... I was about to title this My Big Fat Hawaiian Wedding, but it's not really my wedding. That distinction would belong to my friends Iris Obispo and Jared Peak. In actuality, they've been married for what will be five years this coming weekend. They wanted a church wedding, so that they will have this Saturday in Wahiawa, in the church near where Iris' grandmother lives. I suppose you can call this Iris' childhood parish; she started her schooling there before a move away from Wahiawa caused her to transfer away from the school.
My adventure started with a pair of aeroplane rides, which took me from the Raleigh/Durham airport to Chicago's O'Hare to Honolulu International Airport. As my RDU flight left at 6.52 am Monday morning, I ended up not sleeping at all the night before, getting some packing done, and doing some last-minute searches for music that I thought would be appropriate prelude music. (What was that my organ teacher told me: ah yes, appropriate wedding prelude music: anything Baroque in a Major Key.) The church doesn't have an organ, but they do have a piano, so I decided to search through my piano literature, as well as my manuals-only literature for ideas. Perhaps it's just as well I didn't sleep at all the night before. I generally have no problems sleeping on aeroplanes, which I very happily did on both legs of my trip.
By the time I landed in Honolulu, I felt very well-rested. I ended up waiting approximately 40 minutes for Jared, Iris, and Maile to come though - the plane landed a good 40 minutes early, so I sat in baggage claim, waiting. I wasn't concerned ... I ended up looking over a syllabus while waiting.
Jared greeted me with a hug, and Iris slipped a beautiful fresh lei over my head, and after meeting Iris' parents, we went off to drop my stuff off at my hotel (Aqua Island Colony in Waikiki - with a breathtaking view of a canal, Waikiki, and the mountains in the distance). Iris and Jared then took me to Wahiawa, where we drove along a street that apparently is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being a street densely populated with churches. Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church was one of those churches on this street. We continued onto the North Shores, specifically Hale'iwa. Iris was craving Matsumoto's shaved ice, which is the most awesome concoction. Iris and I had one in a paper cone, consisting of adzuki beans, vanilla ice cream, and topped with "rainbow" shaved ice infused with lemon, strawberry, and pineapple syrup. Jared had his minus the beans, and Maile had one with the shaved ice and rainbow flavours only. It reminded me of a Filipino dessert called halo-halo. It was great. Huge sugar rush though, since that was the first thing I had since a large breakfast in Chicago. (As I slept through most of the ride from Chicago to Honolulu, I didn't eat anything during that 9+-hour plane ride.) We then went off to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue for their famous plate lunches. I noticed the Hawaiian plate lunches were featured on the Food Network relatively recently, and decided I wanted to try the loco moco. A typical Hawaiian plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and a meat of choice. The loco moco had two hamburger patties, topped with two eggs, over easy, and a generous amount of brown gravy ladled over the entire lot. My taste buds were in love. I hope to enjoy more plate lunches whilst here. For that matter, I'd love more of the Matsumoto shaved ice whilst here! I'm salivating just thinking of it.
We took our plate lunches to one of the beaches and saw a wonderful sunset over the Pacific. (IMHO, it's just as God intended. I'm still not used to the idea of the sun rising over the ocean. I guess that's what happens when you're raised in San Diego and are spoilt with the constant opportunities to enjoy beautiful sunsets at the beach.)
Day Two saw Iris' mum Lori and I heading off to the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu for a Welcome Orientation, thanks to Expedia.com. It included a free continental-style breakfast, a useful guidebook to Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai, and an equally useful coupon book for some really nice discounts off some of the larger dining establishments all over the Hawaiian Islands. We also had a nice little tour of Maui Divers Jewellry. Lori was very much taken with the Tahitian chocolate pearls. I agree, they're striking, but I will admit that jewellry does nothing to excite me.
We then collected Iris' father's uncle and aunt from Hickam AFB, where they landed after a flight from Coronado, CA (North Island NAS), and after lunch at the very nice Navy Exchange/Commissary complex at Pearl Harbour (Yummy Korean B-B-Q, specifically. They're not kidding - the place is aptly named), we drove up to Wahiawa and spent the rest of the afternoon there. After an exercise in cracking freshly roasted macadamia nuts (that is hard work!) Iris' parents and I then went on our tour of the Navy, Army, and Air Force exchanges in search of the elusive muumuu for Iris' mum. Dinner was at the Hard Rock Cafe, and thanks to a coupon from Expedia, I received a Hard Rock Cafe collectible pin.
So now this is Day Three in Waikiki. The Obispos are going to be engaged with collecting people from the airport all day, and I'll be at OLS, practising. I'm hoping to have a chance to nap; insomnia is catching up with me here as I can't seem to sleep very well at night, plus I have to continue preparations for the General Chemistry class I'm going to be teaching starting next week.
More later ...