I spent several crucial years of my youth living in Hawaii. Since moving away at the age of 12, I have gone back to visit family at least a dozen times. Typically, seeing my maternal grandmother is the key motivation behind these visits. I traveled to Hawaii last April and had a strange gut feeling that it would be the last time I would her alive. After battling various illnesses for many years, my grandmother passed away on March 27th, 2016. Despite knowing her time left with us was numbered, nothing truly prepared any of us for her death. I was consoled knowing her suffering had ended, that she had a relatively pleasant life. Still, it was unusual visiting Hawaii last month and not getting to talk to my grandmother about the latest Korean soap operas she was watching or sharing meals with her from some of our favorite local restaurants. My grandmother was a significant figure in my life - I plan on expanding on my memories of her in a separate post.
Unlike previous trips, I had more time to explore than I'm used to. I arrived a few days before my parents and brother, a full week before my grandmother's funeral service. I'm used to viewing Hawaii from a tourist's perspective when I visit - I too enjoy visiting beaches, stopping at scenic lookouts, and indulging in treats from touristy destinations around Oahu. So I tried to make the most of my time in Hawaii, despite being there for a different reason than in the past.
I took myself to the beach one afternoon and stayed until sunset. I went hiking twice with my cousin - once to the Kui Lou Lou Ridge and once to Hamama Falls. I ate shave ice on 3 separate occasions. I went to Lanikai - my favorite beach - on the most picturesque day I could imagine. I ate so many of my favorite dishes from shops that bring back memories of my younger days. I enjoyed myself - and truly enjoyed the time spent with my family.
Here are a few photographs from that trip: