Monday, July 20, 2015

Last First Impression - Hawaii

Pokai Bay
Waianae, HI

Landing at Honolulu International Airport after midnight in the summer of 1969 was a quiet experience. No lei greetings. No girls dancing the hula. No ukulele music. No principal's wife to meet me and drive me to my new home. Just a tired 22 year old 5th grade teacher who due to an air traffic controllers' strike had been stranded in San Francisco for 12 hours, thereby arriving on Oahu long after my arranged meeting time. The skies of United Airlines were rather unfriendly that day.

Morning One opened with the promise of tropical sensory delights. The smell of the Pacific Ocean reached me on a primal level. It surrounded me as it surrounded the island, enveloping both of us in rhythmic hugs. The northeast Trade Winds lifted my hair with a lover's touch. The exotic flowers of plumeria, hibiscus, birds of paradise, orchids, bougainvillea and my personal favorite, anthuriums dazzled my eyes and spritzed my pulse points with their blended notes.

It was hard to believe I was actually on the island I had dreamed about for years. I had watched the TV shows: Adventures in ParadiseHawaiian Eye, and Hawaii Five-0 knowing I was destined to have my own adventures in paradise. 

This 40 mile long by 26 mile wide stretch of volcanic real estate was to be my home for the next year. Teacher's Cottage 6A at 85-220 McArthur Road, directly across the playground from Waianae Elementary School, was my address. You might say I lived under the rainbow. But the whole island was mine to explore. Thanks to a roommate from California who had her Ford Mustang shipped via special delivery, explore we did.

Probably my most memorable destination was Pearl Harbor. Being the daughter of a WWII Navy veteran, and growing up hearing all of his Navy stories, I was overcome with emotion as I gazed down at The USS Arizona and thought about all the historic events that transpired there and around the world as a result of December 7, 1941.

My Happy Place will always be the hidden treasure I discovered right in my own backyard. And that place is known as Pokai Bay. A five minute walk on the leeward side of Oahu brought me to the perfect beach. Picture yourself walking on powder soft sand in a thick crescent shaped cove. The ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling or napping. The pristine turquoise waters beckon. Once in the tranquil bay, you turn toward shore to experience the awesome wonder of green mountains and blue sky, topped with a rainbow.You can't help but think, "How Great Thou Art". Turn around and you may see a friendly whale or dolphin breaching just for you and waving Aloha. Finally, you stretch out on the warm sand under a coconut tree. The palm branches swaying in the breeze and waves lapping the shore lull you to sleep and sweet dreams. Soothing Hawaiian melodies play in your head. Now repeat daily.

I one lucky wahine. Lucky I lived Hawaii! Aloha nui loa...until we meet again.

First Aloha Friday

Sandra Warholic Seeley is the creator and author of Kanela's Korner and The Sandra Seeley Column. She is a lifelong educator who has taught in Hawaii, where Kanela was born; Bethel Park, where her 3 children were born and in the inner city schools of Pittsburgh Public where her passion for the underprivileged began. Kanela's Korner is often 95% fiction and 5% fact, leaving the reader to do the math. Her motto is: Funny or not, here I come! Her faithful assistant, Wolfgang, is always by her side. He looks just like a black Lab and works for treats. To contact the author, click the following link.

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