aloha

Back in May, when I was making all of the arrangements for Drew and I to take our first trip to Maui, I knew that we would have an experience, see and eat and do things, that I would want to write about here. What I didn't know is that being on the island would effect me (and my husband) in ways I hadn't even considered. I just thought I was going on vacation -- a long, long overdue break filled with tropical drinks and days at the pool -- after a year that had thus far been filled with a giant dose of grief and loss and exhaustion.

But Hawaii was not what I expected. It was strange and wonderful. It was warm and green and lush and beautiful. It was, at times, hyper-emotional and at others, insanely relaxed.

Before our trip, I was talking with one of our cousins who is a serious Hawaii lover. 

"It's not just a vacation." he said. "It's transformational."

I'm sure I didn't get what he meant then, but I do now. I am changed. It was transformational.

I'm still processing my time there, and all I've really managed to gather so far is that I didn't have nearly enough time. Next time (already planning it) we'll stay for much longer. I don't feel ready to write about it -- like I can't yet get the essence of it into a couple of sentences in a blog post.

So. Rather than try to describe what I saw, what I ate, what I did, what I experienced, I'll just post a bit what my "vacation" looked like.

The chickens and roosters at the airport. This guy was hanging out with another beast that populated the island, The Ford Mustang. Drew and I stopped counting at 35 on our drive to Hana. I do love the Hawaii rainbow license plates though.

The chickens and roosters at the airport. This guy was hanging out with another beast that populated the island, The Ford Mustang. Drew and I stopped counting at 35 on our drive to Hana. I do love the Hawaii rainbow license plates though.

The lobby at the gorgeous Hotel Wailea.

The lobby at the gorgeous Hotel Wailea.

You know I love beautiful chairs. There were pairs of these all over the place at the Hotel Wailea.

You know I love beautiful chairs. There were pairs of these all over the place at the Hotel Wailea.

Welcome truffles. And a whole box of my new favorite thing, the pineapple shaped shortbreads from The Honolulu Cookie Company.

Welcome truffles. And a whole box of my new favorite thing, the pineapple shaped shortbreads from The Honolulu Cookie Company.

The garden nerd paradise that was the grounds of The Hotel Wailea.

The garden nerd paradise that was the grounds of The Hotel Wailea.

Our big bed with a view of the mountain.

Our big bed with a view of the mountain.

The view from our lanai.

The view from our lanai.

It rained every day we were there, so these awesome cabanas were perfect for hanging out (and drinking mai tais) until the sun came out again.

It rained every day we were there, so these awesome cabanas were perfect for hanging out (and drinking mai tais) until the sun came out again.

At Monkeypod Kitchen: the famous mai tai with fancy foam on top that tasted like lilikoi dole whip. The chocolate cream pie.  The poke tacos and salad of local greens, beets and Maui onions.

At Monkeypod Kitchen: the famous mai tai with fancy foam on top that tasted like lilikoi dole whip. The chocolate cream pie.  The poke tacos and salad of local greens, beets and Maui onions.

Andrew relaxing in one of the awesome little conversation areas scattered around the grounds of the resort.

Andrew relaxing in one of the awesome little conversation areas scattered around the grounds of the resort.

I'm in the photo for scale.

I'm in the photo for scale.

In Pa'ia. I loved everything about Pa'ia.

In Pa'ia. I loved everything about Pa'ia.

The best meal of the trip was at Da Kitchen. I had awesome Saiman with hand cut noodles made nearby in Makawao (and added some gorgeous pork and shrimp dumplings) and Drew was introduced the plate lunch perfection of Kahlua pork, rice (gotta have two scoops) and potato mac salad. He has already made this dish twice since our trip.

The best meal of the trip was at Da Kitchen. I had awesome Saiman with hand cut noodles made nearby in Makawao (and added some gorgeous pork and shrimp dumplings) and Drew was introduced the plate lunch perfection of Kahlua pork, rice (gotta have two scoops) and potato mac salad. He has already made this dish twice since our trip.

I saw lots of Hawaiian sovereignty signage, lots of kick ass fruit stands. Also lots of waving Hawaiian flags, with the Union Jack as the reminder of the conquerors who showed up before the Americans did.

I saw lots of Hawaiian sovereignty signage, lots of kick ass fruit stands. Also lots of waving Hawaiian flags, with the Union Jack as the reminder of the conquerors who showed up before the Americans did.

The outdoor shower at our cottage in Hana.

The outdoor shower at our cottage in Hana.

Watching the paddleboarders with my toes in the black sand at Hana Bay Beach.

Watching the paddleboarders with my toes in the black sand at Hana Bay Beach.

Thai Food by Pranee. One of the handful of awesome roadside eateries in Hana selling plate lunches, fish tacos, huli huli chicken, and any number of Thai specialities. Incredible smells every day as we walked by.

Thai Food by Pranee. One of the handful of awesome roadside eateries in Hana selling plate lunches, fish tacos, huli huli chicken, and any number of Thai specialities. Incredible smells every day as we walked by.

Coconuts, bananas and breadfruit were everywhere in Hana.

Coconuts, bananas and breadfruit were everywhere in Hana.

The Hasegawa General Store.  I can't begin to express how much I love the insane and brilliant collection of stuff sold here. We walked there every day we were in Hana.

The Hasegawa General Store.  I can't begin to express how much I love the insane and brilliant collection of stuff sold here. We walked there every day we were in Hana.

Abandoned temple on the Hana highway.

Abandoned temple on the Hana highway.

The grounds at the temple with the Pacific in the background.

The grounds at the temple with the Pacific in the background.

The real estate agent has my favorite office ever. I am now determined to someday have my studio in an old trolley car (or a schoolbus, or an Airstream . . .).

The real estate agent has my favorite office ever. I am now determined to someday have my studio in an old trolley car (or a schoolbus, or an Airstream . . .).

Just one of the beauties we met at Hana Ranch.

Just one of the beauties we met at Hana Ranch.

The ubiquitous wild ginger. The walls along the roads built with black volcanic rocks. The rain clouds rolling through. The green, the green, the green.

The ubiquitous wild ginger. The walls along the roads built with black volcanic rocks. The rain clouds rolling through. The green, the green, the green.

Mahalo, Maui. I'll be back soon.