Saturday, April 22, 2023

Four Days in Hawaii

Yes, you read the title of this post right: we flew to Hawaii for just four days! We spent almost as much time transiting from Washington, DC to Honolulu and back as we did on the ground. We were visiting my grandmother, my last living grandparent, who retired there with my late grandfather ages ago. She had not had a chance to visit us and meet baby S, so we went to see her instead. It was so precious to see my grandmother with S, her only great-grandchild.

For the record, traveling with a one-year-old is a lot tougher than traveling with a five-month-old (as we did when we PCS'd from Seoul). Newborns and infants sleep most of the flight, but toddlers are squirmy and antsy and awake longer to cry. They also eat more food, so the logistics of feeding them are more complicated than making sure you have whatever you need for milk or formula.

All that being said, S handled the travel like a champ. I was especially scared about the damage to our sleep schedule given the long flights and time zone changes, but those were much less painful than I feared. We adjusted well and were able to visit my grandma every morning we were in Hawaii and hang out for hours before heading back to the hotel for a nap. It was a pretty intense language immersion for me, as my grandma speaks Korean and Japanese but not English. I did a lot of interpreting and translating while I visited, but it took intense focus and attention to keep up with my impressive grandma.

We stayed in a boutique hotel in Waikiki that was perfectly convenient. When we weren't hanging out with my grandma, we went for long walks together as a family and explored a few nearby restaurants. Our favorite was an all-you-can-eat Japanese barbecue restaurant, where we definitely got our money's worth. I also picked up a souvenir box of Honolulu Cookie Company cookies - my favorite treat from Hawaii that I personally like more than the Hawaiian Host chocolate-covered macadamia nuts others might find more classic.

Shockingly, I did not have a single minute to spend on the beach itself or in the ocean. The one day we had a little bit of time to go after visiting grandma - our last - it was pouring rain and I decided to pass. We barely made it to the edge of the sand in the gloomy weather before we had to run back, ducking under awnings to keep the stroller dry.

Not one to give up, I found a brunch spot we could visit early right before we had to leave for the airport that had a beautiful view of the ocean. Our breakfast was delightful, and I got to at least feel the ocean breeze and see the crashing waves before we had to say goodbye to Honolulu.

I hope that's not our last visit to Hawaii, because every time I go I fall in love with it again. It's easy for me to see why my grandparents chose to retire there. Although this trip was short, I'm so glad we made it.

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