Always Say Aloha to New Girlfriends & New Experiences!
Alohhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaa! I could not wait to write this blog! I have a few of great friend stories from Hawaii to share with you, so let’s get started shall we?!
Story 1: 1984
It’s April. I walk up to Mr. Wagner’s greyish-green metal desk to ask him what my current grade is. He’s my English teacher and I’m his (very) talkative senior student in his third period class. He doubles as the theater teacher, which makes him a bit too dramatic for my taste. I can look him straight in the eye because, at 5’2”, he’s not much taller than I am. He’s got that cul de sac, bald look on the top of his head and the rest is a salt and pepper wiry mess—it’s ironic how much he looks like Shakespere. Now, I don’t really like the guy, but that’s probably because he constantly tells me to stop talking and when I’m in the middle of a conversation, I don’t like being cut off!
I am pushed up against his desk, we lock eyes, and in a “suck-up” voice I politely say, “Hi Mr. Wagner, could you tell me what my current grade is please?” He turns a few pages in his gradebook and simply says, “D!”
I peed my pants a lot in high school, mostly from laughing hysterically, never from having a teacher tell me I was getting a D though. I didn’t pee this time, but I sure felt like it! I need at least a C- to pass the class and to have enough credits to graduate high school.
I don’t remember exactly what I did to pass, but somehow, I made it. I truly never thought I would see the day when someone would hand me a diploma, but they did. A week later I was on a 747, flying across the Pacific Ocean to the warm, tropical, lush island of Oahu, Hawaii for our senior grad trip. This is my first girlfriendship story in Hawaii.
Our class motto was “Party Naked”. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was because The Unknown Comic was a popular character on Saturday Night Live back then. (Remember him? He was that total dork who wore a bag over his face and danced around like an idiot.) Well, we wanted to uphold our motto and channel our inner Unknown Comic. So we decided that we would put a bag over our heads and run naked through the halls of our hotel. Mallory would be the one to hold the elevator for us while we sprinted up and down the hall.
So, we got ourselves ready. We each put a bag over our head with eye holes cut out so we can see, and wrapped a beach towel around our naked bodies. We exit room 1725 on our way to the elevator. No one is in our hallway. Whew! We get on, and Mallory pushes the button for floor 18. Door opens, we drop our towels and Charlie, Sydney, and I sprint down the hall. We are laughing so hard we can’t catch our breath. But we made it safely back to the elevator without anyone catching us!
And then it happened. One of us decided we have to use the bathroom so Mallory pushed button number 17 to get us back to our floor. All four of us exit, towels and bags intact. We turn the corner to our room and every single person on the floor is outside of their room sitting in the hallway with cameras. WHAT!? These are all of our classmates! We run as fast as we can, trying to make it back to our room while the “spectators” are tearing at our towels trying to pull them off.
We bust through Kevin and John’s door only because it is open just a crack and we fly into the bathroom and one of us, who shall remain nameless, barely makes it to the toilet to poop their lights out. (O my G I’m crying laughing right now!)
Oh, Guess what? Mallory, our elevator holder is the one who alerted everyone that we were partying naked down the halls! Of course she is the one who told because she was the only one not naked! Thanks Mallory, lesson learned!
Story 2: 1997 (No poop involved, I promise)
I’ve known Shannon since I was 19. She is responsible for my introduction to Pete and her bed was the foundation for creating our beautiful Lex (TMI). She’s one of those friends you refer to as, “we go waaaay back.”
It’s winter break for our kids, and we decide to go on our annual trip to Oahu with Pete’s parents. That particular year, Shannon was turning 35, and her husband James was treating her and their kids to Maui. Only thing was we weren’t going to be there at the same time. So I decided to surprise her.
With our vacation over, we flew back on the only reasonable flight, the red-eye. Yuck! Once we were back home, I spent the day doing all the laundry and grocery shopping for Pete and the kids for the week. While I’m at Trader Joe’s, I find these yummy dark chocolate triangles that fit together in the formation of a circle that lies in a metal tin. Kinda like a pie cut into eight slivers.
That night, I got back on a different red-eye and flew back to Hawaii. Only this time it was to Maui. (You must think I’m crazy by now and you’re absolutely correct.) I had already coordinated with James when I would be there and what I was going to do.
I pull up to their rented condo overlooking the water and park my rental car. I know they are all at the pool because Olivia, their daughter, is just a baby and it is easier to navigate than the ocean.
I call Shannon on her cell. “Aloha my love, whatchaya doing?”
I am watching her the whole time as I’m walking closer. She is in the pool with Olivia and has her back to me.
“Aloha! I’m in the pool with Liv. How was your trip? What are you doing?”
“Trip was good. I’m tired. You know how those red-eyes wipe you out. I’m at Trader Joe’s shopping.”
I have now entered the pool area and am only about 20 feet from her as I say, “ Yeah I found this cute tin of dark chocolates. They look yummy.”
“Aww c’mon, you know I love dark chocolate!”
As I’m standing right behind her I say,”Yep, I do know how much you like dark chocolate. Better eat it before it melts in the hot sun! Happy Birthday!”
Now, Shannon is not the type to scream and be overly dramatic, but this surprise earned a little yelp when she saw me. I was tired, but was so happy to make it for her birthday that year.
Story 3: 2017
Going to Maui for Shannon’s birthday was the first time I had ever been there. We always went to Oahu. So for about seven consecutive years after that year, Pete, Mom, Dad, the kids, and I started going there to Maui. It is calmer than Oahu—a lot more quiet than the touristy area of Waikiki Beach. Lex and I loved the change of scenery. The whales mate in the warm waters between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The Maui beaches are excellent for whale watching.
After those seven years of traveling to Maui, Lex and I were coaxed by the boys to go back to Oahu. They like riding the waves and the North Shore of Oahu is the best place for that. It’s where many surfing competitions are held.
We’ve stayed in a couple of places that were within biking distance to Pipeline, but by far the one that we love the most is a three bedroom home right on the beach. It’s nestled between two other homes at the end of a very quiet street and has the best redwood deck for having a cocktail while watching the sun set.
The second year that we stayed there, we had to stay in the “garden” home for the first two nights because our vacation time frame overlapped with another family’s. Clearly they were more organized because they reserved the beachfront home way before I did.
Under the two beachfront-stilted homes were all the toys: bikes, snorkel gear, boogie boards, fins, masks, beach chairs, and more. We went down there everyday and took our pick of what we needed.
While choosing our best beach chairs, we heard a guy say, ‘Hi, how are you guys?” I can’t hear very well, but that day I heard his accent clear as a bell. I immediately said, “Hi! Are you from Minnesota?” Sure enough, not only was he from Minnesota, but specifically the same town that we live in. Weird, huh? After a few minutes of conversation between Bob, myself and Pete, Bob says, “Lisa you gotta meet my wife. We leave tomorrow, but we will try to say goodbye.”
You all know I like to “gather” friends right? Well, the next morning, I sat by the patio door waiting, watching for “the wife”. Bob is as gregarious as a three year old walking up to ask for candy, so here the two of them come walking up our front stairs to knock on our door. “Hi, I’m Lisa Najarian, nice to meet you”. “Hi I’m Paula, nice to meet you too.”
Paula and I talked about “things”. I expressed to her that I have Lyme disease and was planning on starting a foundation so I could help people get diagnosed properly. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was intently listening to every word. Now I know she always listens just like that.
Paula has become one of my best friends and is my right hand girl not only with my Lyme foundation, but also with My Girlfriendships. She doesn’t care to gather friends like her new aloha friend, but with the help of Bob, she has found herself a lifelong bestie.
Hawaii’s nickname is the “Aloha State”. "Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. I have determined that this is truly one of the best places one earth to establish incredible girlfriendships!
I love that you were with me today. See you tomorrow!