Honolulu, HI, USA - (map)
Seven days ago we touched down in Hawaii and started a whirlwind of family events centered around the wedding of Michelle's cousin Phillip. Like many of Michelle's relatives, Phillip and his family live here in Hawaii. And because a wedding is a great opportunity to get everyone together, Phillip and Christine's wedding became a huge extended reunion.
So I met Michelle's family - immediate relatives, 10 aunts and uncles, 26 cousins and spouses, and plenty of children. Over brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert, I quickly discovered what holds a Hawaiian reunion together...food!
Thanks to the generosity of Michelle's family, I spent the week touring Hawaii with my taste buds. So far the scenery has been great: poke (Hawaiian - salad of raw fish), saimen (Japanese - noodle soup), malasadas (Portuguese - doughnuts, similar to ours but without a hole), fish (butterfish, mahi mahi, ahi, salmon, fish cake), haupia (Hawaiian - coconut pudding), mochi (Hawaiian - dessert made from rice flour), dim sum (Chinese - various dumplings), tropical juices, poi (Hawaiian - taro paste), shave ice, custard pie, plate lunch (with 2 scoop rice, 1 scoop macaroni salad), lilikoi (passion fruit) chiffon cake, sushi, papaya, mango, Kona coffee, and more Chinese dishes than I can remember.
We haven't neglected the tourist side of Oahu. In between meals, we walked through the tall hotels of Waikiki, sat on beautiful crowded beaches, swam with the fish of Hanauma Bay, enjoyed the view from the Pali lookout, and shopped for an aloha shirt. But the highlight of the trip so far is the food. And although Michelle is now poking my increasingly Pillsbury Doughboy-like stomach expecting me to giggle, I would like to thank everyone for a great introduction to the islands!
Next week, we take off on our own to explore the island in a cheap Daewoo compact.
Honolulu, HI, USA - (map)
Today is our last day in Hawaii. In fact, we leave in a couple hours for Independent Samoa. It has been an exciting two weeks of family, food, and beautiful scenery.
Tim and I have enjoyed soaking in the Aloha spirit of the islands. We basked on the beaches, snorkeled with turtles, and ate poke (raw fish).
Although I haven't lived in Hawaii for 17 years, when I visit I always feel I have returned home. I love the bright sunlight, the tradewinds, and how the fragrance of flowers surrounds me. I love the abundance of fruit, colorful fish when snorkeling, and relaxed attitudes. But most of all I love my extended family for their generosity, sense of humor, and kindness. My father was born and raised in Honolulu and I am so thankful that Hawaii is part of my heritage.