but was a student in Idaho, their jaw always dropped in disbelief and was usually followed by "you don't belong in Idaho!" Some people we're so confused! Haha. Joe also had an opportunity to speak to a police officer and ask a lot of specific questions about working on Oahu and being a cop in general. He got a lot of valuable information, and it helped him move one step close to what he wants to do. (Right place at the right time!)
Thanks to Joe's uncle, we spent a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center (all the pictures from that day are on my iphone) and had a lot of good laughs. I forgot how awesome the night show was, and I loved watching it with Joe!
We went to Waimea and then Haleiwa for an evening but didn't stay long because we forgot extra diapers for Mia. (oops) However we still stopped at sunset beach to watch the sunset. We had to! That was another favorite moment of mine.
Our last day we headed back to Waikiki since we had an early flight the next morning, but made one last pit stop at the point. We stood there overlooking the whole ocean and it really hit us that we were heading home. In that moment it was so special to me watching Joe fall in love with this place the same way I had. And now it was something we shared. Before heading back into town we drove around the familiar streets of Laie and just soaked it all in, looking at houses, talking about our future, our family, our goals, and daydreaming out loud. Once we were back in Waikiki we soaked up the last few hours of the day with a nice evening walk and grabbed dinner. Mia was such a trooper the whole trip, and really enjoyed herself. She loved the sand and the water, and Waikiki was perfect for her (no waves). She played so hard during the day that she slept like a rock at night, and the way our flight times worked out she adjusted pretty naturally to the time change. Traveling with a toddler was stressing me out before hand, and there were definitely some crazy moments, but it really did end up being better than i had anticipated. I'm so glad she was with us, my little island girl.
The next morning we were up by 4 and headed to the airport. This was probably the most insane dramatic part of the whole trip. When we returned our rental car we totally FORGOT to grab Mia's car seat, and didn't realize it until the shuttle had already taken us to the airport. We checked in, and Joe looked at me with horror in his eyes. So he ran back out to the curb, hopped on the shuttle back to Hertz, and our plane was about to board. I had no idea what to do so I just called my mom and freaked out. I knew we were going to miss our flight and be stranded and have to fork our hundredddds on new plane tickets. (We flew allegiant so just taking the next flight out was not an option). Anyway, what felt like an eternity later but was really just thirty minutes, Joe hopped off the shuttle and we full on sprinted to the gate. We made by the skin of our teeth, and it probably looked like a scene in a movie. Me frantically running with our carry-ons flying everywhere, probably hitting me in the face, and Joe behind me pushing the stroller (which was 20 years old and straight out of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and it looked like all the wheels are about to fly off. And of course Mia had no idea what was going on. It was a joy ride for her. But we made it and had a whole row to ourselves and Joe let me sleep most of the way home. So it worked out! Haha. As much as we missed Hawaii already it was good to be home and spend a few last days with my parents in Washington before heading back to school.
Even just writing all this makes me emotional! The trip was wonderful and overwhelming and left us excited for our next visit. We will never forget what a special experience it was for us. We got a lot of questions answered, it brought us even closer, and when we returned I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. It was so important to me to share my special place with Joe, and now I had. It brought me so much comfort I didn't even know I needed. Till next time Hawaii! Aloha <3
*Just a warning these are mostly scenic pictures. When we got home I realized 99% of our family/candids were taken on my iphone. Such is life when traveling with a lil babe!