Saturday, January 24, 2009

With Love and Fond Memories Always

For older members of my mother's family it is a tradition to publish a memory book for the cremation of the family member. Family members can write whatever they like: memories, stories, lessons learned, etc. This is the first time I have felt that I really needed to write for a family member, but, at the same time, I was at a loss as to how to go about my writing. Originally, I wanted to write about a bunch of individual memories, but then I couldn't think of a memory for every time that we met. Some memories were also too private to be share. Below is what I created for the book.

When you are young and you leave, you take it for granted that you will see each other again. I don’t take it for granted anymore. I always thought that Yai Pat would come to my wedding and meet my children. I thought that I would continue to have opportunities to go and visit my relatives in Thailand, but time and distance sometimes get in the way.

I first met Yai Pat in 1982 when I was seven years old. My parents and I were visiting Thailand for my first time, and Yai Pat was there to pick us up from the airport. I remember Yai Pat had a Volkswagen Bug that I wanted to ride in because my mom was riding in that car. Yai Pat insisted that I ride in the pickup truck with my dad because it was air conditioned. During this trip, I celebrated my eighth birthday in Phrae. Yai Pat sent me a telegram that was typed in English that said, “Happy Birthday Love, Pipat”. I wish I still had it today.

Throughout my young life I spent a great deal of time with Yai Pat considering that I live in the United States. When I would visit Thailand, I would always sleep in Yai Pat’s room where we would share stories as we lay in bed at night. Yai Pat made sure that my time in Thailand was fun. She arranged trips for me to places around Bangkok as well as to visit relatives and friends in Phrae, Yala, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Surin, Singapore, Koh Samui, etc. Because of her I got to spend time with family and see sights that I may not have known I wanted to see. I appreciate all the lessons she taught me, and all the memories I have with Yai Pat. I only wish that she could have lived until we met again on Earth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hawaii Day Fifteen: Our Last Day

We did some last minute snorkeling in Makena where we saw some really pretty coral and some fish, but had trouble with foggy goggles. We stopped by Riley's favorite beach for him to say goodbye and went home for lunch. We had lunch, finished packing, and left to do some last minute shopping. I decided that I wanted something to commemorate our trip to Hana and I found a t-shirt at Crazy Shirts. I went back to get the t-shirt and ended up with the hat instead. The logo is Road to Hana Survivor: 617 curves, 56 bridges, 52 miles, 3 hours, winding road. Ron bought some souvenirs at Hilo Hattie's and we went to the mall. At the mall we went to see if I could get Ron's another cell phone before we went home because he dropped his, and it did not show a screen anymore. We decided to wait until we got home. Ron found what he was looking for and we were off the the airport. Reese and I had an evening flight. She stayed awake for the first three hours and then fell asleep. Because of the time change we landed in Dallas at 1am Hawaii time, and Reese was a real bear. When it got light outside, I took her to ride the Skylink, a train that links all the terminals. We rode it three times: Reese stood the first time, climbed in the my lap the second round, and fell asleep. I put her in her stroller, and she stayed asleep pretty much until we got home. She woke up briefly to get on the plane and then we got two seats on the plane to stretch out since the flight was not full.

Riley got to go and see the movie Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler with his dad and aunt before his flight back home. He slept on all three legs of his flights home.

The minute we were all together again we went to get Ron a new cell phone. He picked out a Blackberry; Happy 40th Birthday!

Hawaii Day Fourteen: Makena State Park

We went back to the beach by the Maui Prince Hotel to do some snorkeling. I actually got back into the water, but did not see much of anything and had to head back because I did something to my right ankle. We hung out on the beach for awhile and ate lunch from the Maui Prince Hotel. Ron wanted to go out to the end of Makena State Park, a place that we had gone earlier in our trip, to snorkel this time. We packed up our stuff and headed out there. The snorkeling near the parking area was not that great, so we decided to hike along the trail that is suppose to lead to a great snorkeling area. We did not intend on going snorkeling, but wanted to see where the path led. Mind you, we did not have appropriate shoes, but we went anyway. We went about an hour out and did not even get to the beach where we could snorkel. We ended up going uphill and got to the end of the point, but was still 20-25 minutes from the beach for snorkeling. Then, we had another hour walk back to the parking lot. It was beautiful and I am glad that I went, but for us to go snorkeling out there, I would have to have more time on Maui. Maybe next time...

Where we started...

What we walked over and through...

Where we ended up...

Where we wanted to go, by the water...

After our tiring day on the beach and our hike we were treated to dinner at Roy's Kihei. I guess that Roy's is an institution in Hawaii and has made it way onto the mainland. I ran into my friend from home who I saw on our picnic day again. She is a server's assistant at Roy's and we sat at her table. We had a great last night in Maui with a great meal, fish, shrimp, and duck with an awesome banana dessert! The kids were treated very well and got ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Hawaii Day Thirteen: Haleakala National Park

We started out our day with breakfast at McDonald's. In Hawaii they have a Local Deluxe Breakfast in addition to the regular Deluxe Breakfast. The Local Deluxe Breakfast includes two pieces of Spam, two pieces of Portuguese sausage, scrambled eggs, and rice. Their rice was very good, and Ron got the Local Deluxe Breakfast, and I got Spam and eggs with rice. Riley was very happy that McDonald's still had Hot Cakes with Sausage with syrup. He had a great breakfast at McDonald's, only in Hawaii!

Haleakala mountain is known as the world's largest dormant volcano. We actually went up to the peak above the clouds at over 10,000 feet. The road up was not as treacherous as the road to Hana and does not take as long. We left about 11am and we got up to the peak about 12:30pm. We spent some time up at the top and then drove back down so that we could be back in Kihei by 3pm for OSU football. It was a great feeling to feel that you are on top of the world, and the scenery was beautiful. On the way up you could see all parts of Maui's beautful landscape and over to the Big Island from the top.

We went back to Sansei for dinner since it was Monday night. This time Riley and I stood in line and just as we get in line, Riley tells me he has to go to the restroom. My sister in law had left to go and give Ron a key to the house, and I told Riley he had to wait until she got back. He did a great job, and we made it to the restroom at the local grocery store just in time.

After dinner we went to Borders so that I could use my gift card from Christmas to buy some Hawaii books for Riley and Reese. We ended up with an alphabet book, S Went Surfing and Santa's Hawaiian Holiday for souvenirs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hawaii Day Twelve: Last Family Day

We started out the day with church. We attended services at Calvary Chapel South Maui which is right on Kihei Rd., a very beautiful setting. After church we tried to go to our favorite pizza place, Matteo's, but there were not open for lunch on Sundays. We ended up at a food court. We all got something different to eat: Subway, Vietnamese pho or noodles, and Filipino food. This was the day that my brother in law, niece, and nephew were leaving so we went home so they could pack. They left mid-afernoon, and we went to Riley's favorite beach, Kamaole Beach #1. We had a good time walking to the beach and playing in the sand and water. Reese actually went into the water on this day. On some days she only plays in the sand right by the water, but does not actually go into the ocean. On the way home from the airport my sister in law picked us up from the beach in a new rental truck. Our other one had a headlight out, and rather than replace the headlight, they just gave us a new vehicle. Unfortunately, we seemed to have misplaced Reese's tennis shoes in the transition! (We actually did not know until we left and emptied out the car for sure that they were lost!)

We ended our day by going back to The Shops of Wailea to return a nice shirt that Ron got from Tori Richards and for me to go and buy some souvenir t-shirts for some friends. We ate dinner that night at Matteo's and tried some of their other entrees which were just as good as the pizza, which Riley and Reese ate. Reese ate two pieces of pizza and was falling asleep as she was trying to finish the second piece. She ended up asleep in my lap and stayed asleep until the next morning!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hawaii Day Eleven: The Beach

I woke up this morning, and Ron had shaved. He had not shaved since the day before Christmas Eve and did not plan to on this trip. When I asked him why, he said that Riley said that he looked old with a beard, and he did not want his dad to be old because old people go away and he did not want his dad to go away. How sweet!

We went to the beach by the Maui Prince Hotel today. We thought that it would be a good place to go because I wanted to try to go snorkeling again, there was sand for the little kids to play in, and there was shade so we did not have to put up umbrellas. Well, the waves were just right for boogie boarding, but not snorkeling. The sand was perfect, and Reese played in the sand the whole time we were at the beach. Her feet did not touch the water.

Riley complains everytime we go to a beach that is not the first one he went to, with the sun, sand, and lifeguard. He wants a beach with a lot of sand, and he says that he just wants to play in the sand and maybe throw the ball around, but not go in the water. The minute we got to the beach today, he wanted his sunscreen on and he wanted to go into the water. It is funny how the minute he sees water, he changes his mind about going in. Riley had fun in the big waves and on the boogie board. We played in the sand and dug a hole for Reese to sit in which is her favorite thing to do when she sees a hole. Eventually, it got cloudy so we packed up and went home to shower and go and get manicures and pedicures.

Riley would not stay home for girl's night out. He is starting to have some anxiety again because we are getting close to going home, and he knows he has to fly with his dad. They actually did really well. Reese cried when she first sat on my lap by the pedicure well because she thought that the water was for her. Riley entertained himself by watching football and walking around, but was careful not to be in the way. Reese finally got comfortable enough to get off of my lap about the time for my fingernail painting which was very convenient.

Well, I picked out a dark purple for my toes, and I did not pick out a fingernail color because I could not decide. When we got over to the manicure station, I was going to ask the manicurist's recommendation, but found that she did not speak English. Riley was with me and he said that you should pick blue Mommy because blue is your favorite color. I said that I was not sure that I wanted blue, and he said, "Mommy, blue is your favorite color and it is mine too". I asked him if it was important for me to get blue and he said yes. I tried to steer him toward either a light or dark blue, but he wanted the one in the middle of the shelf of polish which is a cross between ocean blue and turquoise. I got it for him, and he thinks that I am beautiful with the polish. He is proud of himself for choosing the color, and if I would have known he wanted to choose my nail color, I would have let him choose the color for my toes!

Hawaii Day Ten: Pa'ia and Makawao

This adventure did not start out on a good note. We have been pretty good about alternating beach days with car tour days, but for most of us, this was the second car tour day in a row. We started out at Walmart because I needed pictures for Riley's story that he has to write for school. We were there for 45 minutes downloading pictures and picking the best ones for his report. It is also to be noted that my niece's waterproof camera got water in it and is not working anymore so we were trying to get all the pictures off her memory card also.

We left there and headed for Pa'ia, where they were some little shops and things, but not a lot to do besides shop. I did have a bunch of gelato from the Ono Gelato Company. I helped Riley and Reese eat their vanilla. Ron and I shared a tiramisu, and then Ron ordered a coconut for his sister that she didn't really want and was going to waste, so I ate it too. Needless to say, I felt almost sick afterward. We were going to try and see the surfers just east of Pa'ia, but the traffic was too heavy.

We went up the mountain toward Makawao and saw some beautiful churches and was able to look down toward the figure 8 of Maui and toward north Maui. We stopped in Makawao and look at a few of their shops and I bought some strawberries for Reese that were grown on Maui. They were $4.99, but since she has not been eating much on this trip, I thought that they were priced well enough to buy them anyway. Well, my sister in law went to Safeway on the way home and she said that I got a good deal since the ones there were $7.99. I definitely would not have bought those!

On the way down from Makawao we stopped at Costco for fish and at Walmart to pick up the pictures and came home. We all came home grumpy and tired of each other and spending time in the car. We ended the evening with leftover cake and watching The Notebook. The rest of the family wanted to compare The Notebook to Benjamin Button which they had seem the night before. Ron and I were gain and thought that we had not seen The Notebook before, but once we got into the movie, we realized that we had seen it before.

Hawaii Day Nine: Ron's 40th Birthday

We decided a great way to spend the day was to go whale watching. We went on a boat tour that was organized by the Pacific Whale Foundation. It was decided that the older kids would not go on this trip because they had already been before and did not want to go again. It was a nice tour with only about 90 people on the boat when the boat holds over 200 people. We got a great opportunity to see some dolphins as well as the whale. We got to see the whale's flute many times which means that the whale is showing his tail and preparing to take a breath and go for a longer dive (50-70 minutes). We also got the opportunity to see whales that were logging or resting just below the surface of the water. The weather was perfect, very sunny and not a cloud in the sky.

Riley was a little scared of looking over the boat, but he did get really excited when he saw the Coast Guard boat. He got use to the water after awhile. Reese was all gung ho. She loved looking at the water, and the things out in the sea. The motion of the boat eventually lulled her to sleep and she took a nap for about an hour.

We went to lunch at some place not worth remembering, went on an errand to Whaler's Village for my brother in law, and stopped for some fruit on the side of the road between Lahaina and Kihei (by Chez Paul's). Reese ate her bananas like corn on the cob, by letting me peel one side and eating it sideways or longways. The oranges were local and delicious. The lime were huge and made me make myself a margarita in order to enjoy the tasty limes.

Once we got home, Riley got to ride on the scooter for the first time with his Uncle Chip. He was very happy to be such a big boy. Then, off the women went to the Four Seasons once again to pick up another cake. This one was also very beautiful with white chocolate mousse and raspberries inside. It had a fondant top and was decorated like what you would think of when thinking of a Hawaii beach. The sand on the cake was made out of Maui Gold sugar. All the decorations were edible made out of chocolate and fondant. The straps on the flip flops were made of Tootsie Rolls. This cake was to celebrate Ron's 40th birthday which was one of the reasons why we decided on this family trip. After a wonderful dinner at home Ron opened some wonderful presents thanks to his sister and brother in law.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hawaii Day Eight: Surfing

We went to Kalama Park to cookout and surf and swim. Usually, we leave the beach at about 2pm because the winds pick up at that time. On this day we decided to stay all day. It is a good thing too because we did not get there until later than usual, and once we got there, they decided to cook first rather than swim first. This park was nice because it had a playground for the kids. There was not much beach to speak of. The park set up off the beach on a break wall of sorts. This helped with the winds at 2pm because they did not knock over our umbrellas.

Riley was playing on the playground and needed help with the handle so he could swing on the rail. As I was walking toward it, another mother helped Riley get the handle back. I thanked her and started walking back toward my lunch when I noticed another girl. I thought that she looked like someone from home, but I thought, no way. I turned back around and sure enough it was the girl that I thought it was, someone I have known since the day she was born; I even went to the baby shower that was given to her mom before she was born. We talked for awhile, and I found out the she moved to Maui after graduation. She was visiting her brother and decided to stay. She lived not too far away from the park we were at, and was there with her friend and her friend's kids. I am happy for my friend; she is enjoying life and living for the moment right now.

Riley was having so much fun playing on the playground that he forgot to go to the restroom and had an accident. I did not have another pair of swimming trunks for him so I improvised for him, and he ended up wearing Speedos, Reese's swimmies. He didn't think too much of it and just kept on playing.

The family wanted to go surfing so they rented two surfboards. Ron went out with them first and tried his hand at it. I am not sure exactly how he did because I was watching the kids and they were too far out for me to see in the sun. I went out for round three, and I actually got on the board and was able to kneel and stand on the board, but did not really ride that far before falling off. My sister in law helped out by pushing the board when it was the right time so I did not have to paddle to catch up with the waves. I had a great time and was pretty proud of myself for being able to get up on the board.

To celebrate New Year's Eve the adults went out for appetizers and drinks at the Wailea Golf Club. Although it was cloudy and we were not able to see the sunset, we got some beautiful pictures because our clothes matched the gray-blue sky of the evening. We had an interesting time with ordering the brie appetizer. We asked for extra bread to go with it. When the brie came out, we got the three pieces that were included in the appetizer. We asked for more, like nine pieces and were even willing to pay for it. We got three more. We asked for six more pieces; we got four more. We gave up after that, and we still had brie left.

We spent the evening figuring out the characters on the new Mah Jongg set that arrived in the mail that day. We have been waiting for this set for days because it is a game that we enjoy playing as a family, and they did not have a set at the Maui house. We have been substituting by playing Bonanza which is fun in a different way. The good thing about Bonanza is that it is not limited to four people. But family time for us is Mah Jongg time!

We quit Mah Jongg about 10pm in order to light up the neighborhood with fireworks. There are no laws here regarding fireworks. We were able to buy them at the local Walmart. The younger kids fell asleep before this point so they missed the action, but the adult kids and the older kids had a great time being young again.

We ended up going to bed early on the basis that everyone else on the mainland had already celebrated new year's. Mainly, we were tired from our all day excursion at the beach with surfing. I saw 11pm Maui time, but did not see the stroke of midnight.

Hawaii Day Seven: Riley's Sixth Birthday

My son got to celebrate his sixth birthday on Maui. We started out the day with breakfast at Kihei Caffe where Riley got his favorites, French toast, bacon, and sausage. I was also impressed because Reese actually ate the same thing. She has not been eating much since we have been here, and her favorites are usually rice and pasta related.

After breakfast we travelled along the coast to see Kapalua, where the Mercedes Championship is being held the weekend after we leave, Napali, where we saw some whales off the coast, and Ka'anapali, where I believe that one of the Big Breaks was held. We stopped off at Whaler's Village for some shopping, and where Riley got a special birthday gift from his dad, a Hot Wheels Airport. We left Whaler's Village to go to Lahaina to have lunch. Ron and I have fond memories of Lahaina from our honeymoon when we had dinner at the Lahaina Fish Co. right on the ocean. Lahaina was very crowded because there was a cruise ship in port. We ended up eating lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, which says it is the original one. We ate on the second floor where it was open and you could see out into the ocean. (Earlier in the week, we discovered that the hotel that we stayed at for one night on our honeymoon is on the main strip in Kihei directly down the hill from my sister in law's house.)

Once lunch was over, the kids had enough car riding and we dropped them off at home. My sister in law ordered a cake for Riley at the Four Seasons Hotel because it was the only bakery she could find that would make a special cake that tasted like mainland cake without having a grocery store cake. She said that most of the bakeries in the area bake a traditional Hawaiian cake that was spongy, and she wanted a homemade cake for her nephew/godson. The cake was absolutely beautiful, tastefully decorated and just right for a six year old at the same time. Riley really enjoyed the cars/trucks that came with the cake and finally being able to open his presents. He now has a complete collection of Thomas the Tank Engine videos as well as a new big wheel and more construction toys. We also had pizza at home for dinner which is what Riley wanted, pepperoni, of course.