I’m toying with the idea of a memoir eventually, just for myself. Rather than scratch little memories in notebooks that will get lost, they’re going here.
You’re welcome to read my blathering about the rest of my trip to Maui, but it’s kind of long, so I won’t be offended if you just look at the photos. Also, if anyone is hiring a travel photographer, this lady right here, ok?
At the airport, Daffodil and her kids found me right away. Everyone had gifts; she gave me a lei, Lucy, age seven, handed me a pair of flip-flops, and Max, age 11, presented me with a box of macadamia-chocolate candies. He then matter-of-factly grabbed the handle of my bag, rolled it to the car, and placed it in the trunk for me without being asked; a total gentleman.
More below the jump…
Her husband met us for dinner at a local restaurant, and I had a few margaritas that slid me right into the “Maui vibe”. Max and dad went home and us girls walked to get food for the weekend, with Lucy bounding in circles around me.
“I’m excited because my mom said you’re funny. I’m funny, too!”
In the grocery store everyone was wearing flip-flops, too, and we bumped into the kid’s soccer coach who greeted me with an “Aloha!” and a fist-bump. A clerk with blonde dreadlocks helped me pick out the very best papaya – a fruit I’d never had before – which I ate over the next two days for breakfast sprinkled with sea salt. [I'm allergic to nearly every "fleshy" fruit, so this was a wishful gamble that worked out. Now I'm obsessed.] On the walk back to the car, the sun was setting as a few wispy rain clouds rolled in and sprinkled very tiny raindrops for a few minutes, making the air completely cool and golden. Lucy slipped her hand into mine, and my heart caught in my throat.
I shopped, saw a few different beaches, and tagged along to a first birthday luau. We visited Daffodil’s friend who owns an organic farm tucked into the side of a hill and bought vegetables for supper one night. The farmer is a former New Yorker turned Kama’aina, and she had one of the most beautiful, peaceful “auras” I’ve ever encountered in another person. Her two elderly dogs and sweet blind cat roaming around added to the ethereal vibe of the whole property, and for the rest of my life I will regret not taking a photo of her standing in her doorway with her cat nestled onto her shoulder, snuggling her ear with its nose. (It felt invasive. I’m not good at asking strangers for photos). She pressed a large avocado into my hands as a gift just before we left.
We saw sugar cane being harvested, viewed majestic sunsets, had conversations sprawled on the sofa, watched movies, told jokes, and made meals. I swam in the ocean and rode the waves to shore with Lucy giggling in my ear, clinging to my shoulders. They took me on a road trip through winding mountains, and her husband explained the danger by shrugging and saying, “Guardrails would ruin the view.” To be fair, the view was spectacular. I was both scared out of my mind and absolutely thrilled. We went out to a legendary dinner at David Paul’s Island Grill, made cookies in the evening, met up friends, had shave ice at Ululanis in Lahaina (also legendary), and star gazed – there are a lot of stars in the Hawaii sky!
I indulged in some serious snuggle time with the dog, smelled flowers growing in the yard, did a major-scary Life List item, breathed in the air, and fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon one day, belly down on the floor of the guest house, watching a tiny sunbathing lizard lying a few feet away from me, totally unafraid, breathing in and out and in and out…
Most poignant for me was how laid back the Campbells are. I hardly ever get hang out with a family with school age kids, and it was a privilege to see them interacting so kindly with one another. I grew up in such a high-strung environment that when we were running a few minutes late to an appointment Sunday morning, I started to tense up and freak out to myself, bracing for yelling. But everyone just got in the car a few minutes late and MOVED ON – no yelling – and then we stopped and picked up smoothies anyway.
I don’t think I can explain how meaningful and huge that was to see as someone who both hopes to be and is scared to be a mother one day, but I tried to explain it to Daffodil in line at the Jamba Juice, tears rolling down my face, and she declared Hawaii a therapy session.
Maui was really good to me.