After Aunt Mary’s funeral, we got an early morning flight on Friday and when we landed in SFO, I went right into work for the day. Then we had a weekend to get settled and packed. Monday morning, we flew to Kaua’i!
I had been so excited for this vacation for so long. Partially because it was VACATION. Period. And because it was going to Hawai’i and it would be green and pretty and perfect. It’s with some shame that I admit that I was quite terrified that my aunt’s pending demise was going to interfere with my vacation plans. But it all worked out well enough in that respect.
And it was incredible. The view from our little cottage was just beautiful.
We grilled fish at home some days. We ate fish tacos from roadside stands. We loafed around and read books (I completed 4!) while I ate lots and lots of macadamia nuts. Shave ice was sampled. We saw a sea turtle right off shore, pretty close up. We took a helicopter tour of the island, we rode bicycles down the road alongside a canyon, David surfed, we went for runs, we kayaked, we hiked, we tried stand up paddling, we swam in the ocean, we swam in waterfall pools, we drank POG with rum, and tried fantastic poke from a hole in the wall.
I suppose I could go on and I could provide all sorts of details, but there are two bits in particular that feel as though they’re really worth remembering to me, beyond the fact that the trip as a whole was wonderful.
1. I existed, in front of other people who were not David, in just bikini bottoms. No shorts. No sarong. Just the white expanse of my wobbly white thighs and hips for all the world to see. Generally, I try to keep these bits to myself, but here I was just feeling so happy and comfortable and ok with myself, that I just let it go. After kayaking up a river with a tour group, I didn’t want to put shorts back on over my wet bikini bottom, so I just didn’t and I went on the hike with my ass out. Lest you think things have gotten too crazy, never fear – I did have a shirt on. So no wobbly tummy and wobbly legs at the same time.
There is no photographic evidence of this. You will have to take my word for it.
2. I completed a really challenging hike that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do. All the guidebooks listed the hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls as strenuous. Not for beginners. But that if you were up for the 8 mile round trip challenge, it was well worth it. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but here it is:
It took us 7 hours to get there and back, with a bit of a break in the middle to eat lunch and try to swim in the pool, which was frigid. The hike was, as promised, very hard. A lot of up hill. Loads of down hill, which I think may actually be worse than up. Parts were muddy. There was some climbing and scrambling and having to use my hands to get up or down on the path. Once, I was hanging from a tree branch trying to get down, realizing that I wouldn’t be able to pull myself back up, but that I couldn’t get a good footing, and that I was possibly going to die. David managed to hoist me onto the ground, though, so I didn’t. It was definitely not just a walk in the woods. But I DID it. And that’s when I realized that I am a real girl. I can do stuff. I don’t have to be afraid to try things because I’m too out of shape. I am not just a worthless, fat, blah of nothing. I so rarely feel proud of my accomplishments… calling them “accomplishments” even feels a bit silly. But I was very proud of this.
All told, we spent 8 days in Kaua’i. It felt like so much time when we first got there, but it all passed quickly enough. And regular old ordinary life sure was fast to come hunkering back down again, once we were home. Even though the dreamy, blissful quality of being on vacation is now long gone, I think I’ve still got some of that amazed-at-my-own-self feeling lingering on.