Friday, October 18, 2013

Trip of a Decade

Last May, Nick and I celebrated our tenth anniversary... on Oahu!  Nick had just recently put his feet into warm salt water for the first time, so he had certainly never been to Hawaii before.  My favorite aspect of the whole trip was seeing Nick enjoy a world so new to him.

For the majority of the trip (just shy of a week!), we stayed in Ko'olina.  So lovely...

 Ko'olina has all these little coves dug into the coast line.  The beaches are pristine and the resort that we stayed at had winding pools and waterslides and cabanas and just everything.

 Now, I love my Pacific Northwest.  This was not the Pacific Northwest.

One of the most important stops you can make on Oahu:
I've been to this memorial three times now, at different stages in my life and in the world.  The memorial doesn't change much.  You go in, get headsets, and wander around the displays, listening to the narrations.  Then you watch a short movie about the whats, whys, and hows of Pearl Harbor.  Despite the consistency, my experience has been different each time.  Each time, I see different parallels with our current world.  This time, I was really struck by the stupidity of rationalizing and justifying away all of the warning signs.  So, so many red flags were going up as the Japanese were approaching. Each time, someone came up with an excuse of how it was probably nothing.  And so no one was prepared.  And so everybody died.  OK, not everybody, but a lot of people; a lot of husbands, wives, fathers, sons, daughters.  Americans.  People.  They died because we ignored the warning signs and because of stupidity.  I have a sinking feeling that history repeats itself.

After the video, you take a little ferry boat out to the USS Arizona memorial.

 The memorial is built on the water, right on top of the sunken wreckage that could not be salvaged.  The flag below is not coming up off the memorial, but is actually anchored to the ship itself.  From the sides of the memorial, you can see parts of the ship under the water.  Oil still seeps from it and makes rainbows on the water's surface.

 And here are some of the names of the dead.  They are alphabetical by last name.  Many of the last names are very unusual, and yet there may be three of them a row.  I wonder if there were brothers killed together.  I wonder about their poor mother, and when she found out, and how.  Our families are our legacies.  They are why we do what we do.  And for some people, they get snuffed out in one morning.

But back to happy Hawaii.  Splash a little water on your face and let's go on.

We made good use of every second.  I told Nick that he is "tons of fun."  It seemed a bit funny to say to the person that you have been married to for ten years, but it was fitting.  We are so used to working together, not playing.  Nick was not one to laze around on the same beach every day.  Oh no.  We drove around the entire island, stopping at every beach.  We got out and spent some time at several, but sometimes Nick would just go run to look at it and get a sense of the waves and then get right back in to find the next pull-off spot.  

 Walking around Waikiki one evening, we stopped for a quick pearl...
 Can you tell that it's a silver pearl?  I love it.
There's something that you should know about me.  I love Dole Whips.  It is the fabulous pineapple sorbet-ish soft serve that you can only get at the Dole Planation in Hawaii, at a little blip in Waikiki, and by the Tiki room at Disneyland.  (Actually, as I have recently discovered to my horror/jubilation, Dole has sold their soul by marketing this product across the country at any old soft serve spot.)

Regardless of that parenthetical, stopping at the Dole Plantation was a must.  We walked around the gardens and gift shop and rode the little Pineapple Express train around the fields.

 I need to justify this picture to you.   Please keep in mind my love for this (seemingly) rare product.  Also, please know that this was the actual day of my tenth anniversary.  So, yes.  I got the massive pineapple split.  It was huge.  And I ate most of it.
 Two spoons should do the trick.
At the end of the trip, we packed up and went to the north shore of Oahu to spend a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, walk around BYU Hawaii, and go to the Hawaii LDS temple.

 If you haven't been to the PCC, you really should!  It's a campus that brings Polynesia together in one place.  You walk from Tonga to Fiji to Samoa and on in just a few minutes.  In each area, you learn about their customs and dances and music and history.  The dancers are fabulous and the presenters are entertaining.  In the evening, you can go to a luau and then to the amazing night show.

We were lucky to be at the PCC on the night of the annual worldwide Fire-Knife Dancer competition.  They host it every year, and it seems to be a big deal!  Let me see if I can find you a YouTube...
There is always a fire knife dance at the PCC show, but those guys turn out to be pansies next to the competitors.

Last stop was a walk around the LDS temple grounds and a session inside.
The setting could not be more beautiful.

What a trip.  Thank you Nick!  For everything!  What a decade is has been.

And THANK YOU to the grandparents who kept all those babies safe and happy while we were gone.

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