Our trip to Hawai’i began much like our Iceland adventure. We both knew we wanted to leave Canada, with Kai ready to put in her resignation at her job, and me desperate to get through winter. Hawai’i had never really been on my radar as I’d always thought it was an incredibly expensive beach vacation and there were so many more interesting places to go. However, when Kai sent me the details, and the flight came to only $550 return, I did what I do best: began to research! It didn’t take me long to realize that the Big Island of Hawai’i was nothing like the assumptions I’d made. Sure, you could go to a resort and suntan all day with a cool Mai Tai in your hot hand, never leaving the grounds. But you could also hike into volcanos, visit black and green sand beaches, and summit the tallest mountain in the world (when measured from the ocean floor). The food prices were high and the airbnbs were about average. I’d been working up to four jobs so I had a little extra money coming in, and I decided it was an opportunity not to be missed!
April 25 2019
I got to sleep in a bit the day before we were to leave and woke up at 10:30am. Our flight would depart April 26th at 6am, and our dear friends Nancy and Jay had offered to drive us to and pick us up from Pearson International Airport in Toronto as our birthday present! My birthday is April 26 and Kai’s is May 6 – we were leaving on mine and returning on hers.
I had a great talk with my mom and we decided that we would take some of my Nana’s ashes with me. She would have loved Hawai’i, according to my mom. We got Nana tucked into a little bag and I said my goodbyes to my mom. I had a busy day ahead, and she was leaving for work. I went off to visit with a ‘mentee’, someone I volunteer with in a survivor-to-survivor program. After seeing her, I returned home to pack. Kai had dropped off her luggage and I needed to reorganize it to fit everything. We were able to bring carry-ons, unlike Iceland, so we had extra space. We decided to pack a duvet for the times we’d be sleeping in the car, as well as my ultralight two-person tent. One was a good decision, one never got used.
Kai got off work at 3:15pm – her last day at that job. We would be picked up at my house by Nancy and Jay so we didn’t need to put our stuff in Kai’s car, but we left to go to her house to pick up her dog and cat and take them to their sitters’. I got mauled by her cat Bozo because I was holding him and giving him LOVE AND AFFECTION but a strong wind knocked some wooden planks over on the deck and he got scared and dug in – I got all four sets of claws, one across my belly, one on my breast, one on my arm, and the last across my back. I was so upset that I cried – not because it hurt exactly, but because now I had blood on the only tee-shirt I was bringing with me, which I’d bought from value village only like a week before. Oh well!
Once the cat was in the carrier, the dog got in next, and away we went to Kai’s friend Brad’s house. Brad and Lea were dogsitting Mitz, the Alaskan husky. She was obviously right at home. Brad wasn’t home but Lea was there and she’d been to Big Island as well, so she had all kinds of tips and advice for us which proved very handy. She even gave me a beer from Hawai’i – which I enjoyed very much.
There had been a bit of a miscommunication with our fearless chauffeurs about what time we were going to leave for the airport, which meant Kai and I had time to get some dinner before we left. We decided to go to Kelsey’s, and I got a fish sandwich and a beer – we then ordered some ridiculously huge sangria to share. Feeling extra full, we headed back to my house to wait for our ride. We left at 10pm, dropped the cat off in Scarborough, and at exactly midnight, Kai interrupted a group conversation to sing Happy Birthday to me, joined in by Nancy and Jay! I was thrilled.