Hawaii Happenings: Holiday Humbug and Getting Around

It’s bee a while, you guys. I wish I could say I’ve just been busy, but the truth is the spending Thanksgiving so far from home got me pretty down. Of course, I never thought it would be easy. I tried to plan enough distractions to have a fun day, but some things just suck and there’s nothing you can do about it. The good news is I’m feeling much better and I’m back to tell you about everything I’ve been up to since we last met.

I got a small taste of spending holidays alone back in April when we arrived in time to spend Easter in Oahu. Everything was new back then and I never really liked Easter anyway. We had a great day at the beach and didn’t think too much about being away from home. I managed to have fun on Halloween, going out in Waikiki with friends. Thanksgiving was different, though. The whole point of the holiday is to spend time with family and friends, to give thanks for those important to you. I would be with Trev and my two favorite canine companions and I tried to convince myself that’s all that mattered. It was certainly better than being alone, but it still kind of sucked.

I spent the morning watching Trev watch football, which meant browsing social media and my email. I wasn’t about to cook an entire turkey and sides for myself and I definitely wasn’t going to miss out on Thanksgiving food, so I ordered a Thanksgiving plate from Diamond Head Market and Grill. The food was very good, probably the closest I could come to a traditional New England Thanksgiving so far from home, but it just wasn’t the same. I never really thought about Thanksgiving meals being regional, but they are. There are some things I grew up eating at Thanksgiving that I wasn’t going to find in Hawaii. Trev had his usual Thanksgiving specialty of bubble-up pizza and I made crumby ice cream for the first time – a Sullivan tradition of ice cream laced with buttery devil’s food cake crumbles.

We Skyped with our families, mine in Florida for the holiday, and Trev’s in Massachusetts. It was fun to talk with our extended families after so long but it was kind of like when you call someone who’s out with friends. You’re trying to have a conversation, but you only have their attention until someone makes a joke or shenanigans ensue. It didn’t really scratch the homesick itch, but rather unleashed a rash of longing for those jokes and shenanigans.

As usual, moving made me feel better. I’ve been going to a new yoga studio, running, and hiking. I took my Paws on the Path hikers to the Maunawili Ditch trail at the end of November. It’s a rather uneventful trail, but a nice walk in the woods for the dogs. It turned out to be VERY muddy the day we hiked, but it actually made things a bit more interesting. I also got to hike with my friend Kristi who was there to check out the Paws on the Path program, and made the outing more fun.

Last week, Marie and I scouted the Paws on the Path December hike on the North Shore and it was a great one. The Kealia Trail is a series of 19 switchbacks up the side of a mountain just behind Dillingham Airfield. The whole hike boasts panoramic views of the North Shore from Waialua all the way to Kahuku. You can see gliders closer and closer overhead as you climb higher. We also got to see some of the North Shore’s famous winter waves breaking from above. It’s a workout for your butt, but well worth the climb.

Last but not least, just call me McLovin’ because I got my Hawaii driver’s license. In order to transfer an out-of-state license, I needed four forms of ID and to pass a written exam. Luckily, I’d grabbed everything from my “Important Documents” file at home when I visited in September. I have to say I was pretty nervous about the written exam, though. I know this will surprise some of you, but it’s been a while since I tested for my license at 16. I read the Hawaii drivers manual and did some sample test questions to prepare because I’m a nerd.

The whole process took a couple hours, but I really liked the way they had it set up. First of all, there are specific DMV locations dedicated only  to licensing. These location are split into different areas that handle just one part of the process. I waited in line to have my documents checked, then went to a separate line to pay, another to take the exam, and another to actually issue the license. The result is you never wait in line for more than 20 minutes. Most of the time you’re there is spent actually doing something. This was a revelation for me. No waiting for an hour in line just to speak with the least helpful, most disgruntled state worker you’ve ever met only to be sent back to the end of the line because you were missing a signature. So, with no further ado, here she is:

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