Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Home for Christmas

After all of the recent excitement in Prietoland, it's time to revisit the calm of the islands.  I just have a few more posts from our Christmas trip to Hawaii.

After a relaxing and wonderful week on the Big Island with our family to celebrate Grandpa's 90th birthday over the New Year, my mom and our little Prieto clan took off for O'ahu for another week, to catch up with friends and reconnect with our home town of Kailua.  The Big Island is, as you can guess, the biggest and newest of all of the 8 main Hawaiian islands, but O'ahu is definitely the most happening.  Since the island is much older, there are no active volcanos, all of the beaches have become beautiful white sand beaches, and there is a lot of tourism and a lot of things to do.

After arriving on a Monday night and being graciously welcomed by our sweet friends the Hallstrom's who hosted us for the week, the next morning our first stop was Kailua beach.  Both my mom and I were raised in Kailua, in the same house, and this beach is our stomping grounds.  It was a bit voggy those first few days ("vog" is fog that blows over from the active volcano on the Big Island, and it tends to cloud up the sky), but it was surreal to be back in Kailua at my unchanged beach, barefoot and this time with our little girl.  We stocked up at Times grocery store on all of the things that I love - Hawaiian sweet bread, haupia, lychee and mango yogurts, and POG (passion orange guava juice) for breakfast, and had a grand time digging our toes in the sand.

Marcos' handiwork.  At one point he actually had a little row of pupils - children who were playing on the beach - crowded around to learn how to make a sand snowman.  (I'm sure that those of you who know his magic with children can well imagine.  I had to resign myself long ago to being the uninteresting parent :-)

When we picked up our rental car they didn't have the size we requested, so we had a brand new prius as a free upgrade.  I was not in love with driving the car, but I was in love with the huge flat trunk that always provided a perfect traveling changing table!  For the entire week on Oahu we had the trunk stocked with extra bathing suits, a few beach towels, sunscreen and snacks for an impromptu visit to the beach.  Here in North Carolina a trip to the beach means packing up half of your house for the excursion, and I definitely miss that part of island-style life - see a beach?  Have a few minutes?  Pull over and jump in the ocean.  So little concern for being sandy, or wet, or having salty skin, or walking around in slippahs with no makeup on...  a lifestyle that I miss.  

Not that I've evolved too far from that, but you know.

And when we weren't out and about, we loved being at the Hallstrom's home and enjoying their company as much as our busy schedules would allow.  I took the above photo from their driveway because the peak on the very right is Olomana, and I grew up at the base of that mountain at the edge of a valley.  It's a little hard to tell in the photo below, but the Hallstrom home sits up in Keolu Hills above Kailua, and at night it was so beautiful to look outside after all of our lights were out, and see the entire town of Kailua and the beach and lake, all lit up and twinkling.

The room where we stayed, above.  I miss it already.  It was just after Christmas and so decorations were up throughout the house in full force.  Gigi loved to admire the tree ornaments and play with baby Jesus in all of the nativity scenes.  Kathie, I hope you aren't missing any pieces!

An added treat at the Hallstroms was the industrial grade shave ice machine that Santa had brought this year.  It was such a treat to sit with my friend Chris Hallstrom and his cute wife Wendy, to have shave ice with vanilla ice cream at the pool deck.  We had planned to visit our favorite shop Island Snow down at the beach but the Hallstroms had the same assortment of syrup flavors so we were saved a trip.  Mango and pina colada and lilikoi....  mmmm....  

Being in Hawaii this year for the holidays REALLY made us miss the islands in a big way.  They don't call Hawaii paradise for nothing, that's for sure.  Thank you Kathie and Jim for making our Oahu stay so happy and comfortable!  We hope it won't be another three years before we are back to visit.


amanda said...

Sister Hallstrom hasn't changed a bit. i love that lady. those beach pictures makes me missed this it so bad. glad you posted them. did i tell you I work with a girl that moved from hawaii and usually i don't think much cause know one knows anyone that i do. but she knows the hallstroms, she hung out with Kevin and sis hallstrom many times. small world huh.

Lauren said...

Hawaii is so amazing. The only place I have ever been too that actually looks better in real life than in all the pictures (and it looks really good in pictures too).

Thanks for sharing them!

Unknown said...

When I went to Hawaii all by myself five years ago, Kailua was one of my favorite beaches I came across. Such a beautiful place!