i slept in til 8 and then ivan came in to whisper ‘we’re going to the market’ and i decided i didn’t want to sleep in on mother’s day.
i ate some steel cut oats with cinnamon and berries and we walked/bussed into ballard. we walked through the market, we bought fresh veggies, we drank coffee and shared some treats, i practiced yoga, ivan cleaned our yard, we played and chased and read books.
ivan took some pictures and i cringe when i see myself in them because of my tired eyes and my crazy hair, but i wanna post them anyway because when i look back in years to come, i’m sure those things won’t matter to me at all. this is my second official year of being a mama and this is how i look right now.
mother’s day is awesome, mainly because i really don’t have to change a single diaper, but also because it makes me think about how much i love being a mum. i love thinking about how much my mum must love me – something i always knew (obviously), but after having mika i realised it in an entirely new way. i feel so entirely grateful in such an indescribable way, for what i must have put my mother through as a crying baby, a fussy toddler and (what i’ll be somewhat soon able to fully appreciate) as an awful awful teenager.
i feel like i couldn’t be the mama i am if it wasn’t for the support of some amazing people: my parents and my best friends, but mainly of course because of ivan, who makes it possible for me to continue to run and practice yoga and cook meals and have time for myself. ivan who, when both of us are beyond exhausted, will be the one to get up to see mika at 3 in the morning. ivan, who will rush home after work exhausted, and play chase with mika for an hour then bath her and put her to bed and then stay up til after midnight finishing his work. ivan, who cleans the bathroom, takes the rubbish out, makes our bed and cooks us oats every morning. ivan, who cooks me an extremely healthy and delicious vegan brunch on mother’s day because he knows exactly what i like to eat and how i like to eat it. i know i’m only the mother i am, because he is the partner he is.
and depsite everything, you know, everything. like all those things that make being a mama so hard, i still feel like the luckiest human alive to be the mama to this girl.
happy mother’s day to my mama, and to all the beautiful mama’s out there and to all the amazing people who help mamas be the best mamas they can be.
dirty beautiful moustached friend Braden was at our wedding and he set up a pretty awesome photobooth in the library and whilst many most of the photos were way too amazing too inappropriate to post, some of them have made it through. The actual wedding photos won’t be up for a while, but here – look at how silly we are! More to come.
We almost didn’t come here because we dont so much like the idea of beach resorts, leis and coconuts. But the flights were the cheapest and shortest to escape the cold and rain in Seattle so without accommodation or itinerary we found ourselves on Hawaiin Airlines, 7 hours away from Kauai.
I guess i was still expecting it to be an over-the-top tourist destination so i was happily surprised to find the open air kauai airport speckled with roosters and chickens, and as run down as any small town mexican airport i’d ever seen. The signs pointed to taxi stands and car rentals amd there was no evidence of a public transport system.
The car rental booths were all shut except for one. For $60 a day we almost secured a small pickup until asked to present a matching credit card and driver’s license. Ivan’s license had expired and i dont own a credit card and after an hour or so of phone calls and persuasion we were still carless. Carless and homeless and i’m not sure if it was the comfort of the warm air, but neither of us appeared particularly stressed about the situation. I seem to have this peculiar trust in the universe and it seems to work out for me more often than not. So far, at least.
We decided that a place to sleep was probably more important than the freedom of our own vehicle and no doubt a lot easier to secure. Accommodation on kauai is NOT cheap. The island is scattered with expensive resorts and ever-so-slightly-less-expensive condos, which makes it even more impressive that the island doesn’t feel touristy. We managed to score a last minute deal on a resort nearby so we agreed we to spend a night there and find something better as soon as possible. Resort living feels fake and impersonal. We might as well be in fiji for all i could tell. But the air was warm and the place was fancy so we got our money’s worth of friendly service, hot tubs, swimming pools, cozy white towels and buffet breakfasts.
A 10 minute taxi ride to the local town of kapaa cost us $20. We ate vegan burritos and corn chips, spent $4 on a carton of organic soy milk from the grocery store and handed over the inevitable return fare as our driver dropped us back at the resort. We knew we couldnt keep this up and so we spent the good part of a day trying to make other arrangements.
After playing phone tag with a lady named Crystal and forking outrageous wireless internet fees to keep in touch with a lady named Ellie, our potentially dismal holiday took a beautiful turn for the best. We checked out of the resort and handed over $140 cash to Crystal in a super-market parking lot who handed us the keys to a white 4wd grand cherokee. So now I was in the driver’s seat, windows down (broken a.c), check engine light on (‘just ignore that’), old school hip hop on the stereo (what else?), Ivan sitting next to me and the whole of kauai to explore at our leisure. Nice work, Universe.
People on kauai are pleasant. Ivan had read something about them being rude and irritated, so maybe our low expectations gave them an advantage, but we had no bad experiences to speak of. A taxi driver boasted of the sense of community on the island: neighbours helping neighbours, local kids calling him ‘uncle’, low crime rates, regular church goers etc. But with a population of less than 100,000 and apparently around 30,000 visitors on the island at any given time (don’t quote me on that), it is easy to see how it feels more like a holiday beach town with seasonal communities than a solid year-round community. That’s just the vibe we got from being visitors for a week.
The first thing that we had to come to terms with was the weather. Warm, yes, but also windy, rainy, sunny, cloudy and kind of chilly. Huh? Yeah. So it’s a micro-climate which apparently means that when its pouring with rain you mustnt worry! In 5 minutes the sun will be out again. And if it feels particularly wet today, drive 20 minutes south and you will escape the rain for the day. I figured i needed to experience it to believe it, but even though ive experienced it i still dont really believe it. It’s weird, but it works. The weather really didnt bother us at all.
Based on this weather theory that the south is sunnier, the internet told us to stay in the south. So after many emails with Ellie, we finally confirmed our 3 night vacation rental in Poipu. It was a gorgeous little garden suite that suited us perfectly, but you know that when your host tells you that the best place for your morning coffee is the starbucks down the road, you’re in the wrong place.
The beach was nice but predictable, the climate was definitely drier, we saw less locals and it felt like a beach town designed for wealthy old people.
In the north we drank coffee at local roasteries and ate hippie but not overly outrageously priced organic food. People ate meals on the grass around the shops and kids ran around everywhere. The rain kinda sucked but it made everything feel more lush and the sun just that much more exciting. We surfed up north in Hanalei with a barely 20 year old guy who had grown up on the island and claimed to be a personal chef slash surfing instructor who wanted 5 kids one day.
I have funny feelings about being a tourist. When i visited new york for the first time i was by myself and had 3 days. I made friends with a couple of young guys and we spent our time walking the streets of manhatten and brooklyn trying not to ‘keep looking up’. If i can buy the postcard i generally dont have a desire to see it, give or take a few instances. Rocking up in a car or a bus to take pictures alongside hundreds of other people snapping the same thing seems immensly underwhelming in most cases. You can’t buy a postcard of the local culture or the smells or the tastes of a city. And while your snapping the same images you can buy on a postcard you’re typically missing most of the most interesting differences and new experiences.
So we began each day with no agenda except to see where the day would take us and it worked out every time. We ran barefoot through muddy trails to not-so-secret waterfalls. We jumped in canoes unguided down a river. We became regulars at our favourite taco place. We did early morning yoga with locals. We were strongly advised not to start on the canyon trail after 10am, (it was 1pm) but after my own assessment of the situation (the meanness of the woman advising us, our fitness levels, our desire for something a little bit more adventurous), we decided to go for it. This resulted in a very satisfying adreneline pumping death-defying 10 mile hike with the best views possible of the NaPali coast without a helicopter or kayak. Definitely worth it.
We raced sunset across clifftops and ran early morning along beach fronts. We shopped at KMart and used our discount card at the local grocer. We ate vegan except for the fresh ahi and a couple eggs and just once (after the canyon) we tried the must-have shave ice over mac-icecream. I’m heavier than i was at the start of the trip, but it was totally worth it.
We drank at a local bar and listened to local live music. We sat in local cafes for hours, people watching, reading and sketching tattoo ideas on napkins.
This morning we woke up at 8 to watch the football. (I dont even know myself anymore.) We had spent our last night in a resort near the airport and at breakfast we were sitting next a man named matt and his baby daughter who were from Seattle also.
At the beginning of our holiday i wondered if one week would be enough. At breakfast i felt my tummy bursting and craving a home-cooked meal. I felt the salt and humidity in my hair. I felt the slight sting of sun on my legs against the chair. I felt the anonymity and ambiguity of the resort. I made funny faces at Matt’s little baby sitting next to us and my heart leaped at the thought of seeing Mika again. One week was definitely enough. One week was perfect.
(Then we landed in Seattle airport in our flip-flops and shorts at 11pm and I quickly changed my mind. It’s too cold. We should have made arrangements for mum to send Mika to us in Hawaii).
The weekend was slow. We’re still suffering from the cost of furnishing our house and paying rent in the same month…but we take great delight in budgeting and finding ways to have fun that doesn’t cost a thing, so it was a pretty nice weekend.
We decided to record a wee video about our day at the market and then on Sunday night we managed to make a little story out of the footage and edit it into a save the date video for our wedding. I love it – it’s slow, relaxing and full of Mika – just like our Sundays usually are.
We can’t wait to have our friends and family join us in Seattle for a big week of partying and celebrating.
Do you know those days where you just don’t feel right? I had one of them yesterday. One of those days where you feel odd: nothing fits, nothing suits, nothing sits right, nothing tastes right.
It was one of those days where by the evening I wanted to just take a long shower, put on some comfy pants and curl up into a ball, maybe eat some popcorn and watch a movie. But then Ivan called and asked if I wanted to meet him after work for a dinner date. I wanted to say no…but the idea of a date sounded awesome. I battled it out in my head as I threw clothes on and off in disgust, frowned at my reflection in the mirror and attempted to make my face look awake. As Mika and I started walking towards his work, I felt a pain in my stomach and I thought about turning around and calling it off. But I kept walking.
And it turned out to be one of those nights that are just ridiculously perfect. We ate Indian food for dinner. We walked baby til she fell asleep. We sat and nibbled on vegan icecream whilst playing Yatzee in a late night cafe. We walked home along the lake at 11pm, sharing silly stories and acting like crazies. It was all kinds of wonderful.
And then today was amazing again. I felt out of sorts, but everything was just so beautiful that I wanted to shout from the rooftops.
First I met a lovely lady in a cafe. Her friend was an artist and a carpenter and I loved her.
Then I met our lovely new nanny in the park and Mika loved her.
Then I asked a sweet little family if they knew how to get to the water and Mika and I caught the bus with them and ended up spending an entire afternoon by the water’s edge with a lovely little boy and his dad.
On the way home Mika fell asleep and we met Ivan at home to make our spelt crust vegan pizza which was crazy delicious.
I can’t fathom a weekend that tops the last few days…but I’m totally open to having my mind blown, so bring it on! Here’s some iphone pictures from the last few days: