Island hopping

I stumbled off the plane, eyes bleary and head foggy from the 11 hour trip. It was 2pm on July 4. I made it: I was in Hawaii. After a particularly rough beginning to the summer (to put it mildly), I used up all my frequent flier miles and (impulsively? uncharacteristically? decisively?) booked an 8 day trip to Hawaii. Thanks to United Airlines, it cost a whopping $11.20 to fly direct from Newark to Honolulu. I called it my “eat pray love / wild” trip, but it turned out to be more of an “eat run love live laugh talk sleep cry smile swim” kind of week. I was going to visit my uncle who I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years (oh god, that I can even say that makes me feel so old). Sure, I was a little nervous — I mean, I hadn’t seen this man in 2 decades and I was going to spend 8 days with him in his house? Was I crazy? Maybe. I had a week in Kaneohe to find out…

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A view of Kaneohe Bay from the plane

          The trip was everything I expected and nothing at all like I thought it would be: every morning I went for a run in hot, humid, hilly Hawaii, and I had take a second and convince myself that this was real.

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Bringing a little bit of the Brooklyn Marathon to Hawaii

Thanks to the wonders of cortisone and a little bit of Noni, my ankle was feeling better and for the first time in two months, I was running regularly. Don’t get me wrong — those first few runs weren’t pretty — it took about 4 days for me not to feel like a drunken baby giraffe learning how to walk, but I think I finally got the hang of it. I was eating clean (very little dairy and sweets, and no meat, alcohol, or caffeine), snacking on papayas, mangoes, avocados, cherries, watermelon, and of course, my Honey Stinger bars. I was swimming (more like bobbing around) in the ocean and relaxing on the beach. I was talking to my uncle, getting to know a man I hadn’t had contact with for so long. IMG_2670We talked about everything from washing machines to reincarnation, along with a healthy dose of family, music, surfing, and science. Turns out, my uncle is a pretty cool dude. I mean, you can kind of guess that when you hear he’s lived in Hawaii for 30+ years and you see the surfboards hanging over his kitchen table. But, when you hear stories of how he sang backing vocals for Carly Simon at Carnegie Hall, or the shows he saw at The Bitter End and the Fillmore East, or the cross- country trips in his VW van, you gotta figure this guy is pretty awesome.

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I grew up on the North Shore (of Long Island) and while I love Manhasset, it looks nothing like this.
          My Uncle Tom helped me get my head back on straight and, in our time together, taught me a little bit (ok, more like a lot of bit) about myself. He taught me about love, forgiveness, and the importance of family. About being kind to yourself and others. About having patience and having faith that everything will work out. And through all this, I was lucky enough to get back to doing what makes me happy: running. I like to think I’ll keep his lessons with me back in New York but if I need a little help remembering, I know the mango I have ripening on my counter will remind me of our trip to the North Shore, and the cherries in my fridge will remind me of the fireworks on the beach in Kailua. And if this doesn’t work, we’ll always have our selfies!
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“The saddest sight my eyes can see
Is that big ball of orange sinkin’ slyly down the trees”
Indigo Girls, Get out the Map

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