This post is more of a travel log. It’s nice to record the memory and not have to repeat the story…. Day 1:
Didn’t have to tell Jess twice. As soon as the car arrived, she was out the door and we were off on our first girls retreat!
As long as supports are in place, traveling is doable. I’m glad we had skycap service at the airport. Initially, I felt that standing in line for 40 minutes or more would be too difficult, however, I didn’t realize how far she would have had to walk to get to the terminal. The wheelchair was a good idea after all.
We arrived two hours early as advised and only had a little over an hour to wait at the gate. 30 minutes before our flight, I realized that there just wasn’t enough activity and checked the board. Sure enough, the gate changed, so we ran! Jess had early boarding and was told they’d let us know, but when we did get on the plane, we were the last to be seated? I was a little flustered while settling in. Out of nowhere, a young man appeared and said, “I’m surprised to see you?”. Jon is a friend of ours from church! I had been so anxious about traveling and it was comforting to see a familiar face.
The first leg of the trip was a piece of cake. Jess wouldn’t wear the headphones, but I swear she can lip read the movies. on was able to visit with us for awhile which broke up the long flight for all of us. Upon landing, we had dinner together before heading in different directions.
The leg from LAX to Maui was a bit more challenging. The plane was delayed 30 minutes. Then we sat on the tarmac for an hour before we taxied around the airport. This made an already long flight that much longer. If we wanted to watch a movie, we needed to download the United app to our device. There were no power outlets and I didn’t want to use up the battery. This was not wise for a 5 1/2 hour flight. The last three hours, all Jess wanted to do was take off her seat belt and bolt. Of course, there is nowhere to go. Somehow, we managed to distract each other. Calm returned as soon as the city lights came into view. Upon landing, we were again greeted by Skycap and were taken from our gate to baggage.
Seeing KB make her way to us with purple plumeria leis was a sight for sore eyes. Kath was the first friend I made when I moved to Maui and who we’d be staying with this trip.
As soon as we found the rental car (it’s a little older and has some idiosyncrasies? Just reminds me of my beach car). We were off. There’s a new road out of the airport and KB wanted to make sure we didn’t get lost as we made our way up-country at night. Google maps can’t be trusted and you may, or may not get a cell signal. It’s no place to get lost, especially when you’ve been up for 24 hours.
When we got to the house, Mr. O greeted us, met Yoda the kitty and then were taken to our bungalow. The first thing I saw when we entered was a welcome sign, a fragrant floral arrangement and lots of good eat treats. Thank you Jodi & KB! For the next month, we will enjoy this new home!
As Jess and I we were drifting off to sleep, I glanced at my watch, it was 5:30 am at home. The last thing I remember was hearing the rain.
At 3 am (9 am at home) we both woke up. We are sharing a bed. Logistically, it makes sense. Walking around your own home at night is one thing. It’s completely different when you are someplace unfamiliar. Other than naps, Jess and I have never slept together. I’m shocked that we each don’t wake each other up. Told her we had to adjust to the new time and sleep in to at least 6 am.
By 8:30, we had breakfast and headed out the door. Initially I thought we’d head to a beach in Kihei. We stopped at Hanzawa’s Variety store for gas and then drove through Makawao. While we were driving down the mountainside, the first thing Jess said upon seeing the view was “OMG”!
I didn’t make the turn to Kihei. The draw was too strong and I found myself headed for Lahaina side.
We parked at Whaler’s Village, shopped for slippers and sunscreen at the ABC store, then made our way to the Tiki Bar at Kaanapali Beach Hotel. I knew Dale would be working. I’m not a drinker but did spend a lot of years at this bar talking story with my friends. Dale made Jess a strawberry banana smoothie and we chatted for a little bit before heading off to Black Rock. Jess was making quiet little squeals of delight as we walked the path along the the beach. With her shoes off, she headed towards the shore. The gentle wave breaks were too intimidated and she did an Angel thing, she sat down and wouldn’t get up! (I’ve heard other Angelman Syndrome parents say that their kids would plant themselves too). One of my goals this trip, to get Jess comfortable with the ocean. Eventually, I cajoled her back on to her feet and we made it back to the KBH pool. The water was deeper than she expected so she swam to the other side. Afterward, we rested on chaise lounges till we became restless.
There was light traffic on the pali. I asked Jess what she wanted to eat, she responded “anything”, but then thought again and asked for Burger King. There wasn’t one where we were headed and ended up at Panda Express. For a chain, it is yummy. From there it was only a couple of miles to my friend’s house where we were greeted with more leis.
Jini and I had worked together so many years ago. It was nice for Jess to put a face to a name. In fact, she’s comfortable with all of my Maui friends. They make me feel as if I never left, and Jess as if she had always lived here. There’s no wonder why this will always be home for me.
Before heading back Upcountry, we stopped at Costco. The plan was to have roasted chicken and salad with KB, but my friend Evy called and we met for a light bite before heading back up the mountain. (Good thing Jess and I have been sharing all our meals). It’s remarkable to be with friends whom you haven’t seen in years, but you feel like it’s only been a day or two. Looking forward to longer visits!
Back on the road, just before we entered Paia, there was a rainbow. On Maui, you see rainbows every day. We then drove through a light shower. The car wipers don’t go back to starting position when turned off, but instead, would stop in odd places. At least they work and are amusing. This rental car has personality!
After washing off the beach sand, we headed to the house for dinner, a couple glasses of wine and had a movie play in the background as we visited.
Good times. Good times! Feeling blessed to have this opportunity to be with friends and have Jess be able to make this trip. The cost of the airline miles for the three of us came to $30.60. When KB learned this, she offered us a place to stay. When an opportunity presents itself, you take it.
Jess is the same age now as I was when I lived here. I’m excited to show her the island. From tropical, high desert, rainforest and eucalyptus trees, to watching the wind surfers, walk through artist studios and of course listening to all the island sounds. I don’t know which I enjoy more, the music, hearing to the waves break or listening to the locals talk. I’m not eavesdropping, I just like the lilt of their voices.
Only a few short years ago, this trip never would have been an option. Jess’s needs were too great. Where once her attention span lasted only a few seconds, now she’s much more centered. Her independent living skills have greatly improved too. Of course, everything changed when Jess got her Talker. The ability to communicate has been life changing for her and for us. We share about her Talker every chance we get. People want to know! So cool to have Baby SFY on my iPhone too. Heidi, we are loving it!
It’s time to slather ourselves in sunscreen and head to the beach.
All for now…