As the sun shone through the window on our 7th and final morning, I tried to pretend I didn’t feel it. Accepting that the sun was up meant accepting that our last day in Hawaii had begun, and I was nowhere near ready for that to be an accurate statement. But as with any bout of stubbornness, this one was eventually squelched by hunger. My family made our way down to the hotel restaurant around 9, all a little bit quieter than usual. We browsed our menus while staring longingly out at the beach we’d grown so familiar with and gave the waitress our order with sullen faces and low voices.
From there it was just a long series of “last times.”
“This is the last time we’ll eat at the hotel restaurant.”
“This is the last time we’ll burn our feet on the cement walking back from the hotel restaurant.”
“This is the last time I’ll pee in our toilet”
“This is the last time we’ll have beer and Oreos in our dining room.”
“This is the last time I’ll swipe our room key.”
“This is the last time we’ll leave our room.”
Overall the mood was pretty depressing, but that didn’t stop us from setting out to have a great last day. So, after we were all packed up, we left the best thank you we could think of for the hotel staff and made our way to Lahaina.
Our first stop was Hilo Hattie’s to get a pearl.
When we walked up to the counter, two women approached excitedly and handed my sister and I a pair of tongs.
“Pick the ugliest one,” they said of the oysters sitting in a bowl of water.
So, we dug through the whole pile, flipping and rotating each oyster until we each found one that seemed completely and totally hideous. Satisfied with our choices, the women set the oysters on a towel and told us to count down from three and then tap them with our tongs, while they simultaneously rang a bell and shouted “Aloha!” They then cracked open the oysters, dug through the insides and pulled out the pearls resting inside. As they removed them, everyone oohed and awed; my sister got a pink one, representing love and generosity and mine was white, signifying peace and truth.
After leaving Hilo Hattie’s we decided it was time for lunch, so we grabbed a table at Kimo’s and ate burgers and fish and chips while listening to a live band perform breezy rock classics. Then, to finish off what was already a perfect meal, we ordered 2 slices of Hula Pie a.k.a macadamia nut ice cream sat on top of an Oreo crust, all covered in hot fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. If you’ve never had it, consider yourself currently living an incomplete life. Also, if you don’t think you’ll find yourself in Hawaii any time soon to try it, look up Duke’s in a few locations in California and tell them I sent you. They won’t care, because they have no idea who I am, but you can still tell them. Then after, ask for this:
After a couple more hours of shopping in Lahaina, we took one last look at the beach and then hopped in our car for the airport. The 40-minute drive was too quick and too quiet. Each of us stared out the window at the blue skies and green trees, watching people surf and smile and sunburn. We gazed at people setting up tents and hammocks, dreaming about the day we’d get to come back and do this all over again.
Our flight was set to take off at 9 p.m., so as we sat in our airport chairs, both smiling at the week we’d had and frowning at the week we’d miss, our Hawaiian sun set for a final time.
Then things got weird.
Due to the forward time jump on the flight home, we landed in San Francisco at 5:30 a.m. (2 a.m. Hawaii time) The lack of sleep was apparent instantly and the extremely modern, hipster space that is the San Francisco airport, did not help our condition. It had a yoga room and art deco chairs, a Nalgene bottle fill up station and water conserving faucets in the bathroom. It was all too much for my sleep-deprived brain to handle. Every new convenience I discovered made me want to cry, and after a while, I think it got to my head a little. While buying breakfast, I felt it necessary to wait 5 minutes in one line to buy a banana and 5 minutes in another to buy a muffin. Both restaurants sold both items, but I felt I deserved the best of both worlds.
Important lesson learned: I should probably never move to San Francisco. I don’t think my family would ever see me again. Every phone call they made to me would start with, “I can’t talk right now, I’m getting my knee caps massaged” or “Sorry, can I call you back after hamster yoga?”
Around 6:30, our final flight home to Los Angeles took off and I was awake for approximately 0 minutes of it. Which was impressive compared to the 50-minute nap I took on a 45-minute bus ride home from the airport.
When we finally walked through our front door, we found that everything was as we left it, and two days later, so were we, all back in our usual routines. And while we we’ve spent our first week back reminiscing on the week we had in paradise, I’m glad to be back in the routine. Weird, I know, but look at this way, the quicker I get back in the routine, the quicker I can start planning the next escape. Which is exactly what I’m going to do.