Looking back, I would say this is probably one of the best trips of my life hands down. There wasn’t one minute during this trip where I was upset, seriously! And I was with THREE other girls; you would think some dumb argument is bound to occur but that didn’t even happen! This trip all started with me wanting to go back to Hawaii because I am Hawaii-obsessed. In December of last year, I asked my friend Gina if she would be down to go back to Kona, in which she said she was. A couple weeks later, she told me she wouldn’t be able to go, so the search for another Hawaii buddy was on.
Kona 2015, one of my favorite trips!
This is where Michelle comes in. Michelle and I have been friends for well over four years now, and she’s truly one of the sweetest girls I know. We weren’t that good of a friends, but she was so supportive of me when I reached out to her during my break up last year, and since then, we’ve made an effort to catch up with each other every once in a while. WELL. Homegirl goes to Hawaii every other month it seems like (okay more like every year), and so I knew she would be the perfect girl to ask! I had a set week in mind, and when I asked her if she would be interested in going to Hawaii with me, she mentioned that she never really gets breaks from school but would be completely up for it if her schedule allowed her to. By the graces of the good Gods, she sent me her school schedule and I almost had a heart attack. Her spring break was the exact week I had mentioned to going to Hawaii— needless to say, WE WERE GOING TO HAWAII. We were both shouting with joy through Facebook messenger and she mentioned that we could most likely stay with her auntie out in Oahu! BUT THEN. A couple weeks later, she messaged me to tell me that her dad said we could use his timeshare on FREAKING MAUI. I was shopping at a Macy’s at the time, and almost started running around the store out of pure excitement. First off, how generous of her dad to let us use his timeshare, and secondly, I would be going to Hawaii with Michelle! Even though I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked, I knew being in Hawaii with her would only strengthen our friendship and allow our love for the island to grow.
But wait— it gets better. A couple weeks later, Michelle told me I could invite a friend and she would be inviting one, too… LIKE WHAT? I couldn’t believe it! So of course I invited Pamela since I don’t know anyone who loves Hawaii as much as she does. She was extremely hesitant, since it seemed way too good to be true, but after reassuring her that Michelle is a complete angel allowing us to stay at her dad’s timeshare, she joined in on the excitement. We booked our tickets in February for May 24th-29th, and my flight back from New Orleans into San Diego would be getting in at 8 PM on the 23rd. So I literally had less than 10 hours in San Diego before having to be back at the airport to leave for Maui! I like to think my travel game is at an all time high at the moment.
Anyway, I got to the airport at 6:30AM on Tuesday morning. Pam and Michelle were already there, and Courtney was going through Delta (we were going through Alaska) so her flight had already left. The four of us girls had gotten together a month prior so we could all meet one another and plan our trip to Maui. I mean, how often can one say that they are going to Maui with some girls they’ve never met?! I was actually really nervous going on this trip because even though Pam is one of my best friends, I don’t know Michelle as well as I would like, and I didn’t really know Courtney at all! What if we didn’t like each other? What if they paired up and did their own thing only to leave Pam and I to do our own? But when we had breakfast together, we all got along SO well and all those nerves I had were washed away. I knew that this was going to the trip of a lifetime with these girls and I couldn’t wait!
Our flight to Maui was a little different than most— a man started having heart problem an hour into our flight, and long story short, Alaska Airlines decided to turn around and make an emergency landing in LA. Despite the fact that this tacked on an additional 3 hours to our flight, no one on the plane complained, and the Alaska flight attendants and pilots did an excellent job at staying calm and handling the situation both professionally and gracefully. When we finally landed in Maui, everyone began cheering! IN ADDITION, Alaska was kind enough to give each passenger on the flight a $300.00 voucher for what had happened. LIKE WHAT? We all just wanted to make sure that man got the help he needed (and from what I was told, he did! Yay!). The fact that they gave us enough money to book another trip to Hawaii (okay, almost enough money) blew our minds and was the PERFECT way to kick off our Hawaii vacation! And to add how incredible this trip was starting off, Courtney was waiting for us at the bar with a mai tai for each of us, bless her dear soul.
I gulped mine down in the matter of minutes and was definitely feeling a good buzz, and then we proceeded to bus our way to a nearby grocery store and then to our resort. It took about two hours to complete the journey, and by the time we got to the front desk, we were soaking wet from walking in the Maui rain. But we were absolutely speechless by the time we got into our room— it was literally like a mini apartment overlooking the beautiful island. We had a living room and dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom with two beds, and a bathroom fit for a queen. As soon as we put our things away, we went to the balcony to take it all in: We were finally in Maui.
It was evening by the time we got settled in, so we decided to eat a family style dinner of poke and rice before putting on our swimsuits and heading to the jacuzzi. There were some teenagers there talking to some kid who was from Alaska, and I honestly don’t remember what they were talking about but all we could pick up was that Alaska boy was a cheerleader. Throughout the duration of our trip, we constantly saw Alaska boy, whether he was doing flips in the pool or lurking around the waterfall, for simplicity’s sake we just referred to him as Alaska. After our jacuzzi session, we hit up the bar’s happy hour where we very happily sipped on our lava flows and pina coladas. Our bartender was awesome as we chatted him up, and the simple act of sitting at a bar, in Maui, during a warm summer night, was enough to have us all grinning deliriously. I couldn’t picture a better way for us to have ended our first night.
The view from our balcony
The next day, after a well-needed breakfast and a vigorous workout, we headed for a nearby beach in Lahaina. My heart honestly almost bursted; the sight of crystal clear beaches was enough to put some crystal clear tears in my eyes. It reminded me of the first time I ever touched down in Hawaii back in August of last year. Just being able to see the most exquisite shade of blue I’ve ever seen in the Pacific Ocean tugged at my heart strings in the best way possible, and I have a feeling the more time I visit Hawaii the less likely I’ll be able to leave. Anyway, we posted up at this gorgeous beach where we tanned, jumped in the ocean like little kids, tanned some more, ate some Maui Onion potato chips, before jumping back in the ocean basking in its clarity and bath-water-like temperature.
After we finally felt like we have enough Vitamin C (and it also started to rain yikes), we headed to Michelle’s Uncle’s surf shop where he so graciously gave us snorkel gear so we could use for our adventure the next day. Once we got back to the hotel, which was so conveniently enough during happy hour hehe, we got our drinks and lounged by the pool! I think the most incredible part about this trip is how well we ALL got along; honestly! While Michelle and Courtney are best friends, and Pam and I are best friends, throwing two pair of best friends who don’t really know each other that well doesn’t always pan out the way we hope. Girls can be catty and mean, but that was not the case with us. We were like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha– but without the men! We gave each other valuable advice, laughed constantly, and were nothing but kind, helpful, respectful, and supportive of each other. I genuinely feel like I just got blessed with a beautiful pact of lifelong girlfriends. After another round of happy hour, we took some photos next to the waterfall before heading back to our room to have another family style dinner of sushi, rice, and some pan-seared bananas for dessert. That night’s itinerary included a girl’s night (although every night was girl’s night) at Maui Brewing Company. Fun fact: I am not a fan of beer. But in my typical Caroline fashion, everything I don’t like (pretzels, beer, goldfish, Mexican food) I’ll still consume, including beer. I’m literally the least pickiest eater in the world. So we each ordered a sampling flight where I handled two of those samples like a champ (not really, each gulp took convincing from my girls), and wallowed and sulked when I realized I still had two more to go. I will say, however, that the Maui Wowwie Blonde is AMAZING since the pineapple flavor overrides the bitterness of the beer. My incredible girlfriends ended up finishing my last two samples for me (bless their dear hearts) before calling it a night.
The beauty of vacationing in Hawaii and being from California is that glorious three hour time difference. We fell into a routine where after our rounds of late night happy hour at the resort’s bar, we turned into grandmas and were in bed no later than 11:00pm, yet our bodies magically rose just in time for sunrise. After our morning ritual of breakfast, coffee on the balcony, and a sweat-fill workout all completed by 9 AM, we were excited to embark on that day’s adventure: hiking! Michelle had hiked this trail before and recommended it for us since it was a short hike (about 3 miles roundtrip) and suggested we end it with us snorkeling once we got back to where we started. Here’s the thing, Maui weather is unpredictable. One part of the island will be raining, and the other will be sunshine and daisies (or in this case, plumerias and hibiscuses). AND OF COURSE. During our hike, the Maui showers decided to show us some love and occasionally tease us with little glimpses of sun. We decided “screw it” and just took off our clothes and hiked in our bikinis to avoid any unwanted tan lines, and then it started to rain, but we still stayed in our bikinis. Even with some rain, we still had such a great time hiking and admiring the beauty of Maui.
After we returned to where we started, we put on our snorkeling gear and headed out into the water where we snorkeled in the rain but didn’t even mind one bit. We saw the most beautiful fishes, too many to count! And the coral! So many different colors surrounded by all this marine life, it was all so beautiful. I wish I could describe what I see when I snorkel, as each experience is always so different, but it’s truly something everyone has to experience for themselves so they see how incredible the ocean and marine life really is. Snorkeling is hands down my favorite activity, and I swear if I lived in Hawaii I would be doing it every single day.
Anyway, we met this local named Kyle who worked at a nearby resort, and initially we thought he was so adorable with his beautiful teeth and Hawaiian accent, but then he thought it was be super cool to show off in front of us by doing tricks on his boogie board. The girls were OVER IT. Especially Pamela, who is the queen of playing hard to get but has every right to because the girl is practically flawless. We all found it hilarious, but at the same time we needed more than just boogie board moves to impress us. Somehow someway, Kyle was able to wheeze one of our numbers out of us (and of course the girl is me, sigh) before we caught our bus back to our resort, where we arrived just in time for—you guessed it— happy hour!
Oh and we were FEELING happy hour that day. I lost count, but I’m pretty sure each of us bought a round of drinks because when lava flows and mai tais are five bucks a pop, it’d be a crime NOT to buy multiple rounds #amirite. We lounged by the pool while giggling and laughing, a good buzz going on primarily between Pam and I. Oh oh oh! We saw Alaska running around the pool where apparently he was doing some cheerleading flips either a. trying to impress the middle-aged ladies at the pool or b. legitimately practicing his cheer moves. Good ol’ Alaska knew how to give us a good laugh without even trying to. I should also mention that conversations after having a drink or two (or four) are so much more entertaining with than without! AND THEN. Get this guys— my sister Elaine calls me immediately asking “Caroline! Did you give some Hawaiian guy my number?!” Since I was buzzed, it took a minute for me to process what she was saying, before responding, “What?! No! Why would I do that?” And then she proceeded to tell me how she got a text from some guy name Kyle and it was a Hawaiian area code and then I finally pieced two and two together… GUYS. I gave Kyle my sister’s number on accident! I literally almost peed in my pants when she told me about how she responded to Kyle asking who he was and Kyle said “Wow, you forgot who I am already? We just met an hour ago!” before relaying the story to the girls who cracked up with me. Poor Kyle!
Later that night, we went to Ono Kau Kau which was a mere 5 minute walk from our resort. We feasted on a shared meal of chicken katsu, barbecue chicken and shrimp, kalula pork, and fish with sides of mac salad and white rice. Though the food was greasy and heavy enough to send all of our cholesterol and sodium levels off da roof, none of us had a single regret. Especially me, since I was the only one who devoured my entire plate while the girls had leftovers #noshame. One of my favorite things about walking back to our resort aside from burning maybe .098346% of what we had just eaten was plucking the flowers (in which I know I’m not supposed to do okay) and putting them in our hair. We looked such like tourists but so Hawaiian at the same time!
After going back “home”, we decided to relax in the jacuzzi for a little where some middle-aged men and women were socializing. We kept to ourselves for the most part, but when it came around 10:00, the girls and I were ready to get a drink before calling it a night. And guess what? Our jacuzzi neighbors made fun of us for it! They said that 10:00 was no time for us to be feeling tired, especially if they were twice our age -__- Ever so slightly embarrassed that we couldn’t hang, we sipped our happy hour drinks at the bar before going back to our room and turning out the lights.
My body thought it would be a phenomenal idea to wake up at 5:30 AM, and after half an hour scrolling through my phone thinking of things to do, I decided to head to the gym. Sad that I wouldn’t be joining the girls for breakfast (I enjoy doing fasted cardio whereas they prefer breakfast prior), I wrote a little note of where I would be and after three Youtube tutorials later, I finally had a pot of coffee waiting for them once they woke up.
There’s something about working out in Hawaii that I just can’t seem to replicate at home. I’m just so much more motivated; I spent an hour on the treadmill running until my lungs felt like they were going to burst (goodbye 700 calories!), and would spend another half hour with the weights and upper body machines. By the time I came back to the room, my clothes were drenched with sweat (sorry tmi) and my appetite was in dire need of attention. Well of course— leave it to my beautiful girls to have breakfast waiting for me on the table! Seriously, I am blessed with the best.
That day’s adventure included some souvenir shopping in Lahaina, and we also had Courtney’s tattoo consultation over there since she would be getting a tattoo the next day. We feasted on the most delicious shaved ice I’ve ever had, courtesy of Michelle’s recommendation. I got pineapple, mango, and coconut as my flavors, all gloriously sitting on tip of macadamia nut ice cream. It. Was. Heavenly.
After our time at the shops, we headed to a nearby grocery store to pick up a wonderful lunch of poke for both Michelle’s uncle and us before taking a shuttle back to our resort. We dropped off our snorkel gear and poke at Michelle’s uncle surf shop, then trekked our way back to the resort and settled into our beach chairs while eating our lunch of poke and rice. We tanned, swam, tanned some more, and then Michelle and I walked over to the beach in front of our hotel to really take it all in. It’s still hard for me to comprehend how fortunate and blessed I am; I just made some lifelong friends whilst in Maui! How many people can say that?! Michelle and I simply reflected about the last few days in Maui, still in a daze of how perfect this trip turned out to be. We spoke about her dad, her boyfriend, and the surge of happiness we felt during this entire trip. We talked about potentially moving to the island, although I think we both knew that San Diego will forever be home to us. I’m so thankful for having Michelle in my life, and not because she has an incredible dad who hooks us up with his timeshare. Michelle is such an easygoing, kind hearted, and true-to-her-word human being. For all the times that we’ve hung out, she’s never ever flaked on me. She is so accommodating to my ridiculously busy schedule despite the fact that hers is just as busy. And yet, she always finds a way to make it work, even if the planning takes more effort than it should. I knew spending quality time with her in Hawaii would do wonders for our friendship, but I genuinely feel like I just gained another best friend. GOD I LOVE THE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE.
After another round of happy hour and fries (because calories and sugar don’t exist on vacation), we made a game plan where Courtney and Pam would go to the grocery store to get dessert, and Michelle and I would run to Ono Kau Kau to get some katsu and musubi to go. We agreed to meet back at our room, and while Michelle and I were waiting for our food, this guy came up to us and attempted to make small talk with us. Finally, he asked us to come over to his house. Like, what?! NO! But Michelle and I are like the nicest girls in the world so we politely declined, and he then he left. But once we received our food, the rain came POURING down. I mean, down-right-raining-cats-and-dogs kinda pouring, it was insane! So what did Michelle and I do? After a quick calculation of how much ordering a Uber would cost to drive us literally one minute to our hotel, and realizing we could get another spam musubi for that price, we decided “screw it”. We covered up our box of food with to-go menus, and trekked our way back to the hotel in the pouring rain. AND THEN. We heard the guy who was hitting on us five minutes prior shouting at us from his house (he lived across the street) for us to come over cause it “wasn’t raining over there”. We ended up running once we heard his voice, only slowing down when we both agreed we were far enough away from the creep. But the rain showed us no mercy, only coming down stronger and completely soaking our hair, our clothes, and almost our food but our menu fort did its job! Michelle and I just laughed about the entire experience, grinning when we reached the resort and saw Pam and Courtney on the balcony cheering and shouting for us and our victorious walk home.
After the perfect last dinner of rice, chicken, and musubi, we had a delicious dessert of brownies topped off with vanilla bean ice-cream courtesy of Dreyers hehe. While devouring our dessert sitting at the dining room table, we all shared some of the funniest stories my ears have ever encountered. I kid you not, I was in a mid-sip of water when Pam told us one particular story about her ex that literally made me run to the bathroom, spit out the water in the toilet before sitting on the toilet because I would have peed in my pants otherwise. I literally cannot tell you how ridiculously happy we all were on our last night in Maui sharing these stories like a family; we had each other DYING! These stories had us literally shedding tears from laughter; so much so, we laughed until our abs felt like it went through three rounds of P90x Ab Ripper X. At that point, I’m pretty sure the tears were from pain, too, but in the best way possible. My heart was overfilled with joy in that moment— who would have thought the four of us would have come together as if we had known each other since childhood? If someone told me that I would be stuck with these girls, on Maui, for the next 10 years of my life, I honestly would go to sleep a happy woman every single night for those next ten years. We all looked out for each other, were fair with one another, were generous with one another, and showed nothing but love and respect for one another. Simply put, we just clicked, which made the idea of leaving Maui THAT much harder. It wasn’t the fact that we were (literally) in paradise these last four days, but rather, it was having each other’s company while being in paradise that made this trip one the best ones yet.
Michelle and Courtney are truly two of the kindest, prettiest, funniest, and most genuine girls I’ve ever met. Michelle just gets me— from our love for Hawaii, donuts, and pretty much all things Asian, to our humor, love, respect, and loyalty to one another. Maui truly validated all the reasons why we became friends in the first place, and I can easily say that Michelle has become one of my closest girlfriends. She has a heart of gold, the soul of a local Hawaiian, and prioritizes the well being of the ones she loves most. Words can’t describe how much I love that girl. I only hung out with Courtney three times prior to this trip, and I can easily say that after doing Maui with her, she is the queen of DABS. I mean, she got a tattoo on this trip! Courtney not only is gorgeous, but she’s hilarious, real, and so incredibly thoughtful; I’m so grateful I get to call her a girlfriend now. I loved that she played TLC radio for the majority of this trip, scouted out any hot guys with me at the resort, and trusted virtually two strangers (me and Pamela) with her personal stories. I have so much love and respect for Courtney, and though everyone says “oh lets all hang out when we get back!” she and Michelle are girls we legitimately want to grow our friendship with.
If y’all read my original Miami post, you should know my unwavering love for Pamela. If possible, I think I love her even more after this trip to Maui. The fact that she basically went to Maui with two strangers and COMPLETELY bonded with each of us made my heart so ridiculously happy. I can literally write 5 single spaced Microsoft word pages about how much I love this girl, but I’ll do my best to summarize. Simply put, Pamela is a one of kind best friend. She’s extremely intelligent, naturally beautiful, fiercely loyal, 110% passionate, and has a zero tolerance policy for BS in her life. She knows her worth, and will never settle for anything less. I am so inspired by her generosity and kind heart; I know that if I were to EVER need anything, I could call her and she would be there for me in a heartbeat. She’s just that kind of girlfriend! Even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like to, any time there is a problem in either of our lives, we’re there for each other. Whether it be phone calls at 1:00AM, 6 page long texts, or simply checking in with one another, she’s the girl I know has my back through thick and thin. Every girl needs a Pamela if their life, and I am extremely blessed that I have her in my court. Through out this entire trip, there wasn’t a single day where we both just looked at each other and said “Babe. We’re in MAUI!!!”. We cherished every single moment, never taking any experience for granted. We had such deep and heart warming conversations about life on this trip, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have created life long memories in Hawaii with some of the greatest women I know. There wasn’t a single flaw those 5 days in Maui, aside from me accidentally giving Kyle my sister’s number (oops!). Oh, and me going overboard during our very last happy hour which you’ll be reading in the following. Oh! And the third most painful sunburn I’ve ever had.
Seriously, how gorgeous are my girlfriends?!
Our last day in Maui was a beautifully depressing one. Beautiful because it was literally the most perfect day outside, but depressing because none of wanted to go back home to reality (even though we live in San Diego which is paradise so we’re obviously just being temporary spoiled brats). Michelle and I woke up at 6 AM and headed down to the gym to get our early work out in. I honestly can’t tell y’all what kind of magic Hawaii did to my motivation, but I sure as hell could use it here in Vietnam (where I am currently finishing this post). My drive to work out each morning for 1.5 hours astonishes me to this day— I just LOVED working out at our resort’s gym! Maybe it was the hot guy who was there every morning, or the fact that the sun shined straight through the gym’s windows causing me to sweat a gross amount, or maybe it was the sheer fact that I was wearing a bikini every day so I better freaking run 5 miles to justify all those lava flows I was sipping on. There was just something about Hawaii that gave me an insane amount of energy and motivation… I miss it! Anyway, after an hour’s work out, Michelle headed back up to our room first and Pamela (who met us at the gym shortly after we arrived) and I went up half an hour later. Michelle the sweetheart had breakfast waiting for us, in which she used the last of our groceries so the quantities we bought were literally PERFECT. We were so proud! It basically costed us 50 bucks each to feed us a moderate amount for 5 days (not including the drinks of course hehe); we like to think we handled Hawaii’s insane prices like champs!
After cleaning up our room and getting ready to leave (insert crying emoji), we laid out the day’s plans. Michelle and Courtney were going to go to Lahaina to get Courtney’s tattoo, while Pamela and I would go to a nearby beach and tan. Once Courtney’s tattoo session was finished, they would meet us back at the resort’s pool where we would get our last few rounds of drinks, eat lunch, and do some swimming before heading to the airport since our flight would be leaving for 10:00 that night. And everything went according to plan! Aside from the fact that I got ridiculously burned at the beach, which was completely my fault since Pamela freaking OFFERED to rub sunscreen on me but I politely declined. My cocky-ass figured if I didn’t get burned the previous few days, I must be lucky and burn very rarely. WRONG. I’ll never forget Pamela’s voice when she said “Babe… I think we should go; your back is looking a little red.”
Me: “On a scale 1-10, how bad is it?”
Pamela: “Umm, kinda like an… 8?”
I was calling for an Uber within the next 10 seconds. After that things were going swell! We made it back to the resort, I played volleyball in the pool with some older folks and there was this ridiculously cute guy on my team, but I SUCKED. First off, I didn’t even want to play! I knew I was going to suck because one, I’m barely athletic, and two, my bikini top was strapless and I knew me playing would be BAAAAD news. But somehow they convinced me, and after embarrassing myself by missing the ball like 12 times due to me trying to hold up my bikini top, I was ready to call it quits and call for a drink. Shortly after, Michelle and Courtney arrived where we oohed and awhhhed over her new tattoo, and everything was gravy! Until… I had one too many lava flows, mai tais, and glasses of chardonnay and somehow ended up sleeping on a lawn chair only to be awoken by Courtney after hearing her mention something about missing our flight. Terrible flashbacks of Chicago (which you can find here) instantly occurred and I quickly got my things together. SO. We hopped in a cab, had a quick dinner at the airport, then were on our way back to Sunny San Diego. It was rather depressing if you ask frankly any of us.
So, in short, I reminisce on this particular trip because it’s one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever embarked on. The memories I have of this trip make my heart swell with joy— having the fortune of creating a friendship between all four of us was beyond what any of us could have imagined. None of us would have ever guessed that we would all get along the way that we did! We’re all very different from one another, and yet somehow, these different characteristics fill in the blank spaces of what we didn’t realize was missing from our lives. We all just… clicked. So much so, a few days later, we went out for Pamela’s birthday. Michelle had school early the next morning whereas Courtney and I both had work the next morning, too, but despite the fact that Michelle and Courtney only knew Pamela for the five days, they still made a point to come out and celebrate with our beloved Pamela. We all drank, shared stories, met her friends, and at midnight we went to go get Carnita’s Snack Shack which deserves a separate post, but that’s besides the point. The four of us being together again truly felt like nothing had changed; it was as if the transition of our friendship in Maui was seamlessly flawless—perhaps even better— in San Diego, too, and that’s how I know that this bond we have is something extremely special. I love every single one of these girls, and having the opportunity to travel with them to one of the most beautiful places in the world was more than I could ask for. Aside from just taking away some of the best memories I’ve ever made from this trip, I’m taking away a friendship that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Needless to say, my list of girlfriends has increased, and my love for Hawaii has only gotten stronger. Trips like these remind of how grateful I am for the life I live, and I assure you that I am counting my blessings every. single. day.