Thursday, July 5, 2012

A surprise for Zara!

Zara loves surprises. She has been involved in surprise birthday parties over the years and has asked me more than once to "please plan a surprise birthday party" for her! I had to explain that when you request a surprise it kind of defeats the purpose! Most recently she witnessed my sisters surprising me with a visit to Molokai for my birthday in May. So about a month ago I decided to surprise her with a 2 day (1 night) trip to Honolulu. I booked the tickets and the hotel and have been secretly waiting for the day I could take her to the airport and say "Suprise! We've going to Honolulu!".

So Monday morning I took Bella and Thor out on the trampoline and let them in on the surprise.... Thor was fine with it but Bella was distraught that she wasn't coming with us. She was hysterical as we drove away and Zara couldn't figure out why Bella was so upset about not going on a day trip to the east side (which is where she thought we were headed). I pulled into the airport saying I was going to get a chai tea at the coffee shop there and I could see she was confused when I parked in long term parking! Then even more confused when I pulled 2 backpacks out of the trunk. As we got into the airport I said "Would you like to go see the Iolani Palace"? She said "Yes". I said "How about right now?" She look totally confused and then I said "Honey, we're going to Honolulu!"

I had imagined her jumping for joy, but she burst into tears and said "I didn't even get to say good-bye! I thought we were going right back.... I just waved good-bye... I didn't even hug Bella and Thor!" So we called home and she said teary good-byes to John and the kids and then after a few minutes of letting it sink in she started to get excited!

We had a wonderful time! We ate Thai food (3 times!), marvelling at all the restaurant possibilities, we shopped (overwhelmed by all the options). We hung out in Waikiki for the afternoon and just took in the sight of so many people on the beach and swimming in the ocean. We could certainly understand why people would want to be there! It's so beautiful! We walked and walked until our feet ached! Then we took a break and walked some more! Zara loved staying in a big, fancy (by our standards!) hotel. I lost count of how many times she went up and down the escalators!

Zara having a "ball" at the International Marketplace in Waikiki!

Culture shock!!!

We spent 2 hours at the Iolani palace - the highlight of our trip for sure. Recently Zara and I have read some wonderful books about the history of the monarchy in Hawaii. They are the only state that was at one time a sovern nation with a monarchy, and therefore the only state that has a royal palace. The story of how they were overthrown, by a small group of American men who thought Hawaii should be annexed to the USA and would not give up until that happened, is very sad. We have a much deeper understanding of why the Hawaiian people feel the way they do towards the U.S. and can appreciate the sadness and sorrow that came along with the unlawful, unfair, corrupt stripping away of the monarchy's power in the late 1800's. It's a moving history and we were thrilled to be in the Palace where so much of that history took place. We did a self-guided tour that was so informative and included wonderful stories of life in the palace. At times I felt very emotional as history seemed to come to life. A wonderful experience for a couple of royal enthusiasts!

Love the over slippers we had to wear to protect the floors! We weren't permitted to take photos inside but it was lovely. The palace was taken over by the US government as soon as the Queen was forced to abdicate and used as government offices for years. It's only quite recently that it's been restored to its original splendor and open to the public.

Bye-bye Honolulu! Back to sleepy little Molokai we go!

Neither of us were ready to come home! Although John and kids were happy we came back! It was so nice to have time to reconnect with my sweet daughter, who is growing up so quickly. Now Bella is wondering when she and I are going to Honolulu!