For all the unfortunate circumstances and traumatic experiences in my life, there have been just as many blessings and wonderful experiences. Some of my best times have been simple pleasures — spending quiet time with my husband and children, when everyone was getting along well, or visiting with close friends, building relationships that are genuine.
When my mind travels to my happiest times, almost all of those memories involve Hawaii.
I have been very blessed to visit three Hawaiian Islands: O’ahu, Maui, and Moloka’i. My favorite is Maui, which has always felt like home to me. During a five-year period, I was able to vacation in Hawaii nine times. Each trip, we had friends join us. Sometimes, I stayed a few extra days by myself and just enjoyed the calming sea in solitude. The ocean is my favorite placed to be, and I love the heat.
In Maui, I found an amazingly peaceful place on the west side, on a cliff above Kapalua, a very remote location. It had a simple white cross and a 360-degree ocean view. I would sit there for hours, watching the whales swim by and the waves crashing, while the warm sun drenched my body. Pure joy!
Another of my favorite experiences while on a visit to Maui was when Ronnie, I, and Chuck (a friend of ours) were on jet skis and a pod of dolphins with babies started chasing us. We shut down the jet skis and just watched the dolphins swimming and leaping all around us. It was amazing, especially when one of the baby dolphins came so close we could have scooped him up out of the water! I love dolphins, and I cried with happiness.
Our craziest adventure in Hawaii was with our friend Thomas, when we decided to take a ferry from Maui to Molokai. I had no idea this channel is one of the roughest, most dangerous water ways in the world. It was so much fun! The boat tossed and turned, and at times the waves crested 20 feet higher than the boat. We stayed on the deck the entire time, getting plummeted by the water. At one point, the captain fell down and slid along the inside edge of the boat. Only the three of us and a couple from California were able to stay top side; everyone else was too scared and went below deck into the cabin; many got seasick. But we had the time of our lives and laughed so hard!
Our niece Amanda lives on O’ahu, where she grew up and has lived for almost 30 years. She joined us in Maui, too, and we will always treasure that time. Amanda is such a kind, loving person — quite the opposite of my daughter Amanda. Just being in my niece’s presence is the true feeling of aloha. I call her Princess Manda.
I could blog for days about all the wonders and beauty of Hawaii and all the fabulous experiences I’ve there. The Hawaiian Islands still call me, beckoning me to come back, to come home. And I will return to Hawaii someday, as soon as I can, whenever and as often as I can. Until then, aloha oe, Hawaii, my Peaceful Place.