I'm back! Oh my goodness. Talk about a week of recharging and getting back to my roots. I don't even know where to start! Kenneth and I spent our honeymoon Kauai, my first time taking him to my favorite place on earth. He "got it" right away, and fell in love with the locals, the islands and the island culture after having spent time with my mother and her pigeon-english, her obsession with water and the color green. We've planned on coming back (without kids) all these years, and finally made it! My parents were planning a trip as well, and so we combined our stay.
So, everyone has their "home" place, right? Home is wherever I am with my husband and children, but there are certain places that take me back to my real authentic self....free of all the hats that I tend to wear. The place where I can just "BE."
But maybe not for the same reasons that people like to travel to Hawaii. The islands are that place for me, because that is where my mother, and her mother and her mother call home. Since the early 30's my mother's side of the family has history on that island. My Father as well, with 3 generations of his father's serving their LDS missions there. There's a story of my Great Grand Father helping princess Lelekulani from tipping in a canoe. There are lots of stories.
And lots of memories. My very first memories are of the color of the ocean looking down from my Great grandmother's apartment. I stood up for the first time on the beach on Oahu and my first car-sick experience was at the age of 1 on the road to Hana. To this day, I still get carsick.
My first experiences and memories of color are from when I was 2 1/2 visiting my family. It's a really special place.
Hana is a remote town 2 hours from anything or any major location on Maui. It's one of the few places that locals have been able to keep "real Hawaii." Probably because it's only accessable by car, on a windy one lane road (well, 2 lane, but it's really the size of one lane!) that only lets you go about 15 miles an hour because (and my mother and grandfather counted once) 397 switchbacks one way.
My Great Grandfather purchased a small plot of land there in the 30's. And I'm so glad he did. Land filled with roaming cattle, horses, and chickens. Rain forest jungle and jetting black cliffs covered in green mossy grasses. Waterfalls by the hundreds. 57 bridges. Hikes you won't find on any map. There is only one real beach, and it happens to be the most amazing beach I've ever been to on any of the islands. There are 2 tiny stores crammed with random imported goods, horrible cell reception and we didn't even seem to notice that the internet would cut out several times a day. And finally, my favorite local people who always remind me how to truly live in the present. It was heaven.
I can't even share all that we did and didn't do on our trip...there is too much! But I do want to say how much I love this place.
We hiked every morning, and swam every afternoon. It felt so amazing to move my body this much. Working as I do, and with 3 kids, I don't get out much any more. I'm usually sitting in the car, on the computer, at my art table or standing in the kitchen or laundry room. And I've been terrible about exercise these past 2 years. Ooooooooh it felt so good. Every morning I'd have a fresh papaya from the tree in the back yard, hike on mostly unmarked trails and explored the back jungles, have fresh fruit and veggies from the road side stands for lunch, and then go swim in the ocean for hours on end. It was such a wake up call to the busy crazy life we've been pulling.
And see how cute my parents are? I love that we got to explore and be little kids together....it was so perfect to be with them with out the kids, and actually have uninterrupted time together. Precious.
And the pictures don't even do it justice. I almost cried when I looked at my camera on the last day. It just doesn't touch the smells, the sounds and the feeling of this place. It's honestly sacred ground!
But really. I just unplugged. I'm kinda not ready to get back. And I don't think I will all the way. Spending a week using all of my senses all day every day, without the buzz of what can be unecessary business and time wasters, I'm definitely my full self again and don't plan on going back to any old habits that kept me from living in the now.
Which, of course is easier said than done. But this was a for sure jump in the right direction. Mahalo, Hana!