For my birthday, my husband took me to Hawaii. We'd saved for years for this trip, and it was everything we'd dreamed it would be.
What took my by surprise was the Aloha spirit of the islands. Everywhere we went, we were welcomed as family -- ohana. At first, I was skeptical. I've learned to be a little wary of people, and let's face it -- everyone knows we were in Waikiki, one of the biggest tourist traps on the planet. Before long, though, we learned that if we listened to our guides, we were shown the easy way to do...everything. If a guide suggested we eat at a roadside dive, we tried it.
That dive turned out to be one of the top 100 plate lunches, a place that grows their own shrimp in ponds behind the restaurant and cooks them...fresh. Yum.
These guides made a point of trying to make our trip as easy and pleasant as possible.
I learned a lot about myself during that trip, especially that I tend to be very tightly wound -- not that this was all that amazing of a discovery. While there, our guides taught us to "hang loose" and relax with the little stressors of life.
My husband and I are working hard to keep that aloha, hang-loose spirit of ohana here at home.
Amazing how that has let us bring the sunshine back with us to these perpetually gray days.