Monday, December 23, 2013

The Joy of Tiny Planes and Airports

Two weekends ago I took my first trip off-island to visit a friend who is spending the holidays in Oahu.    Honolulu is the "big city" of Hawaii and a popular place to go shopping.   Hello...they have Target.  
I took a little commuter plane from the little airport in Kapalua.   I think this was the smallest plane I've ever been on - the flight from Aruba to Curacao being the second smallest plane ever.    This is the kind of plane where they weigh YOU to evenly distribute the weight.  
It's flight seeing with a destination.   The pilot gave us permission to use cameras or phones in airplane mode.   And the Kapalua airport is about 5 minutes from home.   So easy.
The view from the Kapalua airport
Security even pointed out the whales!
Hi Molokai

And the pilots have a map

Woo!  Big city from the air.

Have you gone flightseeing or taken a tiny plane?   Yay or Nay? 
As for's so easy and convenient, I will definitely do it again.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tree Lighting Lahaina Style: The Annual Lighting of the Banyan Tree

Aside from one Christmas spent in Egypt, I've always been in cold-weather climates for Christmas.    Maybe it feels like tradition just because it's what I'm used to.    Or because the all the carols refer to fireplaces and snow.  
{As a side note, my sister has been asking friends to post a picture of themselves in their snowflake, holiday or other comfy pants, on Facebook.    This is her way to try to embrace the ridiculously cold weather that hit most of the country in the past week or so.    I've been taken to task for not participating.   And that's because I no longer wear pants.   Except at work.  Because, you know, it's work.}
I'm determined to capture the spirit this year, just like every year before.    And that means jumping in with both of my tan, bare feet and embracing the Christmas celebrations here in Maui.
There may be banyan trees all over Hawaii, but in downtown Lahaina we have the Banyan Tree.   It's huge and it's a central fixture along Front Street.   On the weekends, and maybe more often, the local artists showcase their craft under the giant tree.  And every year there is a Christmas celebration at the lighting of the tree.  
I proudly present the annual lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina.  
There's a sign = it's official
The tree pre-lighting

The Lahainaluna High School Band playing carols
Beautiful Banyan

Why hello there Hawaii Snowman!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Pretty Big Deal in Lahaina (The Pioneer Mill Smokestack)

Check out the size of that....smokestack?

Damn, it's tall!
That's right.   The Pioneer Mill Smokestack is a tall piece of Hawaii's history in the sugar industry.    This stack was the tallest structure in the Hawaiian islands in the 1920s (I believe 1928 to be exact).   It was such a recognizable feature from the sea that it was used for navigation.   The city chose to to keep and refurbish it as a part of the local history.

Yesterday, when I stopped for some coffee at Maui Grown Coffee (on Lahainaluna Rd if you're visiting), I explored the little historic park right next door.   Home of this giant smokestack and information on Western Maui's history in the sugar cane industry.  And trains.   I don't have the same love affair with trains that some of my family has...but I certainly climb on them for photos on occasion.   This time, I kept my feet on the ground.

There, you can see actual color of the
smokestack when it's not in a giant shadow
Another train...Mom this is for you!

Now that I'm a little more settled into my new life, with my car here and my household goods on their way, I'm looking forward to doing a lot more Maui exploration.    I can't wait to share it with you!

If you have a favorite anything on Maui, please let me know in the comments or share on Facebook

Learning to Give and Receive this Thanksgiving

In a little over 3 hours (Hawaii time, that is), I will have been in Maui for a month.   Moving by yourself  is stressful.   When it happens closer to the holidays, it's even more challenging.   

You think about what you'd be doing if you were at home.     
Activities that you'll miss.   
Friends that you'll miss.   
Food that you'll miss (it is Thanksgiving after all).   

I didn't know what would happen this year.   
Would I just sit by the pool and soak up the sun?   
Take a little road trip?   
Enjoy a movie marathon?  (Harry Potter on ABC Family, I'm talking to you)
Would I feel like it was a holiday or just a day off work?

Here's the good news:  I was blessed this year to both give and receive the gift of Thanksgiving.
My first Aloha Thanksgiving 
Giving Thanks
We brought Thanksgiving Dinner from work to serve local families in need.   Turkey and all the fixings. Pumpkin Pie.   Coffee.    We served the buffet, poured the drinks, bussed the tables and delivered the pie.   After dishing up the pie, I got to the fun stuff:  helping  make turkey hats.   We brought the supplies for crafts, not knowing how many kids would attend.  Would they be interested?  Yes.   Now we know.   You can't go wrong with turkey hats.   On adults or children.   I wore my hat with pride.    

It is a blessing to serve others.

Receiving Thanks
I was also invited to be a guest for Thanksgiving.   It's tradition here for those from work without family on-island to get together to share the holidays.   Turkey.  Ham.  Stuffing.  Potatoes.  Green Bean Casserole. World Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake.  (it really was that good!).   Wine.  Karaoke.  

Now karaoke may not be a traditional Thanksgiving activity, but it made for an awesome evening.  We sang for hours.  Summer Nights?  Check.  Don't Stop Believing?  Check Check.   

For years I've invited friends for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I like hosting and cooking.     It's been a while since I've been on the receiving end.   It is such a good feeling to be included.  Especially when you're new and far away from home.   

The holiday season is just starting.   If you have a chance this December, please share some joy with someone new.   Invite them to the tree lighting, parade, cookie exchange, ugly sweater party or dinner.   Introduce them to your friends or family.

It makes a huge difference.   
Both for the giver and the receiver. 


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