Home AgainPosted: March 3, 2011
So we’re back from Hawaii. It’s always hard leaving there, not least because it’s in the 80s and beautiful and it’s currently in the 20s here in New Jersey (to be fair, it is sunny — and the snow is mostly gone). It’s also hard because we had to actually put on shoes this morning — we lived in flip-flops (or “slippahs,” in the local parlance) for eight days. And we’re totally jet-lagged. The girls seemed fairly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning, and they were excited to go back to school to see their friends. But I suspect we’ll all be a little slap-happy come dinnertime.
We had such a nice trip. I really love seeing Todd’s family. It is always nicer and easier to spend time with family that is not yours in origin, of course. But Todd and his siblings always seem genuinely delighted to be home and be together. My girls had such a great time with their aunts and uncles and their cousin, Shaun. He’s almost 14; when he first got there, he seemed a little like “ugh, family time,” but by the middle of the week he was running around with Kate and Sara and they were all being so loving and adorable. I also loved seeing my “sistahs” and “bruddahs,” as my BILs and SILs and I like to call ourselves. And my wonderful in-laws. I know, it’s disgusting how much I seem to love my in-laws. I just like the energy in this family. And I’m more aligned to that kind of energy myself these days, so it makes me feel that much more like I belong.
It’s also getting so much easier and nicer to travel with the kids, and that is utter joy, let me tell you. They are so good at plane travel — they totally dig the security checkpoint, and all the fun stuff that happens on the plane (takeoff, beverage cart, in-flight entertainment). On the way there they drew pictures of planes that the flight attendant took to the cockpit, which earned them those little wing pins and even a seat-side visit from the co-pilot. (Also, Todd won the “guess the midpoint of our trip” contest and was presented with a coffee-table book about United Airlines — we were the most popular family on the plane.)
And then once we were there, it was so much easier and nicer to get around and do stuff — shopping, eating out, the beach, hiking to the top of Diamond Head, a tour of Iolani Palace — my daughters are old enough to get and use their own audio-tour contraptions now. How excellent is that? Kate was really interested in learning Hawaiian words and even the history of the islands; my mother-in-law gave her a bunch of books about the monarchy, the history, the volcanoes. They are old enough to play cards (mostly Go Fish, not Hearts yet) and even tried their cute little hands at Ping Pong.
Then there was the food. We ate lots of yummy family meals, plus lots of ice cream (my FIL’s favorite thing in the world) and homemade cookies (MIL made about 300 of them, I think). We ate at the Thai restaurant my in-laws are investors in. And then there were all the local delicacies: chicken katsu plate lunch at L&L (check out the super-cheesy song on the company website), super-sugary malasadas from Leonard’s, and ice cream at Bubbies, where Todd worked in high school (please scroll down the menu to see where it lists the Baby Spangler cone, named after my father-in-law). Needless to say, I was glad to get back to running this morning. I don’t really want to know how many pounds I may have gained.
It was hard to leave — Kate and Sara both shed a few tears, despite the candy-and-gum leis their grandmother gave them as a goodbye. As for me, I’ll be searching out coconut-scented bath gel for the next few months. Still, it is good to be home. We love Hawaii and our family connection there — Sara, as a Hawaii baby, is kama’aina, and a friend just told me that since I gave birth to her there, I sort of am, as well — but we love South Orange, too.