When I first set foot on terra firma at Honolulu International Airport on July 14, 1981, I thought how lucky I was to be here. Each day since I have counted my blessings for getting to live in one of the nicest places on earth.
I look out the back door and see a beautiful avocado tree, a dormant volcano, a gorgeous blue sky punctuated by spectacular sunrises and sunsets, vivid rainbows, night-time shooting stars and a giant spot-light moon, egrets, kolea, cardinals, talkative myna birds, wild basil, vibrant bougainvillea, and sibling kitty cats who are our furry family members.
This weekend was everything I love about Hawaii rolled into about 50 hours. On Thursday evening I went for a swim with my masters group at the Oahu Club (Doesn’t your weekend start on Thursday?). On Friday evening, I relaxed with a glass of wine after a Costco trip. On Saturday morning, I woke at the butt-crack of dawn to ride my bicycle from Koko Crater to Diamond Head and back. Always, always, always, I pause to take a few pictures. Later that day I took my daughters to Maunalua Bay where they played on their surfboard and I ventured out on my stand-up paddle board. We got home just as the sun was setting. It was a great, full day. The next day I woke up early and participated in my first race, Bob and Ron’s 5k, at Kapiolani Park. John has been running for more than three years now, and this was quite a milestone for me. I didn’t think I’d ever walk like a normal person, and here I am learning to run! And when I saw the finish line, I kicked up my pace a little bit and there was John and our friend Stacy cheering me through. It was so rewarding.
After we were through with the run, John launched a 10-mile run because he needed to log in more miles. While the girls slept, I lugged out my SUP and had the bay’s morning glass to myself. It was a relaxing hour and a half where I didn’t have to keep my eye and mind on my daughters while I practiced paddling in the bay. And last night we had dinner at my in-laws to celebrate that sister-in-law from Iowa City was in town to present a paper at a linguistics conference. She made pesto and sweet potato fries for us with produce from her garden. I’m lucky in that my in-laws are so wonderful. I do not have weird in-laws. They let me take pictures of the sunset over the ocean out the lanai window as we are getting our evening started.
I have always been an ocean girl. When I first got my orders from the U.S. Air Force that I was to be stationed in Hawaii, I couldn’t believe my fortune. There isn’t a day I wake up and think to myself that I should be anywhere else.
I do not know if you are born and raised in Hawaii if you have the same sense of gratitude that I have. I wonder if my own children will understand how beautiful it is to live here? I was born in Camden, N.J., and lived the first 11 years of my life in a row house in an economically challenged part of an economically challenged town. But I remember enjoying life as a little kid. The things I didn’t enjoy, thankfully, fade away into those worn and frayed memories that disintegrate when you try to touch them. Part of my mission is to be sure my own daughters have memories they enjoy instead of those that scar the heart.