So, at the age of 23, I pretty much hit the Nanny Diaries jackpot…and was asked by my sweet friend Holly if I would accompany her family on an all-expenses paid vacation to Oahu. Um….did I EVEN need to think about it twice?
But here’s the thing…earlier that year I had spent a couple of months in South Africa, and loved it SO much that my host family there and I decided it would be best to come spend 6 months or so serving from October of 2007 until February, 2008. Holly invited me to Hawaii for the beginning of October…so it was cutting it pretty close to say yes to both, but this adrenaline-loving, adventure-seeking girl just couldn’t say no to either amazing opportunity.
I spent 10 days in Hawaii, came home for FOUR, and then returned to Africa. It was crazy. And awesome. And fun. And I will never, ever forget that.
Hawaii was magical for me. I had just discovered Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”, and it was pretty much my anthem on this trip. I played it non-stop from my iPod shuffle (which, by the way, I accidentally washed that week in the laundry…but it still worked!) and seriously felt like I was living in some kind of dreamland.
We rented a Dodge Caravan and I was given the freedom to explore the island. I had a full day (or two, maybe) off to just do my thing, without the kids in tow. We stayed in a rental cottage just mere steps away from a semi-private beach. The house came with all the baby equipment, including a jogging stroller, so we had some really sweet times jogging little Eli through the sand in the early mornings.
Holly, Erick, and I got along great. Not that we hadn’t in the past, but you never really know what’s going to happen on a long-ish holiday across the Pacific with two VERY young kids (6 months and 2.5 years). We had a lot of fun together, though, and the kids were both troopers. Because of their ages, we didn’t really do anything too “touristy”, like Pearl Harbour or luau’s or deep sea diving, but that suited us all just fine. We spent lots of time in Waikiki and took amazing drives around the island, stopping for shave ice and occasionally stepping into gloriously air-conditioned malls for a break from the heat. Plus, with a private pool in your HOUSE, and a semi-private beach outside your front door, who really needs to leave, anyways!
On one of my day’s off, I left the mini-van with the fam and hopped a city bus from Kailua to Honolulu, with just my backpack full of books and water and my trusty camera, of course. The first thing I did was visit the International Market Place, which was by far the most colourful, wonderful market I have ever been to.
One of my favourite days in Hawaii was the day we stumbled upon Turtle Beach Resort. I don’t really remember why we were there that day, but I am fairly sure it was mostly an accident that we found this place. Once we saw it, though, there was no turning back. We spent the day feeling like royalty, sipping Pina Colada’s and watching both surfer dudes and Jack digging in the sand. It was a great day.
It’s never been a goal of mine to be “rich” one day, but honestly, if I had the money down the road, I would definitely want to bless someone by taking them on a trip the way these guys blessed me. I know that I technically went along to help them, but it seriously didn’t feel like work. It just felt…right. Like a dream come true. And I hope one day I can do that for someone, too.
Listen to the music of the moment people dance and sing
We’re just one big family
And it’s our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved
I’m going back there one day. I am.
PS Holly and Erick, if you are reading this, thanks again from the most grateful girl ever! Miss you 4 very much!