I’m so lucky to get continuing medical education as part of my contract. We get to do this anywhere in the US. Since Hawaii is only 6 hours south of Anchorage on a direct flight and it’s warm and sunshiny, it makes sense to go here. With the help of my attending (I still call my superior doctors attendings, even though technically I am one now!), I ended up just doing my two-weeks together at once in Maui, since it saves an extra ticket.
I told my family and amazingly (shockingly, really), my three sisters, mom and the babies (a set of twin boys and a baby girl) could all come too! So we made a party of it. 🙂 It felt like such a sigh of relief, relaxation, joy in the US with my family. It took me back to yesterday—to our breaks on the white sandy beaches in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, which are treasured memories for our family.
The girls and babies!
Primary care conference each day started out with fresh island fruit, coffee. First couple of days were rainy, but that didn’t hinder a trip up to the 10,000 foot volcano with a new friend, an Emergency Medicine doctor based in Houston. It was freezing! 42 degrees plus sideways wind and freezing rain! Needless to say, our trip didn’t last long, and we didn’t see the other volcano islands around. Just the inside of rain clouds.
My family came on Tuesday evening, and I greeted them at the airport with leis! The 11-month twins were still holding together in spite of a long two-piece trip from Minnesota! Isaac was so cute—I took his layers and socks and shoes off down to his diaper, and when we went outside he put his arms out like he was flying and smiled. He immediately fell into character as a care-free island boy. 🙂
We got to go the ocean. The boys were very scared of the ocean at first, but by the time they left, they seemed to be enjoying it. I just imagine if they had another week or so, they would be loving it!
One day we went on a drive around the island towards Hana, the lush, tropical, rainforest side of the island. It was such a beautiful drive, and we had some great conversations with the locals. However, that trip about did the babies in!
We got home late and also had to change hotel rooms, tired, crabby and crammed in together. That was the most stressful day of our vacation. But I like these experiences, because they make you BE together. You have to work things out together. You have to stick together and communicate. And be in each other’s space, and learn about each other and your self. It forces you to be in community.
After my family left, it was way too quiet, so I found some more adventures and I went whale-watching again, since my sister couldn’t use her ticket. Then I wandered up the beach to the Kahana canoe club and met heaps of awesome people there.
I also went boogie boarding and tried to surf—Akinori Goshi, a Japanese professional windsurfer loaned me his surfboard (I didn’t realize what he did at the time, but what he does is amazing! I also met the Dad of a professional surfer who built a thatch shelter for surfers at this beach. Another day, I walked by some street musicians who call themselves No Madda, and give so much love and freedom and love and wisdom. They remind me of Xavier Rudd.
Then I went scuba diving and got to hear the song of the whales and dolphins (it was amazing to hear the song of in real life! ) and we got to see sharks and barracuda, eels and all sorts of other cool reef life. I scuba dived the day I left for my flight (oops! Poor planning), but it all went well. No decompression sickness! It was 13 hours between the dive and the flight, and the cabin is pressurized to ~3,000 feet, which is a lot less than the altitude of Haleakala Volcano on Maui! I figured it was worth it!