Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hawaii - A Love Story

It was our last day in Hawaii and we had a few things on our minds we wanted to check out before heading to the airport later that night for our redeye. This trip was truly about sun, R&R and as much healing as possible before Verlon’s newest set of scans days after we got back. I saw a sign while we were there that read:

And it’s so accurate. Every time we’ve gone to Hawaii because of the type of trip it usually promotes, I have felt so relaxed, and present. Reading at the beach is something I do enjoy doing but it was even hard at times because I was just so content being mesmerized by the waves rolling over that light golden sand. I didn’t even want to close my eyes for fear that I might miss it all or not capture enough of it in my brain to call on it as a memory.

Waikiki hasn’t been my first choice for experiencing Hawaii, in my opinion it’s not really Hawaii. It was with that being said uber sale and so it spontaneously stuck. Ver and I pride ourselves on finding less busy parts on our travels but still making sure to check out note worthy places. The last time we were in Waikiki was for D&S’s wedding at the Moana Surfrider (one of my favourite hotels in Oahu). We made Kapiolani Beach our haven, and most days it was so quiet like it was reserved for just us.

This trip was different. I’m not entirely sure how to put it into words but it’s like the universe knew how to bring everything together for us to just be. There was no pressing stresses for either of us. We were just given permission to breathe and to momentarily forget about our fears. I felt like it was officially given up to the universe to take it from me. There is nothing I can do but just be. Be present. No distractions.

With my feet in the sand, and water rolling over my toes — I prayed. The waters rolled and waves crashed, the sun was warm like a giant embrace as it hit that golden hour. It was quiet, just me - the water, waves and sand. The horizon was still and went on till forever, so far away but lending a feel that it would be close enough that I could reach out and grab the sun and hold it and keep it to myself for just a while. As I prayed a few tears rolled down my cheeks dropping into the ocean. Looking around my surroundings and appreciating how beautiful everything was, I was so moved. All of this beauty didn’t come to be out of nothing. The Universe is so much bigger than myself and my fears. God, I believe has been keeping on eye on us.

On that last day we treated ourselves to a drink. Sounds funny when I retell it but Ver stays away from alcohol due to sugar… cancer loves sugar… and well, I’m his teammate so we rarely drink together anymore. But with that being said I did love when the Naturopath said to us 
“You guys are young, it’s ok to get messy once in a while - just don’t make it a thing”. LOL.
It’s hard with cancer to throw caution to the wind at times. Guilt free desserts or drinks. But it was feeling right that day in Hawaii, so we went to the Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian and celebrated what a restful stay it had been for us. We sat on the patio at the bar and watched the late sun dance on the horizon of Waikiki beach saying goodbye to us. “Mai Tai” means ‘very good’ in Tahitian. And that moment sitting on the patio with my person, life was good.  How this trip was different than our lasts. If i could translate what it felt like — it was like a giant “snuggie” was wrapped around us — so many people reaching out and sending well wishes, good vibes and prayers. It’s hard to not be moved with the out pouring of love. Thank you. Your words warmed our souls.

Being a wedding photographer and going through everything has changed the way I look at marriage and weddings. I’m excited for the story that another couple will experience that will strengthen their relationship together. One day you will face challenges in your marriage, how you choose to handle it will determine how freaking amazing your relationship can become and those highs together will be that much better. It won’t come easy, fast or cheap but the rewards will be so great, greater than you think possible. A bond that is so strong. Finding your teammate, someone that you want to do all this crazy navigating together is amazing and exciting. They will challenge you to become a better version of yourself. You will grow in ways you didn’t predict. 

Marriage is a strange and amazing thing. Ver and I will be celebrating in April being together for 7 years and in August 3 years of marriage. It all started with him surprising me with roses at an airport. Funny, our adventure officially started in an airport…(give me travel!). I had ideas of what marriage would look like and I wasn’t naive enough to think that illness or struggle didn’t happen (I watched my parent’s navigate a life changing accident and my mother’s bone disease). I just thought we would have more time to ride in the ‘naive’.  We have changed so much in the last 2 years and that I wouldn’t change. We are better people than we were before. Navigating through all of this changed both of us and brought us closer in a way that is hard to explain. When we were weaving our knot on our wedding day, there were 3 cords - 1 for me, 1 for Ver and 1 for God, and those knots have been tested but all three together have been made so much stronger.

I always loved the sentiment of "growing old together with a front porch, rocking chair and sweet tea" I think it's one of the reasons I really fell in love with this particular hotel when we visited Oahu on our first vacation together 8 years ago. I'm a sucker for plantation style architecture.

Decided to visit it and so we sat and we rocked before retiring to the court yard so we could stare at the giant Banyan. We cuddled up on an outdoor couch and drank tea and in a language I'm most fond of the "hakuna matata" was ever so present. 

Our Trip in Pictures:
-Places to visit in Waikiki-

  1. Kapiolani Park - there’s a beach bar that serves Pineapple smoothies in a pineapple (you can ask for it without sugar syrup, so yummy)
  2. Teddy Burger - we had the veggie burgers, these and the fries were pretty rad
  3. ISLAND VINTAGE COFFEE - this is a must stop. Island Vintage kicks major ass. Order the Island Latte (half sweet because whoa otherwise) and do yourself and order their vegan poke… so flipping good.
  4. MAI TAI BAR - at the Royal Hawaiian - do it. Treat yourself and enjoy the view
  5. MOANA SURFRIDER - the veranda services an amazing noon tea (we didn’t do it this trip, but I’ve done it the last times in Waikiki) - have a drink under that giant Banyan tree, listen to local Hawaiian musicians and feel the Aloha. Don’t forget to sit on one of their rocking chairs.
  6. Diamond Head - check out the view and the ocean, hike it. We walked from Waikiki to Diamond head, it was around a 45 minute walk to the base, and we…. powered up the hike in 15 minutes - going slowly would probably be more like 20-25 minutes (also… slight hack, you’ll see stairs when you get out of the tunnel on your right… if you go left, you can walk stairs that have a view).

When V got diagnosed he found this song that just came out: Banners - Riot. I feel like it’s summed up well what is has been like for us. I was listening to this while writing.

This trip's playlist:
(^We heard this over and over again being played by street performers)

Jokingly as we hiked down Diamond Head:
we belted these out descending and being silly (thankfully it was mostly vacant near closing time) -

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