Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hawaii, In a Few Words...

Before last week, this is what I knew about Hawaii:

Hula Girls

I also knew that people love to visit Hawaii, but I never knew why. My friends would say things like, "Oh, you've got to go," or "It's so fun there," or "It's so beautiful." Those are pretty vague descriptions. You could use those same phrases to describe Disneyland or your local shopping mall (trust me, I've seen beautiful malls).

So last week, I finally got to go and see Hawaii for myself. And now I know why there are only vague descriptions of this incredible place: there are simply no words to describe it. My husband and I were standing at the top of a mountain in Waimea Canyon on Kauai, overlooking this lush, green valley that sloped down into the ocean. I was mesmerized, as I couldn't tell where the sky ended and the earth began. I looked at him and asked, "How would you describe this?"

He thought for a moment and then said, "I can't."

I can post a picture, and even that doesn't capture the essence of how beautiful it was.

A week was certainly not enough. We visited Pearl Harbor, where the flag happened to be at half-mast in honor of the lives lost in Colorado. There is something so stirring about a naval officer standing guard at a national monument where the flag is at half mast.

We ate a Dole Whip at the Dole plantation. Truly, there are no words to describe how delicious a Dole Whip is, so imagine my delight when I discovered a stand near our hotel in Waikiki!

We visited the Polynesian Cultural Center where Tahitian dancers shook their hips with super-human speed and I learned that New Zealand is called Aotearoa in the Maouri language. Consequently, I want to visit Aotearoa next.

We paddleboarded in Hanalei Bay, where the current carried us out in about 10 minutes and it took us an hour to paddle back! I also discovered something called an Acai bowl that day. It happened to be my birthday (I'm 26, thank you very much) and it was much better than any birthday cake I could have had.

Then there was the Na'Pali Coast. Lava tubes, towering vistas, red soil, blue surf, and trees that look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book are just some of the sights to see there.

And that was just two islands. I've still got a few more to go. As a writer, I'm a little disappointed that I can't pin it down. So all I can say is, you've got to go. It's so fun there, and it's beautiful!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Here and Now of Summer

It's summer! And it's no secret that I think summer is the best. Sunshine, shaved ice, minimal amounts of clothing -- what's not to love? I've enjoyed every minute of summer, so far. I've played lots of tennis -- outside. I've gone swimming. I've eaten lunch outside. And there's still lots of summer left to enjoy.

But I've noticed something. If you're a bit of a Pinterest addict like me, you might have noticed it, too. Lots of people are already pinning pictures of pumpkins and hearty soups and even Christmas trees! May I offer two words: STOP IT! Can't we just enjoy the summer as it is, without thinking four of five months ahead? Let's bask in its warmth for as long as we can. I happened to be at the local Walmart on the 5th of July, and do you know what I saw? A few employees were taking down the red, white, and blue stuff and replacing it with school supplies. School supplies! On the 5th of July! I nearly tripped over my own flip-flops.

Anyway, I am going to enjoy the rest of my summer by doing summer-ish things. I'm going to spend some time at the lake. And go fishing. And hiking. I'm going to ignore my wool socks and eat my weight in watermelon. I'm going to give evil looks to people driving around in their convertibles with the top up. I'm going to sit outside and get lost in a book.

Who's in?