When my work schedule for May was posted, I was happily surprised to find my shifts aligned so that I somehow had 6 consecutive days off. Bliss! My mind went insane and I immediately started planning wild vacations that included grand destinations such as Paris, Bali and Kenya. Ryan quickly assessed the situation, saw that I was not to be deterred, and rescued our savings account by steering me to a destination a little closer to home. Hawaii.
You see, since our honeymoon, Ryan and I have never taken a legitimate vacation just the two of us. Of course we love family vacations and time spent visiting said family in Utah, but we have been combating an itch to just leave this place and adventure out on our own. Job situations, school and money all prevented it before, but they just aren’t much of an issue/excuse these days. So I convinced Ryan that we had to carpe that diem and with reckless abandon we went for it.
After a few suggestions from some of our favorite people (Whit and Dustin, we are in your debt!), we settled on Ko Olina, a resort-style town on the western side of Oahu. With anticipation in our hearts and salt water on our minds, we booked a room at the JW Marriott Ihilani resort and spa for a five-night stay in what was sure to be the celestial kingdom.
The JW was perfect. White marble hallways, an open oceanfront lobby, koi ponds everywhere. From the moment we arrived I began dreading leaving. Little, hot tears pricked my eyes every so often. It was kind of pathetic. And also lovely.
Having Ryan all to myself in that balmy ocean air was the best kind of paradise. Without being too cliche and sappy, it was exactly what we both needed. An escape from the stresses of that grown-up adult world that we find ourselves in everyday. We slept in (scandalously late) ran by the ocean, gorged ourselves on french toast with coconut syrup, laid by the pool, laid by the beach, took naps, etc. Rewind, repeat. For five glorious days.
We ordered way too much room service and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean crashing in the quiet lagoons below. If this is starting to sound like a romance novel, it’s because it pretty much is. I couldn’t take my eyes off the guy the whole time. It is all a warm ball of happy in my mind. And I’m not sorry about it.
Also: PADDLE BOARDING. My new favorite thing. I was dead determined before I ever even stepped foot on the island that I was going to be great at it. Better than Ryan (he always outshines me at that kind of thing and I was just not gonna have it this time). And guess what. I rocked it. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but it really was so fun. Maybe I should start a new fad…The San Francisco Bay Paddle Board Experience. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
On one of the final nights we were there, we crept by a danger sign and ventured out onto a secluded and rocky beach. The sunset was pretty much mind-numbingly beautiful. We watched a quiet little couple crawl over the rocks, her in a white dress. I nudged Ryan and we looked on while they exchanged vows witnessed only by a dressed-down priest. Straight-up genius I tell you.
I think night-time at the resort was my favorite. Glowing tiki torches, soft hawaiian ukulele music floating across the beach and of course…the seafood buffets. I ate my weight in ahi, shrimp and papaya. It was nirvana.
That saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well I just gave you 20+ pics. Think about that. And I still don’t feel like I have even tapped the surface of how perfect Ko Olina was for us. Disgustingly cheesy? Yes. True? Absolutely.