My folks invited us to spend a long weekend in Hawaii and it was the most restful, soul-filling time I've had in a long time. Garett and Wyatt ended up staying home (Perhaps this contributed to the restful part of the weekend?) and my Mom, Dad, brother and I spent four days reading, swimming, snorkeling and eating fresh fish. Over a leisurely meal, we got to hear the slightly more scandalous than we remember story of my parents falling in love. I got to miss my boys which is actually a very good feeling. Swimming in the warm ocean is up there with my favorite activities of all time. There is something so invigorating about the combination of clear saltwater, blazing sun and tropical fish. The last day my dad and I found an area with so many sea turtles that we were literally tripping over them.
My flight home was a little less idyllic. My original flight was scheduled for 2pm on Monday and after a few hours of delays it was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties. I didn't want to have to cancel both of my Tuesday classes so I spent an hour on the phone with a United representative working to get on an 11:45pm US Airways that night. I took a cab back to our rental house and spent another couple of hours in the hammock sipping a Mai Tai. Olifino, my favorite Kona cab driver, picked me up and brought me back to the airport. After checking in curbside and scoring an emergency exit, Economy-Plus seat, I was denied access at the gate because United didn't ticket my seat properly. By this point it was 11:30pm and it was eerily quiet at the airport because all of the desks were closed. I knocked on every door I could find and finally found someone to help me figure out the problem. I called Olifino and he brought me back to the rental and we arranged for him to pick me back up at 6am.
My 8am flight (interestingly the same plane that was cancelled the day before) left on time and I was relieved to finally be headed to the west coast. About two hours into the flight, the pilot calmly told us that "due to engine issues, the flight is turning around and heading back to Kona and that oil is leaking steadily from the engine and turning around is merely a precaution." I probably should have been at least a little bit afraid but all I could think was about the fact that it seemed like we were almost halfway to LA so why couldn't we just keep going. I think this reveals something about my personality. We landed in Kona awhile later, waited another three hours and then got on a plane that made it all the way across the Pacific.
My experience in the Kailua-Kona airport was intensified by the fact that my driver's license was expired and United accidentally re-ticketed me as Amy Strapp. Each trip through the security line resulted in large numbers of airport security workers checking me out and hesitatingly allowing me to proceed to the gates. In addition, I paid $160 to Olifino for four trips back and forth to the airport. The last exciting thing was the gate at the house not working and needing to climb over a 5 foot tall iron gate in a dress three times. Very graceful, I must say.
The trip was a gift and I'm thankful that we enjoy being together. I am especially appreciative that we can still laugh so hard my cheeks get sore and that we are learning how to cry and be honest when we're feeling sad. Thanks, Mom and Dad!