We recently traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui for my stepson Nicholas's wedding. I have been to Hawaii one time nine years ago for my honeymoon in Maui so looked forward to visiting the Big Island for the first time. I meticulously plan trips months and sometimes years in advance. I read several guidebooks and take notes about the places of interest, come up with a daily itinerary and make reservations. Dawn just packs her suitcase, goes along with whatever plans I make and claims it is like traveling with a private tour guide.
We started on the Northwest side of the island in Waimea. Upon arrival at the hotel it is customary to receive a warm aloha welcome and a lei. A lei is a gorgeous garland of flowers worn around the neck like a floral necklace. Men are traditionally given a lei made out of dried and polished kukui nuts.
We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid and true to their name, there were orchids growing throughout the property and a view of the ocean that greeted us at check in. There is something so relaxing about looking out at the ocean and mountains while listening to the waves that seems to melt all of the tax season stress away and bring me into a state of deep relaxation and peace. I have decided that sitting under an umbrella, looking out at the sea and drinking a pina colada is great therapy. I love history so we visited some of the sights including where Chief Kamehameha who united all of the separate islands that now form Hawaii had lived. We learned about their culture and how the Hawaiians lived off the land.
I had been reading online about the ongoing Kilauea Volcano eruption so I booked a room at the Volcano House where we would be able to view the volcano from our room. It is a historic hotel dating back to 1846 and Mark Twain, Amelia Earhart, Louis Pasteur and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt have all been guests. About a month before we arrived, Kilauea stopped erupting so instead of an amazing volcano rupturing outside our window, we had a view of a little cloud of smoke that hung out just above the crater(pictures below). This was definitely not what I was expecting but the park did offer volcano tubes to hike through and ranger guided hikes throughout the park. It is easy to forget the Big Island is a desert since the resorts have beautiful grass, flowering plants and lush landscaping. One side of the island is a dry desert while the other side is mountainous with rain everyday and a cooler climate. There are beautiful coffee plantations in the Kona area and delicious coffee offered all around the island. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by beauty.
We then flew into Maui to begin preparing to host the rehearsal dinner and attend the wedding celebration. Nick and Natalie had a justice of the peace ceremony in New Orleans last summer with just the parents. This wedding celebration was the one to include an exchange of their own written wedding vows with family and friends there to celebrate with them. The wedding was in Wailea on Polo Beach at the Fairmont Hotel. The weather was absolutely perfect which we were grateful for since it is the one variable we had no control over.
The ceremony was Hawaiian with an officiant who blew a conch shell to begin the ceremony and a ukulele player to play songs including Over the Rainbow. There were 18 of us in total and we all stood on the beach surrounding Nick and Natalie while they stood in a circle of flower petals and exchanged lei's placing them around each others neck. Nick and Natalie had taken a lot of time to write very meaningful marriage vows and it was heart warming to hear. They met while attending Emory and have been together for 8 years. After the wedding ceremony while at the dinner, we were surprised and thrilled to see a firework display. Talk about perfect timing!
A few days after the wedding, we all flew to New Orleans for Nick and Natalie's graduation from Tulane Medical School. There we enjoyed terrific food, jazz and a private history tour with Frank Perez firstname.lastname@example.org who is the author of Treasures of the Vieux Carre and one of my clients. Fortunately, Nicholas and Natalie matched together for their residencies-Nick, a psychiatrist at UF Jacksonville and Natalie, an ENT at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Seeing Nicholas walk across the stage to be hooded and knowing how much effort it took him to get to that point was astounding. Nick is the first doctor in our family and Natalie is a third generation doctor graduating from Tulane Medical School. There is no greater feeling than celebrating your children's success. We are excited for Nick and Natalie and look forward to watching their careers unfold and how they will make the world a better place.
Life is good and my heart is full. I hope you all are enjoying your summer. As always, thank you for being my valued client and keep in touch.
A row of orchid Lei's.
What the volcano actually looked like.
What the volcano was supposed to look like when I booked the room.
View from the atrium at the Fairmont.
Rainbow from the Volcano House.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.
Ocean and mountains on the Big Island.
Gorgeous black rocks and ocean on the Big Island.
Rehearsal dinner in Wailea.
Dawn & older son Zachary.
Fireworks after wedding at Fairmont.
Nick & Natalie
Nick & Natalie on Polo Beach at the Fairmont Hotel in Wailea standing in a circle of flower petals.
Natalie wearing her lei.
Yay! Graduation from Tulane Medical School with Nick & Natalie.
Our NOLA tour guide-Frank Perez.