Blog vacation

Tomorrow I head to Hawaii for a week and needless to say, I probably won't be writing while I'm gone. But I'll come back with stories and pictures. I'm very, very excited about my trip. None of us has ever been to Hawaii before and the past couple of weeks have been an all-out exclamation point fest between me and my friends over email ("HAWAII! I CAN'T WAIT!!!"). It would be one thing if we were just going for a vacation, but not only are we going to this beautiful place to hang out, lie in the sun, take a surfing lesson (oh yes, that's right, a surfing lesson), snorkel, eat the local fare and take in all the gorgeous views, but we're going there for the wedding of one of our best friends.

Lisa, the friend in question, always cries at weddings. I mean, this girl cries before the bride has even begun walking down the aisle sometimes, and it's that personality - her great love of life and for her friends - that makes me think I might do the same during her ceremony (OR the amazing fact that we're all in Hawaii, for Christ's sake, might prevent me from crying, I don't know). Her soon-to-be-husband Eitan is - in addition to being an all-around great guy - the one who helped get J into birds when he spotted an owl in the woods outside our house a few summers ago. This makes me love him and very rarely resent him. But love is the most prevalent emotion.

And I can't wait to be there when they get married.

I spent some of this weekend and most of this morning preparing for my trip, including going to a department store and buying a suitcase appropriate for such a vacation. It's been forever since J or I has checked bags, thus we don't use real suitcases that much, which is good because the one we have is pretty old and doesn't really zip up. And that's important when your suitcase is going in the bottom of an airplane for many hours, that it zips up.

Buying a suitcase in an odd experience. I mean, it's a very large thing and you can't, like, put it in a shopping bag or anything. So after I picked out a nice blue one I had to wheel it out of the department store, through the mall and out to my car. Besides feeling like kind of a weirdo - a weirdo who brings her suitcase to the mall or something - there were some practical challenges, like getting the suitcase down an escalator. Thankfully a nice guy who was out shopping with his two sons watched me mess with the extendable handle for a few moments and then stepped in, said "I've got it," and carried it down for me like a true expert. He laughed and told me I'd have to perfect my skills before I went on my trip. People like that are one of the reasons I'll miss North Carolina when we leave.

I met another nice person on my way out, an older woman sitting on a bench outside the mall who looked at me with my new purchase said that I must be going on vacation. I told her I was - to Hawaii - and she got this great, happy look on her face and said, excitedly, "You'll have such a good time!" I asked her if she'd been before, and she told me she had, to the Big Island, and that it was a wonderful place. I told her a little about my trip. She asked me if I was flying (sure, a slightly strange question, as how else would I get there, but she was a nice older lady, so what did I care?) and I told her I was. This is when she sighed and said, "It's a long trip" (indeed, my friend Abby and I are flying nonstop from Newark). I said I knew that, but that I was traveling with one of my best friends, and me and my friends always manage to have a good time, no matter what, so I wasn't worried.

And that's the thing - these girls and I - we've had a lot of good times. These people have been my friends since we were in the throws of adolescence, since the adventure that is high school. I'm aging myself here, but the year we all went off to college was around the time email became a popular, user-friendly tool, and we've all been exchanging a group email since then, sometimes many times a day, checking in about everything from boyfriends to health to, well, getting extremely excited about a trip to Hawaii. You could throw us in jail for a night (I mean, let's hope that doesn't ever happen, but what I'm saying is you could) and I'm pretty sure we'd have a good time (on a side note, one time my friend Jennifer and I did get locked in a boiler room, no joke, and while it was a little scary waiting for someone to find us and open the door, we had as good a time as two people can who happen to be locked in a boiler room).

So, Hawaii? Yes, from the interminable plane trips to the beaches, I'm thinking this is going to be one great vacation. I'm sad J has to stay here and work, but this just means I'll have to scout out places we'll visit when we both go there together some day, since we love to get out and see the world. And also, I have this new suitcase, and we might as well put it to good use.