The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Maui - Day 1

Maui... Wow. It is everything I dreamed it would be, and we are having the best family vacation of our lives. I am in beach heaven, and Marc, with his long crazy hair and inability to hurry anything, fits right in with the locals, despite the fact that he can't pronounce a single Hawaiian word correctly (he told me to add that part, I swear).

I bet you wouldn't imagine an amazingly relaxing day starting out at 5:30a.m... but ours did. That's right, before the sun came up, we were up. We made a valiant effort at getting the kids on Hawaiian time by putting them to bed late last night- Tiana went to bed at her regular bed time (around 7:45pm) and Vinny went to bed around 8:30pm (we were going to let him stay up later, but he eventually begged to go to bed). Our hard work paid off, since Tiana didn't wake up at her usual time, which would have meant 3am here.

Since we actually went to bed pretty early last night too, their pre-dawn wake up was somewhat welcome. We made our coffee and settled in on the lanai to watch the sunrise, which was nothing short of amazing. This precious, precious time with our children is worth more than gold. They are so adorable.

Just before 8, Marc headed out to Wailea to go join the local U.S. Masters Swimming team for their weekly ocean swim. When he contacted them last week to confirm pool practice times, they invited him on the ocean swim, which sounded like a great opportunity for adventure, so he went. Although he got some strange looks at first- not used to having a Mainlander on their team I suppose- he was eventually warmly welcomed by the locals. They all swam out to "the point" (don't ask me what that means, but that's what he called it) together, and then split off to go explore and swim in groups. Marc didn't quite know who to join, so he followed the group he had been chatting with and quickly discovered he had joined the advanced group, as they went far, far out into the ocean to an amazing snorkel spot. He had never seen so many fish in his life and watched in awe as a sea turtle zoomed by beneath him (apparently, the "slow as a turtle" thing does not apply in the ocean).

Just outside our place on Maalaea Bay.
Meanwhile, the kids and I made our way down the few steps from the condo to the beach, which was practically our private paradise at 8am. This tiny stretch of Maalaea Bay is just gorgeous. The beach has a unique reddish sand that is like nothing I have ever seen before, or felt- so thick, yet soft. It is littered with coconuts, clearly knocked off the trees in the evenings when the winds are rough. Tiana loved playing with these little coconuts. It was adorable.

Early this morning, in front of our condo 

After Tiana had napped, we had a relaxing lunch at our condo, then headed out for more exploring. We ended up at Kahekili Beach, which was highly recommended in Maui Revealed, a fantastic guidebook that was well worth the $12. This beach was soft and the water crystal clear. Although the winds in the afternoon are crazy intense, the guidebook suggested that this beach might offer a partial break from the wind, and it sort of did, enough to enjoy for a few hours anyway.

Tiana is pretty much the exact opposite of Vinny when he was her age. He was terrified of sand and even more terrified of waves. He would sit happily on the towel, playing quietly with his toys, and he'd stay there all day, as long as the sand didn't touch him. Tiana pretty much worships the sand and will dive into it face first all day long. She never sits still. :-)  Marc and I took turns feeding our little sand crab grapes while the other swam with Vinny or snorkeled.

Speaking of snorkeling... oh my! Who would have guess I would enjoy this activity so much?  Not me. I am actually kind of afraid of fish most of the time, but I found that if you stay on top of the water, they pretty much leave you alone, and it is so cool to watch them swim around the reef. I am a little bit claustrophobic, so the mask kind of gets to me after a while, and I clearly cannot swim and multi-task, since I swallowed an unexpected mouthful of seawater while trying to take an underwater video of the fish. Marc is obviously the more aquatically gifted member of this family.

We finished off this perfect day with some shopping and then dinner. We found exactly what we were looking for at Hula Grill. On a florally adorned patio, we had a great table right on the water. The food was very Hawaiian... and very good (although very pricey). Yum.

I guess we did a good job of wearing the kids out, because they both fell asleep on the way home. I almost did too, but I am trying to stay up long enough to adjust my own personal clock to Hawaiian time. Tomorrow we parasail!
And this is what family vacation is really all about...

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