I can’t believe it. This is IT: the LAST STOP on our year-long round-the-world Full Stop adventure. And it’s a doozy. Kauai, for 11 days, with the people I love the most in this world, to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday. One big house, for 6 of us, on the beach, with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend Daniel, Anthony and me. It’s perfect. We watch the sunrise daily from our balcony, hike, paddle, snorkel, look for (and find) whales and sea turtles, explore beaches, play (lots and lots of) cards, and — my favorite activity and the backbone of my family — cook up a storm for every meal. We’ve had a bonfire on the sand, tried out a luau, listen to Anthony and Dan play their guitar/ukulele combo, and talk about the zillions of constellations in the sky. We also got to spend time with our friends Jeremy and Vicky, who met us in Paris and went to Bordeaux with us back in June, and were in Kauai for a few days while we were there. I had many perfect days, which look like this: wake up around 7am, turn on the coffee that my mother prepped the night before, watch the sunrise over the water from our balcony, then do yoga by the pool, either by myself or with my sister, while listening to the waves that are just a few feet away. Afterwards, breakfast, hopefully banana pancakes made by my dad (you have to taste these to believe them) and then loll around the house, the balcony, the pool, maybe cards with my father, a walk to the beach with the family, shave ice for merienda and then back home to loll around more before dinner, made in the kitchen by Anthony or out on the grill by he and Dan. After dinner, a card game called Bidding that somehow no one outside of my extended family knows but everyone inside plays, and before bed a walk on the beach to see the stars, then falling asleep with the windows and doors open, to hear the waves on one side and a light midnight rain on the other. And all the while knowing the people I love most in this world are under one roof with me, right now, safe and happy and together. This is my heaven. It’s not that I didn’t get to see my family this year — I was lucky enough to see my sister along the way in Vietnam, and my parents and older sister in the Philippines. But this stop was complete relaxation. No sights to see or dinners to attend or people to meet up with or any obligations at all. We are a very close family, which is my biggest blessing in life. Getting to just BE with them, uninterrupted, was the greatest trip I could have imagined. The gorgeous setting was just icing on the Hawaiian cake.
Just FYI, the last day of our Kauai trip, the final day of our entire RTW journey, is also exactly one year since my last day at GMA. I won’t get into how I feel and what I’ve learned since then blah blah blah — I’ll save that for a later post. i just can’t believe it’s been a year. I used this last day to take a 24-hour break from my phone and all things interweb and social media. There were many times in the past 12 months we’ve had no signal, sometimes no electricity, and therefore no access to any of these things. But those blackouts were never voluntary. This time it was on purpose, to fully enjoy the last day of our trip and spend every second in the present. It was one of my favorite things I’ve done all year. And that is saying ALOT.
WELCOME TO OUR HOUSE! ALOHA!