A Trip to the Aloha State

Day 663: Sun. Beaches. Family. And a wedding.

A recipe for one dreamy vacation.

About a month back [not on top of blogging, obvi], the hubby and I packed our bags and headed off to Oahu, Hawaii, for a dear college friend’s wedding. Both said friend and her fiancé are native to Hawaii, so we knew this was a wedding we could not miss. A couple of swimsuits. Shorts. Flops. And we were on our way!

My mama and I. At 4:30 A.M…

Not going to lie, the travel days were long. But once we felt that toasty sun, all was well in our world. Additionally, my aunt and uncle live [literally] on the North Shore and they were gracious enough to open their home to us “mainlanders.” My parents, aunt and uncle, one of my best friends, the hubs, and myself. A group of seven but a great group at that!

Our entire trip was rather laid back, no set plans. We came and went as we pleased, impersonating the Hawaiian lifestyle as much as we possibly could. I’ll admit, I can see how many folks have traveled to the islands and never returned to the mainland.

Although we didn’t have any planned activities, we definitely carpe’d that diem each and every day: trips to the beach, plenty of [survival mode] swimming, food truck pit stops, and daily trips to the coffee shop. But aside from the wedding, three activities highlighted the trip: Pearl Harbor, snorkeling, and rock running.

Let’s start with Pearl Harbor.

Sombering.  Humbling.  Very much a moving experience, and a must see if you’re ever given the opportunity.  The most memorable part of our visit was the boat ride to the National Historic Landmark that is the sunken USS Arizona.  There are few words to describe the memorial.  Eerily quiet.  In respect, no doubt.  But serene.  Peaceful.  And if you peer over the edge, you’ll see the bubbles of oil slowly seeping to the surface from the ship below.  A reminder of the thousands of lives lost on that tragic day.  But also a reminder of how grateful we, as Americans, should feel for the freedom we’ve been given.  Because in matters of the world, we are so very blessed.

But on a less serious note…

Over the course of our trip, we managed to steal away my aunt’s close friend to take us snorkeling and rock running.  Albeit, I’d been snorkeling when I went to the Cayman Islands in high school [which to this day is still one of my all time favorite trips!].  But if you’ve ever snorkeled, you know that no two dives are alike.  And our little Hawaiian excursion was no exception.  Beautifully bright fish covered the reefs, a sight you would never imagine merely standing at the nearby beach.  But it was gorgeous.  Breathtaking.  And a dang good workout!

On our last day, rock running was the main event.  Early in the morning [Hawaiian style], my bestie, hubby and I ventured to Waimea Bay where we met up with our ‘local’ friend.  By the time we arrived, Local had already scouted out boulders that he waded in the water with before dumping them to the bottom.

For us to retrieve.

Photo credit: daprettyfish

After getting over our nerves of drowning [NBD], we all slowly got the hang of the exercise.  Dive after dive, we got more confident.  Took more steps.  And although we by no means conquered rock running, we all agreed it was a check on the ol’ bucket list.  A unique, once in a lifetime experience I just couldn’t get enough of!

Last but not least, let’s chat about the wedding.  The sole reason for our trip to the Hawaiian Islands.

Stunning views.  Amazing Hawaiian eats.  And a love-filled crowd surrounding the energetic, beautifully happy couple.

The view from the chapel.

The wedding ceremony took place on the couple’s high school campus, Kamehameha, at the Bishop Memorial Chapel.  This is where the stunning view comes in, as the schools campus and chapel is nestled high in the hills overlooking all of Honolulu.  It truly was breathtaking and the perfect beginning to a Hawaiian wedding.

The reception was held at Ke’ahi Lagoon Weinberg Memorial Hall, an open door building allowing the ocean breeze to sweep through the seating area.  Plenty of seafood appetizers awaited us all before we dove into a buffet of traditional Hawaiian foods.  YUM.  Then the bride proceeded to perform an emotional and moving hula dance to her new husband, and the rest of the night was filled with drinks and dancing!

It had been quite some time since the hubby and I had gone on any type of “vacation”, and with all of the life changes this year, I must say this trip was needed and anticipated. The Hawaiian lifestyle was easy to slip into, a few days of relaxation was all we needed.  But on the same note, we were both very eager to return home to our sweet little boy when the time came.

Until next time, Hawaii.

Cheers to all things pretty!