we spent a few days on oahu for my sister A's graduation. it was lovely. super-duper lovely. so hard to come home and get back into the swing of things. especially since i'm still incredibly busy as i mentioned a couple posts back ... i am overwhelmed, which means i procrastinate even more. you know what i'm talking about. you do it too.
anyway, i'd rather talk about the fabulous time we had in the four short days we were there. it was a mini-family reunion of sorts :: my step-sister D came and totally surprised A, my auntie + uncle came from japan, and it just so happened that my step-cousin E's family was on oahu too.
the first full day we spent with family :: breakfast at zippy's with my step-cousin's family, D and her boyfriend T; kailua beach with E, his wife SA, and their son K (who is only four days older than ian); and dinner with my folks, auntie + uncle, and D + T @ island's (in ala moana mall) where my sister works. (we made A wait on us!)
we hadn't actually been to kailua before; we usually drive a tad bit farther down to lanikai. both are gorgeous white sand beaches with very small waves. it's windy but when the sun's beating down on you the breeze is a welcome relief from the heat. kailua is nice because there's a parking lot and bathrooms you can use, which is helpful when you have a kid who refuses to pee in the ocean (that would be ian).
ian and K played like crazy on the beach. ian's not much of a swimmer so SA gently took him out to get used to the waves. he ventured out farther than he normally would, but he spent most of his time on the sand. rupert got some great shots of the kids jumping into the huge whole E dug. maya chased the waves as they receded and ran away when they came up the sand. she chased pigeons and got in the way of the boys. it was totally fun and relaxing.
the second morning we drove the short distance to see the african black-footed penguins at the hilton hawaiian village because both the kids love penguins (maya probably only loves them because ian does). we made it just in time for the morning feeding and ian got to pet one of them. well worth the $7 we spent on parking!
afterwards we headed to moanalua gardens to meet myra of my little mochi and her family. as i expected she was so nice and sweet (she brought bentos for us) and much more soft-spoken than i imagined. her son and ian got along quite well. they spent most of the time running around, playing ball, flying a kite, and looking at fish. oh yeah, and ian got stung by a bee.
i'm not even sure ian noticed the ginormous monkey pod trees the park is known for. the largest tree in the park is used by hitachi for their tv commercial and most japanese people can at least hum the tune of the song that goes along with the commercial. basically, the tree and song are synonymous with hitachi. so, not surprisingly, while we were there bus loads of japanese tourists came to see the tree and take pictures. when i mentioned to my mom and auntie + uncle we had seen the tree they got incredibly excited. seriously excited it was weird. my uncle wanted to see it more than he wanted to see pearl harbor!
anyway, enough about the tree. myra and her husband were so generous with their time; i'm sure they had better things to do than meet with strangers from the blogosphere! and myra sent us home with tons of hawaiian treats to enjoy. thanks myra!
sunday was graduation. it was a beautiful day for mother's day and the graduation of the centennial class of the university of hawaii at manoa. one thing rupert and i noticed (and it made us feel old) was the amount of cellphone-ing and text-ing going on among the graduates. i'm not sure they were listening at all to the speakers. but i'm getting ahead of myself. before the graduation began the hawaiian students did a chant, which was really cool and so distinct. definitely not something you would encounter at graduations on the mainland. the other exciting thing (well, not exciting per se) was that one of the graduates stripped down to his birthday suit after receiving his diploma! he walked out of the stadium with nothing on except his cap. that sure got a laugh out of the audience ... and i'm sure some gasps and maybe some tears from his mom. happy mother's day!
after the ceremony the graduates headed outside for pictures with family and friends. everyone was carrying leis (no surprise there) but some people were also carrying innertubes. i'm not sure what the significance of it is, but they were wearing them like leis. as you can imagine some of the graduates looked like they had no neck because of the sheer volume of flowers (and innertubes) around their neck.
before dinner the boys headed to manoa falls with D+T for a short hike. i'd done it before with my mom on my last trip to oahu so i took maya to the mall to meet up with my parents and A. as much as i like spending time with them, i really should've taken that opportunity to go to fabric mart for my mother's day shopping spree. in the end i didn't get a chance to go so i came home empty-handed. boo.
i think that was the only bad thing about the trip and it's not that bad. i take it back; the other bad thing about the trip was that it was too short! half the fun was definitely being there with my extended family. i really enjoyed that ... although we kept saying that it's crazy we have to go across the pacific to see each other when most of us live within an hour's drive from each other. go figure.
aloha! (and mahalo for reading this incredibly long blow-by-blow account of our trip.)